HBT opens tonight with teams preparing to cast their wild cards

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Waqiuddin Rajak

TABLES may be turned for this year’s Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) Championship, despite team managers and coaches fixing their eyes onto the defending champion Myanmar and the two-time title holder Thailand.

This year’s championship will see seven ASEAN countries participating in the tournament, with each of them registering new play cards yet to be revealed for the upcoming matches.

The media were brought in to a press conference with these competing teams, where team managers and coaches announced that this year’s tournament would not be an easy ride for them, despite having wild cards on their side.

Pictures: Waqiuddin Rajak

Eric Ong who manages the Singaporean team said that the tournament would not be an easy game even for teams in Group B; but his team is still committed to perform their best for the country.

Group B consists Singapore, Laos, and Cambodia, while Group A Myanmar, Thailand and Brunei as well as Timor Leste.

Most of these countries are looking at the HBT championship to measure capabilities of their players; and to decide whether to bring them into the upcoming ASEAN games and any other regional tournaments.

For some, including Thailand, such decision may depend on their sports authorities; with some of these countries reserving the A team for a far bigger tournament.

Despite that, all of the teams pledged to perform their best to bring home the prestigious Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy.

As the HBT opens at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium tonight, Brunei will be pitted against Timor Leste, whose coach, Gelasio Da Silva Carvalho is confident that his team can showcase a good game.

Timor Leste has been training its team and is thoroughly prepared to face any adversaries for this year’s HBT championship.

“We are playing to win, that is our target and that is how it should be,” he said.

The Bruneian