|Fresh face: Vo Huy Toan (right) has been called up to the national U23 team. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The Japanese coach of Viet Nam's national team, Toshiya Miura, announced yesterday, the U23 team that will compete in the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship.
Among the 30 players included in the list, nine are from the Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) team: goalie Pham Van Tien, fullbacks Nguyen Phong Hong Duy, Le Van Son, Le Duc Luong, halfbacks Hoang Thanh Tung, Luong Xuan Truong, Nguyen Tuan Anh, and strikers Nguyen Cong Phuong and Nguyen Van Toan.
Besides goalkeeper Tien, Miura has selected four others, namely Nguyen Hoai Anh of Quang Ninh, Dang Ngoc Tuan of An Giang, Pham Van Phong of Dong Nai and Phi Minh Long of Ha Noi T&T.
Notable among the 10 fullbacks is Bui Tien Dung of the Viettel football centre, who is playing in the national second division event, and was considered a steely shield for the national U19 team during the ASEAN U19 football event and the Asian U19 event last year.
The 50-year-old coach has included other halfbacks in his list – Huynh Tan Tai of Dong Tam Long An, Ho Ngoc Thang and Vo Huy Toan of Da Nang, Do Huu Dung and Do Manh Duy of Ha Noi T&T, and Nguyen Huu Dung of Thanh Hoa.
According to the Japanese coach, Toan will be a key player for the halfback line with his excellent ability for attack and defence.
Miura has also chosen six strikers. Besides HAGL's Van Toan and Cong Phuong, he has recruited younger players: Ho Tuan Tai and Ho Phuc Tinh of Song Lam Nghe An, Le Thanh Binh of Thanh Hoa and Pham Van Thanh of Ha Noi T&T.
The 2016 AFC event's qualifying rounds are slated to be held from March 23 to 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It will bring together 43 teams drawn into ten groups, with the ten group winners and the five best runners-up becoming eligible for the finals, which will be held in Qatar early next year.
Viet Nam, belonging to Group I, along with Japan, Malaysia and China's Macau, will play the group opener against Malaysia on March 27 before taking on Japan and Macau on March 29 and 31, respectively.
Miura said his team's aim is to finish first or second in the group in order to secure a birth in the final round.
As planned, the team will convene on February 24 in Ha Noi after the Tet holidays. The players will challenge themselves during two international friendly matches before heading to Malaysia.
They will also compete against Olympic winners Indonesia on March 9 in Ha Noi's My Dinh National Stadium and Uzbekistan on March 14 in HCM City.
After the AFC qualifying round, Viet Nam's U23 team will continue training in preparation for the 28th Southeast Asian Games to be held in June in Singapore, and will aim to win the championship title. — VNS