HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (L), the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council, talking to the manager of the national sepak takraw team, Hj Zaman Hj Samat (C), and national player Ismail Ang after the country's match against Indonesia yesterday. BT/ Jason Thomas
A Bruneian player (C) in action against Laos on Tuesday. HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah yesterday said he was expecting Brunei to beat Laos.Infofoto
His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah yesterday said he was expecting Brunei to beat Laos in their final football game of the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The national Under-23 side headed into Tuesday's final Group A game against Laos bottom of their group without a point or goal to their name, and despite breaking their jinx and netting twice, it still wasn't enough to prevent a 3-2 loss.
"We were supposed to win the Laos game but it was the same thing, we lacked concentration and focus - and there wasn't enough teamwork," said HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam.
"Personally, they played better against Malaysia. That was their best game.
"I thought we could have won it but we were nervous and lacked concentration and focus," added HRH, who is also the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council.
The national team started their campaign poorly with a 7-0 loss to Vietnam but surprised many with a gritty display in their next game, a 2-0 defeat to two-time champions Malaysia - who struggled to find a way past Brunei's on-form goalkeeper Ak Omar Aqamuddin Pg Sallehuddin.
Even Malaysia's coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee seemed impressed with Brunei's performance, telling the media in the post-match press conference that "the boys are not happy with the scoreline".
However, a 2-0 loss to Singapore in their next game ended Brunei's hopes of a place in the last-four, with the 3-2 result against Laos ensuring they would end the 10-team competition as the only side to finish without a point.
HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah was talking to The Brunei Times after watching another strong performance by a national side yesterday.
The national sepak takraw team fought back from a set down to force a third set against Indonesia in yesterday's men's double event, which they lost 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 21-11).
Brunei are set to face Vietnam this morning and Laos in the afternoon - the last of Brunei's 61 athletes in 10 sports to see action in Naypyidaw.
"It was a very exciting game and they managed to play until a rubber set," said HRH.
"Hopefully they can do better tomorrow," he added.
Brunei, who have already won bronze in the hoop event and men's team double, have a chance at adding to that haul if they qualify for tomorrow's semi-final.
Brunei are currently on one gold, one silver and five bronze medals at this year's Games - an improvement on their four silver and seven bronze medals they won at the last Games in Indonesia two years ago.