07 September 2013

Tough tests ahead for U-19 squad

Saturday, September 7, 2013
THE national under-19 football team are in for a tough campaign at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Youth Championship 2013.

The team of 20 players, which includes Faiq Jefri Bolkiah, and five officials departed yesterday for the September 9-22 event in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The Sultanate have been drawn with hosts Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand in Group B.

Head coach Dayem Hj Ali knows the task at hand and is looking at the positive side of things despite the difficult draw."It is going to be tough but we have to try our best regardless. We want the boys to get more experience and exposure playing in such big tournaments," said Dayem in an interview with The Brunei Times before their departure at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas.

"We are working as a team and we are looking to build from the experience we get.

"We haven't set a target for this tournament but we will take it one game at a time. We know how tough our opponents are and of course everyone wants to win," he added.

"We have been preparing for almost two months but the biggest problem is that we haven't had any sparring games.

"We are looking to be competitive and to give our opponents a good challenge. We need to hustle on each play and ensure we keep possession to disallow our opponents many chances," continued Dayem.

The team were only finalised two weeks ago and they managed to get their first taste of team football by competing in the recently concluded Six Corners Football Competition.

They were winless in the tournament after losing 2-1 to the Royal Brunei Police Force, followed by a 5-1 thrashing to Liang Lumut Recreation Club Football Team (LLRC FT).

Dayem also felt that match fitness might be an issue heading to the competition.

"I'm afraid that our game fitness might not be enough at the moment... Just like in our last tournament, we could keep up in the first half but we lost our focus in the second half and made mistakes," said Dayem.

The Sultanate will open their campaign against the hosts at the Gelora Delta Sidoarjo on Tuesday.

There are five teams Laos, the Philippines, Timor Leste, Singapore and Cambodia in Group A after the withdrawal of Australia.

Present to bid farewell to the team was Pehin Datu Indera Sugara Brigadier General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Hj Mohammad Yusof Abu Bakar, NFABD deputy-president.

The Brunei Times

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