Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
IT was a perfect start.
The national Under-21 football team started their campaign at the 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, on a bright note beating neighbours Sarawak 2-0 at the Segiri Stadium.
Goals from set-pieces in each half settled the tie for Brunei at the Dec 4-11 biennial event.
Ak Anaqi Sufi Pg Hj Omar Baki, the midfielder who plies his trade for AM Gunners FC, was the first on the scoresheet with his direct freekick.
The Crocs were given a boost early in the second half when Brunei were down to 10 men after defender Abdul Mu'iz Sisa received his second yellow of the match in the 55th minute.
Despite Sarawak's numerical advantage, it was the Sultanate who scored again doubling their lead courtesy of a Md Nur Ikhwan Othman header. The Brunei midfielder rose the highest to head home a corner and clinch victory for the national side.
The result is a major boost for the team, who are also preparing for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) on Feb 25, considering that the country was suspended from international football from September 2009 to May 2011, thus resulting in the national sides having seen no international competition for the past two years.
"Overall it was a good match for us and most importantly we got all three points in the opening match. Our defence was alright and we deserved the win," said Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak, the national assistant coach, during an interview with The Brunei Times, after the win.
"The team had not settled since it was their first international match and they felt nervous," he added.
Hj Md Rosanan also said the ball used in the competition was lighter than the one that they had been training with, hence making it more difficult to control on the field. He added that the players would have to make slight adjustments before their next game.
They will face hosts East Kalimantan, who thrashed South Kalimantan 4-1 in yesterday's other match, tomorrow.
It can almost be considered a gold medal matchup with only four teams competing in the round-robin football competition.
"We are already thinking about our next game. They (East Kalimantan) are the hosts and are a strong team. What we will need from the players is to be more confident," said Hj Md Rosanan.
"Some of them still lack confidence since they haven't had any international exposure," he concluded.
The only other game for the Sultanate will be against South Kalimantan on Saturday.The Brunei Times