24 March 2015

Under-23s off to Indonesia

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE national Under-23 football team are going into the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Under-23 Championship 2016 qualifiers in Jakarta as underdogs but are not going there without a fight.
Brunei are in Group H alongside hosts Indonesia, South Korea and Timor Leste for the March 27-31 event at the Bung Karno Stadium. Coach Stephen Ng Heng Seng knows the tall order they face but believes they can put up a good fight.
“This is a tough group and will be a good test as we are in the process of developing the players,” said Ng before their departure at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas last night.
“We are taking the qualifiers very seriously. But as much as we want to qualify, we have to be realistic.
“There are two very good teams (Indonesia and South Korea) who are well proven. We have prepared the boys to focus on the game and not get distracted and intimidated by the crowd against the hosts.
“The boys will gain from this experience having to play the giants of Asia and I believe that we can put up some good performances,” continued Ng.
The qualifiers are seen as a good build up for the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore in June.
The squad was set up back in September before starting intensive training in early February.
The team underwent training in Thailand two weeks ago and had three friendly matches – one against a Division 1 team and two from Division 2.
“We lost all three games by a narrow margin but it is a good step forward,” said Ng.
“They made big improvement compared to couple months ago. They are more confident and composed.
“Technically they have improved and this is a good way to assess where we are now. We can see what we have to continue to work on to improve,” he said.
Brunei did not enter a team for the previous qualifiers two years ago which was formerly known as the AFC U-22 Championship 2013.
The 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams will qualify for the tournament proper in Qatar.

The Brunei Times

19 March 2015

Coaches agree that Brunei need more international games

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BOTH Mike Wong  and Chen Kuei-Jen agreed that the only way for Brunei to improve is to play more competitive games.
Stand-in national football coach Wong is trying to look forward after their 2-0 defeat to Chen’s Chinese Taipei in their 2018 World Cup first round qualifier last night.
The Singaporean, who is the first coach from his country to lead a foreign national side, felt that their lack of experience was the biggest factor in the loss.
“We worked hard for the two games but we are unlike Chinese Taipei as the majority of them are experienced,” said Wong during the post-match press conference.
“They have played more competitive games whilst this is only our second game as a team. We were a bit nervous and we could have done better if more composed.
“Overall it was a good experience for the boys. We were competitive and showed that Brunei, who are second from bottom in the FIFA ranking... That (ranking) is not somewhere we should stay,” he added.
Chen agreed with Wong’s assessment that Brunei need to play more high-level games.
“Brunei will improve a lot in the next few years if they play more international games as they have many young players and have got a good future,” said Chen.
“At first we were a little bit relaxed after drawing them. We knew nothing about Brunei and they played better than we thought.
“But we lost at home (1-0 in the first leg) even though we really thought we could have easily won 2-0 or 3-0. We knew that we had to respect them and would need 100 or even 120 per cent to beat them tonight,” he added.
The result might not have gone the way he wanted, but Wong, who is the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam’s (NFABD) technical director, was still proud of his charges considering they only started training late January.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted to go to the second round but it was 8/10 in terms of the level of performance,” he opined.
“We should move forward from here and see what we can do for the next six months. As a team we have gone a level up compared to the last five years and we hope that teams in the Southeast Asian region will look as Brunei as a competitive team in region.
“I would say that we believe we’ve got some better players.
“Obviously we cannot say we have chosen the best 23, but we got the right 23 for these two games,” continued Wong.
Chen continued that he was not surprised that Brunei came out with a defensive set-up since they carried a one-goal advantage from the first leg.
“It was probably easier for us as the only way for us to qualify was to win. Our players were very patient and their performance tonight (Tuesday night) was 100 per cent,” he added.

The Brunei Times

World Cup dreams over

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A DEFENSIVE-MINDED Brunei were sent packing from the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after falling 2-0 to Chinese Taipei in the second leg of their first round qualifiers last night.
Goals in either half by Wang Ruei and Turkish-born Chu En-Le sealed the deal for the visitors at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, the 2-1 loss on aggregate also meaning Brunei’s 2019 Asian Cup qualifying campaign has also come to an end.
The Wasps started with six defenders listed but did well to attack early on.
Their first opportunity came after skipper Azwan Salleh put in a long ball for Adi Said – who scored in the first leg in Chinese Taipei last week – to chase down, only for Chinese Taipei goalkeeper Lu Kun-Chi to come out of his box to clear. The ball got as far as Adi’s brother Shahrazen, but he couldn’t get his shot on target.
Chinese Taipei got forward in the 18th minute but captain Chen Po-Liang couldn’t get enough power on his header.
Azwan had an attempt from 25 yards out after winning the ball at midfield two minutes later but was unable to keep his shot down.
Brunei were forced to make a change the next minute after Ak Fakharazzi Pg Hassan – the host’s best player after producing several crosses down the right – picked up a back injury, making way for Abd Azizi Ali Rahman.
The visitors missed a chance in the 24th minute after Wang got a free header at the far post but failed to get it on target.
They came knocking again in the 27th minute, but Wardun denied Wen Chih-Hao from inside the box.
Brunei got on target for the first time in the 32nd minute with Adi taking a free-kick from 30 yards out which went straight to Lu.
The Wasps were made to sit back in their own half and Wardun had to push a tricky cross from the right over the bar a minute later.
Chinese Taipei had a good opportunity the next minute after Chu put Wang through inside the box, but Wardun did well to close out the shot.
The visitors deservedly broke the deadlock in the 37th minute after a corner to the near post was flicked on to Wang to fire it home for a 1-0 lead, with Po-Liang nearly doubling the lead by shooting just wide in the 44th minute.
Chinese Taipei carried their good momentum into the second half and threatened just four minutes in after Chu drifted to his right at the edge of the box and drove a shot just over the bar.
The visitors made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute after Chen Hao-Wei broke down the right and skipped past two Brunei defenders before sending in a cross into the box for Chu to head home.
Brunei almost responded immediately at the other end but Lu produced a fine save.
The visitors could have added to their advantage in the 63rd minute with Hao-Wei finding Chu again just inside the box, but the latter couldn’t fire past Wardun.
The rebound got back to Hao-Wei but was not able to put it on target.
Substitute Anaqi Sufi Omar Baqi tried a freekick from 25 yards but it went straight to Lu two minutes later.
The Wasps were desperate in search for goals but were exposed at the back each time they pushed forward, resulting in Wardun being kept busy.
Adi put Abdul Mu’iz Sisa through on goal in the 83rd minute but the latter miskicked it with his left foot.
The hosts looked like they would get on the scoresheet just before the final whistle, but Reduan Petara was denied by Lu at the near post.
Brunei were the only one of the five first leg winners not to go through to the second round.
Bhutan, the world's lowest-ranked football team at 209th, pulled off a major shock to reach the second round after stunning Sri Lanka 2-1 yesterday and 3-1 on aggregate, according to a Reuters report.
Timor Leste beat Mongolia 1-0 yesterday after a 4-1 win at home last week, and India also progress after a 0-0 stalemate with Nepal in Kathmandu following last week's 2-0 victory in the east Indian city of Guwahati.
French-born Thierry Bin scored for Cambodia in a 1-1 away draw with Macau, which was enough to seal a 4-1 win on aggregate.
The sixth tie between Pakistan and Yemen was postponed due to security reasons and will be switched to a neutral venue.
Yemen were already in Lahore for yesterday’s match and held a 3-1 lead over Pakistan in the first leg played in Doha due to security concerns in Yemen.
The Brunei Times

17 March 2015

Biggest game of my life’

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NATIONAL team captain Azwan Salleh has called tonight’s 2018 World Cup first round qualifier against Chinese Taipei the biggest game of his life.
Brunei are looking to defend their one goal advantage which they earned when Adi Said scored in the 36th minute of the first leg at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung on Thursday, the goal ensuring the country it’s first win in the competition after losses in all 12 of their previous games.
Speaking during yesterday’s pre-match press conference, the experienced DPMM FC player said that the squad is all set for their home leg at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
“The players are all ready for the second game and we will put in 100 per cent,” promised Azwan.
“This is the biggest game of my life... As this is the biggest tournament that I have contested in,” added the 27-year-old left-back.
Brunei manager Hj Md Noor Hj Hamid acknowledged that Chinese Taipei were the better side last week but that their advantage – which was the first away goal the country has scored in 30 years competing in World Cup qualifiers – would prove crucial.
“We have the advantage with an away goal and if we win it is another bonus for us,” said Hj Md Noor during the press conference.
“Chinese Taipei are a very strong team as seen from the previous match… From statistics it was 60-40, but our players fought very well.
“We were very lucky as Chinese Taipei had many chances but our goalkeeper Wardun (Yussof) as well as our defence played well.
“We hope that people in Brunei will come and support us for this match,” continued Hj Md Noor at the Lecture Theatre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
Chinese Taipei coach Chen Kuei-Jen admitted his team was upset after Thursday’s loss but insisted that the side have their minds firmly set on a win tonight.
“It is very simple. You win, you qualify,” said Chen.
“We are disappointed that we lost the first match but we’ve already forgotten about it.
“We are focused and prepared. This second game is more important as we are looking for the win,” he said, adding that the match will be “very interesting and exciting”.
Kick off is at 8.15pm.
Meanwhile, the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) would like to inform the public that admission to the match is free of charge.
However, as per FIFA’s requirements, NFABD will give away tickets at the gate entrance to ensure to record the number of spectators. NFABD has prepared 10,000 tickets; 2,000 for the roofed section and 8,000 for unroofed section.
Spectators can still enter the stadium provided it does not exceed the stadium’s 20,000 capacity.
Entrance for both gates open at 5.45pm.
Other games will see Bhutan, ranked 209th and last by FIFA, take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their tie with Sri Lanka
Timor Leste hold a 4-1 advantage over Mongolia while Pakistan trail Yemen 3-1.
India take a 2-0 lead to Nepal while Cambodia head to Macau with a healthier 3-0 advantage.

The Brunei Times, Reuters

13 March 2015

Brunei make history

Friday, March 13, 2015

IT WAS history made and advantage Brunei!
The national football team secured a vital 1-0 away win over Chinese Taipei in the first leg of their 2018 World Cup first round qualifier at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung last night, earning Brunei its maiden triumph in the competition after loses in all 12 previous games.
Adi Said’s 36th minute goal after a mix-up in the host’s defence was also the first away goal Brunei has scored in World Cup qualifiers in 30 years, making the night all the more special for the striker.
“This is the most important goal I’ve ever scored,” 25-year-old Adi told The Brunei Times.
“I got in front of the goalkeeper (and) I don’t know what happened with that goal because Fakharazzi (midfielder Ak Mohd Fakharazzi Pg Hassan) crossed the ball into the keeper,” he added, the victory handing Singaporean Mike Wong Mung Heng a winning debut as the national team’s coach.
The ball got to Ak Mohd Fakharazzi on the right before he put in a high cross which was misjudged by Chinese-Taipei custodian Chiu Yu-Hung and headed home by Adi (2nd photo).
The result is also the national team’s first victory in over two years, their last coming in October 2012 when they beat Timor Leste 2-1 during qualifiers for that year’s ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.
The Sultanate started the match with seven DPMM FC players - Adi and Ak Mohd Fakharazzi among them - but it was mostly Chinese-Taipei in the early going.
The hosts almost broke the lead in the 33rd minute after Li Mao rounded Wardun Yussof, but his shot was cleared by Mohd Hanif Hamir.
The deadlock was broken three minutes later off a Brunei throw in, with Ak Mohd Fakharazzi putting in a cross which Adi lapped up.
Chinese Taipei had a good chance just before the half-time whistle with a free-kick from 25 yards out, though Wen Chih-Hao only floated it over the crossbar.
The hosts were pushing forward but never really threatened, and it was only in the 76th minute that Wardun was required to save a shot from outside the box.
The Brunei shotstopper came to the rescue of the Wasps again five minutes later when Chinese Taipei skipper Chen Po Liang tried a shot from range which took a deflection before dropping in front of goal.
Substitute Wu Chun Ching pounced on the ball but Wardun produced a spectacular save.
Brunei almost killed off the game in the 84th minute after good pressure by substitute forward Abd Azizi Ali Rahman, who came on for younger brother Azwan eight minutes earlier.
Abd Azizi dispossessed Chen Ting-Yang inside the box but the latter managed to recover to block the shot.
The Wasps soaked up the pressure and Chinese Taipei should have equallised in injury time.
Chen put Wen through on goal inside the box, but Abdul Mu’iz Sisa cleared the ball off the line.
The second leg will be contested on Tuesday at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas and entrance will be free.
The result of the final of the six first round qualifiers last night, Yemen’s tie against hosts Pakistan, was not available as of press time.

The Brunei Times

06 March 2015

Brunei name World Cup Qualifiers players

Friday, March 6, 2015

THE National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) yesterday released the 23-players’ list for the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
The press release stated that Hj Mohd Noor Hj Abdul Hamid was appointed as the manager of the team.

Mike Wong Mung Heng will be the head coach of the team and he will be helped by assistant coach Dayem Hj Ali.

Players from DPMM FC and Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB) made up the majority of the squad (seven from DPMM and six from MS ABDB), while the rest are from the DST Super League clubs. The list is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Wardun Mohd Yussof (DPMM FC), Mohd Tarmizi Hj Mat Johari (MS ABDB) and Ak Mohd Mu’izzuddin Pg Ismail (Najip FC).

Defenders: Mohd Syarafuddin Hamdi Talip (MS PDB), Abdul Mu’iz Sisa (Indera SC), Mohd Afi Aminuddin (Indera SC), Azwan Muhd Salleh (DPMM FC), Mohammad Mazazizi (MS ABDB), Mohd Hanif Amir (Najip FC), Affendy Hj Akup (MS ABDB), Hazwan Hamzah (Indera SC), Reduan Hj Petara (DPMM FC), Hj Mohammad Yussof Hj Mat Yassin (MS ABDB) and Azri Zahari (Najip FC).

Midfielders: Ak Mohd Fakharrazi Pg Hj Hassan (DPMM FC), Azwan Ali Rahman (DPMM FC), Ak Safri Pg Hj Othman (MS ABDB), Mohammad Nazri Hj Hassan (DSP) and Mohd Mardi Mirza Abdullah Bujang (QAF FC).

Forwards: Shahrazen Said (DPMM FC), Adi Said (DPMM FC), Ak Mohd Anaqi Sufi Pg Omar Baqi (Wijaya FC) and Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman (MS ABDB).

Brunei will face Chinese Taipei on March 12 and 17, with the second leg to be played in Brunei. The Sultanate is ranked 198th in the latest FIFA rankings while Chinese Taipei are 182nd.
Brunei last attempted to qualify for the World Cup during the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan - where they lost all six of their games against Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and India.
The inclusion of Brunei and Bhutan in this year’s qualifiers makes it the first time that all 209 FIFA members have registered to take part in World Cup qualifiers, a Reuters report stated.
The six winners from the first round fixtures will join the region’s 34 other teams in the second round, where they will be drawn into eight groups of five.
The group winners and four runner-ups will advance to the 12-team third round and also book spots at the 2019 Asian Cup finals in a new qualifying format being used by the AFC.
The 12 World Cup hopefuls will then be drawn into two groups of six, with the top two likely to qualify for Russia and the two third place sides probably playing off with the winner advancing to the intercontinental tie.
The 24 teams who do not reach the third round stage will take part in another tournament to fill the remaining spots at the newly expanded 24-team Asian Cup.
The Brunei Times