BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Continued on Page A36
Friday, June 1, 2012
FOOTBALL AFC UNDER-14 FESTIVAL OF FOOTBALL National U-14 team beat Laos for 1st victory at AFC festival
BRUNEI finally won their first game of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Festival of Football after beating Laos 1-0 yesterday.
The Sultanate had a slow start to the tournament in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, after losing all three of their games in Wednesday's opening day.
But picking up the pace yesterday, the team played out to a 0-0 draw against Myanmar before getting on the scoresheet for the first time in the 2-1 loss to Vietnam saving the best for the last when Mohd Syami Rashid netted the only goal against Laos.
The team opened their campaign with a
2-0 loss to Malaysia on Wednesday and were handed a 5-0 defeat by Laos in their second game. Their third match was a 2-0 loss to Indonesia.
The games were all played in 30 minutes with no half-time breaks. With 22 players representing the country, 11-member teams alternately played in each match, with substitutes only allowed in case of injury.
Despite the results the team's manager Pg Hj Zulkarnain Pg Hj Md Noor was upbeat when asked to comment on the country's performance.
"The players' confidence has developed over the games and their communication has also improved," he told The Brunei Times yesterday.
"They have taken on more responsibility ... and they have been able to keep the ball better.
"Our losses have been because the other teams were more prepared ... We have not sent a team to compete at an international age-group competition like this for three years.
"Most of the goals came from our mistakes ... (During) times when we lost focus inside the box. But credit to the boys, they have always had a strong fighting spirit," he added.
The competition takes a break today and the festival's focus shifts to skills assessment tests for all teams and players.
Brunei play two games tomorrow, the first against Timor Leste and the second against Singapore, before closing out their campaign against Australia on Sunday.
The format of play will change to two 30-minute halves, with the teams allowed to field different 11-member sides in each half if they so wish.
Pg Hj Zulkarnain explained that no finals will be contested in line with AFC's non-competitive spirit of the festival.
"These are all young players so AFC wants them to enjoy (the festival)," he said.
"All teams will get medals and certificates after the tournament.
"The focus here is on getting the players to enjoy themselves playing against other countries and our players have certainly done that."The Brunei Times