16 February 2022

AFFU23: Blistering start for host Cambodia; Timor hold Philippines

PHNOM PENH (14 Feb 2022) – Host Cambodia made a blistering start to their campaign in Group A of the AFF Under-23 Championship when they pummelled Brunei DS 6-0 this evening at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.

“We did not have as good a preparation as we would have liked but the players rose to the occasion and performed well on the night. We did not prepare any specific game plan for any teams where the focus was on our own game of high possession,” said Cambodian head coach Hirose Ryu.

Buoyed by close to 25,000 screaming fans, the young Koupreys were all over Brunei when they struck the opening goal in the 18th minute with Sieng Chanthea’s header off a freekick.

Just two minutes later, Nhean Sosidan fired in a stiff grounder from a poor clearance as Cambodia finished the first half on 3-0 advantage off a fine finish from Sa Ty in the 32nd minute.

Less than ten minutes into the second half and the game had to be stopped for half an hour due to the unexpected heavy downpour.

But that failed to douse the fire for the home team as they went on to add three more goals – through Taing Bunchai (72nd minute), Sor Ratana (86th) and Narong Kakada (88th) for the well-deserved victory.

“It is our first international match in two years. But I believe that we will improve after the game today. We have to defend better with the set pieces. From today’s game, the boys can see the difference in level between the two teams,” added Brunei head coach Aminuddin Jumat.



12 February 2022

Brunei start year at 188th in FIFA rankings

 Fadhil Yunus

The national football team remained in 188th place in the men’s world rankings following the first instalment of the year released by football world’s governing body FIFA.

The Wasps sit one spot behind regional rivals Laos and are viewed superior in terms of ranking than Sao Tome and Principe, American Samoa and Liechtenstein in the 210-member table.

The national team, which is an affiliated member under the Asean Football Federation (AFF), have Bangladesh, Bhutan and Mongolia on their radar to climb up the rankings.

Meanwhile based on continental rankings allocated for member associations affiliated under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) only, Brunei remain 42nd out of 46 entries ahead of Timor Leste, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Guam.

Brunei have been largely absent from the international scene since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and recently pulled out of the AFF Suzuki Cup amid the second wave of infections.

The national team are also in the search of a new head coach after Datuk K Rajagobal and Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) agreed to part ways by mutual consent at the end of last month.

The Malaysian’s untimely departure prompted the need to fill the vacancy of a permanent national head coach for the fourth time in three years.

Former Singapore Under-19 head coach Robbie Servais was at the helm the last time Brunei made an international appearance against Mongolia during the first round of World Cup qualifying in June 2019.

With Servais staying as head coach for a six-week term, Paul Smalley, who also served as the head of player and coach development, succeeded the Dutchman in November that year.

However, his spell in the Sultanate ended after just seven months in similar circumstances as his successor amid the apparent challenges posed by the virus.

Both Datuk K Rajagobal and Paul Smalley left without taking charge of the side in an official international match, though the former led the teams out in two unofficial friendly ties last year.

The national team had underlined their intent of qualifying to the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup since their sole appearance in 1996 following the appointment of Datuk K Rajagobal.

Nevertheless, the country’s interest in the international scene has been revived following the participation of the under-23 team in the AFF Under-23 Championship tomorrow.


Brunei under-23s step up preparations ahead of AFF meet

 by Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam’s under-23 team have entered the advanced stage of their preparations for the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-23 Championship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia starting on Monday.

The national under-23 team held a training session at the National Institute of Physical Education and Sports (NIPES) in Phnom Penh on Thursday, less than a week before they take on hosts Cambodia in their group opener at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.

The field training session marked an extension of the country’s young football representatives’ programme since their arrival in Phnom Penh following training which focussed on maintaining fitness outside the Garden City Hotel.

Brunei’s under-23 head coach Aminuddin bin Jumat said, “As what had been previously informed, preparations of the Brunei Darussalam Under-23 team had been limited given the current situation whereby Brunei has been hit by COVID-19 infections.

“This made the team unable to conduct physical training and we moved to commence training virtually since August last year.”

“Once the Sultanate entered the Endemic Phase, the team were able to begin physical training in adherence to standard operating procedures in January.

“Although we have limited time to prepare the players in understanding their weaknesses and strengths, we decided to focus on the things that we needed to improve by systematically organising a training schedule.

“This is because players can adapt to the intensity of training besides protecting and preventing them from getting injuries,” the coach said.

The newly-announced squad – the majority of whom will be making their international debut at under-23 level – was assessed through a selection process initially involving a pool of players from the Brunei Super League, Under-19 Youth League and District League.

Aminuddin added, “The selection of players was made since the start of the Brunei Super League until the period when Brunei was hit by the second wave of COVID-19.

“The selection of players was not only limited to the Brunei Super League but was also extended to the Under-19 League and District League,” the coach said, adding that they were selected based on keen observation from different coaches, with the target to build a team for the long-term.