Same old boys called for football friendlies

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National football team head coach Phan Thanh Hung has filled his roster with familiar names and no fresh faces for two upcoming friendly matches in China, saying that now is not the time to test new players.

 "Many people may think a good team should have new names, and it is not that we are not brave enough to call a few new young players. The thing is, we don't find it necessary," he told Thanh Nien while commenting on the match with China in Wuhan on the 8th of June and the game with Hong Kong in the southern port two days later.

"The national football team is not gathering for a test of skills this time. This is not long-term preparation for a big event. We're just getting together for two friendly matches."

Still, a few familiar faces will not be seen.

According to Hung, goalkeeper Tan Truong is not on the team because he hasn't played for a long time, striker Quang Hai has just recovered from injury and is not quite fit, and midfielder Minh Chau has not been in good form recently.

However, Bat Hieu has been called up for the first time since being banned for involvement in a match fixing scandal seven years ago. Hieu said he is very happy to be back.

When asked if he would use Hieu in the friendlies, Hung said he had created his own opportunity with some superb performances for his club team recently.

Yet Hung said he is not sure if Hieu will actually be used. It will all depend on his performance in training sessions before the matches.

The biggest problem for the Vietnamese national team is a lack of excellent strikers.

Hung said this has always been a problem for the national team.

However, he also said his squad this time around was filled with players who understand each other very well, thus making it easy for his coaching staff to employ their favorite strategies.

"The Vietnam Football Federation has not set a goal for the national team in the two friendly matches, but we can't play too badly."

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