Vietnam U23s commence training camp in ROK to prepare for upcoming continental tournament

Sunday, 2019-12-15 11:35:50
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Vietnam U23 players begin their first training session in the ROK on Saturday to prepare for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand next January. (Photo: VFF)
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NDO – Vietnam’s U22 players started their training camp in the Republic of Korea (ROK) on December 14, in preparation for the upcoming 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship in Thailand next January.

>>> Young players to train in RoK for Asian U23 champs

Earlier, on Saturday morning, Korean coach Park Hang-seo and his 28-member squad landed at Gimhae International Airport in Busan City, starting a 10-day practice session in the ROK to prepare for the final round of next year’s tournament.

Upon returning home with his team, Park and his players received a warm welcome from Vietnamese fans in the ROK as well as the local media. With the knowledge that Vietnam U23s would come to the ROK for training, many Vietnamese fans who are living in Korea and the local press gathered to wait for Park’s team at Gimhae Airport. Immediately after landing, Park also happily spent a few minutes taking photos with fans and answered questions from the Korean press around Vietnam's preparation for the upcoming Asian competition.

Vietnam U23s are stationed at a sports centre in Tongyeong City, South Gyeongsang Province, located about an hour by bus from Busan. The team's squad consists mostly of players who have just won the historic Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal in men's football, along with several other faces to increase the strength and competitiveness of the squad. In particular, it is worth noting the return of centre-back Tran Dinh Trong after a long time of treating his injury.

Coach Park Hang-seo disseminates the training plan among his players.

After a busy fixture at the recently-wrapped up SEA Games 2019, the training session yesterday was only a light one, mainly the exercises to help the players recover and restore their confidence. In particular, three players who are still in the process of recovering from injuries, namely Quang Hai, Dinh Trong and Trong Hung, practiced separately under the close supervision of Doctor Choi Ju-young.

The unfortunate injury in the SEA Games group stage match against Singapore U22s recently caused star midfielder Quang Hai to say goodbye to the tournament in the Philippines. However, according to the team doctors, Hai’s injury was not too serious and the Hanoi FC’s key player will have only take a few weeks to recover. Hopefully with two weeks to prepare for the next journey, Quang Hai will soon return to his form to help the current runners-up in the Thai tournament next year.

Doctor Choi Ju-young (second from right) closely monitors the recovery of Quang Hai (far left), Dinh Trong (second from left) and Trong Hung (far right).

Meanwhile, Quang Hai's teammate in Hanoi FC, Dinh Trong, also returned after six months away from the pitch. If he can fully recover before the start of the competition, Dinh Trong would provide Park with a good choice in defence, especially after star defender Doan Van Hau has returned to his Dutch club SC Heerenveen after the SEA Games.

In addition, Trong Hung after a minor injury at the beginning of the SEA Games campaign was also returned in the final minutes of the 30th SEA Games final match again Indonesia, witnessing Vietnam earn an convincing 3-0 victory to claim their first ever gold medal. The return of the Thanh Hoa midfielder is also an additional quality choice for the midfield of Vietnam, after the team had to part with midfielders Do Hung Dung and Nguyen Trong Hoang, who are now over the age limit.

A large number of Vietnamese fans living in the ROK and local residents in Tongyeong came to the camp to watch coach Park’s side in their first training session here on Saturday.

As planned, U23 Vietnam will practice regularly in the afternoon the next days. Compared to Hanoi, the weather in Tongyeong is quite cold with temperatures ranging from 5-9C. However, this is considered the best weather to help the players recover faster and better. Besides, the fresh weather and nutritious natural food in the coastal Korean city will also help strengthen the physical foundation for the whole team.

During the training camp here, the team will have two friendlies with Yeungnam University Student Team on December 18 and the local side Busan Transportation Corporation on December 21. On December 22, Park and his players will return to Ho Chi Minh City to continue training until January 1, 2020, before leaving for Thailand to attend the 2020 AFC U23 Championship as the current runners-up.

Vietnam U23 players during their training camp in the ROK on Saturday.

Vietnam are in Group D with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Jordan and the UAE. There are 16 teams in four groups. The top four will earn a berth at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer. In the 2018 tournament, Vietnam finished second, taking home a historic silver medal after losing 1-2 to Uzbekistan in the final.

In other move, according to the announcement from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), AFC on December 14 officially appointed Tran Quoc Tuan, VFF Standing Vice Chairman, to take on the position of the head of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship’s operating delegation. This decision has once again affirmed the prestige and influence of Vietnamese football in the organisation of competition activities under the AFC system. Last July, Tuan was officially appointed by AFC as the chairperson of the AFC Competitions Committee. This is also the first time Vietnamese football has the highest position on the AFC Competitions Committee, an important and influential agency in the development strategy of Asian football. It is hoped that Vietnam U23s will have more advantages to get the best preparation both before and during the tournament.

The 2020 AFC U23 Championship will take place between January 8-26 in Thailand. The competition will be played in four venues, in Bangkok, Buriram, Pathum Thani and Songkhla Province.