FFBD also looking at U-10, U-12 leagues
A NATIONAL Futsal League (NFL) will be one of three new leagues the Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD) intends to kick off this year.
Football's authority in the country is not taking its "newly-acquired" position lightly and to prove the point Sheikh Nordin Sheikh Mohamad yesterday explained the federation's plans for 2011 to The Brunei Times.
"In addition to the Brunei Premier League, it's time we set up an NFL. Various futsal tournaments have been organised in Brunei so it's time we have a proper league," said the FFBD secretary-general during the interview.
The FFBD's plan to set up the league is not new. Originally scheduled for late last year, the federation was forced to postpone it due to the uncertainty regarding its status as the nation's official governing body of football.
However, with the uncertainty now removed, the federation can proceed with its plan which is still in the preliminary stage.
"It's still in the early stage but the initial paperwork has already been done. We also need to secure a sponsor," said Sheikh Nordin.
"We have already asked our people to enquire about the availability of the Multipurpose Hall or the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas," he added.
Besides the venue, the FFBD has also sorted a timeframe for when the league will commence.
"It will be a three-month league and we are planning to hold it during the wet season of November or December, at the end of the year when most of the pitches are wet. It will work out if we start the Brunei Premier League (BPL) in March because then the BPL should be over before puasa (Ramadan).
"So after Hari Raya, we can start concentrating on the futsal league," said Sheikh Nordin.
Though the NFL is scheduled to take place in the BPL off-season, Sheikh Nordin wants the league to be considered as a separate entity and, thus, players are not allowed to play in both leagues.
"In my personal view, which is also shared by the other committee members, those who play in the NFL cannot play in the BPL. This is the only way to increase the number of players in the country and exposure, so we become more specialised. Of course, this is still subject to the participating teams," he said.
"In terms of logistic, say the futsal league was to clash with the BPL, then which one should take priority? By having this rule in place, then you don't have to worry about such a problem," added the FFBD secretary-general.
Since the finer details have not been outlined, Sheikh Nordin also said it was too early to put an estimate to the number of teams that would participate in the inaugural league.
"As for now I cannot confirm the number of teams to contest in the league yet. There has to be a selection process because there are a lot of futsal teams in the country. We already have a committee that will do this," said Sheikh Nordin.
The NFL is only the tip of the iceberg. The FFBD is also setting its sights on further expanding its development of grassroots football.
"It is important that we build up our grassroots football, to create interest among kids and improve their skills. We already have the Under-14 and U-16 national leagues and now we're starting to go into the U-10 and U-12 age groups. We want to start organising a proper league for them which will add to or complement their school tournaments in cooperation with the Department of Co-Curriculum Education (DCCE) of the Ministry of Education," said Sheikh Nordin.
"For example in South Korea, they already have a national league for the U-10 and U-12 age groups. This is something which we should aspire to follow. We have good relations with the DCCE so we should seize this opportunity as they have been very supportive, which is why we were able to use school venues for our age-group leagues," added the FFBD secretary-general.
If the proposed plans do bear fruit the FFBD will be looking at a very busy year, with the federation also set to host the U-14 National League, U-16 National League and the two tiers of the BPL.The Brunei Times ..