Faiq Jefri Bolkiah to lead national team

|      James Kon      |

LED by team captain, Faiq Jefri Bolkiah, the Brunei Darussalam Under-21 team are looking to grab their first win in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) for ASEAN Youth Football Tournament 2018 when they face Timor Leste in the opening match at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium tomorrow.

Faiq Jefri Bolkiah, who plays for the reserve side of Premier League club Leicester City expressed confidence and hopes that his experience in the Premier League outfit can benefit the team.

“It’s good to be back in Brunei again. My last tournament for the country was the Southeast Asian Games and I had a bit of an injury. Now I am fully fit and I have been playing well for my club in England. I hope to take that here and play well for the team.”

Asked on his thoughts of the national team, he said, “I arrived on Wednesday, so I have only been with the team for a week. I heard the team has been working hard and training. The team is really getting together and playing well. Hopefully luck is on our side on Monday and get the win.

“I played against Timor Leste before and they are a strong team. If we play as a team and put what we’ve done in training into the game, I feel that we can have a good fight. It will be a good game so I hope Brunei supporters will come to support us.”

Team captain Faiq Jefri Bolkiah in a photo with other players. – JAMES KON

The selected players for the national youth team are Awangku Mohd Amirul Hakim bin Pengiran Haji Zulkarnain (GK), Md Ishyra Asmin bin Md Jabidi (GK), Abdul Mutalip bin Haji Muhammad (GK), Nazirrudin bin Haji Ismail (CAM/FW), Muhammad Razimie bin Ramlli (FW), Azim Izamuddin bin Haji Suhaimi (CM), Awangku Yura bin Pengiran Yunos (DMF/CB), Md Wafi bin Aminuddin (CB), Md Martin Haddy bin Haji Khallidden (CB), Md Haziq Kasyful Azim bin Hasimulabdillah (CB/CM), Muhammad Nazhan bin Zulkifle (CB/RB), Awangku Faezuddin bin Pengiran Mohd Haris (CM), Md Amin bin Sisa (CM), Abdul Hariz bin Herman (CM), Mohamad Adi Shukry bin Salleh (CM), Md Rahimin bin Abdul Ghani (RB/RM), Awangku Ammar Syafie bin Pengiran Hassanuddin (RB), Muhammad Abdul Syakir bin Haji Basri, Md Salleh @ Abdul Salam bin Emzah (LB), Mohd Nur Ikhmal bin Damit, Md Nur Asyraffahmi bin Nor Samri (ST) and Md Hanif Aiman bin Haji Adanan (ST).

Mario Rivera Campesino, Head Coach of the Brunei youth team said he is confident of his players and revealed that they have been adopting the Spanish methodology during training sessions.

“Brunei team is ready for the tournament and we hope to win all matches. We have been training for almost two months with the Spanish methodology, with more ball possession and passing game,” the Spaniard said.

“Our group is a hard group with Thailand and defending champions Myanmar. But for now my focus is on Timor Leste. They are a good team and they have good players. If we can win in the first match, our players will definitely gain more confidence to face Thailand and Myanmar.

“If we can pass the group stage, I am confident the team will be able to reach the final because the team will be more confident to face teams in the semi-final and final.”

He advised his players to put up a good fight for the country, keep their focus and give 100 per cent.