22 December 2013

HRH: I expected Laos win

Saturday, December 21, 2013
HIS Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah yesterday said he was expecting Brunei to beat Laos in their final football game of the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The national Under-23 side headed into Tuesday's final Group A game against Laos bottom of their group without a point or goal to their name, and despite breaking their jinx and netting twice, it still wasn't enough to prevent a 3-2 loss.
“We were supposed to win the Laos game but it was the same thing, we lacked concentration and focus — and there wasn't enough teamwork,” said HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam.
“Personally, they played better against Malaysia. That was their best game.
“I thought we could have won it but we were nervous and lacked concentration and focus,” added HRH, who is also the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council.
The national team started their campaign poorly with a 7-0 loss to Vietnam but surprised many with a gritty display in their next game, a 2-0 defeat to two-time champions Malaysia — who struggled to find a way past Brunei's on-form goalkeeper Ak Omar Aqamuddin Pg Sallehuddin.
Even Malaysia's coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee seemed impressed with Brunei's performance, telling the media in the post-match press conference that “the boys are not happy with the scoreline”.
However, a 2-0 loss to Singapore in their next game ended Brunei's hopes of a place in the last-four, with the 3-2 result against Laos ensuring they would end the 10-team competition as the only side to finish without a point.
HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah was talking to The Brunei Times after watching another strong performance by a national side yesterday.

Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail

Thursday, December 19, 2013
KWON Oh-Son believes his men's lack of understanding on the pitch led to their lackluster showing at the 2013 SEA Games, the coach even calling the team “confused” and saying they “lacked confidence”.
The national Under-23 football team lost all four of their Group A games at the 27th edition of the tournament, only getting on the scoresheet in their last match, a 3-2 defeat to Laos on Tuesday.
Needless to say, they finished at the bottom of their table and end as the only side in the 10-team competition not to have picked up a point – they came up with four from a win and a draw in their five games at the 2011 edition in Indonesia.
Captained by DPMM FC Adi Said, who scored both the goals against Laos, Brunei played most of this year's marquee SEA Games event on the back foot - no surprise since the striker and midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman were the only two professional footballers in the team.
All other teams have the luxury of having players who play professionally week in, week out.
Add in the fact that Kwon said the team only started centralised training on Nov 7, just a month before their Nov 8 opener against Vietnam which ended 7-0, and it's easy to see why the coach has blamed their lack of cohesiveness for their poor results.
This lack of cohesiveness, combined with the gap in ability compared to the other countries in their group – both games against two-time defending champions Malaysia and Singapore ended 2-0 – was a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
“You could see that Laos were very sharp and prepared. They understand one another - we don’t have that,” said Kwon after the loss to Laos.
“In football (you) need months of training and many international games (to gain) experience. Attacking tactics, defensive tactics, one month is not enough for all that.
“We had many opportunities to score in our four matches but it all depends on scoring ability. Our ability was not the same (as the other teams).
“If you can't control passes, how do you want to do (passing) combinations?
“A few bad passes, not good control, the opponents counter-attack and players are confused.
“We've practised combinations and other tactics during training but during the game they lacked confidence,” said the straight-forward South Korean.
His comments, though seemingly harsh, should serve as a wake up call.
It isn’t as if the South Korean doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
After all, this is the same man who led the country to glory in another regional age-group meet last year, the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, after beating Indonesia 2-0 in the final.
Six of the 11 who started against Laos were members of the Under-21 team which won the HBT, while 10 of the 20 names in the team list laced up last March.
And it’s not that Kwon can’t deliver at international tournaments overseas either.
Kwon took charge of the nation’s football team at another tournament in Myanmar, where the Sultanate’s display was nowhere near the one on show this month.
Guiding the senior team at the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Yangon last October, the team managed a credible six points from two wins and two losses – missing out on qualification by one point.
The Wasps kicked off with 1-0 loss to hosts Myanmar, beat Cambodia 3-2 and went down 3-1 to Laos before defeating Timor Leste 2-1 in their final match - more proof, if needed, that Kwon can produce the goods if given the right material.
While ASEAN football’s focus shifts to tonight’s crucial SEA Games semi-finals, for Brunei, there is nothing more important than a proper post-mortem for players and officials alike.
The HBT win was hailed as a new beginning for Brunei football, but it seems like everything is back to square one.

The Brunei Times

15 December 2013

More big names to land in Brunei

Sunday, December 15, 2013
DPMM FC’s search for a marquee signing for the upcoming Singapore League (S-League) continues with several big names expected to arrive in the country for trials.
According to the club’s official website, former Borussia Dortmund forward Euzebiusz Smolarek will be given the opportunity for a try-out with the club while ex-Sampdoria striker Ikechukwu Kalu is currently in the Sultanate, according to a source from inside the club.
32-year-old Smolarek played for Dutch Eredivisie side Feyenoord (2000-2005), Spanish La Liga’s Racing Santander (2007-2009) and English Premier League’s Bolton Wanderers (2008-2009).
The Poland international was the top scorer in the UEFA Euro 2008 Group A qualifying campaign, scoring nine goals to beat Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo (eight goals).
Meanwhile, Nigerian international Kalu, who was signed by Sampdoria in 2002, capped only two-times for his country and failed to score any goals.
The club last week announced that defender Boric Raspudic from Bosnia, midfielders Roberto Alviz from Croatia and Joe Gamble from Ireland will be lacing up for the club next season, with their manager Ali Hj Momin saying that the contract signings will follow soon for the three players.
Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi will also be given a contract extension.
The DPMM FC manager, in a recent interview with The Brunei Times, has made no secret of their intention of acquiring the club’s marquee signing this season.
“Boric Raspudic, Roberto Alviz and Joe Gamble have impressed the club during the two-week trial, and now there is one spot left for marquee signing and I hope that we will be able to seal all the deals before the season (S-League) starts,” said the manager.
DPMM FC were linked with a move for the former Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers previously but the club made it clear that there has been no deal made between the club and the player’s representative.
Raspudic, Alviz and Gamble arrived in the Sultanate on Nov 24 and were joined in trials by Daniel Orozco Alvarez, Daryll Roberts, Jeffers, Guillaume Moullec, Laryea Kingston, Mathias Abel, Osas Ikpefua, and Shavar Thomas.
Steve Kean, the former manager of Blackburn Rovers. will be leading the Sultanate’s only professional club this season, following the departure of Croatian Vjeran Simunic.
DPMM FC finished runners-up in 2012 in their best season in the S-League, winning the League Cup for a second time.
They only managed an eighth-place finish in this year’s edition of the competition.

The Brunei Times

14 December 2013

Lions make wasteful Brunei pay

Saturday, December 14, 2013
BRUNEI have been made to pay dearly for their inability to score here at the SEA Games, last night's 2-0 loss to Singapore ending any slim hopes they had of a place in the semi-final.
Singapore now top the group with seven points from three games and look certain to go through, though Brunei's fate was already decided before kick-off when defending champions Malaysia beat Laos 4-1 in the day's earlier game after a Ahmad Hazwan Bakri hat-trick gave them their second win in as many games.
Vietnam are third and Laos fourth in the group, with Brunei propping the table.
Brunei's third loss of the tournament means they are firmly out of the running to progress to the last-four, and even if they had beaten Singapore, their poor goal differential — at 11, it is the worst in the competition — means their campaign is destined to end at the group stage.
They haven't scored a single goal in three games, and when asked about whether the team has specific drills for shooting and finishing, Brunei's coach wasn't able to provide a proper answer. “The players' ability....,” Kwon Oh-son trailed off during the post-match press conference.
Adi Said, especially from set-pieces, Azwan Ali Rahman and Mohd Mazazi Mazlan were all guilty of missing chances last night, and there is no way this team deserves a place in the last-four if their players can't even test the goalkeeper in a one-one-one situation, of which there have been several in the 7-0 loss to Vietnam and 2-0 defeat to Malaysia.
Brunei's reliance on DPMM FC duo Adi and Azwan cannot be over emphasised, but there is only so much the duo can do – especially with the team passing the ball the way they are.
Adi lacked support from his teammates on the attack while Azwan, who is playing through an injured hip, has not delivered on the passing game he is known for.
The country's defence and inability to clear their lines and play out from the back means the team has been under pressure for most of the tournament, especially with them playing such a high line.
Brunei's goalkeeper Ak Omar Aqamuddin Pg Sallehuddin has been his team's saviour during numerous occasions throughout the competition at the Zeyar Thiri Football Stadium, coming up with two point-blank saves late in last night's game to prevent the Singaporeans from adding gloss on the scoreline.
Brunei eventually ended the match with 10-men after Mohammad Kahiri Shame Suhami was shown a straight red off for an off-the-ball challenge just before the hour-mark, and it was all over after that.
Singapore captain Hariss Harun volleyed home the opener in the 35th minute after connecting on a poor clearance at the edge of the box but Azwan was poised to equalise five minutes later when Singapore gifted him possession.
He could have easily dribbled the ball into the box but took a hasty shot that was wide off the mark.
It was nearly 2-0 five minutes after the restart when Muhammad Fariz Ramli hit the crossbar but Singapore got the breather they deserved seconds later when Adi lost the ball and the team was pressing high up the pitch.
Singapore goalkeeper Muhammad Izwan Mahbud passed the ball to Muhammad Zulfahmi Mohd Arifin, who hit a long ball over the top to Sahil Suhaimi – who scored his third goal of the tournament after beating two markers and firing past Ak Omar.
Despite not beating Brunei by a larger margin, Singapore's coach Aide Iskandar was satisfied with the result.
“It wasn't a problem for me playing against 10-men and not scoring more... What's important is the three points,” he said.
“Brunei defending the way they did made it hard for us to play.
“They sat back and were compact and we'll have to work on a way to convert chances in the future,” he added.
Brunei close their campaign against Laos on Tuesday, where converting chances will be the name of the game.
The Brunei Times

09 December 2013

Vietnam crush Brunei

Monday, December 9, 2013
VIETNAM reopened some old wounds yesterday, breezing past Brunei 7-0 in their SEA Games football competition opener and reliving memories of the 8-0 thrashing they dealt the last time the two teams met.
Be it Jakarta in 2011 or Naypyidaw in 2013, some things remain the same.
Vietnam, semi-finalists every year since 2003 and finalists three times — but silver medalists in each occasion — once again proved a mountain too high to climb for Brunei in the Under-23 meet.
National coach Kwon Oh-son talked about the gulf in ability at least three times in his interview with The Brunei Times after the disappointing result at the imposing Zeyar Thiri Football Stadium, and it was easy to see why.
Technically better and tactically superior, Vietnam switched play with ease, spread the ball with precision and carved open space on the flanks at the flick of a switch.
Crosses into the box that weren't dealt with were punished mercilessly — the first three goals all came from defensive errors inside the box — and when they weren't busy tormenting Brunei's back four, their smooth one-two passes and well practiced off-the-ball running meant that there was only going to be one winner on the day.
“Before the game I told the team to focus on (defensive) cover play and organisation — it didn't work,” said Kwon.
“Vietnam's level and Brunei's level... It's different,” he said, not needing to explain any further.
Last night's other match saw Singapore held to a 1-1 draw against a Laos side playing with 10 men for nearly the whole game after skipper Khampoumy Hanevilay was sent off after two minutes.
While Vietnam now top Group A with a win their coach Hoang Van Phuc has called “inspiring”, Brunei face an uphill struggle to progress past the group stage.
More worrying is the fact they haven't scored in their last four games.
Brunei went down 5-0 to Thai Premier League side Chiangrai United FC in the last of their three friendly games against Thai sides last month, previously going down 2-0 to the same side and 2-0 to the Thai national Under-23 team – who are second behind hosts Myanmar in Group B.
Brunei's inability to find the back of the net wasn't due to a lack of trying though, and to their credit, they never stopped pressing their opponents deep inside their own half and did well to harry goalkeeper Tran Buu Ngoc when the ball was played back to him.
They ran the whole 90 minutes, put in some strong challenges — which were perhaps lucky not to be punished by Myanmarese referee Win Cho — and were persistently hungry to win the ball.
It was their final touch, a lack of finesse even, that separated the two sides.
Though Brunei did look threatening on the right flank, Vietnam's defence made sure no dangerous crosses would reach the box.
And the few chances Brunei had to put in an incisive through ball down the middle was met by either a heavy foot or a loose pass — though Mohd Mazazizi Mazlan really should have done better when he was one-on-one with Buu Ngoc in the 52nd minute. His shot lacking the sting needed to trouble the keeper.
On the other end of the field, Ak Omar Aqamuddin Pg Sallehuddin did a superb job between the sticks in place of Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof — who is not in Myanmar after fracturing his finger during the Thai training stint.
Ak Omar produced several point blank saves, and if not for his quick reflexes, the scoreline would have been more than 3-0 at the break.
Vietnam made it 4-0 when Le Van Thang volleyed home a cross from the left in the 53rd minute, and Vietnam's players started to take their foot off the gas after the fourth goal and were slow to clear the ball from the back, which Brunei looked like taking advantage of several times.
But the problem with pushing too many players up the pitch is that a team is vulnerable to counter-attacks, and a perfect example of that came in the 65th minute when Brunei lost the ball while attacking.
It was expertly played to space in the left flank, with the ensuing cross — and the botched clearance that came after it — leading to Tran Manh Dung picking up the ball and unleashing for 5-0.
It was 6-0 three minutes later when Mac Hong Quan received a quick pass, turned the ball past his markers and scored from inside the box.
Tran Phi Son found more gaps on the left in the 82nd minute and deftly cut past three players to score from outside the box to complete the scoring.
Though Ak Omar probably could have saved the dipping shot, there was nothing the goalkeeper — or the rest of his teammates — could have done to save themselves from such a rampant Vietnam side.
Defending champions Malaysia are next tomorrow, and a positive result will go a long way in erasing some painful memories.
The Brunei Times

07 December 2013

Brunei squad ready, come rain or shine

Saturday, December 7, 2013
THE national football team’s ability to handle the weather at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw, where the temperature ranges from 25-33 degrees, will be a factor in their campaign.
Brunei start their tournament against Vietnam at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium tomorrow before a titanic clash against defending champions and neigbours Malaysia on Tuesday.
They face Singapore next Friday and Laos on Dec 17, and after months of hard work and training, national coach Kwon Oh-son is sure they can deal with the differing conditions at the Under-23 tournament.
The country’s chef de mission and deputy chef de mission to the SEA Games, Hj Muhd Zamri Dato Paduka Hj Hamdani and Pg Mohd Amirrizal Pg Hj Mahmud, paid a visit to the team’s training at the Lalwee Stadium on Thursday and spent some time hearing Kwon talk to his players – where the issue cropped up.
“The coach stressed the importance of playing as a team, playing under pressure and not think about the varying temperatures and adjusting accordingly,” noted Thursday’s daily report from the Department of Youth and Sports.
The report also stated that the players, who were in Thailand for three friendly games before arriving in Myanmar, have no serious injuries and only require light treatment and massages.
Brunei will be looking to advance from the group stage after failing to do so in the previous edition of SEA Games in Indonesia in 2011 – where they came up with one win, one draw and three losses in what was team’s return to the competition after 10 years.
The country started their campaign with a 2-1 loss to Timor Leste before drawing 2-2 with Laos. They then fell 4-0 to Myanmar and 8-0 to Vietnam before beating the Philippines – who are not competing this year - 2-1 in their final match.

The Brunei Times

05 December 2013

DPMM Fc - New signings

DPMM FC Import players season 2014:
1/Boris Raspudic(Bosnia)
2/Roberto Alviz(Croatia)
3/Joe Gamble(Ireland)
4/Rodrigo Tosi(Brazil)
5/ ???????????????

DPMM FC website

DPMM FC: No deal for Jeffers

Wednesday, December 4, 2013
DPMM FC yesterday denied rumours that they have signed Francis Jeffers, the former Arsenal and Everton striker who is currently on trial with the country’s only professional club.
Speaking to The Brunei Times yesterday, DPMM FC team manager Ali Hj Momin said that there have been talks between the club and the player’s representative but there are no new developments.
“There were talks between the club and his agent, but that’s about it, there is no deal yet,” he said.
“He is still recovering from injury so it is a bit difficult to decide now.
“But we’ve still got time before the S-League (Singapore League) starts in February and we will keep the fans updated with new developments in the club,” he added.
The manager responded following rumours that former English international has closed a deal with DPMM FC.
Should Jeffers join DPMM FC, he will be Steve Kean’s first signing for the club since the coach put pen to paper last Wednesday.
“Jeffers looked sharp and I like that, but he pulled a muscle in his leg,” said Kean after overseeing his first training session right after he signed.
According to the club’s official website, Jeffers arrived in the Sultanate on Nov 24 and is joined in trials by Daniel Orozco Alvarez, Daryll Roberts, Guillaume Moullec, Joseph Gamble, Laryea Kingston, Mathias Abel, Roberto Alviz, Osas Ikpefua, Oris Raspudic and Shavar Thomas.
The Brunei Times