Brunei players (white) in action during their International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013/2014 Finals match against Malaysia on Saturday. Bernama
Brunei's sepak takraw team upon arrival at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday. The national side finished fourth at the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013/2014 Finals in Kuala Lumpur. BT/Yee Chun Leong
The national sepak takraw team returned to Brunei yesterday with their heads held high.
Brunei had their best outing at the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013/2014 Finals after finishing fourth at the Titiwangsa Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
The Sultanate started their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Japan in Group D on Wednesday.
They were stunned 2-1 by China but finished top of the group after bouncing back with a 2-0 triumph over Iran on Thursday.
They surprised Singapore 2-0 on Friday to book their semis against Malaysia where they lost 3-0.
Korea proved too much to handle for the national squad as they fell 3-0 to settle for fourth position.
Stand-in national coach Japar Wali was proud of his boys and credited everyone on the team for the achievement.
"We managed to achieve this result because everyone worked together. We will continue to work hard to improve on areas that we are lacking," said Japar upon arrival at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday.
"We need to work on getting the first ball (off the opponents' service) and once we can do it then it is alright," he added.
"It has been a long time coming with these players and I'm happy for them," continued Japar.
Team manager Abu Bakar Hj Jumahat shared the same sentiments before pointing out the areas that need improvement.
"Overall the outing was good. We just need to improve on our first ball, defence and especially our mentality," said Abu Bakar.
Team captain Ismail Ang said that neither he nor his squad expected the results.
"We never expected to finish so well at the tournament especially since we were drawn in a tough group," said Ismail.
"We played well with no mistakes and managed to beat Japan. It boosted our confidence but China were very physical compared to us," said the striker.
"Now we are looking to continue training and work hard in preparations for upcoming competitions," continued the captain.
First choice tekong Nur Alimin Sunggoh contributed mightily to Brunei's success at the competition.
He played down the praise and felt that it could have been better.
"I thought my service was alright because there wasn't enough training prior to the tournament. But overall we are delighted with our achievement," concluded Nur Alimin, who was the only player from the five-man team that competed in all four legs of the tournament.
Present to welcome the team at the airport was Brunei Darussalam Sepak Takraw Association (PESTABARU) president Pg Hj Ali Hassan Pg DSLJ Hj Abbas.
The country took part in all three ISTAF Super Series legs that were held last year.
They finished ninth during the first two legs in India and Thailand before placing sixth in Sabah.
Meanwhile, Thailand made it a double after winning both the men's and women's categories against Malaysia. Both teams won 3-0 against the hosts in their respective finals.
The women's bronze was won by Indonesia after coming back to edge Myanmar 3-2 in the third-place playoff
Next on the calendar for the national sepak takraw team is the 29th King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championship 2014 slated for May.