The national team celebrate winning the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in March, 2012. National football coach Kwon Oh-son said he is happy with how this year's team is coming together. BT file
National Football Coach, Kwon Oh-son. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
National football coach Kwon Oh-son is happy with the progress of Brunei's squad for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT).
The number has been reduced to the final 32 players and intensive training begun last Monday at the Youth Centre in the capital.
"The players are united and are like one family. The new and old players are training together with harmony," said Kwon in an interview with The Brunei Times when met yesterday.
"The seniors are playing the role of leaders and share their experience with their younger teammates.
"The team spirit is good. The players follow instructions well and pick things up very quickly," he added.
"This is a good start to intensive training. The players all have good patience and have strong willingness to learn. Most of them are very talented and have good potential. They will be the future of football in the country," continued the Korean.
Ten of the selected players are from the SEA Games squad that competed at the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw last month.
The team train three times a day except for Saturdays and Sundays.
They get to go back home after Saturday morning training and return back to the Youth Centre on Sunday evening.
Kwon believes that there has to be a balance to allow the players to keep their focus.
"Players need to spend quality time with their family. The time is also a recovery period to be prepared for the following week," explained Kwon.
"The sports psychologist (Zulkifli Abd Hamid) has also been very good help to the mentality of the team as well. We are thankful that he comes down twice a week to listen to problems and find solutions for them," he added.
The rainy weather conditions have hampered some of their plans during training.
But the national coach is doing everything possible to keep the programme running smoothly.
"Some players are falling sick from the continuous change in weather from hot to cold. The team doctor is working hard to keep everything in order," said Kwon.
"With the rainy weather conditions, we are thankful that we got permission to use the JKR Sports Complex for training today (Thursday)," he added.
"There has been a shortage of venues at the moment. The only football field that we get to use is Balapan since the national stadium is not available and the fields in Menglait are not prepared.
"We just have to make do with what we can," he concluded.
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.
Brunei are the defending champions after beating Indonesia 2-0 in the final at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas two years ago.