Vietnam squad for AFF Cup in Myanmar selected hinh anh 1Cong Phuong will compete at AFF Cup 2016 for the first time (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Coach Nguyen Huu Thang has shortlisted 25 players who will fly with him to Myanmar on November 15 for the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.

Thang, who has been the national coach of Vietnam for eight months, will have three goalkeepers, nine defenders, eight midfielders and five strikers.

Five players were ousted from his list.

“It was a really difficult decision as spots are limited. I hope they will try harder for other upcoming tournaments. The door to the national team is always open for talented players,” Thang said.

One day before the opening of the biannual event, two more names will be removed from the list, as according to the rules, only 23 players can be registered officially.

Thang said the extra players were due to his cautious nature. He wanted to have substitutes until the last seconds in case someone got injured during preparation ahead of the championship.

Vietnam will play their first match in Group B against co-host Myanmar on November 20.

They have prepared well for the last three months and experts said the players are in their best form ever.

Coach Le Thuy Hai was optimistic of Vietnam’s chances to enter the final match.

“We had good results in the friendly matches, losing none of the seven games. Our playing style is good. Players are trying hard and are determined. They have made local supporters believe in them. The only thing is that the defence should be more reliable. I bet they can at least earn a berth in the final,” the veteran coach said.

Defending champions Thailand play Indonesia in the opening game of the AFF Suzuki Cup of Group A in the Philippines. Later in the day, the Philippines are pitted against Singapore.

The following day, the Group B matches kick off in Yangon, with 2010 champions Malaysia facing Cambodia before Myanmar battle it out against Vietnam.

The AFF Suzuki Cup group stages will be played from November 19 to 26 in Myanmar and the Philippines, followed by the semi-finals and the final from December 3 to 17, which will be contested on a home and away basis.

Myanmar and the Philippines are newcomers to hosting the group stages. The Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon and the Philippine Sports Stadium will be staging their first games in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016. Both venues have previously held international matches.
Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw and the Rizal Memorial Stadium in the heart of Manila, which has played host to AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final matches in 2012 and 2014, will each host one simultaneous match in the group stages.-VNA