|Việt Nam players seen in a training for the AFF Vietcombank U19 Championship in Hà Nội. — Photo laodong.com.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn and his players are all set for the ASEAN U19 Vietcombank Football Championship next week and are hoping to be on top.
Tuấn said his team were well prepared, participating in intensive training courses and friendly tournaments for months.
Among these preparatory events, Việt Nam bagged the KBZ Bank Cup in Myanmar last month where they beat Thailand, the best regional team, twice.
“Thailand are a strong team. Vietnamese players always believe mental strength is important when playing this traditional archrival in all events. However, after the KBZ Bank Cup, I hope the team has overcome their ‘fear’ of them. Let’s see how they will play against other teams,” Tuấn said.
“At present, everything is alright. Although I do not have the players that I wanted because they are busy with the local tournament, I think that those I have in hand can meet my demand. Playing on home soil with local fan support, we can target the trophy,” he added.
Việt Nam, who finished second four times in the last five events, will play Singapore in the second match of Group A at Hà Nội’s Hàng Đẫy Stadium on Sunday. Before that, East Timor will face the Philippines. Malaysia have two more days to train before starting their tournament on Tuesday against the Philippines.
Group B comprises Australia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, as well as Cambodia and Indonesia. Their matches kick off on Monday at the Việt Nam Football Federation’s Youth Football Training Centre.
Arriving in Hà Nội one week before the event, Laos are expected to spring a surprise.
Coach Phantawat and his 23 players are satisfied with the infrastructure and conditions provided by the host federation.
Phantawat said the only issue was the hot weather and high humidity, which made one uncomfortable.
Defending champions Thailand landed in Hà Nội yesterday.
Coach Ckirt Andulak hoped his players, who appeared well prepared for the tournament, would defend their title.
Along with the hosts and Thailand, Australia are also considered a title candidate.
Defender George Timotheou said his team had come to Việt Nam not to take it easy. They wanted the cup, although it was not going to be easy. Australia would put in a 100 per cent effort, he said.
Ufuk Talay said he had good players with skilled technique and strong physique. The team wanted to play in the final, he added.
He said the ASEAN tournament was a warm-up for the team ahead of the upcoming Asian championship in Bahrain next month. — VNS