BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Friday, January 27, 2012
Bruneians to start new S-League season against defending champions Tampines Rovers
DPMM FC will start their 2012 Singapore League (S-League) season with a mouthwatering clash against defending champions Tampines Rovers on Feb 9.
The tie which will mark the 2009 Singapore League Cup champions' return to the S-League after three years is one filled with poignancy but judging from past results also promise.
DPMM FC's players and officials will no doubt remember that their last competitive game was against the same opponents, a 2-2 draw on Sept 29, 2009. It would prove to be their final S-League match because of FIFA's now lifted suspension on the country; a move which meant Brunei's only professional football club were forced out of the league in their debut season despite just having four more games to play and briefly being in contention for the title.
The complete fixture list for 2012 as well as the venues for the 13-team S-League will only be released later this week.
The Feb 9 match was announced during last night's S-League season launch at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which, according to ESPN, featured a fixture draw for the first time in the competition's 16-year history.
Representing DPMM FC at the draw was the club's vice-chairman YAM Pg Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pg Anak Hj Abdul Rahim.
With experienced players such as striker Aleksandar Duric, goalkeeper Hassan Sunny as well as midfielders Ahmad Latiff and Fahrudin Mustafic all who play for the Singapore national team it is easy to see why Tampines are a force to be reckoned with.
DPMM FC's first meeting with the Stags on April 3, 2009, ended in a 1-1 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore while the second on July 10, 2009, saw the hosts record a 2-1 win at the same venue.
The S-League is played in a triple round-robin format, where each team face the other three times and the champions crowned upon completion of the third round.
Speaking to The Brunei Times after the draw, club manager Pg Waslimin PSJ Pg Hj Abd Momin didn't think DPMM FC were handed a tough draw.
"So far ... I don't think it will be a problem despite them being champions," he said in a telephone interview.
"Also, we will have a chance to watch them in action before the game," said Pg Waslimin, referring to next Sunday's Charity Shield match between Tampines and Home United.
Tampines beat Home United to the 2011 S-League title by a single point and will have a chance to stamp their authority over the reigning RHB Singapore Cup champions in the season's S-League curtain-raiser.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) president Zainudin Nordin hoped the entry of the two foreign sides, DPMM FC and Harimau Muda (Malaysia's Under-23 national team), would attract a good response from the public.
"This fixture draw marks the start of the (season) which promises lots of excitement, especially with the two new teams, DPMM FC and Harimau Muda, which we hope will entice the fans to come down to the stadiums," Zainudin said at the season launch last night.
S-League CEO Lim Chin also said the new season was shaping up to be one for the history books.
"It is great to kick off the 2012 season with this inaugural fixture draw, and especially so with all the club chairmen present," Lim was quoted as saying on ESPN.
"Their presence today (Thursday) affirms their clubs' conviction in making the upcoming season one of the most eagerly anticipated ever."The Brunei Times