12 February 2015

Kean focusing on positives

Thursday, February 12, 2015
STEVE Kean is trying to focus on the positives despite DPMM FC losing all three of their pre-season matches in Thailand.
Brunei’s only professional team slipped to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Thai Division 1 side (second-tier) Air Force Central FC in their first match at the Thupathamee Stadium last Wednesday.
They were then edged 1-0 by another Thai Division 1 side Bangkok FC in their second game on Saturday and completed their Thai stint by falling 2-1 to Thailand Premier League outfit Suphanburi FC at the Suphanburi Stadium on Monday.
However, DPMM FC coach Kean said the club got exactly what they bargained for as the main aim of the trip was to test the players ahead of their Singapore (S-League) opener against Harimau Muda on March 1.
“The idea of going (to Thailand) was to get the most competitive games… before some teams start their season,” said Kean in an interview with The Brunei Times when met after yesterday’s training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
“The Thailand season starts on Saturday and the teams are fully prepared
“It was much better to play and stretch ourselves against them. We had other invitations to go to other parts of the world but we felt this was the best option so we can learn much more about our team.
“If we played a lesser team and won by a big margin, we won’t really be able to push ourselves defensively and physically.
“The biggest thing is that we know what we need to work on before our campaign starts to ensure that we are ready.
“We were competitive against three very good sides and we gradually got better with the games,” continued the Scotsman, who helped the club finish second in the S-League in his debut season last year.

New players impress
The latest inclusions into the squad – Md Khairul Anwar Abd Rahim, Reduan Hj Petara, Ak Yura Indera Putera Pg Yunos and Md Aminuddin Zakwan Tahir – managed to impress the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
“I never like to single anyone out, but again like last year, the youngest lads were excellent,” said Kean.
“They are capable of starting the first match. It is not a case where they are young but they are pushing the most experienced players on the team to start the season.
“There is good competition and it creates a nice environment where everyone’s got to be on their toes. Anyone in the squad can play the first game,” continued the 47-year-old.

World Cup qualifiers
Kean also said he was aware that the dates for the first round of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup will clash with DPMM FC’s S-League schedule.
Brunei were drawn against Chinese-Taipei during Tuesday’s draw, and the national team will play the away fixture on March 12 and the home game on March 17 – with the bulk of the team sure to be drawn from DPMM FC, who are slated to take on the Young Lions (Singapore national Under-23 football team) on March 11 and Home United FC on March 18.
“We will talk to FAS (Football Association of Singapore) to see if we can postpone our games,” said Kean.
“We want the country to do well and we wouldn’t want to play (in the S-League) when half the team is away,” he concluded.
DPMM FC have yet to fill up the five-player import quota, with only the duo of Irish midfielder Joe Gamble and Bosnian defender Boris Raspudic retained from last season.
Ivory Coast striker Lasina Soro is the latest player on trial with the club and was with the team in Thailand.
Brazilian striker Rafael Ramazotti – who scored against Air Force Central FC - is the only other foreign player still on trial with the Brunei side .
The club released last season’s top-scorer Rodrigo Tosi , Irish forward Roy O’Donovan and Roberto Alviz at the end of last year’s successful campaign.
Apart from guiding DPMM FC to second in the S-League last season, Kean also helped the club to their record third Singapore League Cup and a third-place finish in the Singapore Cup - making last year’s season their best one to date.
In a previous interview, Kean said the target is to win all three titles this year.

The Brunei Times

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