Andik Vermansah of Indonesia controls the ball against Brunei during the final of the 2012 edition of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy for ASEAN Youth Football Tournament. BT file
Indonesia will be sending their Under-19 team for next month's 5th Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) for ASEAN Youth Football Championship.
"We don't have much information from Jakarta but I heard that Indonesia will be sending their national Under-19 team with some players from the Under-21 team," said Deputy Ambassador of Indonesia to Brunei Pribadi Sutiono after the draw ceremony at the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) House along Jalan Persidangan in Berakas yesterday.
"I was told that the team is a good one and I am looking forward to the tournament," he said. "I think we are in a very challenging group but the countries in the other group (Group A) are just as strong... there are a lot of good teams." Brunei are in Group B alongside Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and now Indonesia.
Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor Leste and two-time champions Thailand are in Group A. "We have always competed in this tournament since the beginning in 2002. We were champions at that time and that showed how important the tournament is to us," said the deputy ambassador. "This is a very good tournament and a very good one for the Indonesians living here," he said.
In a previous report by The Brunei Times, national coach Kwon Oh-son said that Thailand and Myanmar are the top contenders in the tournament. "Both groups are very tough but I think it is a very good draw for Brunei," said Kwon. "Vietnam and Singapore are strong and we have not heard much from Cambodia, but they can be a surprise too," he said.
"I see Thailand and Myanmar as the top contenders in this tournament and it is good that they are in the other group." That could have very well changed with the inclusion of Indonesia - the finalist of the last edition of the tournament - in Brunei's group. Each country will be able to field five overage players, and DPMM FC have agreed to lend striker Adi Said, midfielders Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris and Mohd Najib Hj Tarif to assist the national team.
The two others are centreback Reduan Hj Petara and goalkeeper Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof. All five players laced up for Brunei during the last edition as well. Only three countries: Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei, have won the tournament since its introduction in 2002.
Brunei beat Indonesia 2-0 to win the last edition of the tournament in 2012. Thailand, who sat out of the competition two years ago, won the tournament back in 2007 after beating Myanmar 5-4 on penalties. Thailand beat Myanmar to win the 2005 edition while Indonesia won the inaugural competition in 2002.