It was a good outing for the national hockey team at the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) 9-a-Side Borneo Hockey Invitational in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, last Sunday after two of the country's four representatives made it to the Champions Category.
Brunei Darussalam Hockey Association (BDHA) 'A' managed to reach the semi-final of the Champions Category but lost 4-3 on penalty strokes to eventual winners Ipoh Link from Malaysia after both teams played out a 0-0 draw.
The other team competing at the Champions Category was Hoki Kitani, who were ousted by compatriots BDHA 'A' in the quarter-final. BDHA 'B' made it to the Plate Category but lost to Jabil from Malaysia in the quarter-finals while Mixed Hoki Kitani did not make it to the knock-out stage of the tournament.
The national team's last international outing was at the same tournament in 2012, where they won the Plate Category after defeating Goodwood Hockey Team 2-0 in the final.
A total of 36 teams from Brunei, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar were vying for top honours at this year's edition which ran from May 17-19 at the Likas Stadium. Speaking to The Brunei Times, assistant coach Fauzi Hj Awang said he was impressed with the performance of the players - especially the younger ones.
"The juniors did very well during the tournament," said Fauzi during the team's training at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas yesterday. "They were up against much older and senior players but they were very confident.
"We won the Plate Category at the tournament two years ago but this year we managed to qualify to the Champions Category, so it was an improvement. "It was quite a competitive event as good teams and players from Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia and as well as from the Middle East took part in the tournament," he added.
Fauzi also added that the date for the Borneo Cup in Sabah will be pushed back to December from October. "We talked to the Sabah Hockey Association during the tournament and they confirmed that the Borneo Cup will be held this year in December," he said.
"I think the players are looking forward to compete in a bigger tournament this year after missing out on SUKMA (Malaysian Games) in Perlis," he added.