Can Brunei’s junior football get back on its feet?

Brunei's Under- 19 team in action during a match held at Berakas Sports Complex. Picture:BT FIle

Thursday, October 3, 2013

BRUNEI junior football teams’ dismal performance during international tournaments have put the country under the spotlight.

Recently, the national under-19 team suffered a humiliating defeat in the ASEAN Football Federation Championship held in Indonesia.  Hosts Indonesia started their opening campaign by defeating Brunei 5 – 0. The junior football team were still reeling from the loss when they were thrashed 8 – 0 by Thailand.

The losses started accumulating, and the final nail in the coffin came when Brunei lost 6-1 to Vietnam in the Group B match.Even the Under-16 football team suffered humiliating defeats, especially the match against team Australia.

This is certainly a painful lesson for Brunei youth football, with many fans showing their despair at the team’s depressing performance on the field.

A reader lamented on the disastrous field performance, and asked: “Why did we even send a team in the first place? If it was compulsory then we should have at least be better prepared for such a tournament. There is no use for the youths to receive humiliating defeats such as the 19-0 demolition by Australia.”

A Brunei football fan saw the situation as ‘depressing’, and lamented: “It is such a waste of the country's resources if it is to send the teams only to have them defeated game after game. It not only dampens the young players' spirits, but it breaks them as they will not be taken seriously when met with other teams on the playing field. ”

Though there seems to be no end to the nightmare, Brunei’s junior football teams still have a lot of work to do after suffering such huge losses in their overseas matches. They especially need to focus on their training and direction.

The National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) needs to think long and hard of a game plan to succeed in time for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this December.

The ‘spirit’ of the game needs to be put back into the country’s youth football team, and hopefully, with the appointment of NFABD's new technical director and coach, Singaporean Mike Wong Mun Heng will help bring the teams back on its feet.

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