AFC SOLIDARITY CUP: BRUNEI DARUSSALAM V TIMOR-LESTE PREVIEW
Kuching: Coach Fabio da Silva has his sights firmly set on the semi-finals of the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016 as Timor-Leste prepare to kick off the inaugural competition against Brunei Darussalam in Group A at Sarawak Stadium on Wednesday.
The sides last met a little over two weeks ago when Brunei ran out 2-1 victors in Cambodia during the qualification campaign for the AFF Championship – a tournament both teams ultimately failed to reach.
Timor-Leste now have a chance to avenge that loss in the first ever AFC Solidarity Cup encounter, but with just three teams in Group A – the other being Nepal – da Silva (pictured, left) knows that a second successive defeat against their Southeast Asian rivals could prove costly.
“It’s very important not to lose your first game because there is no time to recover,” said da Silva. “In longer tournaments there are more games but here we don’t have that.
“But we will treat it like a normal game and not put pressure on the players. The first result is very important and if we win the game we know it’s one big step towards the next round.”
Timor-Leste took the lead early on through Rufino Gama against Wednesday’s opponents in Phnom Penh only for goals from Adi Said and Shafie Effendy before the interval to secure Brunei’s first competitive win since March 2015.
And with the sovereign state side set to benefit from a five-day break following Wednesday’sfixture, Kwon will be looking to get his tenure off to the perfect start ahead of their second and final Group A outing against Nepal.
“Of course there is pressure with just three teams in the group,” said Kwon. “However, we all need to focus and be confident in this kind of situation.
“We have played in a lot of competitive matches lately and many of the team play in the Singaporean league too.
“Timor-Leste are very strong, enthusiastic and have fighting spirit. But our preparation is going well and we know we need to focus.
“It’s an honour to be in this first tournament and we want to reach the best of our ability. We will treat each game like a final.”