Exclusive interview: Prince Mateen shares experience of playing for Brunei alongside sister and cousin.
By Andrés Ugarte Larraín
The All Asia Cup 2016 continues in the VR Sports Club at Bangkok, Thailand. One of the highlights of the tournament is Brunei’s involvement. For many decades now, speaking of polo in Asia usually refers to this region where so many tournaments and exhibitions have been held, with the participation of the best players in the world.
One of the players of the Brunei team taking part in the All Asia Cup 2016 is HRH Prince Mateen (24), who spoke exclusively to PoloLine after one of his matches: “It is an honour to be representing Brunei in the All Asia Cup 2016, especially because I have the chance of playing alongside my sister, HRH Princess Azemah, and my cousin HRH Prince Bahar, so I am very happy.”
How long have you been playing polo?
I have been playing for a year and a half, nearly two, also alongside my sister. We are practically new at this, but we love it and I hope to carry on playing. My goal is to keep improving, step by step, and then to be able to play bigger tournaments. This Cup is a big step for us. The main objective is to continue improving.
How much time do you spend playing polo?
I am lucky enough to be able to play everyday. I play in London too; I am studying there, so I can play three or four times a week. We play all the time during the summer. And when we are home we play everyday, or as much as we can. The weather in Brunei is very good so we can play all year round. It can rain a bit at times, but the facilities we have are very good, so that also helps.
HRH Prince Mateen doesn’t stop: Not only has he been playing a lot of polo during the last two years, he has also been completing a Masters at SOAS University in London. “I play with Andrew Hine in England; we train with him and another group of people out there,” explains Brunei’s number 2.
Have you had the opportunity of playing with any high-goal players?
Last year I was able to play a series of tournaments in Brunei. Players like Pablo Mac Donough also took part; we played practices with him and Lucas Monteverde, too. I hope to get the chance of playing in Argentina in the future, but for the moment we are just playing in London and Brunei, and every tournament we can in Asia.
Do you admire a particular player?
When I started playing I kept an eye on Cambaiso; I watched all his videos – he is an amazing player. It would be great to have Cambiaso in Brunei. My father, Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, has also inspired me a lot.
Do you plan to play medium or high-goal polo in England soon?
I have to improve before I start thinking about playing the medium or high-goal in England. When I do, then I can aspire get my handicap up so as to play at that level.