Vietnam national squad depleted by injuries, AFC duties

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The national men's football team due to play a friendly against Germany's top-tier club Eintracht Frankfurt on May 12 lacks some of its best players due to injuries and clubs' duties.

Leading striker Cong Vinh, midfielder and captain Minh Phuong and central fullback Phuoc Tu are nursing injuries while Vu Phong, Quang Thanh, Thanh Hung and Hoang Quang have to play for V-League champions Da Nang and runners-up Binh Duong in the second round of the Asian Football Confederation Cup.

In the list announced on Monday, coach Henrique Calisto has had to include some new names in the squad.

The three new players are Luong Van Duoc Em from V-League club Dong Thap and Cao Sy Cuong and Nguyen Hong Tien from the country's top-tier league club Hanoi T&T.

Duoc Em and Sy Cuong were selected by Calisto about a week ago while he decided on Hong Tien a bit later on the recommendation of assistant coach Phan Thanh Hung (Hanoi T&T coach).

Hung said, "Tien is a tough player. He always plays confidently and intelligently. I find him good enough for the national team, so I recommended him to Calisto. I believe Tien will fit in and play well in the national squad."

Also on Monday, Calisto told the press that he was not quite sure if he could coach the national team in the friendly with Eintracht Frankfurt at Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium because he still felt some pain.

He said he hoped to be there. He said the surgery cut didn't hurt him much but his left arm was still in pain and couldn't move as easily as the right arm.

More than a week ago, the Portuguese tactician, who helped the national team take the ASEAN Football Federation Cup in 2008 and the U-23 squad finish second at the 25th South East Asian Games in 2009, said he felt some pain in his left arm and thought medicine could help.

However, on Monday April 26, doctors at the France-Vietnam Hospital in Hanoi said he needed an operation because of a cervical bone spur.

After the first operation, Calisto still felt acute pain and couldn't sleep that night, so Dr. Fédéric Hor and his group carried out further tests and found the Portuguese coach was suffering from atherosclerosis in the neck and had to be operated on again immediately.

After the friendly match with Vietnam's national team, Eintracht Frankfurt, who is in the ninth spot in the German top-tier league Bundesliga I, will play the 2005-06 V-League champs Dong Tam Long An at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium on May 14.

The friendlies are being played to mark the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Germany.

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