Vietnam gear up for semi-finals of AFF futsal champs hinh anh 1Coaches of teams taking part in the AFF HDBank Futsal Championship (Photo:
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s national futsal team are aiming to reach the semi-finals of the upcoming AFF HDBank Futsal Championship to qualify for the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship.

Vietnam’s coach Miguel Rodrigo made the statement at a press conference ahead of the tournament in HCM City on October 25.

“As the hosts of the event, our first goal is to take a slot to compete in the AFC event held in Chinese Taipei next February. Next target is to play in the final. However, it is not easy because there are many strong teams with good coaches. We will try our best in each match,” said Rodrigo.

Rodrigo said after the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan last month, the Vietnamese team have had two weeks of training in Vietnam and the team took part in the International Futsal Tournament in Changshu City, Jiangshu province, China in which it finished third.

According to Rodrigo, Vietnamese players’ skills have been improved much by facing strong teams from the Netherlands and Croatia in the Chinese event.

The AFF tournament will take place at Phu Tho Gymnasium in HCM City from October 26 to November 3.

The championship will bring together nine teams from across Southeast Asia, with Việt Nam, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar and the Philippines in Group A, and Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Timor Leste in Group B.

Participants will play in a round robin group stage to decide the top four teams that will progress to the semi-finals.

Rodrigo said Thailand are still the best team in the region, however, Indonesia, Myanmar and Malaysia will be tough opponents as well.

Meanwhile, coaches of other Group A teams said they prepared carefully for the event.

In Group B, defending champions Thailand are still strong, although they do have a young line-up and they will miss key player Suphawut Thueanklang, who has been given a rest by coach Jose Mendez.

Mendez said that as this event is a qualifying round for the AFC tournament all teams would be exerting every effort to win.

Explaining why Thailand brought a young squad to Vietnam, Mendez said he wanted to give them a chance for them to show their skills.

“This is a difficult event so all matches are very important. We will also try our best in each game,” said Mendez.

On October 26, Brunei meet Myanmar and Indonesia face the Philippines in Group A. While Thailand play Laos and Malaysia battle Timor Leste in Group B.

Vietnam’s first match is against the Philippines on October 27.-VNA