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U19 set sights on Asian Championship

Update: October, 04/2017 - 09:00
Goalkeeping coach Jason Brown works with Vietnamese player during the national U19 training session on Tuesday. — Photo zing.vn
Viet Nam News

Football

HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) has asked the U19 squad to win a berth at the final of the Asian championship next year.

VFF Vice President Trần Quốc Tuấn encouraged the young players to do their best and work hard so that played confidently at the championship’s upcoming qualifier tournament in Chinese Taipei.

He said Việt Nam were one of the top seeded teams at the event, following their 2016 Asian Championship semifinal slot and a berth at the recent U20 World Cup earned by the previous U19 squad. The VFF hoped it would be a source of pride and a strong motivational factor for the current side to win a final round spot.

The team started their one-month practice on Monday under coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn in Hà Nội.

They will compete in Group H together with Macao, Laos and the hosts in early November.

Tuấn called up 30 players for this campaign, with nearly one third being new members. They will team up with the older players who failed at the recent regional U18 championship despite a brilliant start in Myanmar.

“Following the Myanmar event, the coaching board saw problems. We had a good playing style but achieved a poor result. My players need to improve in different areas. This is the reason why I called up many new faces. I will give them the best training conditions, and then I will select the best team," Tuấn said.

“Our style will not change, but it must improve because the upcoming event is at the continental level. We must have an iron spirit and a high scoring rate. We have set a target of competing at the Asian tournament. But I have bigger desire to play at the World Cup for the second time. It will be kind of "awesome" if we can repeat it. I feel really confident now.”

Tuấn received strong support from the VFF, who invited the former goalkeeper coach of Arsenal’s youth team to work with his team.

Việt Nam’s loss at the regional tournament was partly due to unfathomable mistakes made by their goalies. In general, the goalkeeper has always been the weak point of the different teams.

Jason Brown began work on Monday. The 35-year-old trainer from Wales started his career at Gillingham FC, which saw him on the field 130 times. He also won an award for best young player of the season in 2005-06. Till date, Brown is the only goalkeeper from his country to win this award.

He then moved on to play in the Premier League, donning the jerseys of many clubs, including Blackburn Rover FC, Ipswich Town FC and Sutton United FC. He was a member of the national team from 2006 to 2012 and a teammate of Gareth Bale.

After hanging his shoes, Brown participated in training courses of UEFA and FA and started working as a goalkeeper trainer. In 2013-15, he took charge of keeper training for the youth teams of Wales, Millwall FC and Gillingham FC. Later in 2015, he worked with Arsenal’s U18 and U23 squads.

“Four goalkeepers of the team are the best currently. However they still need to enhance their skills and gain more experience. Hope the new coach will help us avoid mistakes,” Tuấn said.

Following his first days, Brown said he was impressed with the rapid reactions of his new players; however their basic technique required extensive training in the next one month.

Meanwhile, the young goalies appreciated Brown’s skills, including his powerful shootouts, which were so strong and precise that despite being aware of the direction, it was difficult to block the ball.

“He has different exercises to focus on technique. While training with him, we have to work very hard, keep moving a lot and use our hands in the correct way. We have learnt this earlier, but now we are focusing on this more,” said Dương Tùng Lâm, who wanted some new exercises in the next sessions so that he and his teammates could sharpen their skills.

Brown is the fourth foreigner to work with the team, along with executive director Jurgen Gede, fitness trainer Martin Forkel and physical therapist Pablo Lester Sawicky, who are all German. — VNS

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