Locals leave for Futsal Championship in Vietnam

BRUNEI will take it “one game at a time” at this week’s Asean Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Championship in Vietnam.

The national team left for Vietnam yesterday and they kick-start the tournament when they take on Myanmar in the competition’s first game tomorrow.

Drawn in Group A, Brunei – whose best record is their three fourth-place finishes in the inaugural edition in 2001, 2005 and 2008 – then face Indonesia on Friday, host Vietnam on Sunday and the Philippines on Monday.

“We will be up against some strong teams… Of course, we want to qualify for the semi-finals – but we must take this tournament one game at a time,” said national futsal coach Hj Md Yunos Hj Md Yusof.

“We started training with 45 players in August and they were made up of players from the Brunei Futsal League (BFL) and the national Under-20 futsal team which competed in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-20 Futsal Championship in Bangkok in May.

NFABD Acting General Secretary Roslin Suhailee (R) talking to the national futsal team at the Brunei International Airport before their departure to Vietnam to compete in the AFF Futsal Championship. – NFABD

“That number was cut to 25 in September, and we have been focussing on improving their technical qualities and defensive game during that time,” said Hj Md Yunos, a former national football team goalkeeper from 1984 to 1999.

According to a press release, this will be the 52-year-old’s sixth time taking charge of the national futsal team at the AFF Futsal Championship after stints in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2013 and 2014.

Thailand, who have won 12 of the 13 editions of the tournament, have been drawn in Group B with Malaysia, Timor Leste and Laos.

Thailand beat Myanmar 8-1 in the final of last year’s edition held in Bangkok.
The semi-finalists at the AFF Futsal Championship will qualify for next year’s AFC Futsal Championship.

Present at the Brunei International Airport to see the team off were National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Acting General Secretary Roslin Suhailee, NFABD Technical Director Yvon Avry and other NFABD officials and staff.