Viet Nam's U23 football team will take on Myanmar in their opening game of the VFF-Eximbank Cup at My Dinh National Stadium today.
The hosts will also play against tough rivals from Uzbekistan and Malaysia in their other games.
"I'm happy to see strong teams participating in the tournament. It's a good opportunity for Viet Nam in preparation for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games next month," said Viet Nam's team coach Falko Goetz.
"Our main target is the SEA Games but the team will try their best to win the VFF Cup. The top 20 players from this 26-member squad will go on to represent the national team at the SEA Games," the German coach told reporters at a press conference yesterday.
"We've only had a short time to prepare for the VFF Cup as well as the SEA Games. We know that Viet Nam are a strong team, but we have come here to play our best," said Myanmar U-23 team coach Stefan Hansson.
Myanmar have a young 20-man squad, five of whom are under 20, the youngest being Mint Chit Thu at 17.
Malaysia, the defending SEA Games champions, will also play Uzbekistan today.
"We have called up our best players for the tournament, but some players are still competing in the on-going Malaysia Football Championship," said Malaysia team coach Ong Kim Swee.
"The team are also preparing for the SEA Games, so we will try out best against Myanmar and Viet Nam."
Uzbekistan are competing in preparation for upcoming Olympic qualifiers against the UAE and Australia next month.
The annual tournament will see Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Myanmar and Viet Nam compete in a round robin for a US$25,000 cash prize at the 40,000-seat stadium from today through Sunday.
Viet Nam's U23 team are hoping to clinch the SEA Games gold medal - a feat the country has yet to achieve since the competition started in Thailand in 1959.
At the 2009 Games in Laos, Viet Nam lost to Malaysia 1-0 in the final.
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