23 October 2013

DPMM FC face Warriors tonight

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
VJERAN Simunic is not letting rumours of his replacement with ex-Blackburn Rovers FC manager Steve Kean get in the way of his job – or his 100th game for the club in Singapore.
The DPMM FC bench boss can look forward to the milestone when the club takes on Warriors FC in the Singapore League tonight, with the visitors in search for their fourth win in as many games.
The last time the team lost in the S-League was to Warriors, a 3-1 defeat in August, and tonight’s battle at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium in Singapore promises to be an enticing one between the two top teams in Tier 2 of the 12-team table, seventh placed DPMM FC and eighth placed Warriors.
Only two points separate the duo and the Warriors have a two-one win-loss advantage over DPMM FC over the course of this season.
However, the lead-up to tonight’s match has centered around the arrival of Kean, who it is understood will take over mid-November from the reigning S-League Coach of the Year.
The Croatian, though, is only focused on the task at hand.
“I’m a professional… If I think about these kind of things, I’ll never get a good result,” he said.
“Me, my players and the staff are focused on making the best possible result in this difficult moment for us. We are united until the end for this.
“I am only focused on the players and for them to continue their good form.
“I prefer not to think about anything except the game.
“The boys are playing really good and I think their current performances show there is a good connection between the coach and players,” added the former Bahrain national coach.
The connection of which he speaks of is one that has been forged over years of trust and travel, with Simunic first leading his team out in March 2008 when they were still in the Malaysian Super League and dropping a job in Vietnam to return to his “boys” as soon as he heard news that DPMM FC could return to the S-League after FIFA lifted its nearly two-year suspension on the Sultanate in 2011.
The FIFA suspension on the country in 2009 forced DPMM FC to abandon their inaugural S-League season despite having just five games to play, but the 2009 season was also largely remembered for the capture of the Singapore League Cup, a first by any foreign side.
They repeated the feat last year to become the most successful team in the competition’s history, and though they were unable to make it title number three after falling 4-0 to Balestier Khalsa FC in last month’s championship decider, they have gone on a run of three straight S-League wins since.
The journeyed coach has kept a careful count of all the games he has been involved in but insists that tonight’s milestone will not be worth remembering if they don’t beat Warriors.
“I have had more than 500 games in my career in Croatia, Bosnia, Bahrain, Vietnam and with DPMM FC in Malaysia. So maybe 150 games in Brunei,” said Simunic, who was also in charge of the Sultanate for the 2008 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup qualifiers.
“But for DPMM FC, playing in Singapore, this will be my 100th game. That’s 77 S-League games, 15 League Cup games, and seven Singapore Cup games.
“It is a nice achievement but I don’t really care too much about that – what I care about is that we play well and win. This is not a time for celebration – only a time for us to focus on the game,” he added.
His counterpart Alex Weaver saw his team fall to their first loss in six matches when Geylang International beat them 3-0 in their last game on Friday.
Though the hosts can depend on prolific striker Mislav Karoglan for the goals, and midfielder Tatsuro Inui for his on-field nous, they will be hampered by the loss of suspended striker Sufian Anuar and defender Daniel Bennett.

The Brunei Times

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