It will be a historic first for hockey as Brunei is set to host its first men’s and women’s international matches against Singapore this weekend. While Brunei hosted the Women’s Asia Hockey Challenge in 2017, this is the first time both genders will play matches as part of an international fixture.
Brunei, whose men are ranked 88th in the FIH World Rankings and whose women are ranked 75th, are pushing hard to develop hockey at both elite and grass roots level.
Masnurfaiza Zaini, the Secretary General of the Brunei Darussalam Hockey Association says of the occasion: “We hope to inspire the younger generation to be more interested in hockey and see how Brunei has the potential to move forward internationally.”
Zaini adds that the national association is also seeking to develop the quality, performance and experience levels of officials working within the game. The long term goal is to develop the capacity to host more international events.
“We are still trying to improve ourselves in so many aspects, not only in terms of high performance but also to develop our grassroots programmes and technical officials development,” says the Secretary General.
“When we hosted Women’s Hockey Challenge back in 2017, that was an eye opener to our potential to develop in so many aspects. We hope to host more international tournaments here in Brunei.”
Hockey is definitely a growing sport in the Asian country. Coaching and development work is being carried out in schools across the country, with taster sessions and follow up courses attracting plenty of young people into the sport.
And if a positive attitude can drive a sport forward then the future of hockey in Brunei is bright. There is no doubting the passion and enthusiasm of Zaini. “We truly believe Brunei hockey can get better with the support that we have. Grassroots development has been a major focus for our association for the past year, and we can see the increase in the number of quality players who one day will be part of our elite athletes’ programme.”
The first day of matches between Brunei men and women and Singapore on 17 January saw the Singapore men and women register wins. Both the teams will play again on Saturday 18 January.