Faiq reports for training
Tuesday, October 11, 2016



FAIQ Jefri Bolkiah is ready to embrace his role as the playmaker for the national football team at this week’s ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2016 qualifiers in Cambodia.

The 18-year-old national footballer arrived back in the sultanate late on Saturday from the United Kingdom, where he plies his trade for English Premier League champions Leicester City.

Despite battling jetlag, he joined in for his first two training sessions at the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Field in Berakas yesterday.

The Wasps are coming off back-to-back losses to Malaysia’s Under-22 team in Negri Sembilan last week, where they were toothless in attack and failed to find the back of the net.

They were clearly missing the talismanic midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman, who is out of the competition with a left ankle injury.

Faiq, who normally plays as a winger, is now set to be the player to piece the team together.

“I’ll be playing in midfield behind the striker and I’ll try to be the playmaker for my country instead of my usual position of playing up front,” said Faiq in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

“I will get more on the ball and see how it will work. I will have a free role to go wherever I want and to get the team to play together as a team,” he added.

“I’m not used to the position but I believe in my technical abilities that I can do that role. I think this team needs one and I’m willing to do that. It is good to try and I’m confident,” continued Faiq.

Faiq previously laced up for the sultanate’s Under-19 and Under-23 national teams and the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers will mark his debut for the senior squad.

He is looking forward to get his first cap for the country and believes the team can fare well.

“The team looks better as this is the national team and not the Under-19 or Under-23 level. This is a big step up and other teams are going to be more advanced than the others we had previously played against,” said Faiq.

“The boys need to stick together and work hard. We will see how it goes, but I’m confident we can do well.

“We can use all the support we can get. Hopefully we will make everyone proud,” continued Faiq.

Faiq was a regular in Chelsea’s Under-18 squad for two years before joining Leicester City earlier this year, where he laces up for the Under-23 side.

His main goal is to break into the club’s first team, and when asked on his experience there so far, Faiq replied: “Playing in the U-23 team is not far from the first team. I’m just working hard and keeping my head down.

“I don’t expect to jump straight into the first team. I did get a few good sessions with them and the tempo is hard. The step up between both teams is still massive,” he concluded.

Only the winner of the four-country AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers to be held from Oct 15-21 will progress to the tournament proper which will be co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines.

The sultanate will kick things off against Timor Leste on Saturday before facing Cambodia three days later. They will complete the qualifiers against Laos next Friday.

The qualifier will advance into Group B where they will play Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Group A comprises of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.


Source: The Brunei Times


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