Brunei learn AFC Under-19 qualifiers opponents

BRUNEI Darussalam have learned their opponents for two regional age-group qualifiers.

The national Under-18 team, which will be competing in the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship qualifiers, will be up against hosts South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and Timor Leste during the October 31 to November 8 tournament.

The national Under-15 team, which will be playing in the AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers, were drawn to face North Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Macau during the September 16 to 24 event.

The venue of the qualifiers is yet to be decided.

The draw for the qualifiers ahead of the two biennial tournaments was made at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

In both qualifiers, the 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams will advance to the tournament proper along with the host country.

The top four teams in the AFC Under-19 Championship and the AFC Under-16 Championship will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup as AFC’s representatives.

The national Under-18 team, or Tabuan Muda A, is the same one which will be playing in this year’s DST Super League under the instruction of national coach Takao Fujiwara.

“All the teams in our group are almost at the same level, so I can’t say it was a good or bad draw. We will try our best,” said Fujiwara.

The national Under-15 team, or Tabuan A, is led by Stephen Ng and is currently leading the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Under-16 Youth League.

“We are preparing hard to produce good performances as good performances will yield good results,” said Ng.

Forty-five countries were in the Under-19 draw while the Under-16 draw attracted 43 AFC member associations.

Japan are the AFC Under-19 Championship titleholders, beating Saudi Arabia 5-3 on penalties in Bahrain.

Iraq won last year’s AFC Under-16 Championship after edging Iran 4-3 on penalties in India.