Members of the national netball team have called for more support as they prepare to compete at the 9th Asian Netball Championship in Singapore.
The team plan to lace up at the Sept 7-14 tournament at the city-state and are eyeing two pre-tournament trips to Malaysia leading up to the competition, the first in Kota Kinabalu in May and the second in Kuala Lumpur in August.
However, the lack of funds mean the future of the two tours remain hazy.
Senior player Siti Shamsiah Hj Sajali feels that it is very important for the squad to go on the planned trips in a bid to gain some much needed exposure.
"Support is especially needed for the exposure games so the team can get mentally and physically ready for the Asian Championship," Siti told The Brunei Times yesterday.
"We have been struggling the last two years because we don't have any budget, so we the players had to find money to fund the exposure games.
"If we can get it (funding) then we can focus more on our training," stressed Siti.
The Brunei Netball Association (BNA) will organise an Intermediate Netball Tournament at the Multipurpose Hall of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam Sports Complex in Tungku Link on April 24 in order to help the team raise funds, with senior national player Asziah Mohd Aszani sharing they have received eight entries so far.
"We really need to raise funds because we haven't received any support from the Department of Youth and Sports," said Asziah.
"We did request for it but unfortunately they can't at this time, so we need to raise our own funds and look for sponsors.
"We had to go through a lot as well when we went to the 8th Asian Netball Championship in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2012," she said.
"We had to look for sponsors and even joined open tournaments to win the prize money, and we managed to organise a trip to Singapore for exposure," Asziah added.
The journey to Colombo proved that the team were on an upward trend, entering the competition at the Sri Lankan capital ranked 10th and returning sixth after a string of unexpectedly impressive results.
They thrashed Pakistan 91-13, edged Japan 46-38 and were held to a 26-26 draw against the Maldives. Their other games ended in a 76-18 loss to Singapore, a 72-11 defeat to Malaysia and a 52-39 reverse to India.
The team recently added 10 new faces to the pool of potential players for Singapore after the first of three open trials last Friday, and they join the existing 18 players who have been training regularly under national coach Thilaka Jinadasa since December.
Dk Nur Hafizah Amirah Pg Md Jali, who captained Brunei at last year's 8th Asian Youth Netball Championship in the Sultanate and was part of the team that went to Colombo, is confident that the successful trialists will have an impact on the team.
"It's mostly new members joining and I think we can do this (recruit new players) because the players we are picking are stronger than before," said Dk Nur Hafizah.
"We also hope for sponsors so we can go on our exposure games," she added.
BNA Secretariat Starein Anne Jugah agreed that the national team needs more support, especially since there are two major meets in 2015.
"We definitely need support because there will be two big tournaments next year, the Southeast (SEA) Asian Games in Singapore and the 9th Asian Youth Netball Championship," Jugah said.
"We need it from the relevant authorities because the girls have been working hardů Starting from zero until they finished sixth in the 8th Asian Championship," said the secretariat.
"There should be more support (considering) what they have done to boost Brunei's name in netball."