What's next for HBT's star?


SCORING in each of the five matches he played in, it is little surprise that Brunei striker Adi Said was named the best player of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT).

Brunei proved the pundits wrong by winning the Under-21 biennial tournament for the first time on Friday night, the hard-fought 2-0 result over Indonesia now arguably ranking as the nation's most prized sporting achievement.

It is the country's first major international football trophy and it probably wouldn't have been possible if not for the team's top scorer whose 75th minute goal against Indonesia gave Brunei a vital two-goal cushion.

Despite missing out on the top scorer award to Myanmar captain Kyaw Zayar Win, who finished with six goals, the 21-year-old Adi felt helping Brunei progress past the group stage for the first time was more important.

"My target ... The team's target ... was to reach the semis I didn't even think about winning this award," he said yesterday.

"I really want to thank God, my family, my teammates and all the coaching staff. All our hard work and training has paid off," he added.

Except for Brunei's final group stage game against Timor Leste, which Adi had to sit out due to suspension, he was on the scoresheet in every other match the Sultanate played in scoring a goal each against Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia in the group stage and finding the net during the 3-2 win against Myanmar in the semis.

Indonesia's Andik Vermansyah also finished the tournament with five goals to his name.

Adi was also in the spotlight during the last international tournament Brunei featured in.

Though they failed to progress past the group stage of November's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Jakarta, the striker marked himself out as the team's deadliest player after netting three of their five goals.

The former Majra FC hitman, who is also a target for Brunei's only professional club, DPMM FC, hoped the HBT victory would help further develop Brunei football and secure him a career playing the sport he loves.

"I hope the win will get Brunei football more support from the government," he said.

"I'm not working so for me, this is a chance to secure a future (in football).

"I'm not sure whether I will play for Majra or DPMM FC, I'm waiting on an answer from the clubs.

"(National coach) Kwon Oh-son has told me I can play in not only the Asean leagues but also in Asia ... And maybe even Europe," said the striker.

"God willing, if I get an offer ... I don't see any problem. I will follow my heart," he added.

Like Kwon, Brunei's team manager Hj Feisal Hj Eusoff is another one of Adi's many fans.

"The way Adi plays ... The opposition always respects him," said Hj Feisal after the final.

Only minutes before that, Indonesia's assistant coach Liestiadi Lo also praised Adi, saying that "Brunei's No 20 is a good player".

Adi is the younger brother of Shahrazen Said, the DPMM FC striker who finished joint top scorer during the Malaysian Super League (MSL) 2006/2007 season with 21 goals.

Shahrazen, who led DPMM FC in scoring during their debut S-League season in 2008/2009 with nine goals, felt his sibling deserves all the accolades coming his away.

"I didn't think he would win the award ... I'm very proud of him," beamed Shahrazen yesterday.

So is the rest of Brunei.

The Brunei Times

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