| Fadhil Yunus |
BRUNEI Darussalam national under-15 head coach Stephen Ng yesterday assured the team’s fans and supporters that they need not worry about a typhoon which is expected in Chinese Taipei.
The national team arrived in Chinese Taipei yesterday to compete in the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship qualifiers.
The team was supposed to play a friendly against Taipei Chelsea Academy ahead of their opener against Macau on Saturday, but it was cancelled because of the bad weather.
Ng, however, said the situation in Chinese Taipei is not as bad as it seems – with one report stating that “maximum sustained wind speeds of 137km/h and gusts of up to 173km/h” are expected.
“There is no need to worry as everything is normal here,” reassured Ng.
“According to the news here, the sky should clear up by Friday.
“News here reports that the typhoon has already changed direction towards Japan and will not be coming to Chinese Taipei… We will only get some rain and light wind.
“There is no rain now here and it is only the field facilities that have been closed – or we will be able to play. All match venues are now closed and we can only do internal matches among ourselves,” he added.
Drawn in Group F, Brunei face Macau in their opener on Saturday before taking on hosts Chinese Taipei next Monday. They meet North Korea next Wednesday and Hong Kong next Friday.
According to Ng, the qualifiers will go on as scheduled.
“The matches start on Saturday and AFC have not made any changes to the playing schedule – and according to them, there are no changes planned,” said Ng.
“We had a good training session today morning and we will continue our training tomorrow.”
The Under-15 team competed in the AFF Under-15 Championship in Thailand in July and picked up the country’s first-ever win in the tournament when beating Cambodia 2-0 – going on to pick up a record five points from five games.
In Chinese Taipei, they will be fighting for a berth in next year’s tournament proper (2018 AFC Under-16 Championship) in Malaysia.
The 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams from this week’s qualifiers will advance to the tournament along with the host country – Malaysia.
The top four teams from the 2018 AFC Under-16 Championship will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup as AFC’s representatives.