Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Brunei drops in FIFA rankings

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam’s national football team dropped three places to 191st in the latest men’s world rankings released recently by the world football governing body FIFA.

The national team’s new position came less than a week after a 3-2 defeat to rivals Laos in a friendly match at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane.

Brunei, previously ranked 188th last January, are ahead of European minnows Liechtenstein, Samoa, Djibouti and Cayman Islands.

However, they remain firmly behind Bhutan, Bangladesh, American Samoa and Cook Islands in the 211-member table.

The Wasps also move further behind fellow Asean Football Federation (AFF) rivals Laos by five places, having previously closed the gap to within just one spot.

In contrast, Laos’ successive victories over Mongolia and Brunei saw them rise two places to 185th, signifying the progress by newly-employed head coach Michael Weiss. The former Philippines coach had helped the transformation of the Million Elephants, who were previously reeling from an early elimination at the AFF Suzuki Cup last year.

Meanwhile in the continental rankings for member associations affiliated under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Brunei remain 42nd out of 46 ahead of Pakistan, Timor Leste, Sri Lanka and Guam.

The senior team returned to the international scene for the first time since the start of the pandemic for the friendly match with Laos.

The new-look Wasps welcomed a host of players who were promoted from the under-23 team including Hakeme Yazid bin Said, Alinur Rashimy Jufri, Mohammad Eddy Shahrol Izzat bin Haji Omar, Abdul Hariz Herman and Nazhan Zulkifle.

The five players made their senior international debut together with goalkeeper Ishyra Asmin bin Jabidi and Amirul Hakeem Kasim.

Brunei’s teenage sensation Hakeme Yazid, whose siblings Shahrazen and Adi feature in the list of all-time goal-scorers, opened his account for the national team with a stunning free-kick goal.

The DPMM FC star, who was part of an attacking side against Laos including forwards Razimie Ramlli and Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman, also scored in back-to-back ties during the AFF Under-23 Championship last February.