All systems are go for the Under-21 Men’s National Football team as they compete for the fifth edition of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) invitational tournament in Brunei.
The tournament, which was first launched in 2002, was the brainchild of Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaullah.
Eleven ASEAN-member U-21 national squads will go against each other to try and snatch the coveted title for the region’s premier U-21 tournament from August 8-23.
Although originally meant to showcase the younger football stars from the different participating countries, the HBT allows each country to call-up five members who are over 21 provided that only three would be fielded at the same time.
This year, the Philippine contingent, which will be coached by Australian football Hall of Famer James Fraser, is bannered by senior national team standouts Jason De Jong, OJ Porteria, Daisuke Sato, Amani Aguinaldo and Patrick Deyto.
The rest of the roster will be comprised of Luis Abadia, Mark Besana, Jaime Cheng, Julian Clarino, Kenshiro Daniels, Curt Dizon, Daniel Gadia, Andrew Liauw, Robert Reyes, Paolo Salenga, Patxi Santos, Kennedy Uzoka, and Ace Villanueva round up the 18-man roster for the squad.
The country’s U21 Azkals are set to compete in Group A, which houses, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Laos and two-time trophy winners Thailand.
Meanwhile, the hosts and defending champions Brunei is grouped with Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and 2002 HBT champs Indonesia.
The young Azkals will start their conquest to claim youth football supremacy on Friday, August 8 with a match against Laos at the Berakas Sports Complex in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
Source : Jaelle Nevin Reyes, Rappler.com