Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s national men’s football team need to forget their Southeast Asian (SEA) Games’ failure and focus on the AFC Asian Cup 2019’s qualifying round, coach Mai Đức Chung said.
Việt Nam will face hosts Cambodia in the third match of Group C at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh today.
“There is good co-ordination among experienced and young players. Both Việt Nam and Cambodia were ousted from the qualification round of the Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. So, Việt Nam need to forget their failure and focus on the upcoming match,” Chung said during a press conference ahead the match.
The 67-year-old coach said although he had only guided the team for a few days, the change of coach had not greatly affected his players’ spirits.
Chung coached the Việt Nam women’s team that won the gold medal at the 2017 SEA Games at the end of August and will remain in charge of the team for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan. However, after Nguyễn Hữu Thắng resigned following the men’s team’s group stage elimination at the Games, Chung was appointed by the Việt Nam Football Federation to replace Thắng.
“This match is very important to the two sides. I highly appreciated Cambodia’s performance when they beat Afghanistan in the last match. I think the chance to win the match is 50-50 for the two squads. Cambodia have skilful players and they have the advantage of playing on their home turf. But Việt Nam will make every effort to gain the best result,” Chung said.
Việt Nam have had an unbeaten start to Group C with an opening 1-1 away draw against Afghanistan in March and a goalless stalemate at home against Jordan in June.
The latest meet between the two sides was in the qualifying round of the AFF Cup 2016 in which Việt Nam beat Cambodia 2-1.
“The whole team will play with all their heart and obey the tactics of the team’s training board to gain three points,” captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết said.
Meanwhile, Cambodia’s players from the SEA Games who will compete against Việt Nam will look to build on their outings in Malaysia, although the rest of the senior squad may be lacking in match fitness due to a long break in the domestic league.
According to coach Leonardo Vitorino of Cambodia, despite competing unsuccessfully at the SEA Games, Việt Nam are still a strong team and the change of coach of the Vietnamese squad will not affect the team much.
However, Vitorino, 43, said he has many outstanding players, adding that the team are playing on their home turf, so they will target to win at least one point.
“Việt Nam have good young footballers that have participated in the Games as well as veteran players. So I have asked my players to play with a high level of determination. The upcoming match is very difficult for us,” Vitorino said.
Following two matches of the group round, Jordan have temporarily taken the lead with four points, followed by Cambodia with three points and Việt Nam with two points. Afghanistan rank at the bottom with only one point. — VNS