BY YEE CHUN LEONG
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - KWON Oh-son (pic) has been tasked with leading the national football team at next week’s AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Solidarity Cup 2016 in Kuching.
The seasoned South Korean coach will take over the duties of interim national coach Mike Wong Mun Heng for the Nov 2-15 tournament. The decision was made with the work load piling up for Wong, who is the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) technical director.
Wong will have to be around when FIFA officials visit the sultanate for a field inspection at the NFABD House in Berakas during the second week of next month, and he will also be attending a meeting in Kuala Lumpur a few days later.
“I’m basically just swapping places with Kwon,” said Wong in an interview with The Brunei Times on Tuesday.
“We looked at the coaches here and Kwon is the most experienced.
“He has been here and knows the boys. We needed a coach who knows the boys — which is important — and he knows the international exposure that we have.
“He is the best candidate at the present moment. The players going are more or less the same (as the team at the recently concluded ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2016 qualifiers which Wong coached), with two of them unable to play due to exams,” continued the Singaporean.
Kwon held his first two training sessions with the national team on Tuesday - excluding the professional players from DPMM FC.
The 57-year-old is no stranger to the national set-up, with his biggest achievement to date the 2012 Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy which he helped the national Under-21 football team claim for the first time.
He also led the national team at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 qualifiers in Myanmar, where they came close to qualifying for the tournament proper with two wins and two losses.
Born in Seoul, Kwon played for Seoul City FC and represented his country 11 times as a central defender from 1980-1983.
However, he missed his chance to represent Korea during the 1982 World Cup in Spain due to injury.
After his stint as a professional footballer from 1979-1983, Kwon retired from playing football the following year to pursue his coaching licenses.
Kwon eventually became the head coach of Seoul Metropolitan City FC for 13 years and was later appointed as a Korean Football Association Technical Committee member.
Brunei are placed in Group A together with Nepal and Timor Leste at the AFC Solidarity Cup 2016 while Sri Lanka, Macau, Mongolia and Laos make up Group B.
The sultanate will kick off against Timor Leste in the opener next Wednesday.
Brunei are the lowest-ranked team in their group in 192nd while Nepal and Timor Leste are in joint-186th.
Laos are the highest-ranked team in the competition at 175th followed by Sri Lanka (194), Macau (196) and Mongolia (202) in Group B.
The Wasps haven’t had much time to rest after returning from the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 qualifiers in Cambodia on Saturday.
They started out with a 2-1 win over Timor Leste on Oct 15 before falling 3-0 to Cambodia in the second match three days later.
The sultanate then put up a strong fight but were edged 4-3 by Laos in their final match on Friday.
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times