|Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung and his players in a training in preparation for their SEA Games tournament. (Photo: toquoc.vn)
Head coach Mai Duc Chung on November 21 finalised his 20-strong squad that includes two goalkeepers, six defenders, nine midfielders and three strikers.
“They are the best players who have experienced international competitions. They will go with me to the Philippines,” said Chung.
“I think that the target of a gold medal is either our challenge or a strong force for us. We will try our best to complete this heavy task to defend our crown,” he said.
The team has just finished a 10-day intensive training camp in Japan and Chung was pleased with the progress of his players.
“It was a useful training camp for us. Apart from training we had three friendly matches which helped me to perfect our tactics and physique,” he said.
Vietnam, who won the AFF Championship in August, are in Group B and will play Thailand in the first match on November 26 and then Indonesia three days later at Binan Stadium in Laguna. Group A gathers Myanmar, Malaysia and the hosts.
Teams will compete in a round robin format and the two best will advance to the semi-finals. The final is scheduled for December 9.
“Teams at the competition are not strangers. But recently they have received strong support for the SEA Games, especially the Philippines, who have two thirds of their line-up made up of overseas Filipinos.
"They competed really well at the recent regional championship.
“Myanmar and Indonesia have shown a different level compared to the past.
“2019 World Cup participating Thailand are still our No 1 opponent.
"After losing to us in the AFF Championship on home turf, they said they would invest more on the team to take their top position back at this Games.
"Thailand have an expert from the Republic of Korea while other teams have foreign coaches in their coaching satff,” said Chung.
“I think our task is really difficult, requiring great effort. We respect all of them and will work on plans to ‘solve’ each of them,” said Chung.
The defending champions will receive 400 million VND (17,300 USD) for each win, according to Pham Thanh Hung, manager of the women’s football team. He said the bonus would be much bigger if they could take the gold home.
Two years ago in Malaysia, women’s football featured only five teams, competing in a round robin format. Vietnam triumphed after taking top place on goal difference over Thailand.