Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) team manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff (R) and national football coach Kwon Oh-son watching over yesterday's HBT trials at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas. Picture: BT/ Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
Manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff will confirm the country's 30-man squad for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy next weekend.
Sixty players turned up for the final phase of the trial at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas yesterday, but the number is now reduced to 42.
All the players went through a series of fitness and endurance tests before they were separated into teams and competed in mini matches.
"We have a lot of talented players this year and they are very passionate and enthusiastic, and it gives us a bit of problem in selecting the players... we needed a little bit more time, and the squad will be trimmed by the end of next week," said the manager in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"All players will move in to Pusat Belia (Youth Centre) in Bandar Seri Begawan tomorrow (today) and we will start our camp training as soon as Monday,"
The HBT is a biennial football tournament for Under-21 ASEAN countries and it is slated to kick off in April, however the date is yet to be confirmed.
The Sultanate are the defending champions after defeating Indonesia 2-0 in the final at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas two years ago.
"Currently we are working on organising a number of friendlies and warm up games, I cannot give you the specific country yet, but we are targeting Europe," continued the manager.
"Indonesia will be travelling to Holland and Laos is currently in Japan, Malaysia is also busy with their preparation, this is going to be very interesting,"
In the previous report in The Brunei Times, coach Kwon Oh-son said that the HBT team will mostly consist of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games squad as they have trained together since last April, but they were also looking to add a number of talents from the trial.
The Under-23 SEA Games squad lost all their four matches in Group A of the 27th edition of the tournament held in Myanmar last month.
The national team started their campaign with a 7-0 loss to Vietnam and followed that up with a 2-0 defeat to two-time champions Malaysia.
They lost 2-0 to Singapore in their next game before going down 3-2 to Laos in their final game, finishing the tournament without a point to their name - the main highlight the brace striker Adi Said scored against Laos.
The manager then went on to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) for their support and encouragement given to the team.
"I would like to thank Pehin (Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah) for helping us out during the trials, and we promised that we will work very hard to produce best result in the tournament," he added.