Phil Younghusband ‘67
BRUNEI will play no part in this week’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup Group E qualifiers in Manila.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports yesterday confirmed with The Brunei Times that the Sultanate will not be at the four-team tournament at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, news which is sure to come as a disappointment to local football fans.
“Due to unavoidable circumstances, Brunei Darussalam is unable to participate in the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers scheduled to be held in the Philippines from March 22-26,” said the ministry’s permanent secretary Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar.
Brunei were set to face hosts Philippines in their first match on Friday, taking on Turkmenistan on Sunday before ending with Cambodia next Tuesday.
Twenty teams were slated to compete the in four-team, five-group qualifiers which are to be hosted in venues across the region.
The group winners and two best second-placed finishers advance to the AFC Challenge Cup to be held in Maldives next year.
The AFC Challenge Cup is the counterpart of the Asian Cup and is a biennial event for emerging footballing countries in Asia.
The winners of the Challenge Cup North Korea in the last two instances automatically qualify for the next Asian Cup in 2015 in Australia.
The Brunei Times