29 July 2012

DPMM FC aware of threat

Sunday, July 29, 2012
DPMM FC hope to repeat their 2009 championship run when they take on Tanjong Pagar United FC in their Singapore League Cup opener at the Queenstown Stadium in Singapore tonight.

But, coach Vjeran Simunic is not entertaining such thoughts that his side will be first to win the trophy for the second time.

He also believes Tanjong Pagar, who are 11th in the Singapore League and lost to DPMM FC 3-2 when they met in the league on April 13, are a potent attacking threat.

"Tanjong Pagar have a tall, strong striker in Haitian-American Gilbert Bayonne," the DPMM FC coach pointed out on Wednesday.

"Tayaka Kawanabe is one of their best players he has already scored six goals in the Singapore League (S-League) this season.

"Plus they have an experienced midfielder in Carlos Delgado, so they are a team that can surprise anybody," he added.

DPMM FC face eight-time S-League champions Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC in their second Group A game on Wednesday and Simunic is adamant the Warriors which they beat 5-4 on penalties to claim the 2009 League Cup will be a tough nut to crack. More recently, SAF beat DPMM FC 2-1 on June 23, handing Simunic's men their first home loss of the S-League season.

Despite their historic 2009 League Cup triumph, which was DPMM FC's only major international trophy and marked the first time a foreign side lifted the cup, Simunic had every reason to be cautious as they touched down in Singapore yesterday evening.

The Croatian has seen his side dismayingly surrender their early-season, headline-grabbing form over the past two months, last Saturday's 3-1 win over Geylang United FC breaking a three-game losing streak during which they scored only one goal in 270 minutes of play.

By then, Brunei's only professional club had dropped from the summit of the 13-team table to fourth though the result against Geylang did lift them up to third.

Except for Harimau Muda, all other S-League clubs will be competing in this year's League Cup.

Divided into four groups of three, the top two in each group will advance to the quarterfinals which will be contested in a straight knockout format.

The four teams finishing bottom of their groups will enter the Plate competition, consisting of the semifinals and a final, scheduled to be held just before the League Cup final itself on 11 August.

Tonight's other game will see the Young Lions take on Hougang United FC in Group C play.

The Brunei Times

22 July 2012

DPMM FC back on track

Sunday, July 22, 2012
- Da Silva brace powers DPMM FC over Geylang United

DPMM FC snapped a three-game losing streak and finally got back to winning ways.

The Sultanate's only professional football team defeated basement dwellers Geylang United 3-1 in the Singapore League (S-League) last night at the Bedok Stadium in Singapore.

In their first win in over two months, new signing Brazilian forward Patrick Roberto Daniel Da Silva notched a brace in what was his second appearance for the team.

It was a setback for DPMM FC before the start as hitman Shahrazen Said picked up an injury during warm up. His young brother Adi Said took over his place in the starting lineup.

Veteran Pg Sallehuddin Pg Hj Damit was also given the role of captain with the absence of Rosmin Hj Kamis who picked up his fourth yellow in the previous match.

It was Brunei who struck first via defender Tales Ricarte dos Santos who was suspended for the previous game against Albirex Niigata FC on Wednesday in the 30th minute.

With Adi Said and Hj Md Subhi Abdilah Hj Bakir wreaking havoc on the defence at the near post during a DPMM FC corner, Dos Santos was left free to shoot.

His first attempt was blocked by Geylang goalkeeper Mohamed Yazid Mohamed Yasin but he made no mistake with the rebound.

The scoreline remained the same with the start of the second half before Da Silva worked his magic in the span of three minutes.

After making little impact in his debut for the club on Wednesday, Da Silva netted his first goal for DPMM FC in the 51st minute.

He then gave DPMM FC a three-goal cushion after finding the back of the net almost right after the restart in the 53rd minute, in similar fashion to his first goal which started out from midfield.

Geylang managed to pull one back from the penalty spot through Stefan Milojevic in the 80th minute.

DPMM FC head coach Vjeran Simunic was relieved that they managed to notch all three points especially since they are eying a top-five finish by the end of the season.

"It was a long time since we tasted victory and we knew how important this game is. We would be in trouble if we lost," said Simunic in an interview with The Brunei Times after the win.

"Everyone played their role and did well. The two strikers (Osman Basiru and Da Silva) worked together really well tonight (Saturday night). Geylang had nothing to lose and they made it a tight battle," he said.

"We are finally in a good mood again and we are ready for the big battle till the end of the season," continued the Croatian.

The victory allowed DPMM FC to leapfrog Home United, who were held to a 1-1 draw against Hougang United FC at the Bishan Stadium last night, to third place.

S-League topscorer Frederic Mendy broke the deadlock for Home United in the 80th minute before Mamadou Diallo equalised for Hougang five minutes from the final whistle to share the spoils.

DPMM FC are currently on 32 points while Home United, who have played one game more, are on 31.The Brunei Times

21 July 2012

DPMM FC desperately seeking a league victory

Saturday, July 21, 2012
DPMM FC take on bottom of the table Geylang United FC in the Singapore League (S-League) tonight looking for their first win in two months.

Fans will have to go back to May 10 for the last time Brunei's most renowned football club were in the win column, beating Balestier Khalsa FC 3-1 as the S-League's first round drew to a close.

But their fortunes have suffered since then, and losing all four of their competitive games and scoring only one goal during that period, the team find themselves in uncharted territory.

Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S) FC is the latest in a string of uncharacteristically poor results for the team, who have now slipped to fourth in the S-League after leading the 13-team table for most of the season.

Their fifth win in a row, Albirex moved to the summit with the result which maintained a nine-match unbeaten streak for the Japanese though defending champions Tampines Rovers FC currently lead the standings after edging Tanjong Pagar United FC 2-1 last night.

Balestier move from seventh to fifth after beating Woodlands Wellington FC 2-0 in the night's other game.

Geylang are still reeling after their 7-3 defeat to Home United on Wednesday night, the team continuing their dismal record against the Protectors who beat them 7-1 in the first round on March 11.

DPMM FC beat Geylang 4-1 the last time the two teams met, with Tales Ricarte Dos Santos and Mohammad Helmi Zambin opening their account for the club at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas on March 16.

While they are usually in a confident mood heading into such an encounter, considering their recent run, tonight's match at the Bedok Stadium in Singapore is hardly three points in the bag for DPMM FC.

"This is football, anything can happen," warned left-back Sairol Hj Sahari yesterday.

"We don't take any game lightly ... We're always going out there to try our best

"Even though they are at the bottom of the league ... they also want to try and beat us.

"Also, tomorrow (Saturday) is the start of the fasting month, so we will have less energy. But that is not an excuse," he added.

Sairol and his teammates can at least be thankful that other results have been working to their advantage, with Friday night's 1-0 win for the Young Lions (Singapore Under-23 team) against Harimuda Muda (Malaysian Under-23 team) giving DPMM FC some breathing space.

Had the Malaysians won, they would have been equal on points with DPMM FC and only trailing on goal difference.

Tonight's other game will see Home United take on Hougang United FC at the Bishun Stadium in Singapore. Harimau Muda meet Albirex at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore tomorrow while the Young Lions face Singapore Armed Forces FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium.The Brunei Times

15 July 2012

Delson fires Lun Bawang into second round

Saturday, July 14, 2012
DELSON Jumat's rapid brace put Lun Bawang on their way to a 4-0 win over Persatuan Batang Mitus and a place in the second round of the Brunei FA Cup yesterday.

With Persatuan Batang Mitus still reeling after Eliazar Sabtu gave Lun Bawang a 38th minute lead, Delson doubled the team's cushion after a one-on-one with goalkeeper Farizan Salleh just seconds later.

The 20-year-old would put the Temburong-based side 3-0 up in the 42nd minute after stealing the ball on defence and once again cooly slotting home, making it three goals in the space of five minutes.

"One goal wasn't enough we needed more to seal the result," stressed Delson after the game at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

"I'm always confident I can score heading into every game, and as a striker, that is my aim," added Delson, who was forced out in the second-half due to a high boot to his face by a Persatuan Batang Mitus defender that was left unpunished.

Lun Bawang's through balls and one-two passing meant they easily carved open space be it down the middle or through the flanks.

Their persistent off-the-ball pressure helped them regain possession after losing it at times, Persatuan Batang Mitus were happy to just boot the ball away and hope for the best.

Idris Lupat created the first goal when his shot was parried away by Farizan after a run down the left, but only to the onrushing Eliazar - who confidently pounded the ball in from close range.

Persatuan Batang Mitus' back-line was caught napping seconds later when a ball over the top found Delson, who used his pace to beat his markers and stroke the ball into the net despite cries of offside.

Delson doubled his goal-tally after dispossessing left-back Res Ardi Angip and scoring with a low-strike past Farizan's right, with Idris making it 4-0 in the 78th minute after a textbook free-kick over the wall and into the top-left corner.

Liang Lumut Recreation Club Football Team (LLRC FT) also progressed into the second round after beating BIBD Sports and Recreational Club 4-1 yesterday in the last of first round action.

The second round is expected to start after Hari Raya.-Jason Thomas

The Brunei Times

12 July 2012

Brunei to kick off Suzuki Cup against Myanmar

Jason Thomas


Continued on Page A36

Thursday, July 12, 2012

BRUNEI will meet hosts Myanmar in their opening match of the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers on Oct 5.

The country's most important competition in years, the Oct 5-13 qualifiers will see five teams compete for two spots in the Nov 24-Dec 22 tournament proper which will be co-hosted by Malaysia and Thailand.

The Sultanate face Cambodia on Oct 9, Laos on Oct 11 and Timor Leste on Oct 13, all matches set to be played at the Youth Training Centre in Yangon.

Representing the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) at yesterday's draw in Bangkok was honorary president HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah and president Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Mohiddin.

The draw was also attended by His Royal Highness Sultan Hj Ahmad Shah, the president of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) who is also the president of the FA of Malaysia (FAM), Datuk Worawi Makudi, the president of the FA of Thailand (FAT), as well as other officials and dignitaries from the 11 member associations.

Though Brunei has been actively involved in international football since FIFA lifted its suspension on the Sultanate last May, the Suzuki Cup qualifiers will mark the first time the national team will be taking to the field since the 2010 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers held in Sri Lanka in May 2009 where they lost all three of their group stage games.

While Brunei saw action at last year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia and the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in March which they won as hosts, the former was an Under-23 competition and the latter an Under-21 tournament.

The Sultanate's last participation in the region's most prestigious tournament came in 2008, when they failed to advance to the main draw after being held to one win, one draw and two losses during the qualifiers in Cambodia.

Speaking to The Brunei Times after yesterday's draw, Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Rahman outlined just why the tournament holds such a special place in the hearts of football fans across the region.

"The Suzuki Cup is the biggest, largest and most competitive tournament in Asean and it's also the most watched," he said.

"The Euro is for Europe, the Suzuki Cup is for ASEAN.

"It doesn't matter to us that we play Myanmar first because this is a round-robin competition and we will be facing all the teams eventually," he added.

The 2008 edition saw Brunei field a team made up of DPMM FC players, who were held 1-1 to the Philippines in their opener.

A Shahrazen Said brace inspired Brunei to a 4-1 victory against Timor-Leste in their second game but they found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline when they met Laos in their third match.

In a do-or-die battle against hosts Cambodia, Brunei wasted a first half lead to go down 2-1 and Cambodia would grab the final ticket at the expense of Brunei.

Defending champions Malaysia have been drawn with runners-up Indonesia and Singapore in Group B while Group A pits Thailand against Vietnam and the Philippines.

The winners of the qualifiers will play in Group A while the runners-up will compete in Group B.

Malaysia beat Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate to clinch the last edition of the tournament in 2010, lifting the cup for the first time since the AFF-organised tournament was inaugurated in 1996.
The Brunei Times ..

09 July 2012

SUKMA/ Football Over and out for Brunei

Jason Thomas
Continued on Page A36
Monday, July 9, 2012
THREE matches, three draws, and the national Under-21 football team have been sent packing from the Malaysia Games (SUKMA) in Pahang, Malaysia.

Considering they lifted the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) in March by beating Indonesia 2-0 to claim the regional tournament for the first time, hopes were high that the team would at least progress past the group stage at SUKMA an Under-21 tournament for Malaysian States which Brunei is participating in as the only invitational side.

But despite fielding seven of the same first-11 players who tasted success at the HBT, the team have been unable to replicate the same kind of results which won them so much plaudits just four months ago, yesterday's 1-1 stalemate with Perlis leaving them at the

bottom of Group C table.

Though they were the only team in their group not to have lost a game, consecutive 1-1 draws with Kedah, Sabah, and now Perlis, also meant they were the only team not to have won a game. The Malaysian States all ended on four points from one win, one draw and one loss with Sabah and Perlis advancing due to goal difference.

Sabah topped the group after beating Perlis 2-1, but losing to Kedah 1-0. Kedah's shock 1-0 defeat to Perlis spelt the end of their campaign.

Unlike the previous two games, it was the Sultanate who took the lead yesterday when Azwan Ali Rahman's deflected free-kick put Brunei in front in the 20th minute. But a scramble in the box after a cross was put in from the left saw Perlis equalise in the 75th minute and book their berth at the expense of Brunei.

Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak blamed his team's poor finishing for yesterday's draw, and while the team's coach was eager to pick out several players who impressed, he was just as quick to pin-point others who did not rise to the occasion influential midfielder Azwan one of them.

"We had three chances to score before they equalised in the second half. We could have won if our finishing was better," said the noticeably deflated coach yesterday.

"Mohamad Taufiqillah Abdul Hamid rounded the goalkeeper, but didn't have an angle to shoot, and then Azwan led a 3-on-1 with players open to his right and left but he shot at the goalkeeper.

"Azwan had another chance but he blasted it (wide) ... I'm also disappointed with (midfielder) Muhammad Nurikhwan Othman and (defender) Mohd Azri Zahari they all just didn't perform.

"Overall I can't be happy with the results. We just maintained our game over the three matches.

"But I can say I am proud of our defence.

"They worked hard, especially the players not in the HBT squad; Ak Muhamad Dinie Hafizan Pg Azman, Muhammad Alif Mahdini and Mohammad Amirul Hamrey Mohd Norshane @ Mohd Saiful Aziz," he added during the interview.

The 1999 Malaysia Cup winner was also of the opinion that Azwan might not have performed due to the fact that key HBT players such as midfielders Md Najib Hj Tarif, Md Hendra Azam Md Idris and striker Adi Said were not in Pahang since they were over the age limit.

The trio were joined by defender Reduan Hj Petara as the team's four overage players at the HBT, the quartet called upon partly because of their experience at the international-level, most notably during last November's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Jakarta.

But it has become apparent that without the quartet and a home advantage which contributed greatly to the HBT win it is probably too early to celebrate this generation of footballers.

Though questions may be asked why the team were sent to SUKMA instead of the AFC Under-22 Asian Cup qualifiers which ended in Myanmar last week, the answer is there for all too see if they can't beat Malaysian States, then good luck going up against the likes of Japan and China.

The country's next assignment will be the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers the draw which will be held in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Brunei will join hosts Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Timor Leste in the Oct 5-13 round-robin competition for the two remaining spots in the tournament proper which is slated for Nov 24-Dec 22.

If the country does send its strongest team possible, chances are that the HBT win is the only thing that Brunei football will be remembered for in 2012.The Brunei Times