Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
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Friday, November 29, 2013

The national Under-23 football team are going through a rough patch in Thailand after failing to find the back of the net in their second friendly game and losing more players to injury.

The team, who are set to open their SEA Games campaign on Dec 8 against Vietnam, will be in Myanmar without goalkeeper Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof after he fractured his finger in training - with the DPMM FC shotstopper since having returned to the Sultanate.

Md Fakhrul was unable to take to the field during last Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Thai national Under-23 team in the first of the team's three friendlies in Thailand before they leave to Nay Pyi Taw on Monday.

The team then lost their second friendly 2-0 to Chiangrai United FC in Chiang Rai on Tuesday, the first of two games they will play against the Thai Premier League side - the second set for tomorrow.

Seven players were injured during the game; strikers Md Shafie Hj Md Effendy and Zulkhairy Hady Razali, midfielders Md Aqmal Hakeem Abd Hamid, Ak Yura Indera Putera Pg Yunos, Md Asri Hj Aspar and Mohammad Mazazizi Mazlan and left back Abd Mu'iz Sisa.

The team's manager, though, is confident all the players will be able to play a part at the SEA Games.

"The injuries are not serious.... Mostly tight muscles," said Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff on Wednesday.

"It was a physical game and we went up against a side that have players from Spain, Holland and Australia.

"Though we lost the game, the players played well and were really spirited.

"We had three clear cut chances but we couldn't score," said the manager, adding that the team will field their first-11 in their last friendly tomorrow.

Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, Hj Feisal said that Mu'iz and Shafie have since recovered.

Brunei take on defending champions Malaysia on Dec 10, Singapore on Dec 13 and Laos on Dec 17 - all teams equally busy in their preparation for the biennial meet in which the Under-23 football tournament has long been considered one of its highlights.

Singapore are coming off a 1-0 win against Cambodia in a friendly at the Hougang Stadium in Singapore last Sunday while Laos finished as runners-up at last week's MNC (Media Nusantara Citra) Cup in Jakarta after two wins and a loss at the four-team round robin tournament.

Laos beat Maldives 2-1 and Papua New Guinea 3-1 but their 3-0 loss to eventual champions Indonesia meant they had to settle for second.

Malaysia, meanwhile, will face either Johor Darul Takzim I or II tomorrow and Japanese third division side FC Ryukyu in Kuala Lumpur next Wednesday.

Courtesy from Brunei Times