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Viet Nam not afraid of any rival, says Yun Fat

Update: March, 22/2008 - 00:00

Viet Nam not afraid of any rival, says Yun Fat


HA NOI — Viet Nam’s women’s football team is undergoing intensive training sessions in HCM City as they prepare for the Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers at the Thanh Long Sports Complex on March 24-28.

The team’s recent losses during a training tour in China have not dampened their spirits.

According to Chinese coach Chen Yun Fat, the team has been progressing, even though they lost the recent friendly matches to Chinese counterparts during a 10-day training session in Kunming City.

"In spite of the defeats during the training in Kunming, we have made a lot of progress," said Yun Fat.

"I’m satisfied with what the players did during their practice and friendly matches. Although they did not win, I think that my players performed well. They worked together and understood with each other.

"One thing was that the strikers have not had accurate finishes."

The Vietnamese women will compete in Group A alongside Chinese Taipei, Iran and Southeast Asia’s reining champions Myanmar. Group B consists of Thailand, Republic of Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

In the latest FIFA rankings for women’s football released in December, Viet Nam was 36th in the world, with Taipei 30th, Myanmar 43rd and Iran 55th.

Fat appreciated Viet Nam’s rivals at the tournament, saying that it doesn’t make much of a difference what strength of team they play. He said the important thing is Viet Nam’s preparation.

"As long as have good conditions, I am sure that Viet Nam isn’t scared of any rival. I hope that they will try their best to earn a ticket to the final round.

"Our advantage is that we play on home ground and I expect the players aren’t under pressure," Yun Fat said.

Only the top two teams from each group will qualify for the final round of the 2008 Women’s Asian Cup, taking place May 28 to June 8 in Malaysia.

Viet Nam’s captain Doan Thi Kim Chi will join the national squad after a brief period of leave.

After the team lost to Thailand in the finals of the 2007 Southeast Asian Games last December, Chi announced that she would be taking a leave. She won the 2007 Golden Ball award on March 4 and told Yun Fat two days later that she would be rejoining the squad.

Chi had also won the Golden Ball title in 2004 and 2005 and has been the most important player on the national team in recent years.

The AFC Women’s Asian Cup, also known as the Asian Women’s Football Championship, have been dominated by defending champion China who have won the last seven consecutive championships.

Chinese Taipei have claimed the title three times and the Republic of Korea twice.

Viet Nam will also be hosting the 2008 ASEAN Women’s Championship in HCM City in October. Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and again Myanmar, the defending champions, will be in Group A, while Australia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines will compete in Group B.

This is the third time the ASEAN Football Federation has asked Viet Nam to organise the regional women’s championship. At the ASEAN women’s tournaments in 2004 and 2006, which were both held in HCM City, Viet Nam finished second and first respectively. Viet Nam came in third place last year when the tournament took place in Myanmar. — VNS

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