Vietnam a dangerous team: Indonesia coach

By Lam Thoa   May 12, 2023 | 12:25 am PT
Vietnam a dangerous team: Indonesia coach
Coach Indra Sjafri at a conference ahead of the SEA Games semifinal between Indonesia and Vietnam, May 12, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Indonesia football coach Indra Sjafri believes Vietnam will be a tough opponent in the SEA Games men's semifinals, but says his team has what it takes to make the final.

"Congratulations to all four teams in the semifinals. At this stage, I think the chance of advancing to the final is even for everybody," Sjafri said at the pre-match conference Friday.

The Indonesian coach showed caution when talking about Vietnam, not giving too much away.

"The four group stage matches showed that Vietnam are very dangerous. They have a new coach with a more unpredictable style of play. Indonesia will have to play really well against them," he said.

Indonesia were not highly rated before the Games but have defied all expectations with the best form in the tournament so far and as the only team to win all four of their group matches.

Indonesia beat the Philippines 3-0, Myanmar 5-0 and Timor Leste 3-0 to enter the semifinals with a game to spare. In the last game of group A, they put out a reserve team but still beat hosts Cambodia 2-1 in front of more than 30,000 home fans.

Vietnam only have one day off to prepare for the semis while Indonesia get two.

Sjafri is confident in the physical fitness of his players.

"We have the strongest squad [available], and we are ready for tomorrow's match," he said.

In 2019, Sjafri coached Indonesia at SEA Games 30 in the Philippines where his team lost 2-1 to Vietnam in the group stage and then 3-0 in the final at Manila’s Rizal Memorial Stadium.

However, the 60-year-old believes the result will be different this time around.

"I lost to Vietnam at the SEA Games in 2019, but this time I believe Indonesia are strong enough to win against both Vietnam and Thailand to achieve the target of winning gold," Sjafri said.

The semifinal between Vietnam and Indonesia will take place Saturday at 4 p.m.

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