05 December 2011

Fast and furious football for Brunei at Borneo Games

Jason Thomas

Monday, December 5, 2011

KWON Oh-son knows exactly how his team should play at the Borneo Games which kicked off yesterday.

"Two-touch passes and fast play fast thinking, fast movement, fast tempo," said the South Korean coach of the Under-21 team that will see action at Samarinda, in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

"We need to play quick on the attack, and when we lose the ball, pressure our opponents straight away to regain possession.

"The first thing they need to do when they lose the ball is pressure the second is to get others to cover for them in case they're out of position. For example if the right-back moves up and can't track back down, the centre-back has to cover him.

"The team have to be balanced.

"We've been training since September ... their hearts are really into this competition. Their mentality is great and the team all feel like we are on a mission," he added.

Though Brunei held the honour of hosting the last Games in 2009, football was not contested because of Fifa's suspension on the Sultanate a decision which meant that the country could not compete in or host any international games.

The suspension which was lifted in May also meant the Sultanate was unable to organise the biennial Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) in 2009, a competition for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Under-21 teams.

And with the same list of players set to represent Brunei at the Feb 21 HBT, the 4th Borneo Games will be vital experience for Kwon's men.

So whether they win or lose at Samarinda, one thing is for sure the HBT team will be more prepared for their Asean meet than their Under-23 counterparts who took to the field at last month's SEA Games in Indonesia.

The SEA Games team only played one quality friendly match in preparation for the 26th edition of the multi-sport event, a 2-2 draw against Brunei's only professional football club DPMM FC. Taking to the field in Jakarta, they would end with one win, a draw and three losses finishing fifth in the six-team table, where the Philippines were the last.

Though Kwon did not know who Brunei will be up against at the Dec 4-11 Borneo Games besides Brunei Darussalam, Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan, East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, the tournament will also involve nine invited teams the South Korean will have no dearth of quality sparring partners, after all, the team's real goal at the Games is to use it to prepare for the HBT.

The invited teams are Makassar, Johor, Pahang, West Papua, Bali, Nangoh Aceh, Northern Territory of Australia, Timor Leste and Lombok.

Brunei are being represented by the national team while the rest of the sides are only provinces or States, but Kwon said it would be foolish to underestimate their opponents.

"They are all strong teams and I think the Indonesian teams, as hosts, will benefit from their fans' support," noted Kwon.

The Brunei team have three players from the SEA Games squad, with striker Adi Said who ended the country's campaign in Jakarta as the team's top scorer with three of their five goals definitely the man to mark.

The other two players are goalkeeper Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Sallehuddin and right back Mohammad Azri Zahari.

Though Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin was SEA Games coach Dayem Hj Ali's first choice in Jakarta, Kwon said he will be playing second fiddle to Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof at Samarinda.

The 20-man football squad make up the majority of the 54-player contingent that Brunei sent to Samarinda on Saturday.

Brunei Times

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