15 November 2011

Brunei playing for pride

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BRUNEI only have pride to play for against the Philippines in their last Southeast Asian (SEA) Games match today, and Dayem Hj Ali has made sure his men know that.

The team are coming off a shocking 8-0 loss to Vietnam on Saturday which ended all hopes of a semi-final berth. The Philippines, meanwhile, lost 5-0 to Myanmar on Sunday and are also out of the running.

Bottom of the six-team Group B with only a point from four games, Brunei's head coach insists his side will be going all out to ensure a win which will see them end above the Philippines, who are on three points.

"We need to play seriously and we need to win," said Dayem yesterday.

"This is our pride on the line. I've already discussed this with the players.

"We need to play to our strengths like how we did in our first two matches against Timor Leste and Laos," added the coach.

Making their return to the Under-23 competition after 10 years, Brunei started the tournament brightly by taking a lead they would relinquish to Timor Leste in their opener on Nov 5, which they lost 2-1.

Though they were down to 10 men 15 minutes into their game against Laos two days later, they managed to take a 2-1 lead but tired legs would see them let in an equaliser.

A 4-0 loss to Myanmar last Wednesday meant they had to win against Vietnam to keep alive any chances of progressing to Saturday's last four, but after letting in four goals in the first 15 minutes, those slim hopes vanished.

The team may be injury-free but disciplinary woes mean strikers Hamizan Aziz Sulaiman and Mohamad Nazirul Nazreen Abdullah are ineligible to play at Lebak Bulus Stadium in Jakarta today both as result of cards picked up against Vietnam.

Brunei have seen three red cards in four matches, and combined with a host of yellow cards, have made the going tough here in the Indonesian capital. Hamizan was sent off 10 minutes from time while Mohamad Nazirul, who was substituted into the game in the 83rd minute, was shown his second yellow card of the tournament three minutes later.

With Adi Said who scored both goals against Laos the only real forward, Dayem acknowledges he needs to provide his best attacking option with some support.

"I think we will play midfielder Ak Mohammad Fakharrazi Pg Hj Hassan up front. He can actually play as both a midfielder and forward," said Dayem.

"Now that we push him up, we will replace him with Ak Nurrul Aleshahnezan Pg Metali," added the coach.

One piece of good news is that right-back Muhammad Arif Ali Rahman will be able to play after being sent off against Myanmar.The Brunei Times

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