Brunei leave for AFC Under-23 Championship Qualifiers
Sunday, July 16, 2017
THE national Under-23 football team left to compete in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Myanmar today.
The qualifiers comprise of 40 teams from across Asia divided into 10 groups, and the 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams will progress to next year’s AFC Under-23 Championship in China from January 9-27.
Brunei have been draw in Group F and will start their campaign in Yangon against Australia on Wednesday before facing hosts Myanmar on Friday and ending their tournament against Singapore on July 23.
The squad, coached by Kwon Oh-son, is made up of the same players who will be competing in next month’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur - and this will be their first international tournament playing as a team.
“We are taking these two tournaments (AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers and SEA Games) very seriously,” said the team’s manager Hj Madli Hj Mohd Yussof prior to their departure at the Brunei International Airport.
“The team has been training together since January and entered centralised training on March 1, and this will be a good test for them ahead of the SEA Games,” added Hj Madli, who is also the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam’s (NFABD) Acting Vice President.
The 22-player squad, who are accompanied by seven officials in Myanmar, will be cut to 20 for the SEA Games which runs from August 19-31.
Nine other countries are playing host to the qualifiers.
Japan won the last edition of the tournament after beating South Korea 3–2 in the final, with both teams and third-placed Iraq qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Present to send the team off was NFABD Acting General Secretary Pg Md Amirrizal Pg Hj Mahmud, NFABD officials and the team’s family and friends.