The latest cohort of the Brunei Darussalam national under-19 team has been recently assembled to undergo training in preparation of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Boys Championship in Jakarta, Indonesia from July 2 to 15 this year.
Twenty-eight players from various domestic clubs received call-ups to the national youth team following a selection process.
Speaking to the Bulletin at the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) Field ‘A’ on Monday, Team Manager Mohd Nazib bin Haji Ali said, “The national under-19 team is currently actively undergoing training in preparation for the AFF Under-19 Boys Championship in July.”
He added, “The team has been training since February until now including during Ramadhan before breaking of fast and after Sunnat Tarawih prayers.”
The selection process initially involved about 60 to 70 players aged 18 and under from registered clubs in the country such as DPMM FC, Kasuka FC, Indera SC, KB FC, Wijaya FC and IKLS FC.
Individuals were assessed based on their fitness level, physical and mental attributes including possessing the ability to hold and receive the ball and interact with other players.
Mohd Nazib said, “During the selection process, there are a lot of approaches to identify the players to ensure that they are chosen extensively to represent Brunei.”
The selection pool whittled to 40 players until they reach a limit of 28 players, which will be reserved for the tournament.
The team manager said that they will follow the regulations outlined by the AFF whether the team is allowed to enlist 26 or 28 players.
Mohd Nazib shared that the team is currently in the midst of intensive training to ensure that they are constantly fit emphasising the need to carry out continuous training to reach their targets.
Training is also being held in compliance with the protocols set by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides fitness sessions, training specifically focusses on harmonising play, gaining a deeper understanding among players and positioning of players.
The team manager added plans are in place to retain the team after the AFF meet for future international tournaments including the Asian Football Confederation Under-20 Championship qualifiers in September later this year.
“Insya Allah, the team will continue if there is an opportunity to take part in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) tournament and the Southeast Asian Games next year,” he said.
The Brunei Darussalam National Football Team lost narrowly to the Laos National Team with a score of 3 - 2, in the Friendly Match, which took place at the Laos New National Stadium, here.
In the first half of the match, the Laos National Team opened the scoring through Phoutthavong Sangvilay, in the 6th minute of the match.
In the 28th minute, Chony Wenpaserth doubled the lead for his team and five minutes later, Phitack Kongmathilath added to the national team's injury when he managed to break through the national team's goal to take a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Despite being left behind with a score of 3 - 0, the national team continued to diligently organize the attack on the Laos National Team stronghold.
The persistence paid off when the kick taken by Muhammad Azwan Ali Rahman failed to be saved by the opposing team's goalkeeper to change the position to 3 - 1, in the 40th minute until the end of the first half.
The second half match saw both teams try to defend their respective strongholds from being beaten by the opponents.
The long -awaited opportunity finally came when in the 72nd minute, the national team once again managed to score the opposing team's goal, now through a kick by Muhammad Hakeme Yazid Said to close the gap to 3 - 2.
The national team continued to strive to at least equalize, but the opposing team's strong defensive wall repelled all attempts as well as attacks made, where the national team had to comply with a 3 - 2 position until the final whistle.
Muhammad Hakeme Yazid Said, is 19 years old and is one of the youngest players selected to participate in the match.
The Laos National Team on March 23 received a visit from Mongolia and the match ended with a score of 1 - 0.
Today they continue their match against Team Brunei Darussalam, as part of their preparations for the SEA Games, in Hanoi, Viet Nam, this May.
This match marks the first appearance for the Brunei Darussalam National Team on the international stage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Laos National Team is lined up of young players, with only three players over 23 years old.