Football: Coach Park Hang-seo and associates ready for key goals in 2021

This was the first working session of national team coach Park since his return to Vietnam following a hometown vacation and the completion of medical quarantine and check-up in line with regulations on COVID-19 prevention and control. The meeting was attended by leaders of divisions at the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), assistant coaches, and the national team’s medical team.

As is widely known, due to the impact of the pandemic, most international tournaments in 2020 have been postponed, cancelled or rescheduled to 2021, thus affecting the plans of national teams. However, with proactive response to the development of COVID-19, the VFF has worked with its professional divisions and the coaching staff to design and adjust plans aimed towards the successful realisation of the set objectives. For example, last year, the national teams’ plans were adjusted to utilise domestic training camps to maintain forces and professional assessment in preparation for this year’s goals, which are: to further advance in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, make it through to the finals of the 2022 AFC U23 Championship, and defend the AFF Suzuki Cup trophy as well as the gold medals in both men’s and women’s football at the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31).

As for the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has officially announced the list of matches rescheduled to June 2021. Next, based on the necessary conditions related to pandemic prevention and control and the standards of facilities for teams’ training and competition, the AFC will select the most suitable country to host the remaining fixtures of Group G following a centralised approach. As scheduled, Vietnam will play Indonesia and Malaysia on June 7 and 11, respectively, before concluding the Group G qualification campaign with a clash against the UAE on June 15.

Evaluating such adjustments, Park said: “I am ready to prepare. First, we will update our information about the Indonesian, Malaysian and UAE teams, then comes the weather conditions in the UAE, which is the most likely country to host the remaining Group G matches. I will also ask the VFF to choose a training site with the same weather conditions as in the UAE, and then we will prepare for real situations.”

“As far as I know, the order of Group G matches has changed, with Vietnam first playing Indonesia, then Malaysia and finally the UAE. There are some difficulties, but we will still be prepared for any situation,” the Korean tactician stated.

Park also shared that in the coming time, he will continue to maintain daily meetings with his assistants to discuss professional issues for the national team’s preparation, while assigning associates to follow the matches in V.League 1 in order to observe and evaluate the performance of the players as well as to search for new promising players for the national squad.

The V.League 1-2021 has been given the go ahead to restart from March 13, which is considered very favourable for the national team, helping the players to maintain competition density and intensity and get back to top form when the team reconvenes.

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