By Jake Ten, Sahrol Daud, Aziz Idris & Fadhil Yunus
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in acknowledgement of the exploits of a young Brunei football team that has lifted the spirits of the whole of Brunei Darussalam to heights never seen in the recent past, consented to watch the entire duration of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy For Asean Youth Football Tournament final last night and witnessed the young under-21 team achieve sporting history.
Brunei beat Indonesia 2-0 for the coveted crown 10 years after the biennial Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy was started in 2002.
Only a sporting success of this magnitude can bring a nation together. And it did last night.
What a sight it was, as each and every one in the country - be they in the stadium or outside or before giant screens beaming the match live to the thousands that couldn't get a ticket or at home - wore national pride on their sleeves and all they said in the night was - Brunei! Brunei! Brunei!
The feeling of one pervaded in the stadium and it certainly rubbed on the players who trooped out into the field after halftime a different breed. The Indonesians were no match to the magnificent Brunei 11.
Upon arrival, His Majesty was welcomed by the Minister of Culture, Youth & Sports, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth & Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Haji Othman, and members of the Executive Organising Committee of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy For Asean Youth Football Tournament 2012.
Accompanying His Majesty were HRH Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Zariah, HRH Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik, HRH Princess Hajah Masna and other members of the royal family.
HRH the Crown Prince presented tokens of appreciation to match officials of the historic match, and medals and a mock cheque for B$10,000 to members of the runner-up team of the HBT tournament.
His Majesty presented the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy and a B$20,000 mock cheque to the Brunei team to loud cheers from the crowd.
The Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy For Asean Youth Football Tournament, which began on February 25, was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports with cooperation from the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD).
A total of 10 teams participated in the tournament, comprising players from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Timor-Leste.
Among the objectives of the tournament was to realise His Majesty's titah to involve the best youth teams in the Asean region to compete in an Asean or Southeast Asian football league, whilst promoting the spirit of Asean sportsmanship to the world.
Aside from that, it was also meant to expose the youth to competition outside their home countries and providing networking among the participants from Asean and promoting cultural understanding among the Asean community.
- Borneo Bulletin
(10 March 2012)