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Vietnamese football gears up for FIFA World Cup in next decade

Monday, December 30, 2019, 15:28 GMT+7
Vietnamese football gears up for FIFA World Cup in next decade

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has unveiled an overall plan to take both the men’s and women’s teams to the FIFA World Cup finals within the next decade, after recent accolades at regional and continental levels.

A program to help Vietnam qualify for the FIFA World Cup for both men’s and women’s football was introduced at an annual VFF meeting in Hanoi on Sunday.

The VFF sets eyes on the 2023 FIFA World Cup for the women’s team and the 2026 FIFA World Cup for the men’s squad.

The program will be implemented by a strategy division under the VFF, which has named its standing deputy chairman Tran Quoc Tuan as the head of the division.

It builds on recent successes in both men’s and women’s football at Southeast Asian and continental levels, according to what was heard at the meeting.

Football academies have also been mushrooming in Vietnam, creating an abundant source of talents for the country’s football.

The Vietnamese men are leading their Group G unbeaten in Asia’s second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, made it to the quarterfinals of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE, finished second at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China, won the 2018 Southeast Asian title, secured a fourth place at the Asian Games in Indonesia the same year, and most recently struck gold for the first time in 60 years at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which took place in the Philippines from November to December.  

They had even qualified for the FIFA U20 World Cup finals in 2017.

Their women’s peers clinched their third title in the 2019 ASEAN Football Federation Women's Championship in August, advanced to the final round of 2020 Olympics qualification in April, and defended their SEA Games crown by claiming the sixth gold medal in the Philippines.

The VFF has worked out three groups of solutions to realize the World Cup dreams, deputy chairman Tuan said.

The football governing body will continue to use foreign experts and coaches for the national men’s and women’s teams while seeking fitness coaches, goalkeeper trainers, and sport psychologists to help the squads, he elaborated.

Youth football will be encouraged and improved with a target of young footballers having to play 16-20 games a year, he added.

Vietnam will invest in players born in 2001-02 to have them compete at the 2024 AFC U23 Championship, 2023 Southeast Asian Games, 2021 FIFA U20 World Cup, 2024 Olympic Games, and ultimately 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The VFF has signed deals with two big sponsors, realty giants Hung Thinh Land and Vingroup, to ensure enough funds for the World Cup ambitions for both men’s and women’s football.

It is very ambitious to target to bring the women’s team to the 2023 FIFA World Cup and the men’s squad to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Winston Lee, general secretary of the ASEAN Football Federation, said at the meeting in Hanoi.

Vietnam will have to try a lot to make these happen even though they have claimed both the regional and SEA Games titles, Lee warned.

But Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the VFF, expressed his belief that the targets are attainable as FIFA already has plans to increase the number of spots in the World Cup finals for both men and women.

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