Deputy Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei Pribadi Sutiono showing the result of the draw ceremony held at the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam House along Jalan Persidangan in Berakas yesterday. BT/ Md Asdeny Yakub
Indonesia will be competing against Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in Group B at next month's 5th Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy for ASEAN Youth Football Championship.
A draw was held for the 2002 champions yesterday after the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) confirmed Indonesia's last-minute entry for the tournament on Sunday. Brunei, as the hosts of the competition, were given the option of choosing which group to be drawn in during the draw ceremony held on July 12 and the defending champions chose to be in Group B.
Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor Leste and two-time champions Thailand are pooled in Group A. NFABD Vice President Pehin Datu Indera Sugara Brigadier General (R) Dato Paduka Hj Mohammad Yusof Abu Bakar told The Brunei Times after the draw ceremony at the NFABD House along Jalan Persidangan in Berakas that Indonesia's participation is one that is very exciting.
"Indonesia are a very important team in the tournament and one of the strongest team in ASEAN and we will always welcome them," said the vice president. "It is good to have all the countries competing in the tournament this year and in one way this showed the spirit of unity in ASEAN," he said.
Thailand were the only team missing from the last edition of the tournament in 2012. "We have consulted the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) for Indonesia to be included and they were very supportive of it," he added.
Indonesia was represented by Deputy Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei Pribadi Sutiono at the draw ceremony. "The decision to join the tournament was made by PSSI (The Football Association of Indonesia)," said Sutiono.
"There was an internal arrangement made two days ago by them, but from our side at the Indonesia embassy, we just received the news only yesterday," he said. The inclusion of Indonesia will affect the fixture of the August 9-23 regional Under-21 tournament. The tournament will now kick-off with three matches on August 8.
The Philippines are scheduled to play Laos at the Berakas Sports Complex at 8.15pm in Group A. Myanmar will go up against Thailand at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex at 8.15pm in the other Group A match while Malaysia take on Indonesia at the same venue at 4pm in Group B.
Hosts Brunei will start their campaign against Cambodia at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas on August 9 before playing Indonesia on August 11. They will go up against Singapore two days later on August 13 and face Vietnam on August 16. Brunei will end their group stage matches against Malaysia two days later.