13 October 2016

Kean remains focused

DPMM FC coach Steve Kean is maintaining his side’s sharpness ahead of their final Singapore League (S-League) match of the season against Balestier Khalsa on Oct 26 despite almost half his squad away with the national team.
The Brunei club are left with 15 players — 13 outfield players and two goalkeepers — as the other 10 are in the national squad for the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Suzuki Cup 2016 qualifiers which kicks off in Cambodia on Saturday.
The 10 include regulars from the starting line-up such as DPMM FC captain Rosmin Hj Md Kamis and fellow midfielders Azwan Salleh, Maududi Hilmi Kasmi and Najib Hj Tarif — together with forwards Shahrazen Said and Adi Said.
Also in the national side is goalkeeper Wardun Yussof as well as defenders Reduan Hj Petara, Ak Yura Indera Putera Pg Yunos and Ak Fakharazzi Pg Hj Hassan.
“Imagine the lads away with the national team all come back tired. It will be about this group making sure they are fresh and sharp,” said Kean (pic) in an interview with The Brunei Times after a training session where they played seven-a-side football on Tuesday.
“If I feel they have played too many games in Cambodia, it will be a starting XI that will come out from this group.
“All we can do is train well and be in good communication with the lads in Cambodia, most particularly during the last two games.
“If there are those who played 90 minutes, then they probably cannot play 90 minutes against Balestier,” continued the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
Brunei face Timor Leste in their opener on Saturday before playing Cambodia three days later. They end their trip with a game against Laos next Friday.
DPMM FC — who won the S-League for the first time last year — are in superb form having only lost once in their last 13 matches in all competitions and are riding a five-game win streak in the S-League after a 1-0 victory against Tampines Rovers at the Jurong West Stadium on Oct 1.
They are currently second in the nine-team table with 41 points, one ahead of the Stags, but have played two matches more.
Kean reiterated that his aim is to finish second.
“We want to finish second, and I’ve said that for a number of weeks. People laughed saying we are fighting for third,” said Kean when met at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
“We are not giving up on second place and it is within our grasp now. It would be a great achievement in last three years to finish either first or second. That is the goal and only objective that is left,” added the Scotsman, who led DPMM FC to second in the S-League in his first season in charge in 2014.
Azwan Ali Rahman joined in on training yesterday but opted not to go with the national squad having to nurse a left ankle injury which he sustained back in July.
The DPMM FC coach felt that the decision was made to ensure he returns back 100 per cent.

“He felt he is not up to full speed so he didn’t want to go with the national team. He has missed a chunk of the games this season because of the injury,” said Kean.
“He felt that it is better to be safe than sorry. He didn’t want to go away and get injured again, and then spend the close season fighting to be fit again,” concluded Kean.
The S-League title can be decided this Friday should league leaders Albirex Niigata (S) FC secure all three points against Hougang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

The Brunei Times

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