National Under-20 Futsal Team ready for AFC Championship

Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

THE national Under-20 futsal team are ready for this month's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Futsal Under-20 Championship in Bangkok.

The Sultanate are pooled alongside hosts Thailand, Iraq, Malaysia, Bahrain and Afghanistan in Group A at the May 16-26 tournament.

National futsal coach Qusmaini Noor Hj Rusli believes that his charges can deliver a strong performance at the inaugural competition.

“We already have the winning mentality among the players in this team and we hope that we could bring that to Thailand,” said Qusmaini this morning.

“Every team in this tournament want to qualify to the next round, but I want to focus on one game at a time, and try to win as many matches as we can, so hopefully we can win a couple of matches in the group,” he added.

“We heard that Thailand didn’t get to prepare well for this tournament but they are playing at home… and I am trying to get the players to be strong mentally and not to give Thailand too much respect when we meet them,” continued Qusmaini.

National futsal coach Qusmaini Noor Hj Rusli. Picture: Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

The 16-player squad will depart Brunei on Tuesday where they will play warm up matches against Uzbekistan and several Thai sides.

They will then start their campaign against Afghanistan on May 16 before facing Iraq the next day and hosts Thailand on May 18.

The team will meet Bahrain on May 19 before finishing group stage play against Malaysia the following day.

“Bahrain and Afghanistan are unranked teams like Brunei, while Iraq don’t have a proper national league so they were struggling with their preparation too, and I think the final game against Malaysia could decide whether we will be able to make it to the next round,” said Qusmaini.

The national Under-20 futsal team started intensive training since February and they are currently playing in the Brunei Futsal League where they top the eight-team standings with three wins from three games.

Their latest was a 6-3 victory over two-time defending champions Kota Junior on Sunday, sending them to their first defeat in the competition in over two years.

“I always advise my players that best teacher (in futsal) is game, so we would like to thank the NFABD for organising the league earlier before the tournament to provide games for us,” added Qusmaini.

“So far we have played four games in the league including a game against Kuantan Rangers, a strong team from Malaysia consisting of a number of national players.

“Our players have showed positive improvement from one game to another and the best moment was last week when we defeated Kota Junior, the best futsal team in Brunei,” he continued.

The AFC Futsal Under-20 Championship also serves as a qualifier for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina next year where futsal will be included for the first time. Only the top-two teams will make it to the multi-sport event.

“This is one of AFC’s biggest tournament and they are trying to make futsal popular in Asia and for the first time Youth Olympics will  include futsal in their event,” concluded the Malaysian.

The national Under-20 futsal team posing for a group photo after training at the Indoor Stadium, Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas today. Picture: Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh

National under-20 futsal team list

1 Muhammad Nadziran bin Hj Abd Mutalib
2 Mohammad Radhi bin Raduan
3 Mohammad Adam Marherman bin Ariandy
4 Muhammmad Abdul Khaaliq bin Hj Lazim
5 Muhammad Abdul Azim bin Zaini
6 Muhamad Yusran bin Mazlan
7 Muhammad Nasu’rul Wafiy bin Hj Hassan
8 Muhammad Hisyamuddin bin Mohd Zaini
9 Abdul Azim bin Boll Hassan
10 Muhamad Yuzlin bin Ishak
11 Nazirul Haziq bin Adeni
12 Khairul Anwaruddin bin Hj Hamidon
13 Nizamuddin bin Hj Ismail
14 Mohamad Fardi Farhan bin Affendi
15 Mohammad Yusri bin Mohammad Yusof
16 Ak Muhammad Asadullah Shafee bin Pg Hj Asaduzzaman


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