Vietnam U22 team set sights on SEA Games gold hinh anh 1The U22 team will leave for the SEA Games in the Philippines on November 22 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA) – As the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games approach, the Vietnam national U22 football team are hard to work preparing for their tilt at the gold medal.

The team gathered in the Hanoi-based Youth Sports Training Centre on October 29 to train.

In the first days of training, the team will practice on artificial turf which the tournament will be played on at the Games in the Philippines.

According to head coach Park Hang-seo, the competition schedule for Vietnamese team is very hard as Vietnam are in Group B alongside regional heavyweight Thailand. Other teams are Indonesia, Laos, Singapore and Brunei.

“The hosts Philippines are lucky to be in Group A with only five teams. So they have only to play four matches in the qualifying rounds. Meanwhile, Vietnam are in Group B with strong rivals and six teams.

“In the group stage, Vietnam will have to play every two days. Playing one more match compared to Group A in a big burden for Vietnam. In an event with competition across many days, playing one more game compared to other teams is also a big difficulty,” said Park.

At the SEA Games, each men’s team is only allowed to register 20 players, with two players over 22 years old.

“Among 20 players, there are two goalies and 18 outfield players so I will consider players in the senior team to add to the U22 team,” said the coach.

Midfielder Tran Dinh Trong of Hanoi FC, who is in the process of recovering from injury, is among the 27 footballers preparing for the Games.

“At present, Trong has recovered well. However, his doctor will decide whether he can compete in the Philippines or not,” he said.

The U22 team will train in Hanoi and Hung Yen province until November 18 and then move to HCM City. They will leave for the Games on November 22.

On November 17, Vietnam will have a friendly match with Myanmar at the PVF Centre in Hung Yen.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) will send its assistants to the Philippines to help the team.

“Vietnam U22 team will go to the Philippines with 37 members including 20 footballers, training board, doctors and staff. It is the first time a Vietnamese football team competing in an international event will have such a large support staff,” said Doan Anh Tuan, manager of national teams at the VFF.

The men’s football tournament will feature 11 sides taking part. The teams have been divided into two groups and will compete in a round-robin format with the top two teams from each group progressing to the semi-finals.

The games will be played on artificial surfaces at three host stadiums, Rizal Memorial Stadium, University of Makati Staidum, and Binan Football Stadium.

The group stages will start on November 25, before the two teams play in the semi-finals on December 7. The final is scheduled for December 10./.