Brunei will be among the 21 teams competing at the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013 Finals in Kuala Lumpur next month.
A report in Malaysian news agency Bernama yesterday stated that 21 teams, including eight women teams, will be vying for honours in the tournament to be held at the Titiwangsa Indoor Stadium from March 5 to 9.
Brunei competed in all three rounds of the ISTAF Super Series 2013 last year.
They finished ninth in the first two legs in India and Thailand, but with seniors busy preparing for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar in December, Brunei had to field a junior team in the final leg in Kota Kinabalu from Oct 31-Nov 3.
The juniors rose to the challenge though, going off to finish sixth and outdo their senior counterparts.
According to the Bernama report, the 13 teams in the men's category comprise defending champions Thailand, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, United States, France, Myanmar and Malaysia.
Thailand, who are also the defending champions, will be joined by China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia in the women's category.
ISTAF Secretary-General Datuk Abdul Halim Kader said France would be making their debut in the premier sepak takraw tournament which is jointly organised by the Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia (PSM) and supported by Singapore-based company, Asia Sports Ventures Pte Ltd as the commercial rights holders of the tournament.
"We have agreed to grant France a wild card entry to participate in this tournament in a bid to promote sepak takraw outside the Asian continent and further develop and strengthen this sport on the international stage," he was quoted as saying on Bernama.
This is the first time Malaysia are hosting the series finals.
Abdul Halim, who also the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (Astaf) president, said the overall results from the tournament would determine the seedings of teams in the 2014 Istaf World Cup - which will be held in Thailand in May.
He said the details of the World Cup in Thailand will be announced after the tournament is concluded.
The national team are still without a coach after Ittiphol Chomchaissak's contract ended on Dec 31 after serving 12 years in Brunei.
He ended his reign with a bang though, helping the team to two bronze medals at the SEA Games.
The Thai returned home for a break before taking over as coach of the Vietnam's women's team.