Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng said that the Việt Nam national football team was determined to win the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games title this year.
Thắng made the statement during a press conference on Group B matches at the Renaissance Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.
It is for the first time during the team’s campaign for the games that the coach has announced his team’s intention to go for the kill — the gold medal — at the men’s football event.
“Việt Nam have trained for 10 days in South Korea to prepare for the tournament. Like any other team in the games, we have the belief and the determination to reach the highest podium. I hope that Việt Nam will bring its fans quality matches,” Thắng said.
Earlier, Thắng said that Việt Nam were targeting to reach the final.
Yesterday, Thắng also announced the names of the 20 players who would take part in the SEA Games.
The two goal keepers for the games are Bùi Tiến Dũng of Thanh Hóa and Phí Minh Long of Hà Nội FC. In addition to them, Thắng has convened six defenders, eight midfielders and four strikers, including Nguyễn Công Phượng of Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, Hà Đức Chinh of Đà Nẵng, Hồ Tuấn Tài of Sông Lam Nghệ An and Lê Thanh Bình of Thanh Hóa.
Việt Nam, a five-time silver medallist, have never won the coveted SEA Games football gold. They have been drawn in Group B, considered as the "group of death", along with Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Timor Leste, and the Philippines.
The team will meet Timor Leste on August 15, Cambodia on August 17, the Philippines on August 20, Indonesia on August 22, and Thailand two days later.
The head coach of Timor Leste, Kim Shin-hwan, said the opening match with Việt Nam would be difficult for his team, but it would try its best to reach the semi-finals.
Timor Leste finished fifth out of six teams in the group stage for an early exit out of the competition in 2015. However, they managed to secure a win over Brunei, despite four other defeats.
Việt Nam had edged out Malaysia to qualify from the group stage, accompanying Thailand to the semi-finals. Apart from the one defeat to the Thais, Việt Nam managed to win the other four group matches. They were, however, surprisingly undone by Myanmar in the semi-final but bounced back to claim the bronze medal after defeating Indonesia.
Meanwhile, head coach Worrawoot Srimakha of Thailand believed his team would retain the gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur 2017 football competition, saying that the team arrived in Kuala Lumpur with only one mission — to return with the gold medal. — VNS