Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
HBT squad brace for Sabah test
Friday, August 1, 2014


The national Under-21 football team will be using tomorrow's crucial friendly against Sabah to gauge where they stand ahead of next week's Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT).

Defending champions Brunei kick off their title defence against Cambodia next Saturday, but the team admit there is still work to be done ahead of the regional Under-21 tournament - with tomorrow's match at the Balapan Track and Field at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex key in deciding a first-11.

Brunei meet the Malaysia Premier League side on Tuesday in the second of two friendlies, and team manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff knows exactly what he wants to see from his players in both games.

The team was boosted by the arrival of four DPMM FC players - striker Adi Said, midfielders Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris and Najib Hj Tarif and goalkeeper Azman Ilham Hj Md Nor - yesterday, and there is no doubt their performances will play a big part in determining just how far the hosts can progress in the tournament.

"I want to see good combinations between the players, especially with the four DPMM FC players who just joined today," said Hj Feisal last night when asked what he expected of tomorrow's friendly. "It's important the players communicate, have confidence and understand one another on the pitch. "We will know the right first-11 after the two matches.

"We were just working on it this morning and again in the afternoon, but we'll need two or three more days to get it sorted out," he added after the team's training session at the Sg Kebun Sports Complex. Though the team's back line remains unchanged with the arrival of the DPMM FC quartet, it is in the final third of the pitch that their impact will truly be felt in - with Adi the focus of the team's attacks.

After scoring in each of the five games he played in during the last HBT in 2012, including in the final, it was little surprise he ended up with the biennial tournament's Best Player award - and a recall for this year's squad as an overage player.

"I can see the players have improved in terms of ball possession, touches and moves - the only thing we need to work on is our finishing," continued Hj Feisal. "I'm hoping to see good understanding between the players, especially when it comes to finishing... and I'm looking to see how Adi can merge with the junior players," he added.

Despite Sabah playing in the second-tier Malaysian Premier League and finishing seventh last season, Hj Feisal said that they are a force to be reckoned with. "I'm very eager and anxious ahead of these two friendlies against Sabah," he said.

"Sabah are quite strong and they're coming with three imports, but I'm confident with our players' spirits."

Courtesy from Brunei Times