BRUNEI Darussalam’s head coach Robbie Servais remains optimistic about getting back into contention despite a 2-0 defeat against Mongolia in the first leg of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 at the MFF Football Centre in Ulaanbaatar recently.
Goals from newly appointed captain Norjmoo Tsedenbal and Naranbold Nyam-Osor in either side of the half meant that the Wasps have it all to do in the second leg at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on June 11.
But despite the loss, the head coach still hangs on to the belief that they could overturn the deficit. “There is still a chance for us. I’m still optimistic,” said the Dutchman.
The national head coach also admitted his charges struggled with the physicality of the Mongolian team.
“It was clear we struggled with the physical football of Mongolia. My players are not used to that kind of physicality.”
He continued, “So it was more than expected with the long balls and then we were physically not able to cope with that.”
he national head coach has no arguments that Mongolia were worthy winners in the halfway stage, who will now carry a two-goal advantage in Brunei.
“I think it is a deserved win for Mongolia,” said Servais.
“After this game, we also know their weaknesses better so it is still not finished. We have a home game under difficult circumstances for Mongolia.”
The former Singapore under-19 head coach also highlighted that the playing surface also made it difficult for his charges to play their usual game.
“We also struggled with the field (astro turf) with a lot of rubber so we could not play the game we would have liked to play.
“We need to play the ball and keep possession and on this pitch it is a little bit difficult for us,” he added.
Although the apparent difficulties surrounding the players, the head coach took notice of their unrelenting spirits.
“I can only be happy with the spirit of my players. They did well although they struggled under difficult circumstances.”
The Wasps will play under familiar conditions having competed in weather where temperatures dropped drastically during their time in East Asia.
He added, “We have a home game and the weather is better and suitable for us. The pitch is more suitable for us so we will give Mongolia a hard fight.”