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

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