Tuấn sets high goal for U23s despite huge challenges

April 05, 2024 - 08:23
Hoàng Anh Tuấn, officially announced yesterday as U23 Việt Nam squad's head coach, replaced Philippe Troussier who was fired as manager of both U23 and the national senior teams last month due to their poor performance during his one-year reign.
Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn (right) and VFF Vice President Trần Anh Tú at the U23 Việt Nam head coach announcement on April 4 in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s new U23 coach has high ambitions in his new post, promising the best possible results at this month’s 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup.

Hoàng Anh Tuấn, officially announced yesterday as U23 Việt Nam squad's head coach, replaced Philippe Troussier who was fired as manager of both U23 and the national senior teams last month due to their poor performance during his one-year reign.

Tuấn, 55, was a scout and head coach of the U20 team, which included talented Nguyễn Quang Hải and Nguyễn Hoàng Đức, winning a slot at the 2017 U20 World Cup.

He also played a key role in the U23 team's historic silver medal at the Asian Championship in 2018.

In recent years, Tuấn has been working with youth teams. He took the U20s to compete at the Asian championship and the Asian Games in 2023.

Last August, under Tuấn, the U23 Việt Nam team successfully won the Southeast Asian championship, beating Indonesia 6-5 on penalty kicks in the final in Thailand.

"We hope that with his experience working with the youth and special achievement that he earned in the past, Tuấn and his team will do well in the upcoming Asian Cup," said VFF Vice President Trần Anh Tú.

The U23 tournament will be held from April 15-May 3. Việt Nam are in Group D and play Kuwait on April 17, Malaysia on April 20 and Uzbekistan on April 23.

“Last year, I was head coach of the U23s competing in the ASEAN regional competition. This year, I am honoured to take charge of the team at the continental event," Tuấn said at the press conference on April 4.

"The tournament has not begun yet. We cannot talk about the result, but my team and I are strongly determined to gain a high result in Thailand.

"Currently Vietnamese football faces huge challenges and difficulties. But let's put it aside to focus on the future. Tomorrow's football will rely on today's U23s. We will start from the beginning, regaining trust from the supporters.

"I believe in my players and colleagues. We have a slogan 'Never Give Up'. It means that we will not shirk our responsibilities or mission but try our best until the end to complete them. Good results will come to U23 Việt Nam," he said.

U23 players will begin training on April 5 for the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Thailand. — Photo courtesy of VFF

Speaking about the new-but-familiar coach, VFF General Secretary Dương Nghiệp Khôi said Tuấn was a really hard-working and highly responsible person. He took time to research every rival that Việt Nam were to play.

He found out special angles of his side and the other sides to have good plans for his matches. He also had typical and effective solutions when Việt Nam played West Asian rivals.

As Tuấn had very limited time to prepare for the Cup, he was not given any target in Thailand. However, he set himself a goal of advancing to the second round.

“In this hard circumstance, VFF asks me to play as well as possible. But our unofficial mission is to qualify for the knockout stage," Tuấn said.

Tuấn will start his training camp with most of the players on April 5, the rest joining them one day later after finishing their matches at the National Cup.

Many of them played at the Asian Cup 2023 and the 2026 World Cup qualification, such as midfielders Khuất Văn Khang, Nguyễn Thái Sơn and Nguyễn Văn Việt, defender Phan Tuấn Tài and forward Nguyễn Đình Bắc.

However, he said no individual player was guaranteed a place in his starting eleven at the Asian Cup.

"All of these players used to work with me. Some of them were not named in the team's draft list when I was not head coach," said Tuấn.

"I asked for changes which I believe make Việt Nam much stronger. However, he said the addition does not mean that the players in the former list were not good and the added ones would have an official place in my team. I do not ensure a place for anyone."

Tuấn has only two days working with whole team before they leave for Qatar on April 8 and the former World Cup U20 participant knew this challenge as the team has a huge workload to do in a short time.

"Việt Nam will play strong rivals. We used to make magic at the 2018 championship with a silver medal. It will be a motivation for us this time," he said.

Top three of the Asian Cup will earn their official spots to the 2024 Olympics. The fourth-placed side will compete with an African rival in a play-off for their place in Paris. — VNS