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Vietnam U-23s preparing for 28th SE Asian Games

Friday, April 03, 2015, 11:10 GMT+7
Vietnam U-23s preparing for 28th SE Asian Games
Playmaker Cong Phuong, who holds a suitcase's handle, is welcomed by fans on arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City on April 1, 2015 after the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship qualification.

Vietnam U-23s are now heading for the short-term target at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in June after winning a ticket to the finals of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship.

They eye a place in the final match of the football (soccer) category at the multi-sport 28th SEA Games, to be held in Singapore from June 5 to 16.

“In the short term, we will call up players who couldn’t play the recent matches of the qualifiers of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship in Malaysia.

“We will also select new players born in 1992 to build up our best team for the SEA Games,” said Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation.

The team will set up a training camp from May 5 to 25 in Hanoi to prepare for the Games.

During this period, they will have two friendlies with the South Korean national under-23 team on May 9 and another under-23 team from East Asia or Europe on May 14.

Players of the Vietnamese U-23 squad have the average age of 20.74, the youngest compared to other teams taking part in the AFC U-23 Championship qualification in Malaysia from March 24 to 31.

The Vietnamese team have 13 footballers aged 19-20, born from 1995 to 1996; three aged 21; and seven aged 22.

Concerning the competition in the qualifiers of the Asian U-23 tourney, Vietnam earned six points after three games against Malaysia, Japan, and Macau, thus qualifying for the finals of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship, to be played in Qatar between January 12 and 30.

Vietnam advanced to the last-16 round as one of the five best second-ranked teams, following a 2-1 victory over hosts Malaysia on March 27, a 0-2 defeat against Japan on March 29, and a 7-0 rout over Macau on March 31.

The five teams will join ten winners from ten groups of the qualifiers and hosts Qatar in the finals, with the nine group leaders being Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria, Australia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and China. Group B squads have yet to start their competition due to security concerns in Pakistan. The suspended group includes Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and hosts Pakistan. The Asian Football Confederation has yet to announce a new schedule for this group.

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