Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, October 14, 2011
DPMM FC are closer than ever to making a return to the Singapore League (S-League).
The club revealed the good news yesterday telling the Press that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had given the team the green light to play in the S-League next season.
In a letter to the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), the confederation stated that the AFC had "no issues" with DPMM FC joining the S-League.
About a month ago, Singapore's online news portal Today quoted an anonymous source saying that DPMM FC had submitted their application to rejoin the S-League to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
Club manager Pg Waslimin PSJ Pg Hj Abd Momin then confirmed the news with The Brunei Times on Sept 15.
Currently in its 16th season, the Singapore's top-flight is scheduled to end on Nov 28 with the new season starting on Feb 12 with a dozen teams playing in three rounds.
Brunei's only professional football club exceeded all expectations by becoming the first foreign team to win a trophy in Singapore when they bagged the League Cup in their debut season in 2009.
They were also within range of making it a double in the league with the FA Cup but Fifa's suspension on the Sultanate meant that the club had their campaign ended with five games to go.
Fifa reversed its decision in May and Vjeran Simunic was revealed to have penned a new contact last month, the Croatian coach returning to the side he led to the League Cup success.
He has plenty of work to do in getting the team back up in shape with their last competitive game dating back to Sept 29, 2009 which is a 2-2 draw against S-League side Tampines Rovers FC.
With his vast experience Simunic, who was previously in charge of the side for 17 months until October 2009 when Fifa suspended the Sultanate, is slowly rebuilding the team and things have been progressing well at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
"My first job is to bring the local players to the level that they were two years ago. It is not easy since they haven't had any competitions (except for domestic tournaments) for two years," said Simunic in an interview during a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium yesterday.
"They are all very committed and making sacrifices to turn up for training. We're also working hard on improving on their fitness," he added.
"The only problem now is that we haven't got strong opponents to test the team. But we are looking forward to getting some tough games with the weeks to come," concluded the Croatian.
Local side MS ABDB (Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council) are the only team that have been playing friendly matches with DPMM FC so far.The Brunei Times