28 November 2011

Super Saturday for Brunei football

Azamri Zainal

Monday, November 28, 2011

THIRTY-TWO teams divided into four groups will be competing in Saturday's long-awaited DST-National Football League 2011/2012.

Organised by the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), a new format of play will be introduced whereby the winners and runners up of each group will gain automatic qualification to compete in the elite DST-National Super League, with the two best third-placed teams also gaining entry into the exclusive competition.

Each team will play each other once.

The opener at the Berakas Sports Complex at 8pm on Saturday will remain a mystery as NFABD will only conduct the draw after the opening ceremony which the association expects all 32 teams to attend.

The rest of the current registered teams, alongside the newly registered teams for the 2012/2013 season, will then be competing in the National League 1, National League 2, and National League 3 next year, according to a Press statement issued by NFABD yesterday.

According to Ali Hj Ismail, the chairman of NFABD competitions, the "new league format was modelled on the English football league system".

The English football system is made up of the Premier League the star at the top of the structure with its big-name clubs, players and managers and various lower tier leagues like the Coca-Cola Championships, League One, League Two and the Conference.

Another competition that will be introduced on the same date as the DST-National Super League which will tentatively start in April is the DST-FA Cup, which according to Ali is open to all local teams.

"The DST-FA Cup is open to any local team ... it is not restricted to any tiers of the league," Ali told The Brunei Times duringa recent interview.

"However, teams that wish to compete in the FA Cup must be registered under the NFABD," he added.

The DST-FA Cup will be played in a sudden-death format and at least 64 teams will be battling for glory.

Besides the Berakas Sports Complex, the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, Balapan Track & Field, Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas and Brunei Shell Recreation Club in Seria will also play host to the games.

A new rule introduced by NFABD will ensure that each team have at least one Under-23 player in their starting line-up, a regulation meant to scout for players who have the calibre to represent the country in age-level football competitions organised by the Asean Football Federation (AFF), Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Fifa (International Federation of Association Football).

The leagues will make it easier for NFABD to identify and select players to represent the country.

In addition to the encouraging news for football players and fans alike, NFABD will be awarding cash prizes for the champions, as well as trophies and medals.

Also introduced will be the Fair Play award, best player award, top scorer and the best goalkeeper award.

The NFABD also expresses its gratitude and appreciation to DST as the title sponsor and the Department of Youth and Sports under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.The Brunei Times

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