Vietnam head coach guns for gold in SEA Games football

By Duc Dong   April 18, 2023 | 05:33 pm PT
Vietnam head coach guns for gold in SEA Games football
Coach Philippe Troussier in a training session of Vietnam U22 team in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, southern Vietnam, on April 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Coach Philippe Troussier is confident in Vietnam's preparation to win the men's football gold medal at the SEA Games 32 in Cambodia next month.

Troussier and the team are currently training in the southern coastal Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, as it has similar weather to Cambodia. The French coach expressed satisfaction that over 80% of Vietnam’s U22 players picked up game time in the V. League in recent weeks.

At the SEA Games 32, Vietnam are in group B and will face Laos on April 30, Singapore on May 3, Malaysia on May 8 and Thailand on May 11.

"All are familiar opponents. They all have ambition, so no match will be easy. Thailand are the most formidable team. But our goal is to defend the gold medal we won in the previous Games," Troussier said.

Troussier took over the team in February, after coach Park Hang-seo's contract expired. In his first tournament, the 2023 Doha Cup in Qatar at the end of March, Vietnam lost all three matches to Iraq, UAE and Kyrgyzstan.

Troussier maintained the same formation as his predecessor but focused more on possession and attack with short passes. The team currently suffers from poor finishing.

Troussier said in four weeks of training and competing in Hanoi and Doha, the young Vietnamese players had faced top teams in Asia that showed them the level they needed to reach.

"If you only play against domestic teams, you can't have a good experience," Troussier said.

"After the tournament in Doha, the players gained a lot of confidence. When they go up against rivals in the region, equal in power, my players will perform well."

Vietnam U22 team in a training session on April 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Vietnam U22 team in a training session on April 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

On April 13, coach Troussier called up 31 players, of which 22 play in V. League and nine in V. League 2. After a 10-day training period, he will choose 23 players for the Games.

"I will test as many players at different positions as possible. So far, I'm satisfied with the unity and discipline of the team. There are at least six players who competed in the previous SEA Games. They will lead their teammates in difficult times and motivate each other during matches," he said.

Troussier has selected five key players and each will be the team's captain, depending on the game. This method is different from previous coaches, who appointed one team captain and two vice-captains.

"The captain is just a player who works with the referee. They are still very young, so I give them experience wearing the captain's armband, but in fact I’m the captain. I want everyone to be the captain," he said.

The upcoming practice matches of U22 Vietnam will take place behind closed doors as Troussier is worried opponents can see his tactics.

He also said that calling up players was not only for the SEA Games but also for the U23 and national team.

"The SEA Games is part of a bigger goal," he said.

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