30 December 2011

DPMM FC can finally get serious in friendly

Friday, December 30, 2011
DPMM FC will have a Thai test next month.

A statement on DPMM FC's official website said yesterday that Brunei's only professional football team will play a friendly at home against Thai Premier League team, Chiangrai United, on Jan 18.

Preparing for their return to the Singapore League (S-League), whose new season kicks off on Feb 9, DPMM FC have to be sure that their players have meaningful practice ahead of their season opener.

DPMM FC have started their pre-season preparations since October, but head coach Vjeran Simunic had told The Brunei Times that his team "need a tougher test .... one that can only be provided by foreign teams".

Seeking to get teams from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand to play here against DPMM FC, the Croatian said in order for his players to grow and improve they had to face more than just the local sides.

DPMM FC had played various friendly matches against the Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council (MS ABDB) and the U-23 national team, but Simunic wanted more.

He said: "Playing against local teams we wouldn't be able to see the real picture. If we win 8-0 against a local club it won't help us too much. But we do our best ... we practise and play various friendlies against each other."

He added that foreign teams, whose players are arguably fitter and more skillful, would provide better contest to DPMM FC and show where they really stood against other good sides.

Their January friendly opponents, Chiangrai United, were founded in 2009 and a year later won promotion to the Thai Premier League.

Coached by Stefano Cugurra, the Brazilian helped the team nicknamed The Fighting Beetles to win promotion by finishing third in the Thai Division 1.

Their star striker, Wasan Nathasan, is the Thai Premier League third top scorer, with 17 goals.

They also have four imports, with three hailing from Brazil, and the other from Romania.

Chiangrai United are currently ninth in the Thai Premier League, with 27 points, after 21 games played.

While waiting for the 'Samba test from Thailand', DPMM FC played a friendly game against the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) squad yesterday, defeating the national side 3-2.

Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak, the assistant coach of HBT team, spoke to The Brunei Times after yesterday's match:

"It was a good performance by the HBT team. We were able to get early goals, but we let DPMM FC score easy goals because of defensive errors, especially the penalty kick that enabled them to score their second goal."

He added: "We will continue to work hard in training to overcome the weaknesses. The players have started to play better as a unit."

DPMM FC were the first foreign side to win a football trophy in Singapore when they bagged the League Cup in 2009.

The Bruneians were also well in the hunt for the S-League title in 2009, until FIFA suspended the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (BAFA) and they were barred from completing the final five fixtures of the season.

But DPMM FC will return to the S-League next year to complete the 14-team roster.The Brunei Times

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