BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, September 16, 2011
DPMM FC are one step closer to a Singapore League (S-League) return.
Brunei's only professional football club exceeded all expectations by becoming the first foreign team to win a trophy in Singapore when they claimed the League Cup in their debut season in 2009 (pic, left), and had a shot at making it a double in the league with the FA Cup also offering another chance at silverware.
But Fifa's suspension on the Sultanate meant the club had to stop their campaign with five games to go, and their players had to settle for domestic competition ever since.
Fifa reversed its decision in May, and immediately, questions were asked whether DPMM FC would rejoin the league.
More questions arose when Vjeran Simunic was revealed to have penned a new contact last Thursday, the Croatian coach returning to the side he led to the League Cup success.
It only took a week for some of those questions to start getting answers.
Quoting an anonymous source, Singaporean online news portal Today Online yesterday reported that DPMM FC have submitted their application to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), with club manager Pg Waslimin PSJ Pg Hj Abd Momin confirming the news.
"We have already applied ... I think it was two days ago," he told The Brunei Times yesterday.
"I'm not sure when we will get a reply. So far I know another club, Sembawang United, have also applied to join (the league). There's no answer yet, maybe because the league is still ongoing. Maybe they want to know how many teams will be playing ... (The current) 12 or 14.
"They have a lot to think about," he said, adding that DPMM FC have only applied to join the S-League.
A point of contention before the club first joined the league in February 2009 was whether they could play home games, and Pg Waslimin admitted the topic had cropped up once again.
"I am not sure what the format will be like and whether we will be allowed to play home games," he said.
"I am not sure if we will still join if we can't play home games but that is what we have proposed.
"I read that Gombak United's chairman said that playing away was good experience for them, so maybe it will happen again," added the club manager.
Today Online talked to Gombak chairman John Yap and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC coach Richard Bok for the story, both agreeing that DPMM FC had an impact on the league despite playing for less than one season.
"They gave clubs a chance to experience a real away game with the hostile crowd in Brunei," said Yap.
"They were a credit to themselves and ... gave an added dimension to the league," added the chairman.
Bok, who guided the Warriors to the S-League title in 2009, said that DPMM FC were a force to contend with.
"They were challenging for the title when they were forced to pull out, and they were a good side that made the league more exciting," said Bok.
Today Online also contacted FAS deputy director of marketing and competitions, who didn't rule out a return for Brunei's most famous club.
"There has been a lot of talk about the league expanding and also new teams joining the S-League," said Ridzal Saat.
"We will take into consideration every aspect on how we can improve the league as a whole.
"One such area is our S-League online survey ... as we seek to gather feedback from fans in preparation for the 2012 season. If there are changes, we will update the public swiftly," he promised.
According to the report, the Malaysian Under-23 side are also set to join the S-League next season.The Brunei Times