Brunei weigh possibility of Thai stalemate
Saturday, July 9, 2016
BRUNEI Darussalam have specific strategies in place to rival Thailand but firstly they need to see how their regional neighbours play amid hopes of keeping them at bay in normal time ahead of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-16 Youth Championship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The under-16 side nearly pulled off a historic result against the mighty Thais last year with late goals in the 82nd and 84th minute finally ending the young Wasps’ stubborn resistance.
“We will try our very best to grab any opportunity to keep the score at 0-0 so that the players will be in high spirits against Thailand”, said national under-16 head coach Ali bin Haji Mustafa in an interview prior to departure to Cambodia at the Brunei International Airport yesterday.
Though they have remained silent on the hopes of progressing to the knock-out stage, Ali noted that they will keep a close eye on the traditional powerhouses.
“We will come up with tactics and techniques after we have seen how Thailand perform against other teams”, he further added.
“We have selected players who have trained for a year. We have also selected two or three youths while four or five players could not travel with us due to academic reasons”.
Ali added that they will attempt rival Group ‘B’ opponents Laos, Timor Leste and Cambodia whereby these nations have demonstrated a steady performance in the past edition.
“We will try our best to collect points from these matches. We will also be creating efforts to unlock achievements each game”, the head coach added.
The head coach explained that training have gone smoothly during Ramadhan with players fulfilling their duties.
In contrast with last year’s squad, the under-16 team have players missing from last year and also included five under-15 players with the view of building a long-term project for the future of the national team.
Ali did not elaborate the target for the under-16 side but he expressed his hopes to assist the national team to deliver a good performance and his players to give their best.
“Indeed, the AFF is an opportunity for the junior age groups and in the long term, I hope that the players will continue their training to elevate their performance comparable with standards where other countries have also shown improvements”.
Asked whether the players have already garnered international experience, Ali responded that half of the players already gained experience from last year with the other half set to make their international debut.
Meanwhile, team manager Haji Meramit bin Haji Damit hoped that they could go far in the tournament after much promise during training.
“Looking at the style of play, it seems that the players have shown a good level of fitness and cooperation amongst each other. Hopefully we will be able to proceed to the latter stages in the tournament”, he said.
When asked what will be Brunei’s biggest obstacle in the group stage, he highlighted Thailand and Laos as the toughest teams to beat on paper.
He added that the under-16 players could match other teams in physical appearance and fitness has been emphasised during training.
“We are satisfied with the training and attendance has been encouraging”, the team manager concluded.
Brunei Darussalam, captained by Muhammad Wafi bin Aminuddin, will kick off their AFF under-16 campaign against Timor Leste at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on July 11.