Upcoming plans for Vietnam football team after pandemic break

By Hoang Nguyen   April 2, 2020 | 07:31 pm PT
Upcoming plans for Vietnam football team after pandemic break
Vietnam national football team lift the AFF Cup title on December 15, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
The Covid-19 pandemic has understandably changed this year’s schedule for the Vietnamese football team, who have to prepare for two major events this year.

They had been supposed to gather for training on March 21 before FIFA announced the postponement of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which included a clash against Malaysia on March 31.

The team had to adjust their plans, including canceling a friendly against Kyrgyzstan on March 26.

In the last three months of the year Vietnam have two important engagements, the rescheduled World Cup qualifiers on October 13 and November 12 and 17 against Malaysia, Indonesia and the UAE and the AFF Cup from November 23 to December 31.

Scouting league for players

National coach Park Hang-seo thus has nearly seven months to prepare for the 11 matches. His main mission now is to find players from the domestic league to put together a competitive team for the two events.

But with the V. League 1 postponed after two rounds because of the coronavirus, the Korean and his assistants cannot do anything at the moment but wait for its resumption.

If it resumes as tentatively schedule on April 15, they will have a busy time since they will have to watch eight rounds of matches in just 44 days (the first leg concludes on May 29) plus a few more matches in the V. League 2.

June training

According to the Vietnam Football Federation, if the Covid-19 situation is controlled and normalcy returns, the national team can gather for training on May 28 or June 1.

People might wonder why in June since the matches only begin in October. The short answer is that the VFF and Park have agreed to stick to the training schedule.

Since the team will be rusty after half a year of not playing together, the VFF plan to arrange a friendly in June. Park also finds friendlies important to keep players in form and at the same time try new players to fill the occasional missing pieces. For instance, key defenders Do Duy Manh and Tran Dinh Trong are still not able to return after injury.

The second gathering of the national team will be in mid-September after the V. League 1 concludes. This time the team are expected to go through intense preparations to try and qualify for the World Cup and defend the AFF Cup title they won last year.

Vietnam are leading group G of the qualifiers with 11 points after five unbeaten games. They will advance to the final round if they can get seven points from the remaining three matches.

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