U22 players train in ​Hanoi (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam set a target of winning a gold medal for women and a berth in the final for the men at the coming Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.

Vietnam Football Federation Vice President Nguyen Xuan Gu announced the goal at a meet with journalists in Hanoi on July 11.

“Our women have won the SEA Games titles on several occasions. Vietnam is one of the strongest teams in the region so we would definitely want a gold medal again,” said Gu.

“On the men’s side, we have never won a title despite all our efforts. However, this year a great job has been done. We have strongly supported the team with intensive practice courses, foreign coach, and fitness trainer and technical director, all you can see throughout recent years. We hope that would help to make our dream come true. And this year we want them to at least enter the final,” he said.

VFF Vice President Tran Quoc Tuan also shared his ideas.

He said the current team with Nguyen Cong Phuong, Nguyen Van Toan and Luong Xuan Truong had been receiving support since the last SEA Games. Together with the best players selected from the U-20 squad who competed in the World Cup last month the team hold promise.

“In terms of international experience, our squad is quite good as they have taken part in a number of events. It is the generation that enjoyed the best preparations for the SEA Games. We just need God’s blessings to succeed, and blessings will come if we try hard,” Tuan said.

Vietnam women’s team won the SEA Games four times in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2009. In the latest Games which included women’s football in Myanmar in 2013, they finished lost 1-2 to Thailand in the final.

The men’s best position was first runner-up five times in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2009. They were third at the Singapore Games in 2015.

Speaking about the men’s team, coach Nguyen Huu Thang said Vietnam was drawn in a group of six teams. It meant that they had to play one match more than those of the other group. It would be one of the difficulties but players were under no pressure.

“We are in the same group with Indonesia, the Philippines and defending champions Thailand, which is called ‘Group of Death’. It is difficult for us but it is the same for the other teams as well. We look at them as tough rivals, and so do they as Vietnam are also a tough team under their eyes,” said Thang.

“I want my players to compete with an open mind. They are under no pressure but have been asked to train as hard as possible. I also want them to play with belief. They can lose or win but if they do the best in every game they could leave the field with peace of mind. And of course, a little luck by our side will be perfect,” said Thang.

Men’s football will be organised from August 14 to August 29. Vietnam in Group B will first play East Timor on August 15.

Vietnamese players have trained in Hanoi for 10 days. They will leave for HCM City tomorrow and have three days to prepare for the Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship qualification round.

On the women’s side, coach Mai Duc Chung said his players were in a good mood for the SEA Games.

“They have shown better skills and physique after a recent training in Quang Ninh province. We will have another practice course in Japan with several friendly matches. All these works are for success in the SEA Games,” said Chung.

Chung, however, did not share his opinion of the gold medal target but said his players had prepared carefully so their result could be better than the men’s.

He said he did not want his players to be nervous because of the target, but they should play with easy shoulders.

There are five teams competing in the women’s football. They will compete in a round-robin format and the team with highest points will be the champions.-VNA