31 December 2011

Sri Sentosa fend off Sangsura FC

Saturday, December 31, 2011
SRI SENTOSA put two past Sangsura FC in the first half to take the match 2-1 yesterday in Group C of the DST National league at the Stadium Kebajikan Berakas Sports Complex in Berakas.

Abd Aziz Hj Abu Bakar of Sri Sentosa scored just two minutes after kickoff to rattle their opponents while teammate Othman Hj Apong put the ball in the back of the net in the 28th minute to round-up two goal tally.

Sangsura FC's Md Sharul Lizam Sapar scored his team's only goal at the 55th minute mark.

Sangsura FC were stunned to find themselves 1-0 down in a moment of brilliance from the Sri Sentosa players.

A long Mohammad Noorfuad Mohd Salleh left-footed pass found Abd Aziz who chested the ball just outside the penalty box before volleying home a goal to the bottom right corner to beat Sangsura FC goalkeeper Mohd Haffizul Aizad @ Mohd Junaidi B Kekali.

Sri Sentosa could have doubled their lead but Ahmad Shafee Abdul Latif's high-footed strike attempt went across the face of goal to a relieved Sangsura FC side.

The Sri Sentosa dominance ensued after, leaving almost no chance to their opponents.

The team in the lead were passing the ball well, winning possession in almost every hustle and provided the pressures that rendered Sangsura FC defenceless.

Their work paid off as Othman made it 2-0.

Muhd Nazirul Azim Muhd Redzuan ran up the left flank to send in a cross from the right to a messy penalty box where Othman took the opportunity to head in the second goal of the night.

There were many chances for Sri Sentosa to add a third to their tally but they lacked the needed touch to finish.

The third goal did come, but it was not for Sri Sentosa.

The start of the second saw Md Sharul taking advantage of slacked Sri Sentosa play.

Their lack in concentration in the penalty box cost them a goal when a quick slot in from Md Sharul left Sri Sentosa goalkeeper Ampuan Saiful Riza Ampuan Hj Said hapless.

That goal sparked a big raise in morale for Sangsura FC.

Their players now had the spring in their legs and went on the attack relentlessly.

They were also maintaining possession long enough to cause slip-ups for Sri Sentosa who now had little time behind the ball.

Sri Sentosa's almost conceded the leveler when Mohd Nazirul Azim Muhd Redzuan failed to properly clear a ball, letting Md Helmi Tuah run at goal but his heavy first touch let him down as Ampuan rushed-up fast enough to make a successful tackle.

A majority of the second half had players from both teams try to break each other's midfield.

Two attempts from both teams hit the crossbar towards the dying moments of the game as the 2-1 score-line was kept intact.

"I'm glad for the win. We don't have a complete bench but our players still managed to score," Sri Sentosa coach Md Naskh told The Brunei Times in a post-match interview.

"Im happy with the win but more improvements are needed," he said.

In the second match of the day, Kilanas FC defeated Wijaya FC 3-2 in their Group D clash at the Belapan Track and Field Sports Complex in Berakas.

The Brunei Times

Malaysia to send U-19 team to HBT

Saturday, December 31, 2011
MALAYSIA definitely have development on their minds and are looking to make full use of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) to achieve that.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has confirmed the country's participation in the HBT, telling Bernama yesterday that it is sending Harimau Muda B (the country's Under-19 squad) to compete in the tournament to be hosted by the Sultanate from Feb 25 to March 3.

Harimau Muda B will take part in the Triangular Championship in Singapore from Feb 17-21 before heading to Brunei for back-to-back tournaments.

The decision to send their U-19 side to the HBT could be a disadvantage for Malaysia especially since the biennial tournament is for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Under-21 teams.

The Sultanate's Under-21 team haven't had many friendlies and got their only "international" matches earlier this month.

They used the 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, as a warm-up and returned home from the Dec 4-11 biennial event with a silver medal.

They started the Games with a 2-0 win over Sarawak 2-0, but lost to eventual champions East Kalimantan 2-1 before bouncing back for a 2-1 victory over South Kalimantan to finish in second place.The Brunei Times

30 December 2011

DPMM FC can finally get serious in friendly

Friday, December 30, 2011
DPMM FC will have a Thai test next month.

A statement on DPMM FC's official website said yesterday that Brunei's only professional football team will play a friendly at home against Thai Premier League team, Chiangrai United, on Jan 18.

Preparing for their return to the Singapore League (S-League), whose new season kicks off on Feb 9, DPMM FC have to be sure that their players have meaningful practice ahead of their season opener.

DPMM FC have started their pre-season preparations since October, but head coach Vjeran Simunic had told The Brunei Times that his team "need a tougher test .... one that can only be provided by foreign teams".

Seeking to get teams from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand to play here against DPMM FC, the Croatian said in order for his players to grow and improve they had to face more than just the local sides.

DPMM FC had played various friendly matches against the Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council (MS ABDB) and the U-23 national team, but Simunic wanted more.

He said: "Playing against local teams we wouldn't be able to see the real picture. If we win 8-0 against a local club it won't help us too much. But we do our best ... we practise and play various friendlies against each other."

He added that foreign teams, whose players are arguably fitter and more skillful, would provide better contest to DPMM FC and show where they really stood against other good sides.

Their January friendly opponents, Chiangrai United, were founded in 2009 and a year later won promotion to the Thai Premier League.

Coached by Stefano Cugurra, the Brazilian helped the team nicknamed The Fighting Beetles to win promotion by finishing third in the Thai Division 1.

Their star striker, Wasan Nathasan, is the Thai Premier League third top scorer, with 17 goals.

They also have four imports, with three hailing from Brazil, and the other from Romania.

Chiangrai United are currently ninth in the Thai Premier League, with 27 points, after 21 games played.

While waiting for the 'Samba test from Thailand', DPMM FC played a friendly game against the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) squad yesterday, defeating the national side 3-2.

Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak, the assistant coach of HBT team, spoke to The Brunei Times after yesterday's match:

"It was a good performance by the HBT team. We were able to get early goals, but we let DPMM FC score easy goals because of defensive errors, especially the penalty kick that enabled them to score their second goal."

He added: "We will continue to work hard in training to overcome the weaknesses. The players have started to play better as a unit."

DPMM FC were the first foreign side to win a football trophy in Singapore when they bagged the League Cup in 2009.

The Bruneians were also well in the hunt for the S-League title in 2009, until FIFA suspended the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (BAFA) and they were barred from completing the final five fixtures of the season.

But DPMM FC will return to the S-League next year to complete the 14-team roster.The Brunei Times

28 December 2011

QAF FC pick apart Liverpool SC

Wednesday, December 28, 2011
QAF FC gave further evidence of their team's strength following a 7-1 thrashing of Liverpool Supporters Club (LSC) in their Group B game of the DST National league at the Balapan Sports Complex last night.

Muhammad Hafis Mahari bagged his first hat-trick of the season, helping to ease QAF's journey to the Super League with goals in the 38th, 67th, and 80th minute.

Adie Arsham also gained a well deserved hat-trick.

Adie Arsham helped QAF FC start the game on the right foot by scoring just two minutes after kick off. He would score another one in the 21st minute to help give his team a 3-0 cushion along with Muhammad Hafis Mahari's 38th minute effort by the end of the first half. He would complete his hat-trick with a goal in the 62nd minute.

Mohd Hadiman Abdul Lamit scored QAF's FC 6th goal in the 64th minute.

By now the game was clearly out of Liverpool SC's reach.

They would however salvage some pride, courtesy of Norhamdaney Md Zain who scored the lone goal for his team in the 57th minute.

A notable difference in stamina and supreme confidence in their game play enabled QAF FC to take advantage of their humbled opponents, as QAF FC maintained a monopoly on posession throughout the game.

Leading Group B with maximum points gained, QAF FC will be ending their year on a high, with Liverpool SC having to look at their options to finish their league campaign on a respectable note.

As for the national team coaches, it looks like they have a pool of potential players that they could heavily scout, with the availability of the current progress of the DST National League.

Sangsura FC is slated to play Sri Sentosa FC at the Berakas Sports Complex in Berakas on Friday.

Wijaya FC will also take on Kilanas FC at the Balapan Track and Field in Berakas on the same day.

Both games are scheduled to start at 4pm.

The Brunei Times 

27 December 2011

LLRT FT thrash Perkasa 11-1

Tuesday, December 27, 2011
HAT-TRICK heroes from LLRC FT overpowered Perkasa to cause an 11-1 stumble in the Group A fight of the DST National league at the Stadium Kebajikan Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.

Three goals each from Helmie Md Noorazmi and Safuan Johar would have been enough to bring home a victory but more goals came. Ak Md Azrul Ariffin Pg Matussin managed to score a brace while Md Amirul Jafrey, Md Shah Hafiz Kifli and Md Amirul Hamrey Md Norshaney each contributed a goal.

Perkasa's consolation goal came from Redzuan Hj Takong.

The game kicked off to a bad start for Perkasa when goalkeeper, Ali Omar Hj Sulong, made an error to give the opening goal away to Md Amirul who made it 1-0, just within the 2nd minute.

Two minutes later, Helmie made it 2-0 from a team build-up play in the Perkasa half. The latter's defenders failed to pressure Helmie who took his time to control the ball and left no chance to Ali after placing a right-footed strike to the top right corner.

Soon after it was 3-0 through a Md Shah second attempt. Ali pressed up to prevent Helmie from scoring his brace but his parry would land in the path of Md Shah who left the keeper on the floor to slot in the goal.

Ak Md Azrul was next on the scoring list after latching on to Md Shah's long pass. Beating his marker, Ak Md Azrul ran at goal to finish with a calm strike to make it 4-0 in the 21st minute.

It went from bad to worse for Perkasa after their goalkeeper was given the marching order for a blatant tackle on Md Shah in the penalty box. Perkasa didn't have any choice but to field a defender in place of their keeper as they did not have a goalie in reserve.

With that, the fifth goal came from Safuan who scored the spot kick. Perkasa would have a moment to cheer as they themselves scored from the spot through Redzuan.

LLRC FT would ensue their trashing though as their sixth came from Safuan again, this time in a give-and-go play that resulted in a goal just before the break.

Their dominance simply continued with yet another goal at the start of the second half through Md Amirul.

Hj Afandi Hj Julaihi, the LLRC FT coach told The Brunei Times in a post-match interview, "We won three points even in this field's condition. The ball's movements weren't made predictable but we managed to attack and score 11 goals."The Brunei Times

25 December 2011

Kota Ranger take down Seri Bolkiah

Sunday, December 25, 2011
KOTA RANGER eased past Seri Bolkiah 1 4-1 in their Group B match of the DST-National Football League 2011/2012 yesterday at the Berakas Sports Complex.

Kota Ranger had the best of starts with Yussof Bungsu finding the back of the net for his first goal of the night early in the fourth minute.

He was the first to react and managed to slot it home after Seri Bolkiah 1 goalkeeper Ak Mohd Khiya'arul Adry Pg Mohd Yussof parried the first attempt.

Kota Ranger were in control using their speed advantage to outrun their opponents.

They created several chances but it was only in the 42nd minute that they doubled their lead.

A cross from the left was headed home by Yussof for his second goal of the match, leaving Ak Mohd Khiya'arul stranded in between the posts.

Kota Ranger continued their dominance for the early periods of the second half. Mohammad Ari Saizulfadhli Ariffin was creating havoc among the Seri Bolkiah 1 defence.

It paid off for him in the 55th minute after he outran his defender to shoot past Ak Mohd Khiya'arul for a 3-0 advantage.

But it was a moment of magic by Seria Bolkiah 1 when Mohd Azree Abd Latif unleashed a shot from almost the middle of the field that caught everyone off guard in the 59th minute.

It was the goal that ignited the team and the crowd who started to get behind them as they pushed forward in search for more goals.

The revival was, however, short lived after a foul was called just outside the penalty box minutes later.

Amdillah Zainuddin made no mistake and guided the ball above the wall that saw them extend their cushion to 4-1 in the 66th minute.

But that was as good as it got as the intensity of the match died down when Kota Ranger went on the defensive to protect their lead to take the win.

"The performance by the team tonight (Saturday night) was very good, from the defenders to the strikers," said Metussin Hj Hamid, an official of Kota Ranger, in an interview with The Brunei Times after the win.

"Most of the players are young and I feel happy with them. They showed good self belief but we will still need to improve further for the upcoming games," he added.

"We would also like to thank the opponents for giving us a good fight making it a good match," he continued.

The competition continues with two more matches today.

Indera SC will go up against MS PDB (Royal Brunei Police Force's Sports Council ) at the Balapan Track and Field.

Over at the Berakas sports Complex, Tunas FC will see action against BSRC (Brunei Shell Recreation Club).

Both matches will kick off at 4pm.The Brunei Times

20 December 2011

DPMM FC ready for S-League

Azamri Zainal
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DPMM FC are expected to finish in the top five of the S-League, and the club's return is the 'worst kept secret in Singaporean football'. This was commented by Steven Tan, the coach of Tampines Rovers, a club from Singapore.

"They are a good team that will probably finish in the top five, it should be very interesting next year," said the coach.

The first foreign team to win the Singapore League Cup in 2009, DPMM FC were also on the hunt for the S-League title the same year, only to be brought down by news of a suspension for Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (BAFA), leaving the local football scene with a mountain to climb.

With the existence of the new football body, National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), DPMM FC will return to the league together with the Malaysian Tigers in a new 14-team format.

According to a press statement relesed by TODAYonline, The ASEAN Football Federation received word from the Football Association of Singapore last week, and yesterday confirmed DPMM FC's return to Singapore's domestic football competitions.

Richard Bok from S-League club The Warriors welcomed the return of DPMM FC: "They were a strong team that provided excitement when they were playing then, and we welcome their return.

"Ivan (Jerkovic) has joined them, and they seem to have retained most of their local players and signed good foreigners. They should be a strong team again."

DPMM Coach, Vjeran Simunic, who lead the club to League Cup glory in 2009, said: "This is good news for us. We have started preparing (since October) and it is not easy from the start especially with the players having had no games for the past two years."

With the presence of DPMM FC well received by the Singapore football scene, local fans and crowds are expected to give the club some much needed support. In 2009, home games' attendance reached 10,000 at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium. This record of spectators gave the S-League a different kind of atmosphere.

Also, 2012 looks like a hectic year for the Bruneian football scene, with tournaments like The Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, The Singapore League, The DST National League, The DST FA Cup, The DST National Super League and its lower divisions. The local football scene has never been this busy.The Brunei Times

18 December 2011

Menglait FC ground 10-man RBA FC

Dennis Lim

Sunday, December 18, 2011

AK MD SALLEHUDDIN Pg Sarifudin was at the right place at the right time, twice, to secure a win for his team.

Menglait FC downed 10-man RBA FC 3-2 in the Group D clash of the DST National league at the Stadium Kebajikan Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.

Menglait FC's Hasnul Hidayat Abas scored the opening goal of the match to give his team the lead before Ak Md Sallehuddin cemented his team's position with a two goal contribution midway through the game

RBA FC's Pg Eirwan Pg Rais and Hasmadi Wahid both pitched in a goal respectively in the loss.

Both teams started the game with good intensity, gunning to score the opening goal of the match.

Hasnul took advantage of RBA FC's slight defensive slumber in the 30th minute to score the opener, heading the ball to the left of the keeper from an Amp Mohd Endy Azri Amp Hj Idris corner kick.

RBA FC's goalkeeper, Md Madini Abdullah Malai failed to react as he was left rooted.

Menglait FC ensued their offensive advantage through Ak Md Sallehuddin who was causing a ruckus with his jilted runs through the center of RBA FC's defence. Opportunities were aplenty for them but they couldn't time their runs adequately to latch on to the through balls.

Ak Md Sallehuddin could have scored earlier when a two-on-one situation presented itself but failed to do so as his shot went straight to Md Madini who made a routine save.

Pg Eirwan would help RBA FC level just two minutes after the start of the second half.

Menglait FC keeper Ak Md Mu'izzudin Pg Ismail had to rush up to cut out an attack, dribbling the ball away.

His attempt at a clearance hit the oncoming Pg Eirwan, deflecting the ball back into the top left corner.

The game was at one goal a piece but it wasn't going to stay that way for long.

In the 55th minute, Ak Md Sallehuddin picked up a parried attempt from an Amp Mohd Endy free kick.

There was nothing Md Madini could do as he was left on the ground after preventing the first attempt.

Bad news turned worse for RBA FC when Md Nazrul Haddy Hj Bujang was shown a red card for a tackle.

The foul caused an uproar on the field but officials and players managed to restore order to resume play.

RBA FC were not going to go down without a fight though.

They equalised again on the 70th minute through Hasmadi.

A free-kick from well over 30 yards was floated in to the center of the penalty box where Hasmadi beat the opposing defender to get a touch on the ball, looping the ball over Ak Md Mu'izzudin.

Ak Md Sallehuddin would respond three minutes from regulation time.

He jumped over his marker to head the ball past the keeper to record his brace and deliver his team the win.

"I'm excited for the win because we were definitely challenged by RBA FC. They are a very good team, even with 10-man in the second half but I'm proud of my players," said Menglait FC coach Mohd Nazib Hj Ali.

"They learned well from the training sessions but we still need to work on our defence and strategic plays," he added.The Brunei Times

International friendlies for HBT team

Yee Chun Leong

Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE national Under-21 football team are back at work after a successful outing at the recently-concluded 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

They returned home with a silver medal after a 2-1 win-loss record at the Games. Despite missing out on the gold, which went to undefeated East Kalimantan, it was still a good result considering that the Sultanate was suspended from international football from September 2009 to May 2011 and did not play any international matches during that period.

Arriving from Samarinda on Monday, the team returned to training yesterday and straight away re-focused on the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT).

Plans have been made to ensure that they are fully prepared for the biennial HBT, a competition for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Under-21 teams, which starts on Feb 21.

A new format is set to be introduced at the upcoming tournament with five senior players allowed on each team.

The rest of the players must be born in 1991 or after, but the current squad have six players Adi Said, Ak Anaqi Sufi Pg Hj Omar Baki, Ak Army Mazhisham Pg Hj Muhamad, Md Aqmal Hakeem Abd Hamid, Mohammad Hushaimee Manaeh and Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Sallehuddin born in 1990.

No age limit will be imposed for the senior players and according to the assistant coach, the team may very well be looking for more experienced players especially a defender and a striker.

"We haven't confirmed any players yet and we are definitely looking for the best. We need one who can exercise leadership and handle the players both on and off the field," said Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"We have identified the players for trials with the team," he said, adding that they had spoken to the players' clubs.

The national side also plan to play friendly matches with clubs from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand next month.

"We plan to go out in January. Our target is to go up against quality clubs, but we haven't confirmed it yet. It will be the last step for our preparations for the HBT," said Hj Md Rosanan.

These friendlies will be vital for the team since their 'international' matches were in fact only the three played during the Borneo Games earlier this month.The Brunei Times

Md Bazli powers Jerudong FC to win

Dennis Lim

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A HAT-TRICK from Jerudong FC's Md Bazli Md Said guaranteed a 4-2 victory for his team against DST Group FT in their Group C tie of the DST National league at the Stadium Kebajikan Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.

Md Bazli scored a brace within the opening 13 minutes before completing his hat-trick in the 82nd minute.

Teammate, Md Shah Johan Hj Shari contributed to the victory with a goal of his own four minutes from half time.

DST Group FT's captain, Muhammad Ros'adly Hj Rosli scored a brace in the loss.

Both teams were shaky from kick off, struggling to cope with the muddy conditions.

Neither team could make any clear cut chances as they had to battle not only their counterparts but also the less than favourable pitch.

Md Bazli put the ball in the back of the net on the 12th minute after creating space on the right side of their opponents' half.

It was Md Shah Johan who created space to take a strong right-footed shot but DST Group FT's goalkeeper was equal to it to parry the shot attempt away.

The deflected shot unfortunately landed in the path of Md Bazli who tapped the ball into the open goal.

He got his name on the scoresheet again just one minute later, following a loose pass from his midfield opponents.

He did well to outrun the defensive line to side-step the keeper before finishing with a left-footed slot.

Md Shah Johan, the Jerudong FC captain, put pressure on DST Group FT's defence on every occasion.

His runs and strong shots left the defenders helpless but DST Group FT's keeper managed to keep the ball out of the net.

Muhammad Ros'adly pulled one back for his team 10 minutes before the half-time through a penalty awarded following an illegal tackle by Md Sufian Hj Lamudin.

Md Shah Johan would put his team up 3-1 on the 41st minute after picking up an Enddy Soehardy Awg Sapar attempt on goal.

Muhammad Ros'adly followed up a deflected shot to score just before the break to make it 3-2

The match's intensity subsided after the break, with neither teams able to establish dominance over the other.

A breakthrough would come via MD Bazli just two minutes from regulation time.

Running down the right side, he had no options but to square the ball and attempt a 26-yard lob which floated over the out-of-line keeper to end up at the back of the net.

Jerudong FC coach Hj Jalaluddin Hj Ghazali told The Brunei Times, "Alhamdulillah, we won the match. The team saw their chances and made their attacks to succeed in grabbing the victory (yesterday)."

The other match of the day saw Indera SC demolish Rimba Star 12-0 at the Balapan Track & Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.The Brunei Times

17 December 2011

Back in the Lion's den

Yee Chun Leong

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DPMM FC are back in the Lion's den and are ready for the challenge, too.

Brunei's only professional football club, DPMM FC, are back in the Singapore League, according to the FAS website.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) informed clubs last week that next year's S-League will see 14 teams compete in a two-round format. The 14 teams include DPMM FC and Malaysia's Young Tigers.

The news was yesterday confirmed by DPMM FC head coach Vjeran Simunic, who welcomes it with open arms.

"That is good news for us. We have started preparing (since October) and it is not easy from the start especially with the players having had no games for the past two years," said Simunic during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"We are working very hard and I can say that we are at 75 per cent to the level that we want to reach," he added.

FIFA's two-year suspension on Brunei, which was only lifted in May, meant that DPMM FC have not played a competitive game since their 2-2 draw against Tampines Rovers FC on Sept 29, 2009.

DPMM FC were the first foreign side to lift the Singapore League Cup in the same year, but the coach believes that they will have to be better than what they were.

"We will even need to be better than what we were two years ago since the league is getting more competitive with clubs like Etoile FC of France in the fray," said Simunic.

"But everyday there is good news because I can see steady improvement. We are hungry for the challenge and I have faith in the players. The local players are not afraid and have all responded well working hard as a team," added the Croatian.

"We have had a lot of young players come for tryouts as well and the future of Brunei football definitely looks good," continued Simunic.

The biggest problem for the team is the lack of competitive games. Despite this, the coach believes that they can attain what they want in the near future.

"We need to be patient and we should be able to get to the level we want by July next year. The only problem is that we haven't had enough friendly games to test our form," said Simunic.

"We're also not able to see the full potential of the import players at this point as well," he added.

So far the team can only split themselves into two teams for scrimmages, but according to the coach they play at a high intensity to test their potential.

The club have also maxed out their quota of import players with defender Tales Ricarte dos Santos, midfielder George O'Callaghan, striker Osman Basiru and local fan favourite Ivan Jerkovic.

The S-League is scheduled to kick off on Feb 9, just days after the curtain raiser which is the Charity Shield fixture between champions Tampines Rovers and Home United, winners of the RHB Singapore Cup, on Feb 5.The Brunei Times


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (17 Dec 2011) – Brunei’s only fully professional football club DPMM FC are back in the S-League – this was confirmed by the FA of Singapore (FAS) this week.

For the S-League 2012, there will be 14 teams taking part including DPMM FC and Malaysia’s Harimau Muda.

“That is good news for us. We have started preparing (since October) and it is not easy from the start especially with the players having had no games for the past two years,” said DPMM FC chief coach Vjeran Simunic.

“We are working very hard and I can say that we are at 75% to the level that we want to reach.”

DPMM FC were the first foreign side to lift the Singapore League Cup in 2009 before they Brunei were banned by FIFA for two years.

“We will need to be better than what we were two years ago since the league is getting more competitive with clubs like Etoile FC of France in the fray,” added Simunic.

“But every day there is good news because I can see steady improvement. We are hungry for the challenge and I have faith in the players. The local players are not afraid and have all responded well working hard as a team.

“We have had a lot of young players come for tryouts as well and the future of Brunei football definitely looks good.”

The S-League is scheduled to kick off on 9 Feb 2011.


12 December 2011

QAF FC in easy win over BSRC

Dennis Lim

Monday, December 12, 2011

A BRACE from QAF FC's captain helped lifted their team to a 3-1 win over Brunei Shell Recreation Club (BSRC) in the DST National league Group B tie at the Stadium Kebajikan Berakas Sports Complex yesterday.

QAF FC's Riwandi Wahit hit the back of the net twice in the game while teammate Muhammad Hafis Mahari pitched in one goal to cement their win.

BSRC's Junaidi Brahim added a consolation goal very late on in the game.

The opening chances of the match came from two BSRC free-kicks. Their players managed to win their spot-kick opportunity in the same 25-yard distance on the left side of the QAF FC half.

A wasted first chance prepped Junaidi to take the second with precaution. The second try came in the form of a sneaky pass to free-up space for Muhammad Muhaimin Mappy; unfortunately, his shot hit the side netting.

QAF FC's Mardi Mirza Abdullah Bujang also had another chance just a few moments later. He curled a right-footed 21-yard free-kick only to be beaten by the woodwork.

The QAF FC offensive pressure was too hard to contain as Riwandi snatched a late first-half goal to let his team lead. A slow build-up in BSRC's penalty bow saw Ratano Hj Tuah cross in the ball from the right to Riwandi, who managed to take his time to control the ball surrounded by BSRC players, finishing with a good right-foot strike to send the ball to the left corner in the 44th minute.

After the half-time break, a penalty was awarded to QAF FC in the 48th minute. A calm finish from Riwandi sent Mohd Sahrizal diving low to his right, only to fail and watch the ball went in goal.

From the second goal onwards BSRC simply could not find a reply to their opponent's strong attempts. QAF FC toyed with their counterparts as the game slowed down to walking pace.

QAF FC had many chances against a frail BSRC but their inability to score the goal just delayed the coming of the third.

Md Ali Hj Mustafa, the coach of QAF FC told the Press in a post match interview, "We still have more work to do after our first game. The second goal was surprisingly given to us and we just need more training sessions as we haven't had a proper training session yet."

In the other match, Sangsura FC defeated Perda 8-2 in their Group C clash.The Brunei Times

Silver for nat'l U-21 football team

Yee Chun Leong

Sunday, December 11, 2011

THE national Under-21 football team (pic) finished their campaign on a high at the 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, East Kalimantan, in Indonesia.

Brunei defeated South Kalimantan 2-1 yesterday, but it was not enough for them to win the gold as results didn't go their way in the other match.

Hosts East Kalimantan hammered Sarawak 5-0 at the Utama Palaran Stadium to win the title after winning all three games in the round-robin competition resulting in Brunei bagging silver.

The Brunei-South Kalimantan match started slowly at the Madya Sempaja Stadium with both teams failing to find any tempo.

Brunei grabbed the lead just before half-time when striker Adi Said received a through ball and got behind the South Kalimantan defence to score.

The lead didn't last long.

South Kalimantan scored the equaliser early in the second half, but just as it looked a draw was on the cards Brunei struck again to break their rivals' hearts.

Just minutes before the final whistle Md Nur Ikhwan Othman who also scored in the Sultanate's opening game against Sarawak fired the winner for Brunei from outside the box.

Brunei's assistant coach Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak was happy to win silver, but admitted that he was hoping for a gold.

"The team will compete in the HBT (Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in February) and this is their first outing. It was a good performance, but I was hoping for more," said Hj Md Rosanan during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"Now we will adjust and improve further for the HBT ... especially at the defensive end. It is not a problem, but the team required more exposure at the international stage," he added.

"The players are good, but most of them didn't have international exposure until now. But, the Borneo Games is a good start and a worthy experience for the team," he concluded.

The Borneo Games is a warm-up for the national team who are also preparing for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy on Feb 25.

Winning a silver is a good result considering that the country was suspended from international football from September 2009 to May 2011 and had not played any international matches for the past two years. The Brunei Times

10 December 2011

Police, ABDB shootout ends in draw

Azamri Zainal

Saturday, December 10, 2011

THE DST League match between MS PDB (Royal Brunei Police Force's Sports Council ) and MS ABDB (Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports' Council) left their fans yearning for more after the teams battled to a 2-2 draw.

The first half started with both teams struggling to find the right flow and tempo in the game, hardly taking time to settle down with a build up to attack from the centre of the field.

There was plenty of action in the goalless half though, the most notable being two yellow cards and a missed penalty by the MS PDB team.

Both teams improved their play in the second half, with the Berakas Sports Complex becoming increasingly crowded with spectators.

Estimating thousands would be an exaggeration but the attendance was highly encouraging for a new football league that is just starting out.

MS ABDB broke the deadlock via a Dahari Hj Md Yussof goal in the 66th minute.

A defensive error in the last ten minutes allowed MS PDB to equalise in the 61st minute, courtesy of a Khalid Mustapah goal.

The game looked to be in the bag for MS PDB when an impressive team play led to a simple tap in goal by Md Najib Hj Tarif in the 89th minute.

A determined MS ABDB side would however steal a late equaliser through Hj Mohd Yusof Hj Matyassin in the 91st minute of the game to deny their opponents maximum points from the match.

Action was clearly not limited to the field yesterday as an MS ABDB fan immediately yelled "Apa Rasanya (How Does That Feel)?" towards the Police crowd before leaving the venue almost immediately after the final whistle.

"We tried to play a strategic and possession game in the first half, but the condition of the pitch did not help our cause," said MS ABDB coach Major (U) Suhaimi Jamali after the game.

Asked about the result, the Major said: "I think it was a fair result for both teams. We have more experience as a team but we were clearly playing against a very strong team. No matter how hard you train, in the morning, afternoon, or night, we will only know where our team stand after playing a game in the league."

A match between two forces that has the potential to create a classic rivalry in years to come, this is the first time in years that the two teams have played each other in a local football league game.

Meanwhile, Muara Vella started their campaign on the right foot after beating Wijaya 1-0 at the Balapan Track & Field Complex.

Played at the same time as the game between MS Police and MS ABDB at the Berakas Sports Complex, the first half ended 0-0, with several yellow cards flashed by the referee in the first half.

A youthful Muara Vella squad finally scored the winning goal courtesy of a penalty that was comfortably executed by Abd Azim Zainal in the 60th minute of the game.

The Brunei Times

East Kalimantan dent Brunei's hopes for football gold

Yee Chun Leong

Friday, December 9, 2011

A RADIANSYAH brace yesterday dented Brunei's hopes for a football gold at the 4th Borneo Games.

Hosts East Kalimantan handed the national Under-21 team a 2-1 loss despite playing with 10 men for almost 30 minutes.

Contested at the Utama Palaran Stadium, the Sultanate had a bright start and took the lead through Adi Said in the 18th minute the striker weaving through the East Kalimantan defence to score.

But East Kalimantan were quick to reply and equalised just two minutes later through Radiansyah.

The match was deadlocked at 1-1 at halftime and Brunei were given the numerical advantage in the second half when East Kalimantan had one of their players sent off in the 62nd minute.

The Sultanate created three good chances, but failed to convert them.

They would then rue the missed chances as East Kalimantan stole all three points with Radiansyah scoring with a freekick in the 87th minute his second of the match.

The national assistant coach Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak felt that the team should have closed out the game when they had the advantage, but luck was not on their side.

"We had a good chance of winning the game, but we just couldn't score despite getting three very good looks in the second half," said Hj Md Rosanan during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"We are not blaming the referees, but there were some really poor calls in the game," he added.

According to Hj Md Rosanan, a foul should have been given to East Kalimantan in the build-up to the equaliser when Brunei skipper Muhammad Azwan Ali Rahman was tackled by two players.

He added that there was also a clear handball, but the goal stood.

The second goal also came through a controversial freekick. The assistant coach claimed the tackle that led to the winning goal was not a foul.

"It actually broke the concentration of the players, but we will not take that as an excuse because we failed to execute on our chances," said Hj Md Rosanan.

"But, overall the performance was okay. We can still improve because the team are definitely not up to their full potential yet," he added.

"The confidence of the players is not at 100 per cent yet. They just need more games," concluded the assistant coach.

The Borneo Games is considered a good warm-up for the national team as they are also preparing for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) on Feb 25.

Brunei still have one more game left in the round-robin competition, against South Kalimantan tomorrow.

They still have a chance for gold should Sarawak defeat East Kalimantan by a favourable scoreline and they go on to beat South Kalimantan.The Brunei Times

08 December 2011

Football: Brunei ready for 'battle for gold'

Yee Chun Leong

Thursday, December 8, 2011

THE national Under-21 football team are looking to continue their fine form at the 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, East Kalimantan, in Indonesia.

The Sultanate despite playing with 10 men recorded a 2-0 win over neighbours Sarawak in their opener on Tuesday.

They face the hosts East Kalimantan, who thrashed South Kalimantan 4-1 in their first game, today.

The match could possibly decide the title and national assistant coach Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak said that the team are ready to do battle at the Utama Palaran Stadium.

"We are ready for the challenge and we hope that we can go out there and win," said Hj Md Rosanan during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"The head coach (Kwon Oh-son) has helped the team adjust and pointed out their weaknesses in the afternoon (on Wednesday). We have also gone through our tactics for the match," he added.

The assistant coach told The Brunei Times after their first victory at the Games that the team, who are also preparing for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) on Feb 25, were a little nervous in their opener considering that the country was suspended from international football from September 2009 to May 2011 and had not played any international matches for the past two years.

But he does hope that the players will settle in quickly for today's battle for gold.

"I hope the players will be in a good condition for the match and they will have to be more confident," said Hj Md Rosanan.

Defender Abdul Mu'iz Sisa will not feature in the match after being sent off against Sarawak for picking up two yellow cards. Safwan Amaluddin Sabli, 16, who plies his trade for the Brunei Youth Team, will replace Abdul Mu'iz in the starting lineup.

"He may be young, but I have confidence in him. He (Safwan) will have to believe in himself as well," said Hj Md Rosanan. The match kicks off at 4pm.The Brunei Times

Jerudong FC deliver 5-1 thrashing

Dennis Lim

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

THERE was no doubt in anyone's mind who the better team was yesterday as hat-trick hero Md Bazli Md Said powered Jerudong FC to a 5-1 thrashing of Liverpool Supporters' Club (SC) in their DST National league Group B clash.

Playing at the Belapan Track and Field Sports Complex in Berakas, Md Bazli put his stamp on the game by scoring two goals within the first 30 minutes of kickoff before completing his hat-trick in the 53rd.

Teammates Md Enddy Soehardy Awg Sapar and Md Hairun Ikwan Kusno pitched in one goal each to add to the final scoreline.

The lone goal for Liverpool SC came from Norhamdaney Md Zain but it could not have been much of a consolation for his team.

It was a fairly clean affair on the field with Jerudong FC picking up the only two yellow cards of the game through Dahlan Zainuddin and Md Shah Johan Hj Shari.

Both teams were not sharp passing the ball.

The incomplete passes meant that neither team enjoyed any significant possession advantage over the other.

Md Bazli was a constant threat on Liverpool SC goalkeeper Asrollbahri Asbollah who looked uncomfortable and struggled to cope with highly-lobbed balls from their opponents.

Md Bazli would exploit this by latching onto an Asrollbahri fumble to head the ball into the net in the 12th minute.

Liverpool SC would respond 11 minutes later through Norhamdaney who headed in a goal following a cross from the left, leaving Jerudong FC goalkeeper Md Taufiq Kafle helpless and rooted to the ground.

Md Bazli would put his team ahead again by the 29-minute mark.

He calmly rocketed the ball into the bottom right corner of the net after receiving a well-delivered pass from Md Hairun.

There was no looking back for the victors from there on.

Md Enddy Soehardy headed in the team's third goal via a well taken free-kick from his brother, Md Enddy Zulyady Awg Sapar in the 38th minute.

Md Bazli would complete his hat-trick 10 minutes into the second half with Md Hairun hitting the nail on the coffin by scoring the final goal of the match in the 72nd minute."Alhamdulillah we managed to achieve this 5-1 win tonight. I'm happy with the performance the Jerudong FC displayed in the 90 minutes," said Jerudong FC coach Hj Jalaluddin Hj Ghazali.

Asked what he intends to work on for upcoming matches, he replied: "We need to have more practices and trainings in friendly matches to help better build our team."

The Brunei Times

10-man Brunei tame Crocs Gr8 start for national football team

Yee Chun Leong

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

IT was a perfect start.

The national Under-21 football team started their campaign at the 4th Borneo Games at Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, on a bright note beating neighbours Sarawak 2-0 at the Segiri Stadium.

Goals from set-pieces in each half settled the tie for Brunei at the Dec 4-11 biennial event.

Ak Anaqi Sufi Pg Hj Omar Baki, the midfielder who plies his trade for AM Gunners FC, was the first on the scoresheet with his direct freekick.

The Crocs were given a boost early in the second half when Brunei were down to 10 men after defender Abdul Mu'iz Sisa received his second yellow of the match in the 55th minute.

Despite Sarawak's numerical advantage, it was the Sultanate who scored again doubling their lead courtesy of a Md Nur Ikhwan Othman header. The Brunei midfielder rose the highest to head home a corner and clinch victory for the national side.

The result is a major boost for the team, who are also preparing for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) on Feb 25, considering that the country was suspended from international football from September 2009 to May 2011, thus resulting in the national sides having seen no international competition for the past two years.

"Overall it was a good match for us and most importantly we got all three points in the opening match. Our defence was alright and we deserved the win," said Hj Md Rosanan Abdullah Samak, the national assistant coach, during an interview with The Brunei Times, after the win.

"The team had not settled since it was their first international match and they felt nervous," he added.

Hj Md Rosanan also said the ball used in the competition was lighter than the one that they had been training with, hence making it more difficult to control on the field. He added that the players would have to make slight adjustments before their next game.

They will face hosts East Kalimantan, who thrashed South Kalimantan 4-1 in yesterday's other match, tomorrow.

It can almost be considered a gold medal matchup with only four teams competing in the round-robin football competition.

"We are already thinking about our next game. They (East Kalimantan) are the hosts and are a strong team. What we will need from the players is to be more confident," said Hj Md Rosanan.

"Some of them still lack confidence since they haven't had any international exposure," he concluded.

The only other game for the Sultanate will be against South Kalimantan on Saturday.The Brunei Times

LLRT show no mercy in 4-1 win

Azamri Zainal

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

LLRC FT offered evidence of their team's strength in the DST league as they demolished MIISA United 4-1 at the Berakas Sports Complex, last night.

The team pressed heavily on MIISA's defence as soon as the match started, effectively utilising their two wingers, Ak Md Azrul Ariffin Pg Matussin and Safuan Juhar, cutting through their opposition's fortress with speed and deadly crosses from both flanks of the field in the first 120 seconds of the game.

MIISA United had to withstand a confident start from LLRC, as their opposition broke the deadlock in the 4th minute with a header goal from, Hj Mohd Bahrin Hj Sahari, credits to a beautiful assist by Amy Amizan Gudang, who also scored later on with a stunning volley in the 60th minute of the game.

A good chance had gone begging in the 10th minute after Mohd Hakeem Keri's shot was saved by the goalie, as the ball hit the post. LLRC players then protested that the ball went past the line, but referee Rahim Kati signalled play on.

If only LLRC's finishing was as good as the squad's teamwork in the first half, the game would have been 5-0 by the end of the first half whistle.

A series of wonderful team play allowed Ak Md Azrul Ariffin Pg Matussin to score the second goal for LLRC in the 36th minute, leaving MIISA's goalkeeper Md Najib Hj Munap hapless to do anything to stop the winger's shot.

MIISA United resolved to a hard tackling approach in the first half of the games, committing several dissent fouls on LLRC's players, but the tactical approach did not seem to work out, as the first half was concluded by the referee's whistle with LLRC leading 2-0.

LLRC played an entertaining brand of mixed passing football, effectively attacking MIISA United's defence from both flanks. At one point of the game, their coach switched their two wingers from left to right in the middle section of the first half.

MIISA United resolved to a tactical 4-3-3 change after the interval, stealing an early second half goal from a delightful chip from No 11, Kassim Jafar, leaving the keeper stranded, and LLRC panicking at that point.

Stamina was a key point in the game, as Hj Annuar Hj Seidil securing LLRC's fourth goal in the 75th minute.

In a post match interview with The Brunei Times, Hj Md Bahrin Hj Sahari commented that he was pleased with the two goals, and aimed to work harder.

"I am pleased with the two goals. I hope I can score more, but that's only if the coach will decide to play me again", said the playmaker, ending his quote with a laugh.

Their manager, Hj Affandi Hj Julaihi, said after the match: "Alhamdulillah, we have converted the three points needed tonight, and although we are still looking for the right tempo in our match play, I am happy that we won."

While MIISA United need to improve in their next game, LLRC's brand of football, if maintained throughout the season, could make them one of the top contenders to qualify for the Superleague next April. Pin point passing, deadly crosses, fast wingers, and all round good discipline proved effective in last night's game for the KB based team.

LLRC will be playing against Perkasa in their next game, while MIISA United will meet Youngsters FC on the 26th and 27th December respectively.The Brunei Times

05 December 2011

Fast and furious football for Brunei at Borneo Games

Jason Thomas

Monday, December 5, 2011

KWON Oh-son knows exactly how his team should play at the Borneo Games which kicked off yesterday.

"Two-touch passes and fast play fast thinking, fast movement, fast tempo," said the South Korean coach of the Under-21 team that will see action at Samarinda, in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

"We need to play quick on the attack, and when we lose the ball, pressure our opponents straight away to regain possession.

"The first thing they need to do when they lose the ball is pressure the second is to get others to cover for them in case they're out of position. For example if the right-back moves up and can't track back down, the centre-back has to cover him.

"The team have to be balanced.

"We've been training since September ... their hearts are really into this competition. Their mentality is great and the team all feel like we are on a mission," he added.

Though Brunei held the honour of hosting the last Games in 2009, football was not contested because of Fifa's suspension on the Sultanate a decision which meant that the country could not compete in or host any international games.

The suspension which was lifted in May also meant the Sultanate was unable to organise the biennial Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) in 2009, a competition for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Under-21 teams.

And with the same list of players set to represent Brunei at the Feb 21 HBT, the 4th Borneo Games will be vital experience for Kwon's men.

So whether they win or lose at Samarinda, one thing is for sure the HBT team will be more prepared for their Asean meet than their Under-23 counterparts who took to the field at last month's SEA Games in Indonesia.

The SEA Games team only played one quality friendly match in preparation for the 26th edition of the multi-sport event, a 2-2 draw against Brunei's only professional football club DPMM FC. Taking to the field in Jakarta, they would end with one win, a draw and three losses finishing fifth in the six-team table, where the Philippines were the last.

Though Kwon did not know who Brunei will be up against at the Dec 4-11 Borneo Games besides Brunei Darussalam, Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan, East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, the tournament will also involve nine invited teams the South Korean will have no dearth of quality sparring partners, after all, the team's real goal at the Games is to use it to prepare for the HBT.

The invited teams are Makassar, Johor, Pahang, West Papua, Bali, Nangoh Aceh, Northern Territory of Australia, Timor Leste and Lombok.

Brunei are being represented by the national team while the rest of the sides are only provinces or States, but Kwon said it would be foolish to underestimate their opponents.

"They are all strong teams and I think the Indonesian teams, as hosts, will benefit from their fans' support," noted Kwon.

The Brunei team have three players from the SEA Games squad, with striker Adi Said who ended the country's campaign in Jakarta as the team's top scorer with three of their five goals definitely the man to mark.

The other two players are goalkeeper Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Sallehuddin and right back Mohammad Azri Zahari.

Though Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin was SEA Games coach Dayem Hj Ali's first choice in Jakarta, Kwon said he will be playing second fiddle to Md Fakhrul Zulhazmi Yussof at Samarinda.

The 20-man football squad make up the majority of the 54-player contingent that Brunei sent to Samarinda on Saturday.

Brunei Times

03 December 2011

Let football league begin!

Azamri Zainal

Saturday, December 3, 2011

MS ABDB are out to finish the job.

Having been denied the league title last season, the armymen only have one mission in the new DST-National Football League 2011/2012 which kicks off today. To win the inaugural title.

MS ABDB, who were top of the old DST Group Brunei Premier League (BPL) I when it was halted on June 13, will be out to erase last season's disappointment and are confident they can succeed in the new league with their manager proclaiming that they are "the team to beat".

(The Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD), the ex-governing body for the sport in Brunei, but was not recognised by Fifa, was in June told to put a halt to all football competitions it endorsed including the BPL I. MS ABDB had a six-point lead when the season was ended prematurely).

MS ABDB, Major Suhaimi Jamali, told The Brunei Times yesterday: "We were supposed to be champions last season and I think we deserved it (the title) as we were already six points clear.

"We are again the team to beat (in the new league)," added the manager.

"But, we have a new challenge because four of our key players were called up to play for DPMM FC two weeks ago."

Major Suhaimi admitted that the loss would affect the team, especially since MS ABDB also lost their influential captain Rosmin Hj Khamis to the country's only professional football club.

"We will have to look for new players ... but I don't expect them (the new players) to perform immediately. Everyone can play well, but I feel we are not 100 per cent ready yet. We need two more weeks to train," said the team manager.

Despite this league rivals Indera SC still see MS ABDB as favourites for the title.

Indera's team manager Rosdin Hj Aziz, in an interview with the BT, predicted that MS ABDB and fellow local giants QAF FC would again dominate the new league.

"Indera SC will have to work hard if we are to perform well in the new league and gain automatic qualification to the Super League is a major priority."

Having said that, the manager admitted that they were in a tough group.

"We will not be playing against easy teams," said Rosdin.

Indera are drawn with seven other teams in Group C, which also includes MS ABDB and MS POLIS DB.

Like their rivals, Indera have also lost their players to DPMM FC as well as the national team.

"It is hard for the team to get together and train for the league, because nine of our players are currently representing the country at the Borneo Games (held from Dec 4-11 in Samarinda, Kalimantan). These players will also represent Brunei at the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in March. So it is quite difficult for us to train at the moment," said Rosdin.

Among their players in the national team are Mohd Nurikwan Hj Othman, Mohd Fakruk Hamzi Yusof, Mohd Al Wardi Abd Hamid and Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Salehuddin.

He added:"Three of our players have also been called up to play for DPMM FC Sairol Hj Sahari, Mohd Azwan Salleh and Mohd Helmi Zambin."

"This is a different team ... most of the players are very young. Perhaps only one or two are above 30," said the Indera manager.

Newly elected Wijaya FC coach Hussin Hj Mokhtal, meanwhile, is confident his team can finish in the Top 3 to qualify for the exclusive DST National Super League.

But, he admitted that they would have a tough job considering this year's League Cup winners, Majra FC, are also in Group D.

Hussin said Wijaya will utilise their young players in the new league.

"Two of our players are in the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy squad (Under-21 team) while eight are from the Under-16 national team."

Hussin is familiar with Brunei football, having played for Brunei and Wijaya.

"I was the coach of Indera SC last season. Wijaya didn't do very well last season ... they were seventh out of the nine teams in the league. Now I am back with the team and hope we will do better," added Hussin.

Thirty-two teams divided into four groups will be competing in today's long-awaited DST-National Football League.

Organised by the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD), a new format of play is being introduced whereby the winners and runners up of each group will gain automatic qualification to compete in the elite DST-National Super League, with the two best third-placed teams also gaining entry into the exclusive competition.

Each team will play each other once.

The league kicks off today at the Berakas Sports Complex at 8pm, but the opener remains a mystery as NFABD will only conduct the draw after the opening ceremony which the association expects all 32 teams to attend.The Brunei Times

01 December 2011

'Imports will benefit local players'

Azamri Zainal

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ALLOWING import players in the future will benefit local players tremendously, said QAF FC coach Rahim Hj Daud.

"The participation of import players in the league would be a positive factor. Some clubs may not be able to afford buying import players, but their participation (imports) will help increase football standards for locals, because from my experience, the locals can learn a lot from import players," said Rahim ahead of the upcoming DST National Footbal League 2011/2012.

Illustrating his view by using QAF FC as an example, the coach said imports have helped QAF FC win trophies in the past.

"They have also contributed a positive factor to the development of local players. We know for a fact that they act as teachers to the local players. I have no doubt that their presence will improve the footballing standards of football in Brunei."

The coach said his squad will be expecting tough competition for the upcoming season and that they will be aiming for a top two finish, which will give automatic qualification to compete in the DST National Super League in April next year.

The club manager said: "We are drawn in group B with nine other teams. From all of the teams, I am only familiar with Jerudong FC. The other teams in Group B are new teams. I will not be looking down on them because we do not know the strength that each of these new teams have, and I expect every team will have a chance to qualify in the top two."

Rahim Hj Daud said this gives the three-time B-League Champions "more motivation to work hard during training".

"We have been training for the past three months, five days a week. We have also brought in local youth players who have participated in the Southeast Asian Games, and also maintained a pool of senior players such as Riwandi Wahit."

He expects his star striker, who was once dubbed as the "Michael Owen" of Brunei as a youth player in 1999 to perform well for his club in the new season.

Asked about the average age of his squad, Rahim Hj Daud answered that QAF FC consists of a "relatively talented young squad that is guided by a few senior players".

On the new football league format, the club manager said he likes the idea of NFABD "designing the league to scout for potential players, who could represent the country on international level", adding that he will comply to the standards of the local footballing body.

The use of import players in local football have done wonders for Brunei, as the national side won the Piala Malaysia for the first time in history back in 1999, beating Sarawak 2-1 in Stadium Merdeka.

Although legendary football figures such as Brian Bothwell and Patron Akapo anchored the famous 'wasps' road to glory in 1999, it was local players such as Rosli Liman, who scored the two goals in the final.

Rosanan Samak, (captain) Liew Chuan Fue, flamboyant and entertaining goalkeeper Ibrahim Bakar, and Pengiran Salehuddin, to name a few, are the ones who have learned from the import players, and became local heroes for Bruneian children who grew up patriotically supporting the winning national team as opposed to a section of youths taking pride in wearing the Malaysian jersey on the streets today.

Brunei DPMM FC have also won the Singapore League Cup back in 2009, beating Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC) 4-3 on penalties, by the help of import players such as Rene Komar.

However, the fact that NFABD have brought Brunei football back on track by working corresponding closely and complying with Fifa's standards is no easy task, and deserves some sort of praise from the local football scene.

Perhaps the idea of allowing imports will come in when the league starts experiencing growth. As cliche as it may sound, Rome was not built in a day.

Getting back to the subject of the DST National League, Rahim expressed hope that the weather will not affect the matches.

They hope to qualify automatically to compete in the DST National Super League next year, and are currently "training hard" to perform well against other new teams, who he thinks can be a threat in the field because of their new presence in the local football scene.

The Brunei Times