Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak
(C), the assistant coach of the
National Football Association of
Brunei Darussalam (NFABD)
Under-15 team, directs players
during a training session
yesterday. The side will take on
Frenz Indonesia in their Football
Association of Malaysia
(FAM)-Frenz Under-15 ASEAN
Champions Trophy Group B
opener tonight.Picture: BT/ Jason
Frenz Indonesia might not have the best teamwork of any of the 12 sides at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)-Frenz Under-15 ASEAN Champions Trophy, but their coach insists their strengths lie in other places.
The National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam's (NFABD) Under-15 team take on the Indonesian side in their Group B opener at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas tonight, the visitors already having proved their might with a 3-1 win against Myanmar Mandalay FA last Saturday.
"We might not be able to keep possession or play with good teamwork, but we have a few players who are individually skilled," warned Ancang Ibrahim, who also serves as the team's manager.
"Our objective is to win, but realistically Brunei are a good team.
"I don't know what their strengths are but they have a great stadium. Amazing!
"Our team is comprised of players from all over Indonesia and we've only been training for three months and that's not enough," said Ancang, who despite saying that, added he was confident the team could top Group B.
Though the side have only been training for three months, Brunei's team only had their first session on Wednesday since the tournament was only officially announced last week - the country's last of preparation a worrying fact for even the most optimistic of the home supporters.
Brunei's coach was eager to down play his side's chances, instead stressing that the tournament would be more important in providing the players a "platform" to move on to the national team.
"Under-15 competitions like these are hard to predict, not like Under-18 and Under-21 age group events," stated ex-national captain Liew Chuan Fue, who has coached the country at various age-group levels.
"Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. Their junior sides have accomplished a lot.
"Myanmar are really good, and the fact that Frenz Indonesia beat them 3-1 at Myanmar."
"We will improve game by game, so we'll have to play a couple of games to see our real quality and whether we can make it to the semi-finals.
Though the odds are certainly stacked in their favour, especially factoring in the impact a vocal Indonesian crowd will have, Ancang refused to get drawn into questions on how many goals they would beat Brunei by.
"I'm not a fortune-teller, I'm just a coach," he retorted when asked what the score-line would be.
The three other sides in Group B are Lao Toyota Academy, Philippines Global FC Under-15, and Frenz Malaysia B, while Group A is made up of Frenz Malaysia A, Singapore NFA, Vietnam PVF Academy, Phnom Penh Crown Academy, Thailand Chonburi Academy and Timor Leste Under-15.
A previous report in The Brunei Times stated that the May 25-Sept 8 tournament, which is the brainchild of the FAM Deputy President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and the Frenz United Football Academy of Pahang, Malaysia, offers a grand prize US$50,000 to the champions. US$25,000 will go to the runners-up.
Brunei was scheduled to play Lao Toyota FC from Laos at Chaoanouvong Stadium in Vientiane for their first match last Saturday, but the match had to be postponed to a later date due to unavoidable circumstances. A new date has yet to be announced by the organising committee.