11 September 2012

Kelantan draw impresses FOOTBALL team manager

Monday, September 10, 2012
HJ FEISAL Hj Eusoff had a lot to be happy about with Brunei's 1-1 draw with Malaysian Super League champions Kelantan on Saturday.

The national team are in Malaysia for a series of friendlies ahead of next month's Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Myanmar, and speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, the team's manager felt that the side is on the right track especially with the team set to play Malaysian Premier League leaders Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia/ATM) tomorrow and facing Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in a rematch of a match the visitors won 1-0 on Sept 3.

"It was a good result," he said of the Kelantan match.

"We played very well against a team which had four foreign players, and the first half was excellent with good passes and set pieces.

"We weren't as stable in the second half because we didn't have much time to rest after playing Harimau Muda (Malaysian national Under-23 team) on Wednesday.

"Some of the players were still recovering from that match... But overall you can see the team is performing.

"We play two more games (and) my concern is not about winning.

"I want to see confidence in the players, see that they are exposed (to other teams) and gel as a team," added Hj Feisal.

The side started off with a 4-1 win over Royal Malaysian Navy (Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia/TLDM) on Sept 1 and followed it up with a 1-0 result against UiTM two days later.

Kwon Oh-son's men went down to the Singapore League's Harimau Muda 4-1 on Wednesday before coming from behind to force a draw against Kelantan.

Ghanaian striker Denni Agyari Antwi gave the hosts a 20th minute lead only for Brunei's full back Azri Zahari to even the scores after converting a 38th minute cross.

Kelantan were without key players such as striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, midfielder Mohd Shakir Shaari and defenders Nik Shahrul Azim and S Subramaniam who were called up to train with the Malaysian national team but Hj Feisal admitted Brunei had selection problems of their own.

The loss of several midfielders during the Harimau Muda tie meant that the team couldn't field their strongest 11 against Kelantan, a fact the manager was quick to point out.

"Talking about the Harimau Muda game ... Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris had a muscle strain and Mohd Najib Hj Tarif was down with fever and they only played the first half," said Hj Feisal.

"We also had injuries to players like Md Azwan Ali Rahman, Muhammad Maududi Hilmi Kasmi and Muhd Nurikhwan Othman so it was difficult for us to set a strategy," he said, adding that the players have since recovered.

The team will return on Friday.

The Brunei Times 

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