Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
Nat'l team gearing up for SUKMA
Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The national hockey team are setting their sights on three tournaments this year, with the Malaysian Games (SUKMA) in Perlis regarded as the most important.

This year's Sukma is expected to take place in May while the other two events, the Borneo Cup and Brunei Invitational Hockey Tournament, are set to kick-off in October.

The past two years were quiet ones for the national hockey team following the cancellation of the World Hockey League in December 2012 and the postponement of the Borneo Cup last March.

The postponement meant that the national were left with no top-level competitions - though they can put all that behind them now.

"We are looking forward to a busy year this time around with the Borneo Cup in Sabah and Brunei Invitational Hockey Tournament," said the national team midfielder Fauzi Hj Awang in an interview with The Brunei Times last week.

"The most important event should be Sukma.

"We only started training early last month soon after the hockey stadium (the National Hockey Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas) re-opened following renovation.

"We are having a week's break because of the new year celebrations and will be back training on Monday," he added.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) started the renovation in March and the official opening of the pitch took place on November 28 with the Acting Director of the Department Youth of and Sports, Hj Abdul Malik Hj Mohammad, officiating the event.

Their last competitive tournament the national team competed in was the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) 9-a-Side Borneo Hockey Invitational in Kota Kinabalu in May 2012, where they won the plate category after defeating Goodwood Hockey Team 2-0 in the finals.

An indoor 5-a-side tournament which was held at the Dewan Riadah at the Youth Centre (Pusat Belia) in April was the only tournament organised by the Brunei Darussalam Hockey Federation (BDHF) last year.

Despite the break in play, Fauzi has said national coach Berandai Dadong told the players to look forward to a productive 2014 - especially with a national league set to kick off in a few months' time.

"Coach Berandai told us (players) to be ready as we will be involved in a lot of activities and tournaments this year, and one of the tournaments that he mentioned was the National Hockey League that will be held sometime in April," continued Fauzi.

"We have rested for a long time for the past two years and we really need to start to compete again," he added.

The national team, however, competed at an event to commemorate the Olympic Day held at the Temburong Sports Complex in Batu Apoi last June.

Sapit Biru were crowned champions in the male category, Sungai Radang were second while Negalang took third.

Piasau-Piasau grabbed gold in the mixed category. Batu Apoi won silver while Sungai Tanit settled for bronze.

The association revealed their strategic plan in June, saying that they are preparing for the SEA Games that the Sultanate will host in 2019.

Financial support and upgrading the quality of the pitch at the National Hockey Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex were be among the association's many initiatives to improve the standard of the sport.

The country's best achievement in the sport thus far came in 2007 when the national team defeated Sabah 1-0 to win gold at the 2007 Borneo Games in Kuching.

Hockey fans in the country can also expect to see more indoor hockey played in 2014.

Talking to The Brunei Times last year, Berandai said that indoor hockey is gaining popularity in the Sultanate - a trend which is sure to rise this year.

"I think indoor hockey is getting popular in Brunei. As you can see we have a very encouraging respond today," Berandai told The Brunei Times during the Hockey Indoor 5-a-side Tournament 2013 last April.

A total of 41 teams competed at the three-day tournament.

"Indoor hockey is very popular in Europe, they encourage the young athletes to get involved with indoor hockey before they start playing outdoors," said Berandai.

Consisting of five players on the pitch (four field players and a goalkeeper), the sport is played on a smaller field with sideboards making it a quick, technical and physical game.

"Indoor hockey is safe for young kids and, by playing in a small space, they will get to learn more on the basics and improve on techniques," he said.

Berandai also viewed indoor hockey as an ideal sport for young hockey players to develop vision on and off the ball.

It also helps them to develop a better understanding of tactics and set plays.

Courtesy from Brunei Times