The national Under-23 team will be without coach Kwon Oh-son and several key players when they take on the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB) in their first match of the Six Corners Football Championship at the Berakas Sports Complex tonight.
The Under-23 side are currently preparing for the upcoming 27th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar in December and were edged 1-0 by the Indonesian national Under-23 team in a friendly at Yogyakarta two weeks ago with this week's all-local, six-team Six Corners Football Championship serving as more preparation ahead of Myanmar.
"Coach Kwon won't be with the team for this tournament as he is currently in the United Kingdom to continue his programme in obtaining a "P" coaching license," said the team's manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff yesterday, adding that the team will be coached by assistant coach Zainuddin Hj Kasim throughout the tournament.
"We will not have our full squad for this tournament as some of the players like centre-backs Afi Aminuddin and Azwan Hamzah are still out injured after the Indonesia friendly game.
"Meanwhile, Azwan Ali Rahman (midfielder), Adi Said (striker) and Mohd Fakhrul Zulhasmi Yussof (goalkeeper) are currently with their parent club (DPMM FC) for their Singapore League campaign.
"But this is not an excuse for us not to perform well in the tournament as we still have a number of young and talented players with us," he added when met during the team's training session at the Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.
Zainuddin said the team are physically ready for tonight's game but there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed.
"The players are in very good condition now and they have good stamina," he said.
"But we still need to work on many areas finishing is one of them. The players that we have now are technically very good, but they are still lacking the sharpness and hunger to score goals.
"Adi is one player that can do that, but unfortunately, he won't be with us for the tournament," added the assistant coach.
Tonight's other match will see Royal Brunei Police Forces Sports Council (MS PDB) taking on the Under-19 team at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
The tournament kicked off on Monday when DST Super League champions Indera Sports Club (SC) defeated MS ABDB 1-0 thanks to a 78th minute goal from centre-back Reduan Hj Petara.
Monday's other tie saw Liang Lumut Recreational Club Football Team (LLRC FT) beat MS PDB 4-0.
This tournament is the first of its kind this year and the main purpose of it is to provide the national Under-23 and Under-19 teams match experience ahead of regional meets.
The Under-19 team will be competing at the Asean Football Federation Under-19 Youth Championships in Indonesia next month and October's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 tournament in Thailand.