Vietnam can triumph again says Calisto

Coach Henrique Calisto is in bullish mood ahead of Vietnam’s defence of the AFF Suzuki Cup in December.

After the squad resumed training earlier this week, he told local media that he was confident Vietnam would be crowned Asean champions for the second straight time.

“We aim to defend our title. I believe we will win,” he was reported as saying.

Vietnam caused an upset two years ago by beating favourites Thailand in the two-legged final to lift the title for the first time and send the soccer-crazy country wild with delight.

Vietnam will prepare for the AFF Suzuki Cup by playing DPR Korea and the under-23 teams from Australia and Kuwait in a round-robin tournament from September 20-24 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the nation’s capital, Hanoi.

The league season in Vietnam finished on August 22 and Calisto called together his squad after time away from the game.

“They’ve had a two-week break, and it was a hot day. We will be up against strong opponents from Australia, Kuwait and North Korea,” he said.

Vietnam will meet Kuwait in their opening game on September 20 before taking on the Australian youngsters two days later.

The hosts will play DPR Korea in their final match on September 24 at the 40,000-seat My Dinh National Stadium. It is expected that DPR Korea will bring with them 10 players who competed in the World Cup in June.

Calisto has named a preliminary squad of 26 players, 14 of whom tasted success at the last AFF Suzuki Cup.

Vietnam and Indonesia will co-host the group stages of the AFF Suzuki Cup from December 1-8 in Hanoi and Jakarta respectively with the draw on September 15.


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