Wasps leave for friendlies against M’sia Under-22 team
YEE CHUN LEONG
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
INTERIM national coach Mike Wong Mun Heng is looking to gauge the performance of the national football team as they set out to Kuala Lumpur yesterday for two friendly matches against Malaysia’s Under-22 football team.
The Wasps will play the first match today and the second on Saturday – both at the Paroi Stadium in Negri Sembilan.
The national team — who have been training since June — assembled a 25-man squad after 10 players from DPMM FC joined training on Monday after the international break.
This will be DPMM FC players’ first taste of action together with the rest of the national players as the team prepares for next week’s AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Cambodia.
“The professional players just joined us and now we want to look at the team’s level,” said Wong in an interview with The Brunei Times before the team’s departure at the Brunei International Airport yesterday.
“It is not about the opponents. What we want to put forward for the qualifiers will be seen in these two friendlies,” he added.
Wong (pic), who is the NFABD (National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam) technical director, also hopes that the professional players will adjust to the style of play.
“They have been with us for two days (Monday and Tuesday) and it is not so much about their fitness level,” said Wong.
“It is the tactics that we have to work on because we (national team) play differently from the club, so I hope they can get used to the way we want to play.
“This whole week we will be looking at set plays, and not just dead ball situations. We want to know how and where we want to defend,” added the Singaporean.
Wong is looking forward the arrival of Faiq Jefri Bolkiah, who is plying his trade with English Premier League champions Leicester City and only join the team next week.
Faiq, who was a member of the national Under-23 football team at last year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore, is set to earn his first senior cap when he laces up in Cambodia.
“Hopefully he will gel well with us. Some of the players know him having played in the SEA Games last year and we are looking forward to his inclusion,” concluded Wong.
Today’s friendly match today can be caught live on Astro Arena (Channel 801) at 8.30pm.
The sultanate will kick off the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers against Timor Leste next Saturday before facing Cambodia three days later. They will then complete their campaign against Laos on Oct 21.
The best team will advance into Group B where they will play Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Group A comprised of hosts the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
Brunei, who were headed by DPMM FC coach Steve Kean, ended the 2014 qualifiers winless.
Brunei’s sole appearance in the main event remains in 1996 when they contested the inaugural edition.