BSL duo receive first call-ups for national team

Fadhil Yunus

Kasuka FC forward Aisan Aizuddin bin Abdullah Aiman and Wijaya FC goalkeeper Awangku Ashraf bin Pengiran Haledi received their first call-ups for national team training at the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Football Field recently.

The Brunei Super League (BSL) rookies were delighted after the call-ups were confirmed by the coaches despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awangku Ashraf and Aisan Aizuddin were shortlisted as probable players in the provisional squad as the NFABD is assembling a national team.

“When one of the coaches told me about the call-up, I was surprised and proud because I can represent the country,” said Awangku Ashraf. “Alhamdulillah, my family, Wijaya FC teammates and coaches are proud of me,” he said.

Awangku Ashraf, who previously played for Cardiff Metropolitan University third team, received the news from a member of the Wijaya FC coaching team.

The Wijaya FC goalkeeper joined experienced shot-stopper Azman Ilham bin Haji Md Noor and the latter’s experiences of being involved in the previous batches of the national team benefited him.

Aisan Aizuddin bin Abdullah Aiman during a training session. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

“Experience plays a part especially training with the national team. Alhamdulillah, I get to learn a lot from Azman Ilham as well as coach Sabri (goalkeeping coach).”

Awangku Ashraf also said there is an increase in intensity in training with the national team compared to club level.

“The training is more intense when compared to club level. The intensity level is high and there is no time to relax.

“Hopefully I get to experience the next call-up so that I can improve myself.”

Awangku Ashraf made his Brunei Super League debut this season and has already caught the attention of the selectors.

“It is my first time playing in the Brunei league so I set a target for at least two years to get called up to the national team.

“There hasn’t been goalkeeper training because I was in the United Kingdom (UK) for some time. It has been a while since I’ve trained for an 11-a-side game as a goalkeeper.

Kasuka starlet Aisan Aizuddin has been promoted into the senior line-up after a series of performances for the lower age groups.

He was fast-tracked into the national set-up from the under-19 team where he played in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers and Asean Football Federation (AFF) tournament last year.

Aisan Aizuddin, who has started out with the under-14 national team, was at home when he received the call-up from his Kasuka coach.

“The Kasuka coach congratulated me. I found out that I was called up for the national team and it was quite unexpected,” said Aisan who received the call-up a night before the first training session.

On his experiences training with the national team, he said, “I was nervous at first, but I have to be confident.”

He said his inclusion allowed him to learn especially from those who have already played in the international level.