Le Cong Vinh has no regrets in AFF Suzuki Cup swan song
Going into what could be his final four games in a Vietnam national jersey, inspirational captain Le Cong Vinh has demanded for full concentration from his teammates, as he seeks to end his illustrious career with a second AFF Suzuki Cup title.
The 30-year-old continued his midas touch in front of goal last month, as he scored two goals to help Vietnam seal top spot in Group B with an unbeaten record, to set up a mouthwatering semifinal clash against Indonesia.
Arguably the best attacking talent off the shores of Vietnam in the last two decades, Cong Vinh announced after the 2016 AYA Bank Cup that he will retire from international football once the Golden Stars’ AFF Suzuki Cup title bid comes to an end.
With the first leg against Indonesia being played at Stadio Pakansari in Bogor on 3rd December - reverse fixture on 7th December, Cong Vinh has warned his teammates that they need to be 100 per cent focused and limit defensive errors if they are to grab an away advantage.
“Even though we topped [Group B], our team still showed a lot of mistakes,” Cong Vinh mentioned in a Facebook post.
“We need to improve on this in order to get a result in Indonesia and then the return game at My Dinh [National Stadium] in Hanoi.
“From my point of view, I think our players have to try and fight harder in order to achieve the goal [of reaching the final].
“The upcoming games against Indonesia are very important because we’ve lost at the semi-final [stage] before and now we will try our best and change that.”
Having been part of the national setup since 2001, the Becamex Binh Duong forward is determined to lead Vietnam to a second regional title, after tasting victory back in 2008 when his goals in both the home and away leg of the finals against Thailand wrote his name into Southeast Asian football folklore.
“When I was 12, all I had was two pieces of clothes and I left my home to go to a boarding house for young footballers and got selected for the national youth team,” Cong Vinh revealed.
“It is almost 20 years now of happiness and sadness in football. I have enough sweat and tears that helped me grow, and although sometimes the thought of giving up came in, I was patient and stubborn enough to continue… but now is time to let it go.
“No matter what social class you are in, poor or rich, no one can win time. And that is why we need to treasure each and every single moment that we are passionate about so as not to regret later on.”
Head coach Nguyen Huu Thang will be without centre-back Truong Dinh Luat who was sent off in the final group game against Cambodia. Cong Vinh will spearhead the Vietnam attack, flanked by Nguyen Cong Phong and Nguyen Van Quyet.
Should Vietnam come away unscathed in the semifinals against the Merah Putih, a final against reigning champions Thailand or Myanmar awaits.