|Ready to repeat: Vietnamese players celebrate a goal in a recent friendly. The team wants to win the AFF-Suzuki Cup again, officials say. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam Football Federation General Secretary Le Hoai Anh confirmed that host Viet Nam were ready for the AFF-Suzuki Cup, and the team were determined to win their second trophy.
"All things were done for the tournament, and we have plans to make sure of a successful event," Anh said at a recent press briefing.
"And our team, which have been given the best conditions in both training and competing, really want to win again."
Vietnamese players enjoyed various training courses abroad and important warm-ups against local and regional opponents.
Meanwhile, the coaching staff has updated information on all rivals and were sent videos of their games which were used to study their strengths and weaknesses.
However, Anh told reporters that various elements could affect the team's dream.
"Our rivals are getting stronger everyday. Among them, Singapore and Indonesia are especially powerful as they have imported some foreigners into their line-ups," he explained.
Viet Nam, which won the Cup in 2008, are in Group A in Ha Noi with Indonesia, Laos and the Philippines. Coach Toshiya Miura will finalise the team lineup on November 21, one day before the opening match against Indonesia, the first team to arrive in Viet Nam yesterday.
The visitors will have two days of training ahead of the game.
Coach Afred Riedl, 65, who worked in Viet Nam for six years, has announced his lineup of 23 players.
They include U19 captain Evans Dimas, the most surprising choice. Dimas was invited to test his skill with a club in Japan, but the Austrian coach was determined to bring him to Ha Noi.
The striker is one of the top 10 players aged under-23 to watch at the Cup and has so far lived up to Riedl's expectations. He scored a goal during a friendly match against East Timor earlier this month.
Other naturalised players for Indonesia are Victor Igbonefo, Sergio van Dijk and Raphael Guillermo, as well as Eduardo Maitimo and Cristian Gonzales.
Before landing in Ha Noi, Riedl decided to leave out Ahmad Bustomi and Bayu Gatra.
"There were glaring weaknesses, of course, but those are the things that we cannot afford to fix with just days left before the first game of the AFF Suzuki Cup," Riedl was quoted as saying on the AFF website.
"But I would also like to think that there were several strong factors in the team's performance, and that is something which we can use for the opening game (against Viet Nam)," he added.
Other than Bustomi and Bayu, the tactician also left out rising star Irfan Bachdim, who was saddled with a thigh injury.
Riedl told Indonesian newspaper reporters that his team would grab a berth in the semi-final round by placing second to Viet Nam.
The Austrian coach, who came to watch Viet Nam's game against Palestine 10 days ago, said Viet Nam showed much progress and were home to qualified players who could manage the game.
With the advantage of being hosts, they are considered the strongest team in Group A. Indonesia will compete against the Philippines and Laos for the last ticket.
Indonesia took part in three friendly matches ahead of the Cup, winning two and losing one.
The Southeast Asian country made it to the final match four times but never won the title. In their latest meet at the AFF Cup in 2007, the result was 1-1. — VNS