|Coach Park Hang-seo of Vietnam (centre) speaks at the AFF Cup final’s press briefing.
The Vietnam national head coach highlighted his team determination to win at the press briefing for the final’s return leg match between the hosts and Malaysia on December 15.
Vietnam have a slight advantage into the match having scored two away goals in a 2-2 draw in the first leg at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on December 11.
“I and my players knew the importance of the game. We will have great support from home fans. Although we play at the My Dinh which is smaller than the Bukit Jalil, we can make it an even better atmosphere for our team.” said Park.
“I am aware of the increasing number of Korean watching us. It is my honour to have such support but it is a slight burden. We will do our best to meet their demands. We don’t want to let them down,” said the 59-year-old coach.
Media reported that SBS channel of the Republic of Korea has cancelled their scheduled programme to broadcast the Vietnam vs Malaysia final.
It is due to the incredible increase of the number of people watch the tournament.
The watching rate has risen from 0.1% in the group round to 7% in the second half of the final first leg. It was said a record for a sport programme since 2010.
Famous commentators Bae Sung Jae and Jang Ji Hyun will take charge of the SBS’s live coverage.
This is Park’s second major final since he took charge of the national team 14 months ago.
If the first one, the Asian U23 Championship final, was a surprise, this one is predicted as Vietnam are considered one of the favourites.
“I have led Vietnam in big events in China (U23 tournament in January) and Indonesia (Asian Games in August) but have not had the best results. I hope my players can make it happen this time.”
“(Home game and big crowd of fans) are big motivation but also pressure for the players. So I ask the players to be calm and control themselves.”
Park said he chose the best 23 players for the tournament with all of them being ready for every game. He would also pick the strongest ones for the final.
Striker Nguyen Anh Duc, who did not played the first leg match, joined Park at the conference.
The veteran was on the bench in the first leg and said if he had a chance to play on December 15 he would give everything to make sure Vietnam win.
“I really want to have a place in the first team tomorrow. If I have the chance, we will do our best to lift the cup and cheer with the supporters,” said Duc.
“From the beginning we played toward the final. Now it is the real final ahead. It will be a tough game because we know Malaysia would also do everything to score. They play with high motivation and spirit. It will be pressure for us. We must overcome that and follow the tactics,” he added.
Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe, admitted it would be difficult at My Dinh but his players would play with determination so that they can emerge on top.
“After the first leg, the result was favour for Vietnam but my players are very motivated and confident,” said Tan.
The coach said in the December 15 match he would welcome back three important players who missed the first leg: Shaymi Safari, Syazwan Andik and Aidil Zafuan.
“The best 11 will present in Hanoi. It will be high intensity and I have asked them to maintain focus, play with freedom and remain calm. I told them not put too much pressure on themselves and just enjoy playing in the final,” he said.
Goalkeeper Farizal Marlias who denied many Vietnam’s attempts in the previous match said Malaysia were not afraid of being the team conceding goal first in the final.
He said it was normal in football. His team conceded goals first in the two latest matches against Thailand and Vietnam but finally they finished with draws.
He said it was important to stay calm in all situations and obey the team’s plan. The match will be kicked off at 7.30pm Hanoi time and will be aired live on VTV6 channel.
Coach Park Hang-seo is among 12 winners of the Persons of the Year Award voted by the Journalist Federation of Korea, a prize given to recognise the ‘figures that have proudly represented the Republic of Korea throughout the year” on Tuesday.
Other winners include CEO Kim Ki Byung of Lotte Tour, Yeom Jae Ho of Korea University, governor Yang Seung Jo and CEO Oh Jang Kyo of Atto Research.