Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Brunei eye Vietnam revenge
Sunday, December 8, 2013

When the draw for the SEA Games football competition was made last month, there was one match that stood out - Brunei against Vietnam.

With Vietnam beating Brunei 8-0 during the last edition of the Games in Jakarta two years ago, national coach Kwon Oh-son probably couldn't have asked for a tougher tournament-opener at Myanmar if he tried.

Vietnam's pedigree in the Under-23 competition is unquestionable - they have been semi-finalists every year since 2003, having reached the finals three times but ending with silver medals in each instance.

That didn't seem to matter in 2011 when they picked apart a helpless Brunei with four goals in the opening 15 minutes though, Nguyen Van Quyet - who eventually scored a hat-trick - getting on the scoresheet after 51 seconds to set the tone for the rest of the match.

Memories of that humiliation at the Lebak Bulus Stadium - which ended all hopes of a place in the semi-finals for Brunei - should have faded by now, especially since new faces dominate both teams.

Brunei's manager certainly hopes so.

"Be it this game or any of the other games we will face here in Myanmar... We don't want to think about the past... About that 8-0 loss," insisted Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff yesterday.

"Though the team have had a short training period, we're nothing thinking about that.

"We are positive.

"Our focus now is on our team spirit and players' commitment," he added.

Spirit and commitment aside, the team aren't exactly brimming with confidence.

They ended their three-game friendly stint in Thailand without a win, or a goal to their name, losing their third game 5-0 to Thai Premier League side Chiangrai United FC on Sunday after previously going down 2-0 to the same side five days earlier

They also lost their first game in Thailand 2-0 to the Thai national Under-23 team the week before that, but it looks like the team has more to worry about than their recent run of form.

"Azwan Ali Rahman has a hip injury so he's resting today," said Hj Feisal of the influential midfielder.

"We're hoping for the best and we'll do all that we can to get him into the starting-11 tomorrow," he said, adding that the trio of friendlies was still a great learning opportunity for the team.

Asked what would be the key in today's game, the manager - a former national player himself - was sure of his answer.

"The most important thing in football is communication," he replied.

"It's very important, and it's a big problem if the players don't communicate with one another - and that is something we have stressed on them too," noted Hj Feisal.

Though Vietnam are the group favourites along with titleholders Malaysia, their team's captain insist they can't take any of their Group A opponents lightly.

"Not only are Malaysia and Singapore able to stand in Vietnam's way, but both Brunei and Laos have the ability to defeat us," Nguyen Van Quyet told Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

"We have worked hard during the past few months.

"At the moment, all the team members feel relaxed and are looking forward to the game (against Brunei)," he added.

The state-owned agency didn't seem so confident in their side's chances though, saying that the team "do not have any players with the ability to turn the tide of the game in their favour" and that head coach Hoang Van Phuc has "assembled a team of unknown, young players".

Quyet, though, was unperturbed.

"Vietnam is in a state of transition so the coach must take in younger players, and other teams are facing the same situation as well," he said.

"In football, the collective effort is the most important aspect, and I believe in this squad, treasure it and have strong faith that it will find success in Myanmar.

"Heading to Myanmar with few expectations could give us greater focus during the games, so we can play to our best ability.

"Who knows, the ball is round, and with some luck, we will make a statement this time."

A round ball or not, another 8-0 will be just the kind of statement Brunei will not hope to see today.

Courtesy from Brunei Times