18 December 2011

International friendlies for HBT team

Yee Chun Leong

Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE national Under-21 football team are back at work after a successful outing at the recently-concluded 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

They returned home with a silver medal after a 2-1 win-loss record at the Games. Despite missing out on the gold, which went to undefeated East Kalimantan, it was still a good result considering that the Sultanate was suspended from international football from September 2009 to May 2011 and did not play any international matches during that period.

Arriving from Samarinda on Monday, the team returned to training yesterday and straight away re-focused on the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT).

Plans have been made to ensure that they are fully prepared for the biennial HBT, a competition for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Under-21 teams, which starts on Feb 21.

A new format is set to be introduced at the upcoming tournament with five senior players allowed on each team.

The rest of the players must be born in 1991 or after, but the current squad have six players Adi Said, Ak Anaqi Sufi Pg Hj Omar Baki, Ak Army Mazhisham Pg Hj Muhamad, Md Aqmal Hakeem Abd Hamid, Mohammad Hushaimee Manaeh and Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Sallehuddin born in 1990.

No age limit will be imposed for the senior players and according to the assistant coach, the team may very well be looking for more experienced players especially a defender and a striker.

"We haven't confirmed any players yet and we are definitely looking for the best. We need one who can exercise leadership and handle the players both on and off the field," said Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"We have identified the players for trials with the team," he said, adding that they had spoken to the players' clubs.

The national side also plan to play friendly matches with clubs from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand next month.

"We plan to go out in January. Our target is to go up against quality clubs, but we haven't confirmed it yet. It will be the last step for our preparations for the HBT," said Hj Md Rosanan.

These friendlies will be vital for the team since their 'international' matches were in fact only the three played during the Borneo Games earlier this month.The Brunei Times

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