SEPANG: Brunei dare to dream.
The oil-rich sultanate have sent out an early warning to their rivals ahead of the men’s Under-23 football competition in the KL SEA Games.
Striker and skipper Faiq Bolkiah (pic), the nephew of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, has declared that they have a fighting chance of stealing a point from Malaysia in their opening Group A match at the Shah Alam Stadium tomorrow.
“I think we have a good chance to secure a point against Malaysia. I played against them last year. They are not a bad side, but I think we can get a point if we just concentrate game by game. We are going to do better this time.
“Our target is to qualify (for the semi-finals) first. To achieve that we’ll have to keep clean sheets and get a point from every game. That’s the goal I’m giving my team,” said Faiz on the team’s arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here yesterday.
That looks like a tall order as Brunei have never gone past the group stage in the Games. In Singapore 2015, Brunei lost all their five matches – scoring two goals and conceding 17. They were thrashed 6-0 by Vietnam and 5-0 by Thailand. They gave a better fight against Malaysia before losing 2-0. Faiz then scored one of their two goals in their 2-1 loss to Timor Leste. Brunei also lost 2-1 to Laos.
This time Brunei are in Group A with Malaysia, Singapore, Laos and Myanmar. Defending champions Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Timor Leste and Indonesia are in Group B.
The 19-year-old Faiz, who is attached with the reserve team of English Premier League side Leicester, feels that Brunei have improved a lot.