Brunei ready for AFF Under-18 Championship
Monday, September 4, 2017
THE national Under-18 team are ready for their Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-18 Championship opener against the Philippines at 4.30pm (Brunei time) tomorrow.
The team, which has been together for six months, have been drawn in Group B in the annual tournament which is being held in Yangon, Myanmar, this year.
Brunei will play Vietnam on Thursday, hosts Myanmar on Saturday and Indonesia next Wednesday.
Meanwhile in Group A, six teams will be competing for two semi-final berths; 2016 runners-up Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Singapore and Timor Leste.
“Though our group is very strong, we have a chance at winning this game against the Philippines,” said Brunei’s team manager Zulkifli Hj Duraman.
“We have been training well and are ready for this game,” he added.
For national coach Takao Fujiwara, this week’s tournament will also serve as good exposure for his players ahead of next month’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship qualifiers in South Korea.
“It is important that we get the right exposure from this meet as we also hope that we can help develop the next generation of players,” he was quoted as saying on the AFF website.
“I have only recently taken over the team, and while we have managed to get some good players, the team lacks enough experience,” added the Japanese coach.
Meanwhile, like Zulkifli, the Philippines head coach Jose Maria Aberasturi agreed that all teams will find Group B to be a tough battle.
“It will be a competitive tournament for sure and I believe that the fight in this group will be close,” he was quoted as saying on the AFF website.
“I am grateful to be given the chance to be put in charge of the squad, (and) my aim is to do better than how we fared in 2016 (when the Philippines finished bottom of the five-team Group A after four losses in as many games).”
Brunei did not compete in last year’s edition of the tournament in Vietnam.