Caption: The national Under-18 team posing for a group photo outside their hotel (YCDC City Hotel) in Yangon, Myanmar, this morning. Picture: Courtesy of NFABD
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI are ready to kick off their AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Under-18 Championship Group B campaign in Yangon, Myanmar against the Philippines today (4.30pm Brunei time).
The national under-18 team, who have been together for over half a year, are coming off a training camp in Japan where they contested in four friendly matches against Japanese sides.
Team manager Zulkifli Hj Duraman feels that they have an opportunity to start off the Sept 4-17 competition with a win.
“Though our group is very strong, we have a chance at winning the game against the Philippines,” said Zulkifli in a press release from NFABD.
“We have been training well and are ready for this game,” he added.
Brunei will take on Vietnam two days later before facing hosts Myanmar on Saturday. The Sultanate will close out group stage play against Indonesia next Wednesday.
On the other hand, national under-18 coach Takao Fujiwara is looking at the bigger picture with the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Under-19 Championship qualifiers in South Korea next month.
“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,” said Fujiwara as quoted 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.
This is the seventh appearance for Brunei at the competition where they have never made it out of the group stage.
Australia are the defending champions after defeating Thailand 5-1 in the final in Vietnam last year.
Meanwhile, the competition kicked off today with three Group A matches.
Thailand started off with a 3-0 victory over Timor Leste at the Thuwunna Stadium while Malaysia also got off to a winning start with a 4-1 triumph over Laos at the Aung San Stadium.
The later kick off saw Singapore edge Cambodia 5-3 at the Thuwunna Stadium.