The national football team will be expected to make their debut appearance in the upcoming Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-23 Championship 2022 following an official draw ceremony in Singapore yesterday.
The young Wasps are poised to meet Cambodia, Timor Leste and Philippines in Group ‘A’ while Group B pit Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Laos. Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore complete Group C.
Teams were ranked based on the previous edition of the tournament in 2019.
The premier tournament for under-23 national teams in Southeast Asia will see Cambodia play host for the second consecutive time from February 14 to 26 next year. Matches will take centre stage at the Morodok Techno Stadium and Prince Stadium.
Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) President Pengiran Haji Matusin bin Pengiran Haji Matasan said, “As a member of AFF, it is obligatory to participate in this tournament.”
He added, “It was earlier informed to all members that this tournament is used as a warm-up and trial for Cambodia hosting the Southeast Asian Games.”
He said preparations had commenced and officials and players had been called up.
“However, with the current situation, it had thrown preparations into chaos to the extent that FABD had to withdraw from the Suzuki Cup.”
“While other teams are in full preparations, we are in a dilemma. We’ll keep trying to maximise whatever can be done.
He concluded, “We’ll do our best and we have to be realistic. Our players deserve more and let’s hope we can prepare and train properly.”
Meanwhile, AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said, “In just over a month from now, the AFF Under-23s will kick off and fans in our region will again be on their toes cheering on their favourite national under-23 teams.
He added, “We are all eagerly looking forward to this exciting competition that will feature the region’s future stars.”
The president highlighted that the AFF Under-23 Championship will be a permanent fixture in the competition calendar.
“This age-group competition will complement the existing programmes of the Southeast Asian teams and help them prepare for key competitions including the Olympics, Asian Games and SEA Games.”
AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth and AFF Vice President Dato’ Sri Francisco Kalbuadi Lay conducted the draw.