National team players train ahead of their 2022 World Cup qualification match against Thailand last November. They will gather in September to prepare for the next games. — Photo nld.com.vn
HÀ NỘI — National football team players will gather together in September and play friendly matches ahead of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, according to the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF).
The world of football is preparing for a comeback as social distancing is eased and Việt Nam is no exception.
“If there is no change, the national team will begin their training camp in September to prepare for the matches in October and November,” said VFF General Secretary Lê Hoài Anh.
“The will definitely have friendly matches (to test the tactics and line-up). The VFF is contacting partners to invite strong teams to Việt Nam who will also have matches with local clubs in this training camp,” Anh said.
Previously, the VFF invited Iraq and Kyrgyzstan to play Việt Nam but all the matches were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, Việt Nam are on top of Group G in the World Cup qualification with 11 points after five matches.
The team will visit Malaysia in October and a win over the team in second will put coach Park Hang-seo’s contingent on the cusp of reaching the final stage of Asian qualifiers.
The following matches will be against Indonesia at Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Ha Noi and the UAE away, both in November.
Work ongoing for U22s
The World Cup matches come at the same time as Park has to work with his U22 team to prepare to defend their title at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, set to be held in late 2021.
His assistant Kim Han-yoon is expected to take charge of the young squad who will also have an intensive training camp and friendly matches to prepare.
“The U22s will train at the same time as the national team, then they will have the chance to learn from their seniors,” said Anh.
He revealed that in October, the VFF will hold an international U22 event and invite three quality teams to Hà Nội. The young sides will also enjoy training camps abroad to sharpen their skills.
Hosting the tournament is an advantage for Việt Nam but there will also be obstacles for the coaching staff in this Games.
Next year, most of the players who won Việt Nam’s first-ever SEA Games title in 2019 will be over-aged.
Only goalkeeper Nguyễn Văn Toản and star defender Đoàn Văn Hậu will still be eligible.
However, currently, there are only up to 50 players from all V.League 1 clubs that can meet the rule of age, being born before 1999 and few are first-team regulars.
Park has pointed out that clubs in Việt Nam prefer to play foreign players than local ones and also prioritise veterans.
Park said that more than once he has asked clubs to give opportunities to youngsters but his calls have fallen on deaf ears.
“It is a big challenge when we want to defend our title,” said Anh.
“But other teams also have the same problem. It is more than one year to the tournament. Then we have to find a solution and choose the best players to keep the crown at home.” — VNS