He is a popular figure in Brunei for leading the Sultanate’s only side participating in Singapore football competition. He is well known for winning two League Cup titles in his last two stint here inSingapore, and famously pushed Tampines Rovers all the way to the wire in the 2012 Great Eastern Yeo’s S-League season. Vejran Simunic’s achievements on Singapore soil have led to his recent appointment of the head Coach of the Brunei National football team.
Simunic’s first task will be in March, when he will lead his team for the up coming 2013 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in the Philippines. Simunic inherits the team from Kwon Oh-Sun whose last assignment with the team was in the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers. Kwon’s team finished fourth out of the five team qualification group.
Brunei are in Group E and they are accompanied by host Philippines, Turkmenistan and Cambodia. The winners from the five groups will be joined by two best second placed teams in the Finals to be held in Maldives.
When contacted by aXrosstheline.com, Simunic revealed that he will include all local players from the Brunei DPMM S-League’s squad for the upcoming qualifiers.
“The local players have done really well with me during the 2012 season,” Simunic remarked.
“Towards the end of last season, I was literally playing a team full of local born players and I think they have done a good job.”
“We went to Banda Aceh for a off season tournament and we did well with the same players against Selangor and Kelantan,” he added.
The 59-year old Croatian’s last involvement with the Brunei National team was way back in 2008. Despite a five year absence, he is raring to go again.
“I am very grateful that the Football Association appreciates my work,” he told aXrosstheline.com
“I am up for it, and so are my players. Its going to be tough (the qualifying group), but we will not be there to make up the numbers. Turkmenistan and Philippines are the favorites in the group but we will try to make things happen,” Simunic added.
Simunic also told aXrosstheline.com that he is currently preparing his team for the upcoming S-League season scheduled for 20 February. His team will be travelling to Vietnam for a pre-season training tour this week. They face Vietnamese outfit Dong Thap, TP Ho Chi Minh and Saigon Xuan Thanh.