Caption: NFABD Acting General Secretary Pg Md Amirrizal Pg Hj Mahmud (2nd L) talking to the national Under-23 football team at the Brunei International Airport prior to their departure to Myanmar to compete in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship qualifiers today. Picture: Courtesy of NFABD
Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE national under-23 football team, which are made up of the same players for next month’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, will get a taste of their first international competition playing as a team at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Myanmar.
The 22-player squad, which will be cut to 20 for the SEA Games and coached by Kwon Oh-Son, departed the Sultanate this morning and present to send the team off were NFABD Acting General Secretary Pg Md Amirrizal Pg Hj Mahmud, NFABD officials and the team’s family and friends.
“We are taking these two tournaments (AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers and SEA Games) very seriously,” said manager Hj Madli Hj Mohd Yussof in a press release from NFABD.
“The team has been training together since January and entered centralised training on March 1, and this will be a good test or them ahead of the SEA Games,” he added.
The qualifiers are made up of 40 teams across Asia divided into 10 groups.
The group winner and five best second-placed teams will progress to next year’s AFC Under-23 Championship in China from January 9-27.
Brunei are placed in Group B and will begin their campaign in Yangon against Australia on Wednesday before taking on the hosts on Friday.
They will tend end group stage play against Singapore on July 23.
Japan won the last edition of the tournament after edging South Korea 3-2 in the final, with both teams and third-placed Iraq qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.