Honorary President of the
National Football Association of
Brunei Darussalam His Royal
Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah
(C) walking towards the national
team's locker room prior to their
match against Myanmar.HRH has
applauded the national side for
their play during the AFF Suzuki
Cup qualifiers in Myanmar.Picture:
BT/ Yee Chun Leong
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the Honorary President of the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), applauded the national football team for their efforts after putting up a remarkable performance in the recently concluded ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Myanmar.
It was a case of, so near yet so far for the Wasps, who finished the Oct 5-13 qualifying tournament with two wins and two losses.
However, HRH was delighted with the efforts put in by the team despite results not going the Sultanate's way.
"First of all, let me congratulate every member, both players and officials, for successfully executing their respective responsibilities throughout the qualifying round," HRH told The Brunei Times yesterday.
"The teamwork, fighting spirit, as well as sportsmanship that they have shown were solid and unquestionable.
"Talking about the overall performance, I think the players played fantastically well and beyond my expectations.
"When I was in Yangon to watch the first match, I stressed to them that they needed to go all out. They needed solid teamwork... and had to remain focused from start to finish in order to beat Myanmar or any other teams to qualify for the final round.
"I continued to give motivation and reminded them of their responsibilities through the team manager and NFABD representatives even when I was in Brunei. They listened and played very well," the Prince added.
The team's performance may be a sign of better things to come in the near future bearing in mind they have not played for the last two years.
They started out with a 1-0 loss to Myanmar on Oct 5, despite a performance that was beyond expectations.
They bounced back with a 3-2 victory over Cambodia after a strong second half last Tuesday and followed that with a controversial 3-1 loss to Laos two days later.
Despite being out of the running to qualify for the tournament proper from Nov 24 - Dec 22, the Sultanate put in a convincing performance to stun Timor Leste 2-1 in their final match on Saturday.
"Firstly, we have not played regionally or internationally since 2009 until late last year (26th SEA Games in Indonesia)," the Prince said.
"Secondly, the team itself is still very young and they have only played together for a few weeks before the first qualifying match against Myanmar.
"Judging by how well they played in the first match, I thought we could at least salvage one point from it. But unfortunately due to pressure piled up by Myanmar and a lack of concentration in our defence, we eventually lost the match at the very last minute.
"The scoreline could have been better for the second match against Cambodia had we played all out, especially in the first half. No doubt we played solid football in the second half, but again because of the lack of concentration, Cambodia managed to score another goal in the dying seconds. However, a win is a win, even if it is just by a one-goal margin.
"We also played well and managed to score first against Laos. Unfortunately, we lost the match not because of a stronger opponent, but because of bad decisions by the referee.
"The fourth match against Timor Leste was fantastic and unbelievable. Knowing that we were already out ... and at the same time were playing against stronger opponents who just needed a draw to qualify ... what was left for us was just pride. We won, and I think we did it in style too considering the circumstances that we were in at that time.
"Indeed, the results were not all in our favour, but we should appreciate the effort, courage, fighting spirit and teamwork they showed. I am sure these qualities will make them a better and stronger team in the future. I am proud of them."
Courtesy from Brunei Times