10 August 2011

Will we be seeing Brunei footballers at SEA Games?

Dennis Lim

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WHISPERS in the wind reveal that Brunei may send a football team to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia this November.

Sources close to the national team told The Brunei Times yesterday that a new Under-23 football side will be formed soon to contest in football competition of the biennial tournament.

Brunei recently formed two brand new junior teams the Under-23 and Under-19 sides to compete at next February Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy and next month's Asean Football Federation Under-19 Championship in Myanmar respectively.

It is understood that a new U-23 side would be formed for the SEA Games because the current teams are not experienced enough to compete at the Games' football competition which will be held at two venues, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in central Jakarta and Lebak Bulus Stadium, south of the city.

The current U-23 and U-19 squads, who are training daily for the two tournaments, are filled by players selected during last month's tryouts.

With Malaysia as the defending football champions of the SEA Games, Brunei are keen to see where they stand among the Asean countries.

Malaysia took gold at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos when they defeated Vietnam 1-0 in the final an own goal by Vietnam's Mai Xuan Hop gifting the Asean champions their first SEA Games title in 20 years.

Besides that the Games will also provide invaluable experience as well as exposure for Brunei players, who were robbed of the chance to play in international matches after the Fifa ban in 2009.

The sources also said that red-hot Majra FC striker Adi Hj Md Said will be one of the players to don the Brunei colours at the Games.

In a Press release issued on April 23, the Department of Youth and Sports announced that 11 sports had made the cut for the Nov 11-22 biennial tournament in Indonesia.

The sports are: 10-pin bowling, cue sports, cycling, fencing, karate, pencak silat, petanque, sepak takraw, softball, taekwondo and wushu.

In charge of deciding which athletes represent Brunei in any contingent the Sultanate sends to regional and international tournaments, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports' national selection and evaluation committee met twice in April to discuss the sports the country would compete in at the 26th edition of the Games.

Apart from staff from the Department of Youth and Sports, the committee is also made up of officials from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council (MS ABDB), Royal Brunei Police Force Sports Council (MS PDB) and the Schools Sports Council (MSSS).

They had their first meeting on April 9 and the second on April 16.

The 11 sports are not set in stone though, as the Ministry can still pull the plug on the athletes' tickets if they fail to meet certain standards.

With football being the most popular sport in the country, Brunei will be keen to return to the international scene, especially the SEA Games.

The Brunei Times

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