Striker Cong Phuong joins Vietnam training camp ahead of World Cup qualifiers

Tuesday, 2019-09-03 12:44:31
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Cong Phuong (no. 10) and Vietnamese teammates during the training session on September 2. (Photo: VFF)
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NDO – Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong, who is playing for K. Sint Truidense FC in Belgium’s top-tier league, joined Vietnam’s training camp in Thailand on September 2 before their Group G opener against Thailand in the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup AFC qualifiers.

Despite having just taken a direct flight from Belgium to Thailand, the 24-year-old forward quickly integrated into the national team’s training session.

Thailand is in the rainy season, with rains usually coming late in the afternoon, coinciding with Vietnam’s training time. In order to limit the influence of the weather, head coach Park Hang-seo decided to shift the training plan to the morning and allocated the afternoon for the players to rest and recover.

Fortunately, up to now, Park’s forces have remained in good condition without any cases of injury reported. Based on his tactical requirements, the Republic of Korea tactician will finalise his 23-man squad on September 4, one day ahead of their clash against Thailand.

Head coach Park Hang-seo and his players during the session. (Photo: VFF)

Answering reporters’ queries before the training session, goalkeeper Nguyen Tuan Manh rated Chanathip Songkrasin as the most dangerous and notable star of the home side in the upcoming match. The midfielder, who is playing in the J-League, not only has good skills and tactical acumen but also regularly scores from free-kicks. However, according to Tuan Manh, the Vietnamese team are already prepared to stop Chanathip on the field.

Touching upon his chance to make the starting XI for the Thailand clash, Tuan Manh said: “Everyone has their own strengths, and hopefully head coach Park will make the best choices for the match. My advantages are reflex and competing experience”.

Park Hang-seo introduces his old Thai friend to the Vietnamese players. (Photo: VFF)

During the morning session, the Vietnamese squad received a special guest, Piyapong Pue-on, a famous football player of Thailand in the 80s-90s. He was the first Southeast Asian player to play in the K-League and was a teammate of Park and assistant coach Lee Young-jin in the shirt of Lucky-Goldstar FC from 1984-1988. When he was told that Park led the Vietnam national team to Thailand for the World Cup qualifiers, Piyapong Pue-on visited the team’s training stadium to meet his old friend.