THE National Under-16 team are aiming for a top four finish at Thursday's ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-16 Championship in Napyidaw, Myanmar.
"We must set a target when competing in tournaments, and as a coach I will try my best to get the best out of the players and I hope we can at least reach the semi-finals," said the team's coach Ali Hj Ismail in an interview with The Brunei Times prior to the team's departure at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday.
According to AFF's official website, the 10 competing countries will be divided into two group of five at the August 22 to September 2 tournament.
Brunei, who only started training last month, have been drawn in Group A alongside two-time champions Vietnam, Myanmar, Australia and Cambodia.
Meanwhile, Singapore, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines have been pooled in Group B.
Brunei will kick off their campaign against Cambodia on Thursday before playing Australia on Saturday.
The national team will face hosts Myanmar next Monday before finishing their group stage campaign against Vietnam next Wednesday.
"We are aware that we will be in the same group with teams like Australia and Vietnam so we must really try hard to get the best results during the tournament," noted Ali.
"We have prepared well for this tournament and we've organised a number of friendly games.
"We held player selections in June in all the four districts and the team is a mixture of players from all over the country.
"I think that Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia will be the favourites to win the tournament," continued Ali, who was only announced as the team's coach by the National Football Association of BruneiDarussalam (NFABD) on Friday.
MorniHjZakaria was appointed the team manager, HjYa'akubHaji Mohammad assistant team manager and MertiluHj Mohammad assistant coach.
"I would like to thank NFABD for giving me the opportunity to coach the national team, and as a former national player, I am very glad and happy that I am able to share my knowledge, skill, and experience with the young players," said Ali.
Next for the Under-16 team is the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 tournament in Laos next month.
The national Under-19 team will also see action at next month's AFF Under-19 Youth Championships in Indonesia as well as the AFC Under-19 tournament in Thailand in October.
Present at the Brunei International Airport to bid farewell to the team were NFABD vice-president PehinDatuInderaSugara Brigadier General (Rtd) DatoPadukaHj Mohammad Yusof Abu Bakar, and secretary general MohdNoorHj Abdullah.