Muara Vella manager
Mohammad Hj Tunjang (R)
talking alongside former
national players Nordin
Tujoh (C) and Azmanuddin
Hj Gillen during the Muara
Vella Academy training
session in this 2010 file
photo. Mohammad will make
his debut as a national
coach in two Under-19
tournaments. Picture: BT
Muara Vella FC manager Mohammad Hj Tunjang has been given his first national assignment as he prepares to take charge of the Under-19 team in two upcoming regional tournaments.
Brunei will be competing at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Youth Championships in Indonesia next month and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 tournament in Thailand in October.
Mohammad, who is probably one of the best managers at his job after helping Muara Vella to a number of trophies in various age-group local tournaments over the past few years, was told about the offer late June and he didn't think twice about accepting.
"I was informed about the job by the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) at the end of June (and) I took it without giving a second thought," he told The Brunei Times.
"It is a real honour for me.
"I always want to give my best to the country and I feel very happy to be given the responsibility to manage the team," he added.
The top countries in the region will be fighting for glory in the two tournaments, so Mohammad knows he has a tough task ahead of him in both events.
The teams have been undergoing intensive training at the Balapan Track and Field Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas five times a week since a player selection in the middle of June, with the squad to be finalised as the tournaments approach.
"As we all know, we will be up against the region's best so we need to be at our best to be able to compete with them," he said.
"We want the best footballers to represent the country so the selection process will be done slowly and thoroughly.
"Currently we have 20 players training for Indonesia and 35 players training for Thailand.
"For the AFF tournament we will cut the players down to 18, while for the AFC tournament the players will be trimmed to 23.
"We organised a player selection on June 12 and 13 with the help of NFABD and on the first day 60 players attended and the next day 83 players turned up," he added.
If his track record in local tournaments is anything to go by, Brunei should, at the very least, be able to give a fight in Indonesia and Thailand.
Mohammad Hj Tunjang guided Muara Vella to three finals this year but was extremely unlucky not to win any of them.
He started with the DST National Veteran FA Cup and followed that with the DST National Veteran Football President Cup and the NFABD TelBru Youth Under-16 National Football League.
Muara Vella lost 5-1 to XN (ex-national) FT in the National Veteran FA Cup in the first final.
They fell 3-2 to Al-Idrus Junior in the NFABD TelBru Youth Under-16 National Football League and but the real surprise came when they were handed a 8-0 thrashing by XN FT in the National Veteran Football President Cup.