Vietnamese futsal (indoor football) players will be back in action and aiming to win at least a silver medal at the SEA Games in Indonesia next month.
In training: A Vietnamese futsal player competes for the ball against a Qatar player in an international event held in Ha Noi. Viet Namare aiming to win at least a silver medal at the SEA Games in Indonesia next month. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI —
The team includes 17 members selected from national clubs under Italian coach Sergio Gargelli.
The team's intense training and recent participation at international tournaments has put them in a strong position ahead of the games. They are now on a 12-day training course in Spain, the world's leading futsal country, where they will play several matches against local clubs. After that they will fly to Qatar, a futsal powerhouse in Asia, to play two friendly matches against the Qatari national team.
According to coach Gargelli, his players' technique and skills have improved considerably since the beginning of last year. Their biggest weak point is launching attacks against teams with strong defenders.
But he said this disadvantage has been lessened substantially following Ha Noi's friendly tournament earlier this month in which Viet Nam ranked third behind Qatar and Uzbekistan.
The team's biggest rivals at the coming SEA Games are Thailand, who have dominated futsal in the region for years, and are expected to win the gold medal.
Viet Nam will be in Group A with the Philippines and Indonesia, while Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar battle it out in Group B.
Coach Gargelli is confident of his players' strength and says a gold medal for Viet Nam is a possibility.
"I do not know much about Thailand but a team who participated in the World Cup with strong players under an experienced coach will not be an easy rival," said Gargelli.
"However in football anything can happen. We have seriously prepared for the tournament and now the players are excited and I believe we can beat Thailand.
"The importance here is players should be confident."
Player Nguyen Bao Quan, while not as confident as his coach, said the whole team was determined to reach their target.
"We have to face the hosts in the first round, which is not an easy task. If we want to avoid Thailand in the semi-finals we have to try our best to win all matches in the group stage," he said.
On the women's side, futsal in Southeast Asia in general is still not at an extremely professional level. Viet Nam are at the same level as other countries in the region, excluding powerhouse Thailand.
The Vietnamese team, who has only recently been established, hope that they will play as well as the male team, bringing home a silver.
Coach Truong Quoc Tuan and his players will fly to Bangkok this Sunday where they will have an intensive 10-day training course with at least five games against leading Thai clubs.
The final list of the 14-member national team will be announced after their return to Viet Nam where they will continue practising for a week before heading to Indonesia on November 14.
The futsal competition at the SEA Games will be held from November 16-22 at the POPKI Sport Hall in Jakarta. — VNS