07 October 2012

Stay focused, HRH tells team

Sunday, October 7, 2012
IT COULD have been a night to remember but it was not meant to be.

The national football team fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Myanmar in an ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2012 qualifier in Yangon on Friday night, playing their hearts out in a game they deserved to get a point out of considering the amount of chances they had.

Sitting out the 2010 edition, the match at the Youth Training Centre was Brunei's toughest test in years considering that the hosts are the highest FIFA-ranked team in the competition at 184th while the Sultanate are 23rd. It didn't show on the pitch though.

Brunei dominated the first half with several chances and their organised defence frustrated the hosts who had a hard time finding space inside the attacking third.

The Wasps continued to hold their ground as the match progressed and it looked like both teams were going to share the spoils in an entertaining match.

But Yan Aung Win had other plans and scored the game winner after a fumble by goalkeeper Wardun Yussof with six minutes to go much to much relief of the home crowd. It was still a commendable performance from the Wasps though, especially since they were going up against the highest ranked team in the qualifiers.

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the Honorary President of the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), watched the match and was delighted with the performance of the national side.

HRH, though, wanted to remind the team to stay focused for the rest of the tournament and to take one game at a time.

"The team played very well and I'm happy for them," said HRH in an interview with The Brunei Times after the match.

"They tried their best but we were unfortunate with that one simple mistake.

"They must continue to train hard and work hard. "Their fitness needs to be good and they must continue to stay focused for the upcoming matches and they have to keep trying hard because there may be some tough matches ahead.

"Timor Leste managed to beat Cambodia 5-1 (during Friday's other match) so maybe we can have a chance to beat them too," said HRH, who departed the Myanmar capital yesterday.

The Sultanate will face Cambodia in their next match on Tuesday at the same venue.

They then take on Laos on Thursday before completing their campaign against Timor Leste on Saturday.

The five-team competition continues today with Timor Leste going up against Myanmar at 3pm local time (4.30pm Brunei time).

Laos will play Cambodia in the second match at 6pm. The two best teams will seal a place in the November 24-December 22 tournament proper which will be co-hosted by defending champions Malaysia and Thailand.

The Brunei Times

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