The Brunei Darussalam under-18 national team and coaches in a group photo on arrival at the Brunei International Airport. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS
BY Fadhil Yunus
Brunei Darussalam’s under-18 Assistant Coach Muhd Edie Fakri Ajun bin Abdullah highlighted the team’s lack of exposure playing international matches following their stint in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Under-18 Youth Championship in Vietnam.
The young Wasps ended the group stage, which included Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Timor Leste and the Philippines, with five losses.
Brunei Darussalam’s Aisan Aizuddin bin Abdullah Aiman scored three goals during the AFF meet, which helped put him in the top 10 of goalscorers as of the final Group ‘B’ matches.
“In the first half, we were fine for the first 20 minutes. We managed to keep the ball but unfortunately our players could not cope with the high intensity and it was a very physical game by the Philippines team,” said Muhd Edie Fakri Ajun in an interview with the Bulletin on arrival from Ho Chi Minh City at the Brunei International Airport on Thursday.
The team were greeted upon arrival at the airport by senior officials from the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD).
Muhd Edie Fakri Ajun added, “We also lacked international exposure. Out of four games, we played well in two games but for the other two we were quite far in terms of quality and experience.”
The under-18 team’s next international assignment will be the Asian Football Confederation Under-19 qualifiers 2020 in early November. They have been grouped alongside Northern Mariana Islands, Thailand, Malaysia and designated hosts Cambodia.
Muhd Edie Fakri Ajun highlighted that it is a tough group, adding that Thailand and Malaysia are considered strong teams.
The national under-18 players will return to their club commitments in the NFABD Under-19 Youth League following international duty.
Brunei were beaten 7-2 by Timor Leste in their opening match with all of their opponents’ goals in the first half originating from counterattacks.
“During the first half, we played very well but in terms of tactics, we were too anxious. We know that our quality and that of Timor Leste weren’t that far,” shared Muhd Edie Fakri Ajun.
“However, our players, due to inexperience, were very anxious to attack and we decided to open up and play attacking football. As a result, they scored by counter-attacking.
“During the second half, we managed to get our spirit back, reorganised our defence and we managed to come back 3-2.”
The young Wasps were pushing for a point at that stage, but Timor Leste ensured victory with four goals in as many minutes.
Muhd Edie Fakri Ajun hoped the young players can learn from the experience when they play in more international tournaments.
He said, “They have to be strong mentally. International football is different from local football.”
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin