|Coach Park Hang-seo names 31 players in preparation for December's AFF Cup. Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — Coach Park Hang-seo has called 31 players to prepare for the AFF Cup, his last tournament with the Vietnamese national team, later this year.
The list includes four goalkeepers, 12 defenders, nine midfielders and six strikers.
The South Korean tactician put his belief in veteran and experienced players such as goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm, defenders Quế Ngọc Hải, Đỗ Duy Mạnh and Đoàn Văn Hậu, midfielders Nguyễn Hoàng Đức and Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, strikers Nguyễn Văn Toàn and Nguyễn Tiến Linh and captain Đỗ Hùng Dũng.
The list has surprised many fans as his key players in previous competitions, such as defender Trần Đình Trọng, midfielder Lương Xuân Trường and striker Nguyễn Công Phượng, are absent.
Nguyễn Văn Quyết, who was first picked by Park in September after years of being ignored, also secured a slot although he has not fully recovered from a knee injury.
Multi-purpose midfielder Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng is back on the team after 14 months fighting a herniated disc.
Talented Nguyễn Quang Hải finally can come home after Park personally wrote a letter to Ligue 2 side Pau FC managers asking for his return to practise and compete at the regional Cup. Hải will fly back on December 15.
Park also gave berths to several young athletes such as Nguyễn Thanh Nhân, Lương Duy Cương, Khuất Văn Khang and Phạm Đình Duy who are expected to breath new life into the team.
The team will train in Hà Nội from November 23. Some players might join them later because they are still busy with their clubs at the National Cup next week.
Việt Nam will play a friendly match against German giant Borussia Dortmund at Mỹ Đình Stadium on November 30.
They then move to Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu for training from December 2 to 10.
They will have another friendly versus the Philippines on December 14 in Hà Nội, which is considered the last test ahead of the AFF Cup.
Park will announced his final shortlist on that day and the team will travel to Vientiane for their first match against the hosts on December 21.
The tournament is from December 20 to January 16, 2023.
Việt Nam and Laos are in Group B with Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar. VNS