In a press conference at the Vietnam Football Federation office, Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo reaffirmed that he would lead two teams this year: the national team for the 2022 World Cup qualification; and the youth team for SEA Games.
He said the fact that Vietnamese football fans really want a SEA Games gold medal, ending a 50-year wait, was a factor in his decision to take charge of the youth team in tandem with the national team this November.
“I told them to give me a five-week-preparation time and I will try to win the gold medal, because in the U23 tournament last year, I also had five weeks to prepare before it kicked off. And since my request was granted, I agreed to coach both teams,” Park said.
“It surely puts pressure on me. I have been through four big tournaments so far and none of them have been easy. They have all been very tough. But I always try my best to complete the goals that have been set. I’m not a quitter when under pressure,” he added.
Park said the final squad for the U23 AFC Championship qualification round will be announced on March 20. Three players have been ruled out because of injuries so far.
Park has had difficulties in applying his tactics and strategy with new players without enough time to adapt, but he said that he believes all the problems can be solved. With typical Vietnamese spirit, the players are ready, he said.
Asked about recent rumors of receiving offers from other teams, Park said: “I’d rather not answer that question. I really love Vietnam.”
The U23 Vietnam is currently preparing for the AFC U23 Championship qualification round. They will play a friendly against U23 Taiwan on March 16.
In the qualification round of U23 AFC, Vietnam is placed in group K with Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand.
Vietnam is the host of group K games and all the matches will be played at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi. Vietnam will face Brunei first on March 22, Indonesia on March 24 and Thailand two days later. All the games start at 8 p.m. Hanoi time.
In the 2018 edition of U23 AFC Championship, Vietnam made history, entering the final for the first time.