SEA Games bronze starts journey for football coach

By Lam Thoa   May 16, 2023 | 06:45 am PT
Men’s football coach Philippe Troussier said his squad’s SEA Games bronze medal is extremely valuable to him as he’ll always remember this moment as the beginning of his Vietnam journey.

"We wanted to win this match, because it brought us the medal. We will remember this moment as the start of a journey," Troussier said after Vietnam’s 3-1 victory over Myanmar on Tuesday.

HLV Troussier trong trận tranh HC đồng với Myanmar trên sân Olympic chiều 16/5. Ảnh: Lâm Thoả

Coach Philippe Troussier during the SEA Games 32 bronze medal match between Vietnam and Myanmar on May 16, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

In the ninth minute, Ho Van Cuong opened the scoring for Vietnam. He scored again in the 34th minute with a powerful shot into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.

Nine minutes into the second half, Vietnam made it 3-0 thanks to Khuat Van Khang's accurate one-touch finish. At the end of the second half, Myanmar got one back on an Aung Myo header.

"Although Cuong is a defender, he scored two goals," said Troussier.

"In this match, our goals were well organized just like we prepared and practiced. The bronze medal did not match our fans’ expectations, but from my perspective, we are in the building process," he added.

"I want the players to play properly, not only to participate in tournaments in Southeast Asia but also [the rest of] Asia. Thanks to SEA Games, we have gained experience and selected players to prepare for the future."

Hồ Văn Cường (số 13) và Khuất Văn Khang là tác giả của ba bàn thắng cho Việt Nam trong trận đấu Myanmar. Ảnh: Lâm Thoả

Ho Van Cuong (number 13) and Khuat Van Khang are the scorers for Vietnam against Myanmar. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Troussier said the current generation of Vietnam players are just as good as any regional rivals.

"In terms of organization, strategy, and gameplan, I see no team that is superior to Vietnam. Men. The teams are on the same level. The difference is experience. The players from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have played a lot, even abroad. Their core is U22 players. As for Vietnam, we have a lot of U20 players. In my opinion, the current generation of Vietnam has many talented players. In the future, they can help Vietnam achieve better results. I’m optimistic with this generation, but we need to maintain and head towards the next goals," he said.

The Asian Games is Vietnam’s next important tournament.

Normally, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) would send the U23 or U22 team to the tournament.

But aiming to focus on young players with the target of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup, the U20 team will represent Vietnam at the Asian Games in China this September. This means many players from this year’s SEA Games 32 will not be able to participate.

Coach Troussier said: "I understand VFF's point of view. It was not an easy decision. These tournaments are not FIFA Days. The U23 Asian Cup will take place in September 2023, which is the same time as the last rounds of Vietnam’s domestic leagues. We have to prioritize the leagues. I and VFF have agreed to use younger players for international tournaments."

"My priority is the U23 team attending the U23 Asian Cup, then the World Cup qualifiers. We must protect the benefits of domestic clubs because I want to build the team from the foundation of club football. We can only have a strong team if the clubs and the domestic league are strong."

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