13 October 2012

Brunei's mission impossible

Saturday, October 13, 2012
IT IS "mission impossible" for Brunei in their last match against Timor Leste in the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Suzuki Cup 2012 Qualifiers.

The Wasps were handed a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Laos on Thursday, giving them an uphill task in their last match.

The national football team must not only win by at least a four-goal margin to give them a chance to make it into the tournament proper from Nov 24 - Dec 22, but Myanmar must also defeat Laos in their match today.

Brunei's biggest victory in the competition came in 2008 in Cambodia when they strolled to a 4-1 victory over Timor Leste.

The latter, however, have come of age and are a force to be reckoned with. They are the best offensive team thus far with nine goals and they have let in only four.

National football coach Kwon Oh-son knows the task at hand and can only hope for the best from his players.

"I just hope that the players will do their best on the field. Timor Leste are a tough and good team with many naturalised players featuring in different leagues in the region," Kwon said.

"Our players are tired but they will still give it their all. We will go out prepared and try to get that good result," he added.

"Timor Leste will be well rested for the game while we are still recovering. We just have to maintain our mental attitude and play as one mind for a chance," continued the South Korean.

The head coach highlighted the fact that Timor Leste are a well-balanced team with players comfortable in most positions, who have plenty of experience playing in leagues around the world such as in Portugal and Korea.

However, they will be missing midfielder Lamberto Gama, who is out after picking up two yellow cards in the competition.

Team manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff is still upset about the refereeing in the last game, especially with the four crucial calls that were made against the team, and hopes that the officiating will improve.

"There was a foul for our opponents' first goal as defender Helmi (Zambin) was clipped by the Laos striker (Kovanh Namthavixay) and fell. It left him open to score," Hj Feisal said.

"Even the first penalty shouldn't have been given because Azwan (Ali Rahman) had got the ball first on the tackle before the opponent fell. There was no contact at all with the challenge from Afi (Aminuddin) resulting in the second penalty given," he added.

"Even the last call in injury time was bogus as the referee only changed his mind on giving another penalty when the linesman called otherwise. The judgement of the referees cost us the match. The players were demotivated and lost focus from all the wrong calls," continued Hj Feisal.

But the manager is looking to forget the let down and is eyeing a positive result in the last game.

"We have to go all out tomorrow (Saturday). I leave it to the players to make it possible. We have to continue to work hard and be united," Hj Feisal said.

"We will never give up and we hope to come out at the winning end regardless of qualifying or not."

Emerson Alcantara, meanwhile, is looking for his team to qualify for the first time for the tournament proper, but he is not being overconfident.

"I respect Brunei because they are a good team. This is football and it is full of surprises. Let us play and finish the game," said Alcantara, who led his side to their first triumph in competition history with a 5-1 thumping of Cambodia last Friday.

"We are confident heading into the game and we want to get the results. Nothing is easy in football but it should be a good match," the Brazilian added.

The match kicks off at 6pm local time (7.30pm Brunei time).

The first match between Myanmar and Laos starts at 3pm.

The Brunei Times

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