Youth Development paying off
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Members of the national Under-15 team greeting National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Technical Director Yvon Avry (3rd R) at the Brunei International Airport early today morning upon their return from the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifiers in Chinese Taipei.
THE national Under-15 team’s good showing at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifiers is proof that Brunei’s efforts to develop football is paying off.
The side finished their five-team Group F campaign in Chinese Taipei with two wins from four games after beating Macau 4-0 in their opener on September 16 and coming back from a goal down to defeat Hong Kong 2-1 last Friday.
The win against Hong Kong was all the more special considering Brunei were down to 10 men in the 38th minute when Mohammad Aisan Aisamuddin Abdullah Mohammad Aiman was shown a red card.
Though Group F winners North Korea – who beat Brunei 9-0, Macau 10-0 and Chinese Taipei – were on another level, Brunei provided Chinese Taipei with a strong fight in their game last Wednesday and could have finished with a point against the hosts if not for Yang Sheng-kai’s 93rd minute goal which gave them a 2-1 win.
Nevertheless, National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam’s (NFABD) Technical Director Yvon Avry is confident that the team – which won this season’s NFABD Under-16 Youth League and NFABD Under-16 Elite Youth Cup while playing as Tabuan A – is on the right track.
“This is the first time any team has been able to win two games in an AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) or AFC (Asian Football Confederation) tournament,” he said after the team’s arrival back in Brunei early today morning.
“Add in the one win and two draws this team recorded at the AFF Under-15 Championship in Thailand in July, this has been an exceptional year for them.
“This proves that all the hard work done since 2011 (when NFABD was established) under the leadership of NFABD President HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah is bearing fruit.
“We have seen that the gap between the strongest teams in Asia, such as North Korea, is still big – so we have to keep working hard,” he added.
The 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams from the qualifiers will advance to the 2018 AFC Under-16 Championship along with hosts Malaysia, and Brunei still have a chance at qualifying based on results from other groups and that of today’s Group F games – North Korea face Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei meet Macau.
In July, the team picked up the country’s first-ever win in the AFF Under-15 Championship – which the country has been competing in since 2002 – when beating Cambodia 2-0.
They went on to pick up a record five points from five games after 0-0 draws against Timor Leste and the Philippines.
They lost 2-1 to Vietnam and 3-0 to Malaysia in their other results in Thailand.