16 June 2016

Faiq eyes first int’l cap

Thursday, June 16, 2016

FAIQ Jefri Bolkiah is targeting his first international cap when the Wasps compete at the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Cambodia later this year.
The national football team will be pitted against hosts Cambodia, Timor Leste and Laos in the four-team round-robin event to be contested from Oct 13-22.
Only the winner will advance to the tournament proper co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines from Nov 19–Dec 17.
The 18-year-old Faiq, who signed for English Premier League champions Leicester City last month, has already represented the sultanate at both the Under-19 and Under-23 levels and is now looking to make the step up to the national team.
“It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to be called up for any tournaments for my country,” said Faiq in an interview with The Brunei Times.
“I have had talks lately about the Suzuki Cup and will do my best to try and compete in it for Brunei.
“Getting a call up for the national senior A team would be a first for me and would make me very proud.
“Every time I put on a Brunei shirt, it is a proud moment for me.
“I am very lucky to be playing for a club like LCFC who really push their youth to play for their international teams as they know how good the experience would be for the player,” he added.
“I had the privilege of playing in the SEA Games in Singapore last year, and not only was it a challenge physically because of all the matches in a short space of time, but it was also really tough mentally.
“I am very open to any international tournaments and games in the upcoming years.
“The SEA Games in Malaysia next year, which is always very exciting, will be a very hard tournament to compete in but I am very excited for the challenge,” continued Faiq.
NFABD (National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam) technical director Mike Wong Mun Heng said that preparations are already under way for Brunei’s AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying campaign.
“We have started training last October and have identified 40 over players, including professionals and amateurs,” said Wong recently.
“It is a process. Everybody wants to win and we have to take things in the right perspective on where we stand and what we can do.
“The president (NFABD president HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah) has been supportive of this. He knows our limitations and knows where we can move forward.
“We are not worried about tomorrow’s games. We are worried about the next 10 years and whether we can compete with the rest of Southeast Asia.
“We want to compete well in the next six to eight years because development is a long term process.
“There will be no short cut for us but we are looking to make the learning curve shorter. Plus, there will be no compromise on the quality of training,” continued the Singaporean.
When asked if there are any matches in store for the Wasps ahead of the qualifiers, Wong replied: “We are looking at organising friendly games but we must make sure countries are able to play.
“We will identify opponents that will help us in the qualifiers,” he concluded.
The country’s sole appearance at the main event came in 1996 when they competed in the inaugural edition.
Brunei, led by DPMM FC coach Steve Kean, ended the last qualifiers in 2014 without a single point to their name in Vientiane, Laos.
The Wasps started out with a 4-2 to loss at the hands of Timor Leste before falling to Laos by the same scoreline in the second match.
They dropped 3-1 to Myanmar before they ended their campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Cambodia.

The Brunei Times

DPMM FC fall to Tampines in seven-goal thriller

Sunday, June 12, 2016

DPMM FC came from behind thrice but it was not enough to see them slump to their sixth defeat in the Singapore League (S-League) after a 4-3 loss to Tampines Rovers FC last night.
Fazrul Nawaz, Jordan Webb, Billy Mehmet and Jermaine Pennant all got on the scoresheet for Tampines to give new coach Akbar Nawas a winning debut at the Jurong West Stadium in Singapore.
Rafael Ramazotti bagged a double while Azwan Ali Rahman netted the other for DPMM FC in a losing effort. The defending champions remain in sixth position in the nine-team table and are stuck on 18 points while the Stags are now on 25 points, seven adrift of leaders Albirex Niigata (S) FC.
According to the S-League Twitter feed, the first chance fell for Tampines in the third minute but Webb fired over from close range. The hosts got another chance in the 13th minute but Fabian Kwok’s shot from the edge of the box was tipped over by DPMM FC goalkeeper Wardun Yussof.
Another opportunity went begging three minutes later after Pennant put Fazrul through but he somehow put his effort wide.
DPMM FC found the back of the net in the 22nd minute after Brian McLean headed home a corner but the goal was ruled out.
Paulo Sergio placed a freekick on target four minutes later but his attempt was saved by Tampines custodian Joey Sim.
The Portuguese forward was on target again in the 29th minute but it was cleared by Yasir Hanapi.
Rafael Ramazotti drove a powerful shot from inside the box two minutes later but Sim was to his equal for a save.
Tampines broke the deadlock in the 37th minute after Web cut back for Fazrul to fire home from inside the six-yard box.
DPMM FC pulled level in the 43rd minute after Azwan Ali curled home a shot from just outside the six-yard box. The Stags regained the lead just before halftime after Webb headed home Pennant’s freekick.
Pennant made a good run down the middle six minutes before unleashing a shot from 20 yards out in the 51st minute only to watch it finish at the wrong side of the post.
The former Arsenal and Liverpool midfielder then had a freekick from the edge of the box tipped over by Wardun three minutes later.
DPMM FC equalised in the 57th minute after Ramazotti headed home Azwan Ali’s cross from the right.
Wardun came to the rescue of the Brunei side again two minutes later to deny Fazrul but the Stags regained the lead in the 63rd minute after Mehmet poked the ball home from two yards out to make it 3-2.
The match was all-square again seven minutes later after Sergio stole the ball off Afiq Yunos before Ramazotti fired past Sim from just inside the box.
Jufri was on target with a 30-yard volley in the 72nd minute but Wardun put up another stop.
The Stags got in front for the fourth and final time in the 79th minute after a quick one-two between Pennant and Hafiz to saw the former put the ball past an onrushing Wardun.
Over at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Home United FC came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against the Garena Young Lions (the Singapore national under-21 football team).
Ken Ilso netted a last gasp equaliser after a poor clearance by Young Lions goalkeeper Benjamin Bertrand.

The Brunei Times

03 June 2016

NFT pick up first win

Saturday, June 4, 2016

THE National Football Association Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Futsal Team (NFT) picked up their first win in the Takaful Brunei Futsal Super League 2016 after a hard-fought 3-1 triumph over Pegastar FT last night.
NFT are now on three points and move one spot up to ninth position in the 11-team table on better goal difference than 1st Five while Pegastar remain eighth with six points.
NFT, the Under-19 development side made up of players from the Tutong, Belait and Brunei-Muara districts, opened up a two-goal cushion with quick goals in the sixth minute at the Multipurpose Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
Muhd Wafiuddin did all the work to get past the Pegastar defence before setting up skipper Muqri Maidin to break the deadlock from close range.
The former then got at the end of a long throw from his goalkeeper before skipping past two Pegastar players to fire home to make it 2-0.
Pegastar cut the deficit in 17th minute after a good run by Ak Md Azizul down the left before firing the ball past the NFT custodian.
Pegastar carried the momentum forward into the second half and had several chances but couldn’t find the back of the net.
NFT held onto possession to wind down the clock with over five minutes to play to ensure less pressure in front of their goal.
The pressure was off NFT after Md Zul Fadli found the back of the net from close range in the 38th minute.
NFT couldn’t add more icing on the cake after missing two penalties in the final minute of the match.
NFT assistant coach Hj Syed Mohd Yaqub Shah Hj Syed Anayatullah Shah was glad to get into the win column after five matches.
“The level of both teams is almost the same,” said Hj Syed Mohd Yaqub Shah in an interview with The Brunei Times after the victory.
“The boys showed a lot of courage and gave it 200 per cent tonight (Friday night). They listened and followed the coaches’ instructions.
“We saw Pegastar’s previous game where they lost 18-2 to Kota Junior and worked our training around it.
“The team have only been training for a month now but it is good that our performance is improving after each game,” concluded the NFT assistant coach.
The earlier game saw Rizfiz FT edge Street United 3-2.
The competition will resume after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

The Brunei Times

Kean eyeing Singapore Cup

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

DPMM FC coach Steve Kean has set his sights on adding the Singapore Cup to the club’s collection of trophies.
The club start this year’s Singapore Cup campaign in September against the Philippines’ United Football League (UFL) reigning champions Ceres-La Salle FC in the quarter-finals after the Filipino outfit defeated the Young Lions (Singapore national Under-21 football team) 3-1 after extra time on Sunday night.

Kean, who already won the Singapore League Cup in 2014 and the Singapore League (S-League) last year, is hoping 2016 will be the year they lift the Singapore Cup after third place finishes in the previous two seasons.

“We feel as though this is a competition we have to do better in,” said Kean in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
“In the past few years we haven’t really done ourselves any justice in the Singapore Cup, so this is one (competition) we really want to do well in. We want to put a real big emphasis on taking care of this game and giving (Ceres) the respect they deserve.

“We really want to win this competition and it starts with a really tough game. You will come against tough competition if you want to win it,” added the Scotsman.

Kean knows what they are up against and likened the Filipino champions to current S-League leaders Albirex Niigata (S) FC.
Albirex won last year’s 18th edition of the Singapore Cup by beating Home United FC 2-1 in the championship decider.
The Japanese outfit also won the Singapore League Cup last season by defeating Balestier Khalsa 2-1.

“They (Ceres) are a good side as I’ve seen little bits of them. I have a friend who lives in Singapore and he was at the game (on Sunday), and he will give me a full detailed report on them. We have done our homework like we always do,” promised Kean.

“They are a technical side and have got a lot of pace. They try to keep the ball and maybe it will be a little bit like us playing against Albirex.

“They put a lot of emphasis on ball possession, and this is not a physical type of game compared to the other side of the (Singapore Cup) draw... It will be a technical high tempo possession based game,” added the former Blackburn Rovers manager.

The winner of the match will face either Tampines Rovers FC or another Filipino outfit Global FC.

DPMM FC are coming off a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Home United FC in the S-League – their heaviest defeat in the competition – at the Bishan Stadium on May 19.

Kean said that players are in high spirits during training and are looking to correct their mistakes quickly.

“We have trained the hardest since I have been at the club with 10 sessions last week,” said Kean.

“With a result like that, you want to get on the training ground as often as you can and iron out the problems in the game – and there were a lot.

“The number of shots coming to our goalkeeper is far too many. It starts from our first attacker and gets back to what we did more than any other team last year.

“From the front we made it difficult for the ball to get to midfield and never to the back four. We need to get that back into our game.

“At the moment we are a nice footballing side and we need to once again become a horrible team to play against,” he concluded.

DPMM FC will resume their S-League campaign with a meeting against Tampines at the Jurong West Stadium in Singapore on June 11.

The reigning champions are currently fifth in the nine-team table with 18 points, tied with both Geylang International FC and Hougang United FC.

Albirex are at the summit with 29 points and have a seven-point lead over the Stags. Home United are now third just a further point behind.




The Brunei Times

27 May 2016

Tabuan A still on top after win against Rimba Star

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TABUAN A defeated Rimba Star FC 2-1 in the National Under-16 Youth League at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex on Sunday to remain at the top of the table.
Mohammad Syazwan and Hafizul Razi’s goals in the first half helped Tabuan A remain at the summit of the 10-team league table with 19 points.
Projek Ikan Pusu (PIP), who defeated Tabuan Muda B 1-0 at the same venue on Sunday, are currently in second place with 15 points after five wins and two defeats.
The other matches on Sunday saw Perda FC held to a 1-1 draw by Besa FC at the NFABD Artificial Turf along Jalan Pusat Persidangan in Berakas while Kasuka FC defeated Al Idrus Junior 1-0 at the Menglait Sports Complex.
The other match at the Menglait Football Field saw BTC Redstar salvage a point after 1-1 draw against Kilanas FC Junior.
The tournament continues on Friday with five more matches.
PIP will go up against Tabuan A at the NFABD Artificial Turf at 8am while Besa FC will play Al Idrus Junior at 9.30am at the same venue.
The Menglait Football Field will see Kasuka FC play Rimba Star FC at 8am and Perda FC meet BTC Redstar at 9.30am. The match at the Berakas Sports Complex will pit Kilanas FC Junior against Tabuan B.
Organised by National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) the league aims to provide youth the opportunity to gain experience at the national level as well as encourage local football clubs start youth development programmes.
The governing body for football in the country also hopes the league will provide a platform for local coaches and young referees to gain more experience and to encourage officials, coaches and players’ develop sportsmanship and fair play.

The Brunei Times

15 May 2016

DPMM FC grind out win over Hougang

Sunday, May 15, 2016

DPMM FC snapped their three-game winless streak in the Singapore League (S-League) with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Hougang United FC last night.
Paulo Sergio and Azwan Ali Rahman had given the reigning champions a two-goal cushion at halftime at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
Stipe Plazibat and Jozef Kaplan answered back for the Cheetahs in a span of five minutes after the break before substitute Shahrazen Said netted late on to secure the hosts their first win of the second round.
The result propels DPMM FC to third in the table with 18 points on a better goal difference from Home United FC, who have a game in hand, and Geylang International FC.
The Eagles picked up their third straight win in the other game last night after coming from behind for a 3-1 victory over 10-man Balestier Khalsa FC at the Toa Payoh Stadium in Singapore.
Hougang are now down to sixth position just a point back from the trio but also have a game in hand.
DPMM FC got off to a bright start with Sergio on target with a strike from inside the box just 35 seconds in but his attempt was saved by Hougang goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid.
Plazibat had a chance for Hougang in the second minute at the other end but poked his effort wide from inside the six-yard box.
The hosts grabbed the lead in the ninth minute after Azwan Ali delivered a cross from the right to the far post and was headed home by Sergio.
Rafael Ramazotti got at the end of an Azwan Salleh freekick on the right in the 15th minute but his header went just wide.
Hougang skipper Kaplan drove a low shot from the edge of the box three minutes later but it ended at the wrong side of the post.
The Cheetahs were temporarily down to 10 men after Plazibat was stretchered off in the 24th minute to treat an injury.
DPMM FC took full advantage of the situation and doubled their lead the next minute.
Sergio played a neat pass to send Azwan Ali through on goal and the latter blasted it past Khairulhin to make it 2-0.
The Brunei side continued to pour forward and got another opportunity in the 34th minute.
Sergio launched a freekick from 40 yards out into the box but Brian McLean couldn’t keep his header on target.
Sergio sent a cross from the left three minutes later but Ramazotti too couldn’t put it on target. DPMM FC had a good chance to add another to the scoresheet in the 42nd minute but Azwan Salleh’s effort from inside the box went straight to the Hougang custodian.
The reigning champions had back-to-back chances in the 51st minute with Azwan Salleh striking the post and Ramazotti’s header was saved by Khairulhin.
In turn, Hougang pulled one back four minutes later after Plazibat placed his freekick from 25 yards out into the bottom corner. Substitute Iqbal Hussain should have done better two minutes later but he blasted over from 12 yards out.
Khairulhin pulled off another stop to deny Sergio in the 58th minute but at the other end Kaplan squeezed past two markers before putting the ball past Wardun for his first goal of the season to equalise for Hougang.
DPMM FC coach Steve Kean made two attacking changes by sending on both Shahrazen and Md Hendra Azam Md Idris in the 64th minute for Azwan Ali and Azwan Salleh respectively.
The game could have gone either way but it was DPMM FC who went back in front in the 82nd minute with Sergio putting a good ball into the box from the right for Shahrazen to collect and fire past Khairulhin.
The Cheetahs should have equalised three minutes later but Plazibat headed the ball over from 10 yards out.
Hougang piled on the pressure and Kaplan tried to pick out Plazibat the next minute but McLean managed to intercept the pass to clear the danger.
DPMM FC could have killed off the game in the 88th minute with Sergio crossing from the right for Ramazotti but the Brazilian somehow missed from point blank range.
Hougang had one last effort in stoppage time after good build up play but M Anumanthan fired over to the relief of the home crowd.

The Brunei Times

05 May 2016

Kean wants a clean sheet

Thursday, May 5, 2016

DPMM FC coach Steve Kean wants his players to keep a clean sheet when they face Warriors FC in the Singapore League (S-League) today – their first away fixture in two months after six consecutive games at home.
It is now 10 games into the season and the defending champions have only managed one clean sheet so far – a 0-0 draw against Hougang United FC on March 4.
DPMM FC picked up their first win of their campaign after beating record nine-time S-League champions Warriors 3-1 at home on Feb 27.
In fact, Brunei’s only professional side has won five of the last seven meetings against Warriors - three of the wins coming in similar 3-1 scorelines.
However, DPMM FC have yet to win an away game this season.
Kean is confident that his side will find the back of the net at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore and believes they should get maximum points if they don’t concede.
“I know we will make chances. Hopefully the unit work we have done with the attacking side for the game will score,” said Kean after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium on Tuesday.
“First and foremost, I would like to come back with a clean sheet. If we do that, we should have all three points,” added the Scotsman.
DPMM FC are coming off back-to-back defeats for the first time this season after slumping to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Geylang International FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last Saturday – the first time the Eagles have gotten the better of the Brunei side on their home ground.
The result – their fourth loss of the season – sees them lie fifth in the nine-team table with 14 points.
Kean is unfazed by the current situation and believes they will be able to bounce back.
“We know we are a good team. Good teams go though different phases at different times of the season,” said Kean.
“I would be much more worried if we weren’t creating chances and didn’t have control of the games. We have got those two elements right. We just need to make sure around the box we are more ruthless, and we are desperate for some clean sheets.
“We have shown that we had some difficult periods already this season (and) we have put some good results together.
“The disappointing thing is that from the last game is the late goal… to get a wicked deflection near the end was disappointing.
“But if you analyse the game like we always do, we created enough chances to win three games,” added the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
DPMM FC haven’t had problems creating chances but their conversion rate has come back to haunt them in games.
Kean is set to make some changes and hopes that it will help improve their game up front at goal.
“What I’m going to do the next couple of games is to change the shape a little bit. I feel as though we need a different spark up front and maybe just change the angles of the attacking unit a little bit,” said Kean.
DPMM FC have the upper hand in the battle against Warriors, having won 10 of the 17 games played against each other.
Warriors are seventh in the table with nine points from nine games after picking up just one win in their last five games.
With first-choice goalkeeper Yazid Yasin suspended after being sent off against Tampines Rovers FC in their 4-2 loss last Saturday, back-up goalkeeper Zainol Gulam is expected to make his first-ever S-league start - as reported in FourFourTwo Singapore magazine.
DPMM FC forward Paulo Sergio currently leads the league in assists with five, and Japanese centre-back Kento Fukuda will be charged with marking the Portuguese.
In attack, Warriors have a potent striker in Jonathan Behe - the Frenchman currently second in the S-League goal scoring charts with seven goals.
The team are in a renewal process after ditching all the foreign players who helped them win the S-League title in 2014.
Marin Vidosevic, Miroslav Pejic, Kevin McCann and Tom Beattie have all been shown the door, as has Argentine striker Nicolas Velez - who left half-way through last season to play in the Indian Super League.
After scoring 29 goals in a memorable one and a half seasons with the club, 2014 S-League Young Player of the Year Velez proved that he is no flash in the pan after moving from India to Croatia - where he now plays for first division side Hajduk Split.
The loss of Fazrul Nawaz and Daniel Bennett could also come back to haunt the Warriors.
Fazrul Nawaz, who was the top-scoring Singaporean in the league last season, is now at title rivals Tampines - and influential former captain and veteran Singapore international Bennett is now plying his trade at Geylang International FC.

The Brunei Times