Viet Nam News
SEA Games/Indoor hockey
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam men’s indoor hockey team are ready for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia with the goal of earning a medal.
The 12-member team left for Malaysia yesterday to prepare for their competition from August 21 to August 26.
It is the first time indoor hockey (six-a-side) has been introduced in the largest regional sport event.
However, according to James Chew, CEO of Việt Nam Hockey Federation, Việt Nam have a better chance of winning a medal because they started six-a-side hockey first in the region in 2008. Other countries play field hockey (11-a-side) and only started playing six-a-side in 2015.
“So I hope Việt Nam can surprise many in SEA Games,” said Chew, who was born in Malaysia but is now living in Việt Nam.
The Việt Nam Hockey Festival was started since 2008, and now it is organised annually, attracting many international teams.
To prepare for the event, Vietnamese players have trained hard at the Indoor Stadium in Phạm Hùng Road, HCM City under the guidance of head coach Abolfazl Yousefi Marzejarani of Iran. He is one of the top indoor hockey coaches in the world. Iran is Asian Indoor Hockey champion 2017. Marzejarani is also Iran’s national coach.
The teams also played in the FIH Hockey World League in Singapore last year, which is a qualifier for the World Cup in 2018, to learn and gain from the experience.
“Vietnamese players are very young but they are motivated. I think Việt Nam will win a medal in these Games,” Marzejarani said.
It is the second time Việt Nam have taken part in the Games. The first was SEA Games in 2013 in Myanmar. Although they lost to Singapore in the event’s first match, they left a deep impression on their fans.
The sport, which has been played in Việt Nam for over 10 years has not become popular.
The Việt Nam Hockey Federation was just formed in August 2013, and it became the 132nd member of the International Hockey Federation in November 2014.
“As hockey is a young sport in Việt Nam, the infrastructure for hockey has not been developed yet. But that is not a problem. The advantage is players in Việt Nam know indoor hockey and are in a good position to win a medal,” said Chew.
Việt Nam will compete alongside Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in this year’s Games.
They will meet Indonesia and Malaysia on August 21, Singapore on August 22, Thailand on August 23, and the Phillipines on August 24. — VNS