05 September 2012

Brunei show improvement

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
THE national team edged Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) 1-0 yesterday in the second of four friendlies ahead of next month's Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup qualifiers.

Ak Safri Pg Othman was the difference for the Sultanate in their match at the UiTM campus in Shah Alam, Malaysia, scoring the only goal after connecting on an 80th minute corner-kick from the left.

The national team was also boosted by the addition of three DPMM FC players for yesterday's match; midfielders Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris, Mohd Najib Hj Tarif and goalkeeper Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof.

The team started their stint in Malaysia with a 4-1 win over ATM (Malaysian Armed Forces) on Saturday and will face Harimau Muda (Malaysian national Under-23 team) tomorrow and Kelantan on Saturday.

Despite the 4-1 win over ATM, left-back Hj Yusof Hj Mat Yassin felt the team still had areas to improve on - passing being one of them.

Talking to The Brunei Times last night the defender was happy that the team has managed to do just that.

"Alhamdullilah, we have managed to improve," he said.

"Insyallah, we will train harder as we prepare to face Harimau Muda on Wednesday (tomorrow)," he added.

Harimau Muda are fresh off a 4-1 win over eight-time Singapore League (S-League) champions Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC during their S-League tie last week, and many local football fans will still remember the 2-1 win the Malaysians inflicted DPMM FC Brunei's only professional club last month.

Kelantan are also another team that should need no introduction having won the Malaysian Super League (MSL) last season.

Matches against quality opponents of this nature will only help the national team which was only formed a few months ago as they prepare for the AFF qualifiers, the country's biggest test in years.

Brunei are making their return to the competition after sitting out the last edition in 2010 due to suspension.

The Sultanate's last participation in the region's most prestigious tournament came in 2008, when they failed to advance to the main draw after being held to one win, one draw and two losses during the qualifiers in Cambodia.

This year's campaign will see them meet hosts Myanmar in their opening match on Oct 5, Cambodia on Oct 9, Laos on Oct 11 and Timor Leste on Oct 13 - all matches set to be played at the Youth Training Centre in Yangon.

Malaysia are the tournament's defending champions after beating Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate during 2010, lifting the cup for the tournament first kicked off in 1996.

The Brunei Times 

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