29 May 2012

Brunei U-14 team ready for Asian Festival of Football

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BRUNEI aren't putting any pressure on themselves at this week's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Festival of Football in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

A team of 22 footballers and five officials left for the May 30-June 3 event yesterday, and although they have only been training twice a week for two months, they have promised to give their best in the tournament.

"Of course everyone wants to be champions," pointed out team manager Pg Hj Zulkarnain Pg Hj Md Noor.

"But we'll see how the first match goes ... And from there we'll know our players' capabilities," he said, adding that he didn't know which group Brunei would be in as the draw was yet to be made.

The seventh edition of the event is set to attract more than 350 players from 12 countries all 10 ASEAN member nations plus Timor Leste and Australia.

The Sabah Times reported that the festival is divided into two phases; the first a series of coaching, refereeing and physiotherapist courses and workshops which started on May 21 while the second is the tournament proper.

The trip is the fourth that the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) has sent a team to, and more significantly, it represents the youngest side the country has sent out in recent memory.

Brunei are no strangers to the competition though, and many will still remember the country's campaign in 2008 as the year the Sultanate made its mark in the tournament.

It was only four years ago that the country went undefeated in eight matches, leaving the Sabah capital as the only team in the competition not to lose a single game.

Returning to a hero's welcome, probably the most impressive of their five wins was their 3-2 result over regional powerhouse Indonesia.

The majority of this year's team are made up of players from the Sports School, with the remaining coming from the Department of Youth and Sports' football scheme.

It made the job of choosing players a whole lot easier, starting out with 40 and whittling the number down to the current 22.

Speaking to the team before their departure, NFABD general-secretary Mohd Noor Hj Abdullah reminded the players of the trip's potential to open doors in the future.

"This could be the first step in becoming a national footballer," he said.

"Show us your quality ... There will be many chances like this to represent the country again.

"Be committed, disciplined and work hard and always remember to take care of Brunei's good name.

"Your parents are proud of you too so don't disappoint them."

The Brunei Times

24 May 2012

DPMM FC part with Gral

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
DPMM FC yesterday officially announced they have released injured Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral.

Though the news was posted up on their website last week, it was only yesterday that DPMM FC manager Ali Hj Momin confirmed that the 35-year-old is no longer a part of the club.

One of the three new imports the Singapore League (S-League) leaders signed at the beginning of the season, Gral who left the Sultanate yesterday looked to have started his DPMM FC career with a bang after scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win over Chiang Rai United FC in the team's only pre-season friendly in February and celebrated by taking out a Brunei flag from his shin pad and displaying it to the approving crowd.

But a lingering knee injury and the fact that he never really properly linked up with fellow strikers Shahrazen Said and Osman Basiru meant the former Jubilo Iwata and Yokohama Marinos star's time with Brunei's only professional club eventually stuttered out.

That is not to say he has not contributed to the team's league high 29-goals he scored the only strike in their 1-1 draw against Harimau Muda (Malaysian Under-23 team), netted a brace in the 3-0 win over Woodlands Wellington FC and bagged the winner in the 2-1 result over Albirex Niigata (S) FC.

His pedigree speaks for himself, starting his playing career with Ronaldinho in the Gremio youth team in the 1990s and playing for his country at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

Understandably, Ali had mixed emotions about Gral's departure.

"It's quite a loss for us the whole of S-League knows about him ... as an important import," he said, adding that the decision to terminate his contract was made by both parties.

The club is set to offer trials to six strikers starting on Friday; Brazilian Patrick Da Silva, Nigerian Sibi Gwar, Ghanian Yakubu Mohammed, Tunisian Abdelmajid Belgacem, Malian Ousmane Goita and Devon Jorsling from Trinidad & Tobago.

But they know they will have their work cut out for them as DPMM FC coach Vjeran Simunic has always maintained that any foreign signings will need to not only impress the Croatian but also his players.

Ali said that the S-League transfer window will be open for a week next month but stressed that picking a player by then is no easy task.

"It's going to be tough because it's not easy to get the players to adapt," said the 1999 Malaysia Cup winner.

At least Ali can be thankful that the S-League is in the middle of a break now, with the team's next game only on June 16 against Tampines Rovers FC at the Clementi Stadium in Singapore.

The Brunei Times

20 May 2012

Only a win will do for Jerudong FC

Sunday, May 20, 2012
JERUDONG FC will not settle for anything other than a win ahead of the DST National Football League Group B table top clash against QAF FC today at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas today at 4.15pm.

Jerudong FC manager Hj Jalaludin Hj Ghazali is aware that a point is enough to secure the top spot in the group, but the 47-year-old insists his side will be going all out for the win.

"We want to win the game, we are now level with QAF on points but we have the advantage on goal difference," he said.

"I want to keep the 100 per cent record by winning all the matches in the group.

"I know that a draw would be enough for us to win the group but I do not want that. I want my players to go all out and win the game," said Hj Jalaludin.

"We have been preparing for this match. We all know that QAF FC is one of the best teams in the league. They have a very good team and record in the history of Brunei football but we are confident ahead of this match," he added.

Hj Jalaludin highlighted that the play of his midfielder Radzi Hj Tamat will be integral for today's match and confirmed that there will be changes in terms of tactics and formation ahead of the clash.

"Our midfielder Radzi is the key player in this game... and so are the rest of the players. There will be changes for tomorrow's game, in the midfield area," he told The Brunei Times.

Meanwhile Jerudong FC midfielder Hanafi Zulhelmi is cautious but confident ahead of the


"The training have been good so far. We have been training very hard and we will go out to win this game," he said.

"We have been focusing on our stamina and fitness in our training.

"They (QAF FC) have good strikers and wingers, we have got to strengthen our defence if we want to win the game," he added. Both teams, QAF FC and Jerudong FC have already qualified for the DST National Super League.

LLRC FT, Majra United, Kilanas FC and Najip FC have also confirmed their spots by topping their respective groups.

Group C's representatives in the league between MS ABDB, MS PDB and Indera FC can only be determined on the final day of the DST National League when MS PDB take on Sri Sentosa on June 2.

Indera SC currently top the group on 15 points followed by MS ABDB and MS PDB with 14 and 13 points respectively.-Ak Fauzi Pg SallehThe Brunei Times

DPMM FC's loss blessing in disguise?

Sunday, May 20, 2012
DPMM FC'S latest loss to Home United FC has left them with more time to focus on their main aim this season a Top-5 finish in the Singapore League (S-League).

Brunei's most dominant football club fell to their fourth loss in as many games to the Singapore Cup titleholders last Thursday, and the 1-0 first round (Round of 16) defeat means the Protectors have now established themselves as DPMM FC's bogey team.

But S-League table-toppers DPMM FC have already put the result behind them easy to do when they enjoy a five-point lead over second-place Home United and safe in the knowledge they have the best goal difference in the 13-team table.

They end the first round of 12 league games on top with 29 points from nine wins and two draws with the 1-0 loss against Home United on April 19 the only time they have failed to pick up a point in this season's S-League campaign.

"Now we must concentrate on the league," said Ivan Jerkovic yesterday, whose strong play in central midfield has been a big part of the team's success.

"There are just 12 games left (in the league) and we have to take it one game at a time and do our best.

"Against Home United, we had many chances but didn't take them. They scored from the chance they had but that's football," added the Croatian.

The team are set to enjoy a five-day break before training resumes next week, and with their next game only on June 15 against Tampines Rovers FC at the Clementi Stadium in Singapore the players cannot be faulted for wanting to put their legs up for a bit.

Though he welcomed the break, Jerkovic said that the team have to be going full-steam ahead once the second round starts.

"Now without a game for one month ... We have to continue where we left off," stated the midfield general, who was afraid the break would affect the team's momentum.

"When you stop, you have to start again ... Play the same way.

"All the teams know we are at the top and they like to beat us. Tampines, Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC, Home ... They're all hungry to win the title," he warned.

Agreeing that the team now have to focus on the league, Sairol Hj Sahri felt that the loss has given DPMM FC food for thought.

"We should use this as a lesson," said the left-back.

"I don't know why but ... we've played them four times and have never even drawn," he said, adding that DPMM FC have had no such problems against other S-League powerhouses such as SAF FC or Tampines.

Talking to Hj Muhd Subhi Abdilah Hj Bakir, it didn't take long for him to point out the lessons he learnt from Home United.

"They were just waiting for us," said the right-back.

"They played on the counter-attack. They usually play 4-4-2 but it was different ... They flooded more players in defence and midfield and just waited for us to make a mistake, and that one mistake cost us the game.

"We played well and followed coach's (Vjeran Simunic) strategies and we had a lot of chances, but we were probably unlucky.

"It was our game for 90 minutes I still think we were the better team."The Brunei Times

Over 60 teams for DST Brunei FA Cup

MORE than 60 teams are expected to participate in the first DST Brunei FA Cup next month.

Organised by the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), the competition will start on June 6.

"We expect more than 60 teams to participate in the tournament. We have more than 40 teams affiliated to NFABD and more than 60 teams have registered with NFABD," said chairman of the tournament Hj Mohd Taha Hj Mohd Tahir (pic) during an interview with The Brunei Times after a media conference at the NFABD House in Berakas yesterday.

"It is going to be interesting since there will be new teams as well as established teams battling for the FA Cup," added Hj Mohd Taha.

"Thirty-two teams, who are participating in the DST National Football League this year, will be playing in the FA Cup and teams will be drawn regardless of their positions in the league at the moment. New teams like Najip FC and Liverpool SC surprised us in the league this year, and it would be interesting to see how these new

DST Brunei FA Cup to start on June 6

"The draw for the tournament will be held on June 2 and InsyaAllah the tournament will start on June 6," he added.

"I would like to highlight that players who registered in the futsal tournament organised by the NFABD (the Red Bull NFABD Futsal Champions League 2012) are not allowed to play in the FA Cup the reason being that we would like to separate the futsal and football players in the country, especially those who registered in the tournament organised by the NFABD," he added.

The entry fee for the FA Cup is set at $150 per team.

Champions of the DST Brunei FA Cup 2012 will receive a challenge trophy, gold medals and a cash prize of $4,000. The runners-up, meanwhile, will receive a trophy and medals, along with a prize money of $3,000.

Each team can register no more than 25 players. Only players who are citizens or permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam are eligible to register for the competition.

Entry forms can be obtained at the NFABD House.

Interested parties can contact Hj Mohd Taha (pic) at 8747400 or the secretariat of the tournament at 2380047.

All entry forms together with registration fees should be submitted before May 30 at 5pm.The Brunei Times

17 May 2012

The Protectors should thank Lewis, God and somebody else who protected them

The head coaches of both teams in tonight’s RHB Singapore Cup first-round tie could not be any more different.
While the term soft-spoken and its accompanying similes could be used to describe the well-liked South Korean, the Croatian coach of DPMM has earned a reputation as someone who adopts a no-holds-barred approach and who does not mince his words.

This reputation was further affirmed as he took a sly dig at referee Sukhbir Singh as he felt that certain key refereeing decisions went against his team.
When quizzed on the performance of Lionel Lewis and especially his miraculous one-handed save from a point blank Ivan Jerkovic’s bicycle kick, the former NK Zagreb goalkeeper replied: “Before the game, I said that Lionel Lewis was the best goalkeeper in the country and tonight he showed that.”
However, rather than stopping there, he entertained the journalists by adding on with his own dose of wordplay wit.
“Lewis protected the team and tonight, the Protectors should thank Lewis, God and somebody else who protected them,” remarked Simunic.
When asked who he was specifically referring to, he replied: “I will not tell you who it is. You are free to think for yourself who I am referring to.”
This thinly-veiled criticism of the referee may not sit too well with the authorities but one cannot deny that the colourful Croat’s character has helped to add a bit of colour to post-match interviews which can often be a mundane affair. In fairness, rather than just criticising the referee, coach Simunic took time to praise the effort of his players.
He added: “I think my players played well, they created a lot of chances and because of that, I am a happy man tonight.”
When quizzed on his plans now that his team has been eliminated from the RHB Singapore Cup, he replied: “We will focus on winning the league. From now on, every team would want to beat DPMM and every game will be as intense as tonight.”
Meanwhile, for Home United’s Lee Lim Saeng, the victory came as a relief for the defending champions who were without four suspended key players.
“Tonight was very hard as we were without our four important players [Shi] Jia Yi, Shotaro Ihata, Frederic Mendy, Franklin [Anzite]. They will be back for the next round against SAFFC so we will prepare for the game with confidence,” came the verdict from the South Korean.
Despite underlining the importance of these suspended players for the next round, he was quick to praise his players for tonight’s performance. He commented: “My players did well tonight and especially my defence. We did not concede against the league’s best attack and that is something I am really happy about.”
Similarly to Simunic, coach Lee found time to criticise the referee.
“I don’t think that should be a red card. He was caught in a tangle [with Shahrazen Said] and he just wanted to free himself," he said of Masrezwan Masturi's sending-off.
"It is a disappointing decision.”

12 May 2012

Indera are Group C leaders

Saturday, May 12, 2012
INDERA SC put on a dominant display yesterday as they went on a 6-0 romp against Sri Sentosa in yesterday's DST National Football League at Berakas Sports Complex.

Hamizan Aziz Sulaiman, Md Nur Ikhwan Othman, Md Saifuddin Hj Abd Razak , Abdul Al-Wardi Abd Hamid and Abdul Mu'iz Sisa all found the net for Indera SC who currently sit on top of Group C.

Ironically enough it was an own goal in the fourth minute by Sri Sentosa's Ak Md Hapidz Pg Matalie that opened the flood gates for their opponents.

Hamizan would score Indera SC's second goal from close range after Sri Sentosa's defenders failed to clear the ball in the penalty area in the 25th minute.

The Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy winner Md Nur Ikhwan scored the third in the 38th minute, tapping the ball into the back of the net after a low cross from the left side of the field.

Indera SC was awarded a penalty kick in the 40th minute after Md Aqmal Hakeem Abd Hamid was brought down by Ak Mohammad Wafiy Pg Salleh inside the penalty box.

Md Saifuddin easily scored from the penalty to give Indera SC an unassailable 4-0 lead going into the second half.

The second half kicked off in similar fashion with Indera SC adding the fifth in the 62nd minute via an Abd Al-Wardi strike from just outside the penalty box to beat the Sri Sentosa goal keeper Ampuan Saiful Riza Ampuan Hj Said.

Abdul Mu'iz scored the final goal of the night for Indera SC in the 74th minute.

"Alhamdulilah we got our three points today. We came into this game knowing that if we win, we would be at the top of the table," said Indera SC manager Rosdin Hj Abd Aziz.

"The weather was very hot today but my boys played very well and their stamina level is good. We can see that the competition in Group C is very competitive and goal differences could make a difference at the end of the day.

"Now we are two points above MS PDB and MS ABDB are also not far behind. The only way we can guarantee a spot in the next round is to win our next game which is against IKLS," he added.

Other matches on the day saw Muara Vella FC held to a 2-2 draw by RBA FC while Kilanas FC beat Besa Fc 2-0.

The Brunei Times

DPMM FC down Balestier

Friday, May 11, 2012
DPMM FC came from a goal down to defeat Balestier Khalsa FC 3-1 in the Singapore League (S-League) last night at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

The match signified the midway point of the season for DPMM FC and they sit at the top of the 13-team standings with 29 points from 12 games.

Harimau Muda (Malaysia national Under-23 football team), who will only play on Sunday, are in second place with 23 points after 11 games.

Midfielder Ivan Jerkovic scored a brace for the Sultanate's only professional football club in the victory.

Park Kang-jin gave Balestier the lead through a long freekick after beating Wardun Yussof in between the DPMM FC sticks just before the break.

Jerkovic then equalised for DPMM FC in the 57th minute, also via a freekick.

DPMM FC got the lead through forward Osman Basiru in the 74th minute.

DPMM FC went on the counterattack and Basiru would receive a good pass from Azwan Saleh to find the back of the net.

Basiru was once again involved in the third goal for DPMM FC just before the final whistle.

The Ghanaian had penetrated the Balestier defence but his shot was parried away by Joey Sim.

However, it only got as far as Jerkovic who pounced on the rebound and slot home his second of the night to secure all three points for DPMM FC.

DPMM FC head coach, Vjeran Simunic, was ecstatic with the win, especially since they were playing away from home and that they put three goals past the best defensive team in the S-League.

Prior to the matchup, Balestier had only allowed seven goals in 11 matches while DPMM FC were the best offensive team with 26 goals.

"We needed a win because we have a difficult schedule for the second half of the season. The battle in the top-five is still close and it could still be anyone's to win," said Simunic in a phone interview with The Brunei Times after the win.

"We are not flying yet. We are still on the ground. My target was to get to the level that we were back in 2009 but I'm really happy that we have surpassed that," he added.

"Now we can enjoy being on top for at least the next month with the league taking a break," he continued.

Simunic also commented on his bench players being key to the team after Awangku Fakharazzi made his debut for the team at halftime for Brazilian forward Rodrigo Gral.

"He (Fakharazzi) did a great job. We have a lot of young players on the team and need our bench to be ready. We know that they need the playing time," explained the 57-year-old.

The Croatian mentor also hoped that the team can continue their form and not disappoint their fans.

Over at the Hougang Stadium, Hougang United fell to their sixth straight defeat after a 2-0 loss to Young Lions (Singapore national Under-23 football team).

Sherif El-Masri scored both goals for the winners in the sixth and 22nd minutes.

In the other match, Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAF FC) were held to a 2-2 draw against Geylang United FC at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium.

Mislav Karoglan gave SAF FC the lead in the 15th minute and Tatsuro Inui doubled their advantage with another goal in the 25th minute.

Mun Seung Man pulled one back for Geylang in the 31st minute and their equaliser was by Amy Recha in the 78th minute.

The Brunei Times

06 May 2012

DPMM FC singing in rain

Sunday, May 6, 2012
DPMM FC gave their fans something to cheer about in the pouring rain last night.

The Sultanate's only professional football club extended their lead at the top of the Singapore League (S-League) standings with a 5-1 demolition of Hougang United FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.

They now have 26 points from 11 games with Harimau Muda (the Malaysian national Under-23 team) in second place with 23 points.

Local boys Shahrazen Said and Azwan Saleh bagged a brace each in the victory. The former, who is the team's topscorer, took his tally to seven goals after the game.

DPMM FC enjoyed a lot of possession in the first half and were continuously on the attack. It finally paid off when Shahrazen broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 38th minute.

It started out with Hougang goalkeeper, Fadhil Salim, slipping on a goalkick gifting DPMM FC possession. The ensuing throw-in resulted in a cross from the left which beat the whole Hougang backline and allowed Shahrazen to easily head home from close range for the lead.

Set-piece specialist Azwan doubled the advantage just before halftime with a freekick from 45 metres out. His effort failed to meet anyone, but instead crossed the line to make it 2-0 at the break.

Hougang came out strong after the interval creating various chances. Mamadou Diallo had a good opportunity with a header, but was saved by Wardun Yussof in between the DPMM FC sticks.

However, the visitors were caught by surprise when Azwan struck again in the 54th minute with a long attempt that slipped under Fadhil to give DPMM FC a 3-0 cushion.

Brazilian forward Rodrigo Gral almost got his name on the scoresheet for DPMM FC in the 57th minute after curling a freekick over the wall, but it was dealt with by Fadhil.

Two minutes later Diallo struck a good freekick, but Azwan was at the right place at the right time to clear his effort off the line.

Shahrazen got his second of the night after Hougang failed to clear a corner allowing the DPMM FC hitman to easily slot it home from inside the box in the 65th minute.

DPMM FC were caught napping in the 74th minute and Diallo made them pay after receiving a good throughball from Jordan Webb to make it 4-1.

Diallo found the back of the net again two minutes later on a similar move, but was flagged for offside.

The fifth goal for the home side was courtesy of an own goal by Hougang captain Lau Meng Meng after he turned in a cross by Helmi Zambin in the 86th minute.

To add icing on the cake, Wardun saved a penalty by Webb in what was the last kick of the match.

DPMM FC head coach, Vjeran Simunic, was delighted and praised his players for the overwhelming performance.

"I'm happy that it was the locals that scored all the goals. This will show other countries that the country has got good players," said Simunic in an interview with The Brunei Times after the win.

"Everyone on the team is the man of the match. All played very good football and the whole team deserved it. We are already at the level where we were back in 2009, but the team are hungry and I know that we can be better," added the 57-year-old Croatian.

Simunic also had some words for fans who didn't turn up for the game. "People sitting at home should come over and support the team. It's like watching our very own Premier League here at the stadium instead of on TV."

Over at the Jurong West Stadium, the Singapore Armed Forces FC edged Gombak United FC 1-0 thanks to a goal by Shimpei Sakurada in the final minute.

A hat-trick by Frederic Mendy, meanwhile, secured Home United FC a 3-1 win over Woodlands Wellington at the Bishan Stadium.The Brunei Times