|Vietnamese U20 players training for the 2024 AFC U20 Women's Asian Cup's first qualification. They will play Indonesia on March 7 at the Việt Trì Stadium, Phú Thọ Province. Photo courtesy of the VFF|
PHÚ THỌ — As the 2024 AFC U20s Women's Asian Cup's first qualification looms, Coach Akira Ijiri of Việt Nam is confident of his team's chances of reaching the finals, especially as Việt Trì Stadium in Phú Thọ Province will host all Group F qualifiers.
Việt Nam are in the group with Indonesia, Singapore, and India and will begin their campaign against Indonesia on March 7, before playing Singapore on March 9 and India on March 11.
Speaking about their opponents, Ijiri said Indonesia and Singapore played with each other at last year's Southeast Asian championship and put on an impressive display. The only non-ASEAN team is India, whose stock has been rising recently.
However, the Japanese tactician is confident that his side, many of whom did well at the Southeast Asian U18 Championship last August, are in with a good chance of escaping the group.
Among them are captain Lê Thị Bảo Trâm and her teammate Nguyễn Thị Mai Hương from Việt Nam Coal and Minerals; Trương Cẩm Ly, Nguyễn Phương Anh, and Đào Thị Hồng Châm of Hà Nam; and Đỗ Thị Ánh Mỹ, Đặng Thị Duyên and Lý Linh Trang of Hà Nội.
The team were in Việt Trì last week and worked hard to familiarise themselves with the stadium and the weather.
"During 20 days at the Việt Nam Youth Football Centre, we tried to improve players' technique, said Ijiri. "Then, we worked on the tactics and exercises to help players carry them out on the field."
"We first need to improve players' fitness and mentality ahead of the competition. We asked them to focus totally so that we could have the best result here.
"We are at 100 per cent of readiness thanks to the strong support of organisers.
“I plan to give all players a chance, and we aim to advance to the next round as the top group team. Further, I hope they will gain as much experience as possible to serve their career in the future," he said.
The tournament features 28 teams, split into four groups of four teams and four groups of three teams.
Japan, North Korea and South Korea automatically qualified for the final tournament by their position as one of the top three teams at the 2019 AFC U-19 Women's Championship qualification.
Uzbekistan, as hosts of the finals, will also not participate in qualification.
The eight group winners will progress to the second round on June 3-11, where they will play for a spot in the finals, joining the automatically qualified teams.
The finals will run from March 3-16, 2024.
As well as the players, Vietnamese referees and assistants will also feature in the tournament.
Mai Hoàng Trang is assigned to work as a supervisor of Group A in Vientiane and Laos, while Lê Thị Ly and Bùi Thị Thu Trang will officiate Group E matches in Buriram, Thailand.
Nguyễn Thị Hằng Nga will take charge of Group G games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Group H in Dhaka, Bangladesh, features Công Thị Dung as referee and Hà Thị Phượng as a referee assistant. VNS