DPMM FC will be keeping a close eye on the DST Group Brunei Premier League (BPL) this season.
Brunei's only professional club have a remarkable 22 players playing in the BPL but that's not the main reason Norilham Hj Jais will be monitoring the league.
"Of course, we will be watching Premier I and II. It is good for us to scout young talent from other clubs," said the assistant coach yesterday.
"As for the DPMM FC players, I fully agree with them playing in the BPL as it will help them keep fit, maintain their rhythm and perform consistently," he added.
BPL I will kick-off on Monday while the first BPL II game will be on March 25. The BPL I will start earlier because it is played in a home and away format and there are more games.
Proceedings officially start on Saturday when two of the Sultanate's powerhouses, QAF FC and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council (MS ABDB), face each other in the Champions' Cup at the Berakas Sports Complex at 8.15pm. QAF won the BPL I and League Cup last season while MS ABDB booked their slot in the curtain-raiser by clinching the FA Cup.
QAF are the titleholders in the Champions' Cup after beating MS ABDB 2-0 in May 2009.
This season will mark the second year DPMM FC will have their players suiting up for various sides in the local league since their exit from the Singapore League in Oct 2009.
Indera Sports Club have the largest contingent with six players; the midfield quartet of Sairol Hj Sahri, Azwan Salleh, Helmi Zambin and Muhd Arif Hj Zulkifli joined by defenders Ak Shahruddin Pg Tajuddin and Muhd Afi Aminuddin.
Majra FC has a well-rounded list of four players Wardun Yussof in between the sticks, Yusof Salleh in defense, Ampuan Nurul Azmi Ampuan Hussin in the middle of the park and Adi Said up front.
AM Gunners FC and the Prisons Department each have three players.
Defenders Pg Sallehuddin Pg Hj Damit and Abdul Aziz Tamit will be joined by midfielder Hj Subhi Abdilah Hj Bakir in AM Gunners FC while the wardens have goalkeeper Azman Ilham, midfielder Muhd Maududi Hilmi Kasmi and striker Abu Bakar Mahari suiting up for them.
MS ABDB can field midfielder Rosmin Hj Kamis and defender Suhaimi Yusof, QAF have the services of midfield metronome Hardi Bujang while Wijaya FC can count on Shahrazen Hj Md Said Adi's older brother for the goals.
The joint top scorer during the 2006/2007 Malaysian Super League season with 21 goals, Shahrazen also led DPMM FC in scoring during their debut S-League season in 2008/2009 by finding the back of the net nine times and was crucial to the team's Singapore League Cup championship run in June 2009.
BPL II is also not left out in the equation, with midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman and striker Abd Al Wardi Abd Hamid playing for Brunei Youth Team (Under-16).
Though the players might don their new club jerseys on match days, Norilham made it clear that the black and red of DPMM FC were still their main colours.
"They are still under DPMM FC and they still train with us twice a week," said the handler.
"But at the same time they will be with their respective clubs for the league and will train with them as well," he added.
When asked about what would happen if DPMM FC required the players for matches Norilham stated that the BPL clubs would have to give leeway.
"In that respect, we have to reach a compromise with the respective cubs. At this moment, in the short-term, I don't see any (matches) happening," he said.
"But the players will come back. Definitely."
Other sides in the nine-team BPL I this season and the only ones not to have any DPMM FC players are Jerudong FC and Liang Lumut Recreation Club Football Team (LLRC FT).
LLRC FT and Prisons Department were promoted from BPL II after ending the season as champions and runners-up respectively. Both teams ended the season undefeated.
The nine confirmed teams in BPL II this year are Brunei Youth Team, Brunei Shell Football Team, Muara Vella FC, Perkasa, Lun Bawang, Kilanas FC, Menglait FC, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Football Team (BIBD FT) and DST Group Football Team.
Playoffs are currently being held in order to select a 10th side to join the fray.
The Brunei Times ..