Ismail Ang (R) goes for the block against Laos in their Group A match of the men's double event for the 27th SEA Games at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium B in Naypyidaw yesterday. BT/ Yee Chun Leong
Donning a new haircut didn't help the cause of the national sepak takraw team yesterday.
Brunei failed to advance into the semi-finals of the men's double event at the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after losing both their Group A matches yesterday in Naypyidaw.
The Sultanate - Md Shukri Jaineh, Ismail Ang and Abdul Hadi Ariffin Matazi - were out of contention after losing 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) to Vietnam in the morning at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium B.
They had already lost their opener 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 21-11) to Indonesia on Friday.
They were then swept aside 2-0 (21-10, 21-7) by Laos in the afternoon, seeing them finish at the bottom of the four-country table.
The Bruneians, who had their heads shaved after getting on the podium for the men's team double event on Friday, looked tired and were not able to get things moving against their opponents.
It wasn't the best way for national sepak takraw coach Ittiphol Chomchaissak to make his exit but he felt that his players had given it their all.
"The players have worked really hard over the past few days for the competition. But we came to Myanmar with no spare players," said Ittiphol in an interview after the loss.
"We have the same players seeing action throughout the whole competition resulting in some of them picking up injuries," he added.
The players felt it was fatigue that crept in and that nothing went in the right way for them.
"Everything was just not smooth for us. It was tough as we were feeling tired from so many games," said Shukri.
"I don't know what hit us. We just didn't have any momentum at all," said Ismail.
"Laos are a strong team though. They have improved a lot from the previous edition," he added.
Despite the setback, the national sepak takraw team can return to the Sultanate with their heads held high.
It is their best showing at the biennial Games under Ittiphol's 12 years at the helm.
They finished on the podium for the first time - not once but twice.
They started their campaign with a bronze medal in the hoop event last Monday.
With only four teams competing, the Sultanate were already guaranteed a bronze medal before kickoff.
They finished third in the event with 430 points beating out Singapore with only 230 points.
They followed that up with a joint-bronze medal in the men's team double event as losing semi-finalists.