Star midfielder Hai to skip SEA Games 31

By Lam Thoa    April 8, 2022 | 01:43 am PT
Star midfielder Hai to skip SEA Games 31
Midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai (R) and coach Park Hang-seo. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Vietnam's best midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai will not compete in SEA Games 31 after he decided to play football abroad, Vietnam Football Federation confirmed on Friday.

Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo had tried to persuade Hai to join SEA Games 31 twice. However, Hai said he will go abroad after ending his contract with Hanoi FC on April 12 and won't be available, since this event is not a FIFA competition and clubs can refuse to release players for national duty.

According to the regulations, each U23 team competing in SEA Games 30 can register three older players. Since Hai couldn't play, coach Park chose national captain Do Hung Dung, striker Nguyen Tien Linh and midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc.

These three will gather with the U23 team on April 14, a week later than the others.

In the previous SEA Games, Dung was also chosen as one of the three players over 23 and played a crucial part in the team's journey in winning the gold medal.

Hosts Vietnam are in group A with Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Timor Leste. The first game, between Vietnam and Indonesia, will take place on May 6.

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