Caption: The national under-15 football team pose for a photo before departure at the Brunei International Airport. Picture: Courtesy of NFABD
Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE national under-15 football team will face Macau in their group F opener of the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifiers in Chinese Taipei on Saturday.
The team departed the Sultanate earlier today and are scheduled for a warm up match against the Taipei Chelsea Academy team tomorrow.
Brunei will face hosts Chinese Taipei on Monday before meeting North Korea next Wednesday and Hong Kong next Friday.
The national under-15 head coach Stephen Ng Heng Seng said that his charges are focused on the task ahead.
“Our boys have been working hard in training after the last AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) tournament in Thailand and are staying focused on playing well in their upcoming four games," he said
“We are looking forward to good performances in Chinese Taipei,” added Ng.
The national junior side competed in the AFF Under-15 Championship in Thailand in July and picked up the country's first-ever win in the tournament when they overcame Cambodia 2-0.
Competing in their first international tournament, the team returned with a record five points from the win and two draws.
The squad is made up almost entirely of players who represented Tabuan A, the winners of the NFABD Under-16 National Youth League and NFABD Under-16 Elite Youth Cup, with the addition of a few new faces.
“There have been four new players added to the squad from the AFF tournament - Sherzaman Hassan (PIP), Naqiu Nordin and Hidayat Affendi (Tabuan B) and Idzzaham Metali (Tabuan C),” continued Ng.
Present at the Brunei International Airport to send the team off were NFABD Acting Vice President Hj Madli Hj Mohd Yussof and NFABD Acting General Secretary Pg Md Amirrizal Pg Hj Mahmud.
The 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams from this week’s qualifiers will advance to next year’s tournament proper (2018 AFC Under-16 Championship) along with the host country - Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the top four teams in the 2018 AFC Under-16 Championship will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup as AFC’s representatives.