The national football team were encouraged to take inspiration from the FIFA World Cup 2022 underdogs stories ahead of their match against Thailand in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup on December 20.
Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) President Pengiran Haji Matusin bin Pengiran Haji Matasan drew attention to the string of shocking results produced by lower ranked teams during this year’s World Cup.
During the group stages, Asian minnows Saudi Arabia pulled off a major upset when they beat a Lionel Messi-led Argentina 2-1.
Japan stunned Germany and Spain; Tunisia registering a famous 1-0 victory over reigning world champions France; Cameroon edged world number one Brazil; South Korea netting a last-gasp winner over Portugal.
However, it was Morocco’s deep run into the semi-finals that earned widespread admiration among the wider football community, having beaten Spain and left global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in tears by knocking out Portugal.
Pengiran Haji Matusin said, “Our team should take heart from the performance of the underdogs and perform with confidence. I am sure the coach looks forward to a credible team performance.”
The national team will not be able to play in front of the home fans as their matches will be designated at the KLFA Stadium, with Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium currently undergoing refurbishment.
The president said, “It is highly regretted with sadness that we could not play home matches at home. However, this should not dampen our spirit to give the very best.”
He also urged the Bruneian community residing in Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh and Manila- where Brunei will be playing- to come out in full force to support the team.
Meanwhile, National Head Coach Mario Rivera Campesino – who guided Brunei to their first appearance in the main draw of the Asean meet since 1996 – echoed the president’s sentiment on local fans not being able to watch the team play on home ground.
He said, “It is a shame that we can’t play in our stadium in front of many Bruneians to enjoy an amazing environment.
“But our players will give their best and in attitude and passion, none of the teams will win over Brunei.”