27 October 2011

8am match puts Brunei in history books

Yee Chun Leong

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THE national Under-23 football team will make the history books next month just by kicking off at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia.

According to Tuoitrenews, the Group B match between Vietnam and Brunei on Nov 11 in Jakarta has been rescheduled from 7pm to 8am by the host to free the evening slot for the opening ceremony.

Players of both teams will have to get up at 4-5am for breakfast and warming up to prepare for the game at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in the Indonesian capital. Jakarta is co-hosting the Games with Palembang.

Should the change be confirmed, this marks the first time in history of world football and the SEA Games for organising an international football match at such a time.

The Games organising committee (Inasoc) had announced the change to television stations in the 11 participating nations, but not to sports authorities in the countries.

TV station Astro of Malaysia has posted fierce protest against the change as it sends its plan of live broadcast to a mess.

Head coach of Vietnam Falko Goetz has yet to receive formal notification from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).

"I will wait for notice from the VFF before making any comment relating to the change," said the German.

Joining the two in Group B are Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines and Timor Leste.

The Sultanate will start their campaign on Nov 5 in what may look to be their easiest game on paper at least against Timor Leste.

They then take on Laos two days later before playing Myanmar on Nov 9. After their meeting with 2009 runners-up Vietnam, which is their toughest match in the group, Brunei's last group game will be against the Philippines on Nov 15.

On the other hand, Group A aka the Group of Death is made up of defending champions Malaysia, hosts Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia.

The football competition will kick off on Nov 3 with Vietnam taking on the Philippines.

Besides Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Lebak Bulus Stadium, south of Jakarta, will also play host to the 11-team competition, to be held in an Under-23 format.

Meanwhile, Indonesia thrashed Timor Leste 5-0 in a friendly match in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Despite scoring five, Rahmad Darmawan, Indonesia's Under-23 head coach, felt that there was still plenty of room for improvement prior to their first match against Cambodia on Nov 9.

"Honestly, I'm not so satisfied with our performance today (Tuesday). Our opponents did not play quickly, which made it easier for us to intercept the ball and cover ourselves," Rahmad told the Jakarta Post on Tuesday. "We won, but the quality of the performance was not good. We will take this game as a lesson in our preparation for the SEA Games," he added.The Brunei Times

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