Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, March 9, 2012
WILL it be a fairy tale ending for Brunei?
The national Under-21 football team are only one win away from the ultimate prize in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT).
They will host Indonesia in the final tonight at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
Brunei stunned tournament favourites Myanmar 3-2 in the semi-finals on Wednesday night to set up the encounter.
Indonesia, meanwhile, booked their berth via a 2-0 win against Vietnam in their semi-final matchup.
It is history in the making as this is the first time that the Sultanate have progressed to the final in their own biennial tournament.
National football coach Kwon Oh-Son felt that his boys are ready to rise up to the challenge but believes that it will be a close one to call.
"We have a golden opportunity tomorrow (Friday) but I believe that it will be a very close match and it will be an exciting one," said Kwon in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"The team morale is very good at the moment but we know that Indonesia are a very strong team. We have prepared our attacking organisation and our set pieces so hopefully we can score because we know that they (Indonesia) have got a strong backline," he added.
"The defenders will have to work hard together because Indonesia have got good players such as Andik (Vermanshah), Yosua (Pahabol) and Miko (Ardiyanto). I believe that the battle in midfield will be a crucial part of the game as well," continued the South Korean.
On the other hand, Indonesia assistant coach Liestiadi Lo believes that they have got what it takes to topple the hosts.
"Our initial target was really on how to make it into the semi-finals but now that we have gone forward, we only want to be champions. We have worked hard and we want to achieve that goal," said Liestiadi.
Asked on what will be key in the final, Liestiadi replied: "All the players on the team will be key in this matchup and we're glad that there are no injuries.
"Brunei have got some senior players on their squad while we have pure under-21 players but we are still optimistic to defeat them," he added.
"Our supporters are our 12th man as well and this is definitely good stimulation for the players," continued Liestiadi.
Indonesia, who won the inaugural edition in 2002, have constantly been getting a huge turnout of Merah Putih supporters and should get some backing once again for tonight's final.
Team manager Hazrul Azwar had confidently declared that they will be champions prior to the start of the competition.
So will there be heartbreak for the young wasps or will Brunei further create history in football?
The match kicks off at 8.15pm.
The Brunei Times