Vietnam women's team lack technique not strength: Japanese coach

By Hieu Luong   August 18, 2023 | 08:31 pm PT
Vietnam women's team lack technique not strength: Japanese coach
Japanese coach Akira Ijiri. Photo by Vietnam Football Federation
Coach Akira Ijiri said the main reason Vietnam stumbled at the Women’s World Cup is because of technique, not physical strength.

Coach Ijiri, who is currently leading Vietnam women's U17 team, said that despite their immense effort and certain achievements, the level of game in Vietnamese football is still much lower than the average World Cup play.

Ijiri added that it’ll be difficult for Vietnam to qualify for the 2027 Women's World Cup.

"Four years is a very short time, and even if we can participate, our style of play will still be the same. It takes 10 to 12 years to change that," he said.

The Japanese coach did not agree with the opinion that Vietnam was inferior in physical strength and stamina.

The 53-year-old coach said that Vietnam were 31st in average height in this Women's World Cup, while Japan are 28th, but the latter still played really well. He added that the Japanese women’s head coach Futoshi Ikeda said the two teams were not different physically.

"The most important thing is technique," Ijiri emphasized. "Vietnam must analyze this problem thoroughly and find out what is lacking in their technique."

In fact, Vietnam and Japan’s performances in their first Women's World Cups were similar.

In New Zealand this year, Vietnam lost 0-3 to the U.S., 0-2 to Portugal and 0-7 to Netherlands. Japan first attended the Women's World Cup in 1991, losing 0-1 to Brazil, 0-8 to Sweden and 0-3 to the U.S. But four years later, they beat Brazil 2-1, and only lost 0-2 to Sweden. In 2011, Japan became the first Asian team to win the Women’s World Cup.

Vietnam captain Huynh Nhu (number 9) in an aerial duel with a U.S. player at the 2023 Womens World Cup. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Vietnam captain Huynh Nhu (number 9) in an aerial duel with a U.S. player at the 2023 Women's World Cup. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Coach Ijiri said that Vietnam needs to plan a long-term strategy for their current U17 and U20 women's teams. The country needs to improve training for players from a young age, starting at around at least eight years old.

Ijiri came to Vietnam for work in 2019 with the support of the Japan Football Federation. He coached Vietnam’s women's U16 to U20 teams. Currently, he is coaching the U17 team as they prepare for the second qualifying round of the 2024 U17 Asian Cup. Vietnam is in group B with Australia, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam national women's team are preparing for the Asian Games 19 in China, which will start on September 19. The team will train in Hai Phong before going to China. Vietnam are in group D with Japan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

After the 2023 Women's World Cup, Chung and members of the coaching staff submitted a detailed report to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) in which they proposed that VFF and domestic clubs work together to train players. Recently, during a meeting with the team, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also emphasized building a roadmap towards the development of women's football. He said the training of women’s football needs to start in school at an early age.

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