BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
THE LOSS of influential captain Azwan Muhd Salleh shouldn't be a problem for Brunei when they take on Myanmar in their Southeast Asian (SEA) Games tie here today.
Azwan picked up his second yellow card in as many matches when a valiant 10-man Brunei side held Laos to a 2-2 draw during their last Group B game on Monday, making the midfielder ineligible for today's match which will kick off at 5pm Brunei time at the Lebak Bulus Stadium.
In addition, centre-back Reduan Petara will be unavailable after being sent off against Laos in the 15th minute.
Dayem Hj Ali isn't worried though.
"We already have four players than can fill these slots," said Brunei's coach.
"We might play (striker) Mohamad Nazirul Nazreen Abdullah up front and maybe (striker) Hamizan Aziz Sulaiman as a midfielder.
"In defence we have Md Enddy Zulyady Awang Sapar and Ahmad Hafiz Said who can fill in.
"We tried them out in training today (yesterday) and I'm sure they can do well.
"We'll make sure that it will be Myanmar looking at us instead of us looking at them. If we play the same way we did against Laos, I'm sure we can get a result," insisted Dayem.
Starting on the bench against Laos, Mohamad Nazirul, Md Enddy Zulyady and Ahmad Hafiz all got some playing time against Laos so gelling with the team shouldn't be a problem.
Ahmad, whose brother Adi scored both goals against Laos, also started Brunei's first game against Timor Leste, a 2-1 loss last Saturday.
The third game for both teams will be crucial in deciding which countries will progress to next Saturday's semi-finals.
Brunei are currently fifth in the six-team Group B with one point while Myanmar are third with four. The Philippines are the only team yet to pick up a point.
Brunei's first match last Saturday saw them surrender a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 to current Group B leaders Timor Leste, who surprised critics by beating the Philippines on Monday.
A 10-man Myanmar edged Laos 3-2 in their first match last Thursday and held 2009 runners-up Vietnam to a 0-0 draw in their second game two days later.
Myanmar are not without problems of their own though, especially after the red card centre-back Moe Win was shown during their stalemate against Vietnam.
"We have two players injured, striker Kyaw Ko Ko and right winger Kyi Lin, so we will need to see the changes we should make," said Myanmar Football Federation's media director U Soe Moe Kyaw.
"Playing without these three players (including Moe Win) should be a bit of a problem for us but the others will be ready.
"In football anything can happen nobody can be sure of the match's result before the game.
"Look at Brunei's game against Laos. They played with 10-men but they got a result. We don't look down at any opponent.
"People in Myanmar are very crazy about football and it's the No 1 sport there.
"We came here to reach the semi-finals and then be champions.
"We have athletes competing in other sports here but for the public, the only gold medal they care about is in football," he added.
Vietnam take on Timor Leste in today's other game which is set for 8pm Brunei time.
The Brunei Times
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