27 January 2013

HBT heroes to man SEA Games team

Sunday, January 27, 2013
THE Under-23 squad for December's 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar will be acquiring the services of at least 12 players from the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) 2012 winning team to add experience to the squad, the national coach said yesterday.

"Some of the players from HBT squad include influential players Azwan Ali Rahman, Md Afi Aminuddin and Md Nurikhwan Othman," Kwon Oh-son told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of the trial held for the selection of the U-23 SEA Games squad for players residing in Brunei-Muara and Temburong yesterday at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

"Azwan is a key player for the team because he is skillful, strong and has a very good tactical mind," he said.

"On the other hand, Md Afi is a strong leader, a solid defender and has good mentality while Md Nurikhwan has good heading ability and is versatile in both attacking and defending," he said, adding that the player has also forged an efficient partnership on the field with Azwan.

Team manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff stressed that experience is necessary for the U-23 team because the abilities of the HBT players will be much needed when facing against regional heavyweights.

"We want to maintain continuity among the players and not disrupt the team's momentum by bringing in new players all the time," said Hj Feisal.

"Otherwise it would be very difficult for us to face strong teams like Malaysia and Indonesia, both of whom maintain their players very well," he said.

Apart from SEA Games, Hj Feisal said that they also have their sights on building a team that can defend their HBT title in 2014.

He said that the U-23 SEA Games squad will be capped at 30 players but this figure may change if there are more players who show potential and talent.

He did not divulge a date as to when the squad would have centralised training but said that it would be "as soon as possible" following the final selection on February 4 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

"Once we finalise the team, our immediate priority would be developing the players' physical strength," he said.

Over 200 players turned up for the second trial session.

The first was held at the Tutong Sports Complex two days ago in which a total of 10 players have been shortlisted for the final trial according to Kwon. 

The Brunei Times

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