HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will take part in the U23 Dubai Cup 2022 in the United Arab Emirates later this month.
They are one of nine teams invited to play along with the hosts in the friendly ten-day tournament which begins on March 20.
Việt Nam will face Iraq in the first game on March 23, and then China three days later.
Other teams taking part are Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Croatia, Japan, Qatar and Thailand.
Matches will be held at the Sevens, Dubai Police and Dubai stadiums.
The Dubai Cup was first held in 2017 but has been postponed for the past two years due to COVID-19
The Việt Nam Football Federation said some players from the U21 squad that won the AFF U23 Championship last week will be called to the U23 team to take part in the Dubai event.
It is planned that players will gather for training on March 14 in Hà Nội.
They will most likely be led by new coach Gong Oh-kyun as coach Park Hang-seo is preparing for the last two 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Oman on March 24 and Japan on March 29.
After the tournament, Việt Nam players will return for training in preparations for defending their title at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hà Nội in May and the AFC U23 Championship finals in Uzbekistan in June.
World Cup hope
VFF Acting President Trần Quốc Tuấn said the 2022 AFF U23 Championship winners will make up the core of the Việt Nam team who will vie for a place at the 2026 World Cup.
Those players overcame COVID-19 pandemic issues and tough rivals to win the tournament.
“Our players at this tournament were from 18 to 21 years old,” Tuấn said.
“They are our future hope for the 2026 World Cup when ASEAN countries will have a better chance to take part as FIFA has decided to increase World Cup participants from 32 to 48.
“They will take part in many training camps and tournaments between now and then to improve their quality.
“However in the past two years, most of the plans were cancelled because of the pandemic, leading to the lack of opportunities to sharpen their skills.
“We decided to send them to the Phnom Penh event as it would be a good opportunity for them to gain experience and strengthen their competitive mind.”
The VFF also plans to send these players to compete at the 19th Asian Games in China this September and next year they will vie for medal at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia. — VNS