Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Young Wasps locked and loaded ahead of AFF Under-23 Championship in Cambodia

Fadhil Yunus

The Brunei Darussalam Under-23 national team continued their preparations in gearing up towards the upcoming Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-23 Championship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia starting next Monday.

The national team held a training session focussed on maintaining fitness led by Fitness Coach Matus Bozik and under the close watch of Head Coach Aminuddin bin Jumat along the surrounding areas of the Garden City Hotel last Wednesday.

The players – all of whom were confirmed negative after taking the PCR test – were put through their paces as they performed a series of dynamic warm-ups such as light jogs, arm circles, arms alternating and gate openers.

In ensuring players train safely, the team officials also imposed several procedures including sanitising common areas.

DPMM FC duo Wafi Aminuddin and Nur Asyraffahmi Norsamri are players with the most appearances in the official 26-member squad with seven caps each, with club teammate Hakeme Yazid bin Said and Kota Ranger’s Nazif Safwan Jaini considered among the more experienced.

Fitness Coach Matus Bozik leading the national Under-23 team during a fitness training session. PHOTO: FABD

Both Wafi and Nur Asyraffahmi had also been capped at senior level while Hakeme Yazid – who turned 19 three days ago – earned a national call-up during a training stint in March 2021.

The AFF Under-19 meet will mark Nur Asyraffahmi and Wafi’s third major tournament at under-23 level after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship Qualifiers in Hanoi, Vietnam and the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila, Philippines three years ago.

DPMM FC Under-18 youth Danisyh Syariee Masrazni is the youngest member in the team at the age of 17, who has a gap of over two months than his club teammate Md Nazry Aiman Azaman.

The Young Wasps will begin their campaign against hosts Cambodia at the Morodok Techo National Stadium on the opening day of the competition on Monday followed by an encounter against Timor Leste at the same venue three days later.

They will conclude their group stage against Philippines at the Prince Stadium on February 20.

The Cambodia assignment represents the Under-23 team’s debut appearance in the competition and their first foray internationally since the SEA Games in Manila, Philippines in late 2019.

The much-anticipated tournament will end the country’s long wait to feature in an international meet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, having previously been beset by the withdrawal of the under-23 team from the AFC Under-23 Asian Cup 2022 Qualifiers last October.