Tri-Nations Cup 2011: QAF FC 'Bull-eh'


QAF FC 'B' (pic) insist they have nothing to fear heading into Sunday's Red Bull Tri-Nations Cup 2011.

A landmark futsal tournament, it is the first international competition that the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam's (NFABD) will be organising and it will pit Brunei's best futsal team against their Malaysian and Singaporean counterparts.

Representing Malaysia will be LTS FC, who were crowned champions of the recent Futsal 5 Grand Final in Kuala Lumpur after going on an unbeaten run in the event which saw 23 other finalists. A total of 320 teams took part in the seven qualifying legs around Malaysia, another worrying statistic for QAF FC 'B'.

Team B.A will be flying the flag for Singapore in the one-day tournament at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas, but Rahim Hj Daud is more concerned about the Malaysians.

"Among the three nations, I think Malaysia is the strongest," said the QAF FC 'B' manager yesterday, his team earning the right to represent the Sultanate after emerging as champions of the Red Bull-NFABD Futsal Championship in July. "But that doesn't mean they can beat us easily we will put up a fight!

"Based on the information given to me I know that the Malaysian team are the strongest because they emerged champions in the nation-wide tournament ... Thirteen (Malaysian) States, so they have more exposure than us.

"And as far as I know, they were unbeaten in the competition.

"When we won the Red Bull-NFABD Futsal Championship, that was only within the Brunei-Muara district.

"We don't know the styles of both teams but we are ready for them," he promised, adding that the team have been training for the past two months.

Sanctioned by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Red Bull Tri-Nations Cup 2011 which will offer a total prize money of $8,000 has got the green light from both the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and Football Association of Singapore (FAS).

Except for Md Hendra Azam Md Idris, who had been selected for the national Under-23 team, the QAF FC 'B' side are made up of the same players who played for them in their last three tournaments all of which ended with winners' medals.

The team's 2-1 penalty shootout win over Red Butterfly FC to clinch the Red Bull-NFABD Futsal Championship on July 30 was their third win in as many finals, all of which came in the span of two months.

They had earlier claimed the futsal championship held in conjunction with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 65th birthday celebrations and the Inter-Company futsal tournament, and their Red Bull-NFABD Futsal Championship title only cemented their dominance in the local futsal scene.

QAF FC, though, are more accomplished in football and Rahim hoped his players will be able to replicate their success on the pitch onto the court come Sunday.

"Our players have a lot of international experience in football (but) this will be our first international futsal experience," said the manager.

"For local (tournaments) we have no problem, and as you know, we have already won three events this year," he said, adding that futsal is more about individual skill.

The games will be played over two 20-minute halves and each team will meet each other once.

LTS FC and Team B.A are set to arrive tomorrow and will be present for the managers' meeting at NFABD's headquarters along Jalan Pusat Persidangan at 4pm.

The opening ceremony will be at 1pm on Sunday.

Admission is free and a lucky draw with lucrative prizes including a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, and return air tickets to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will be held. Freebies will also be given to the audience. The Brunei Times

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