HÀ NỘI — Coach Đinh Thế Nam will strengthen his squad with rising stars ahead of the AFF U19 Championship next month.
The new additions include midfielder Khuất Văn Khang and striker Nguyễn Văn Trường who just completed their task with the U23 side at the AFC Championship in Uzbekistan.
Both players, the youngest members of the U23 team, won the trust of head coach Gong Oh-kyun who fielded them in all four matches in the Tashkent competition.
Nam will have his best line-up available for the regional event on July 2-15.
The draw put four of ASEAN’s strongest youth teams — Việt Nam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines — in the same pot, along with Myanmar and Brunei, making Group A a group of death.
Thailand have won here five times with the last in 2017. Indonesia were champions in 2013. Việt Nam’s only win was in 2007 while the Philippines have not ever been to the knockout stage.
However, Việt Nam and the Philippines have proved their potential in youth football in recent years after much long-term and investment.
In Group B, the favourites Malaysia, the winners in 2018, will compete with Laos, Timor Leste, Cambodia and Singapore.
Khang and Trường will be back in Việt Nam on Wednesday and join Nam’s camp at the Việt Nam Football Federation’s Youth Training Centre in Hà Nội.
The squad has been practising for a week and will play friendly matches prior to their departure to Jakarta.
Along with the duo is the ‘king of youth competitions’ Nguyễn Quốc Việt who has been the best scorer in every local tournament he has taken part in for the last three years.
“We are in the same group as powerful Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand are good in terms of technique and ball possession while the latter are known for their physical playing style,” said Việt.
“I hope that through the tournament we will collect a lot of experience for our future.”
Coach Nam believes that motivating his charges will be key.
“We have less than a month to prepare for this tournament. So, the coaching panel will have to motivate the players well as this will be vital. We are also planning for the friendly matches,” Nam said.
Nam added that the coaching panel would also be analysing and researching the playing style, strengths and weaknesses of their opponents in the coming weeks to formulate the right tactics. VNS