Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Thursday, March 8, 2012
THE national under-21 football team are just one game away from the ultimate prize.
They set up a final date with Indonesia tomorrow after a 3-2 win over tournament favourites Myanmar in the semi-finals of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) last night at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
It was the first time in four tries that the Sultanate have made it so far in their own competition, being denied a semi-finals berth in the previous three editions.
Team manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff was literally brought to tears at the post-match press conference after all the hard work put in by the boys has paid off.
"We have overcome so many obstacles such as during the start of training and during puasa (fasting month). There were so many barriers but (all our efforts) have paid off," said an emotional Hj Feisal
The manager also didn't fail to credit those who have helped boost the team in the win.
"We would like to thank the Almighty God for helping us win this semi-final match and of course the crowd was fantastic right from the start of the match," he said.
"It really boosted the players and the Royal family really joined in the crowd in supporting us. We are really thankful for that," he added.
"This is the best performance by a Brunei team and we beat a respectable team like Myanmar. We want to salute the players and we were the better team tonight (Wednesday night)," he continued.
Though Myanmar dominated the match for the whole first half, the game changed for the better for the home team after they sent in the duo of Md Hendra Azam Md Idris and Hazwan Hamzah in the 52nd minute.
It proved to be the winning formula with two goals coming within 10 minutes after the substitutions were made.
Assistant coach Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak felt that they had played the cards right for the matchup.
"We were concentrating more on defence in the first half and making it a slow game. That was our strategy," said Hj Md Rosanan.
"We made two substitutions in the second half so that we can go on the attack more and it worked out," added the ex-national player and 1999 Malaysia Cup winner.
Asked on what the half time talk was about in the locker room when they were facing a 1-0 deficit, Hj Md Rosanan simply replied: "We just told them that they can do it."
Myanmar failed to send a representative to the post-match press conference.
The Brunei Times