Yee Chun LeongBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
DPMM FC, who are returning to the Singapore League (S-League) next month, could be attacking to a samba beat, despite saying they have already filled their import quota.Brunei's only professional football club will finally see action when the S-League kicks off on Feb 9. FIFA's two-year suspension on Brunei, which was only lifted in May last year, meant that DPMM FC have not played a competitive game since their 2-2 draw against Tampines Rovers FC in the S-League on Sept 29, 2009.Preparing for their return to the S-League, DPMM FC have maxed out their quota of import players with Brazilian defender Tales Ricarte dos Santos, Irish midfielder George O'Callaghan, Ghanaian striker Osman Basiru and Croatian attacking midfielder Ivan Jerkovic.But, there was an unfamiliar face at the team's training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium yesterday. Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral is currently on trial with the team and is trying to make his way onto the DPMM FC roster. Yesterday was only his second training session with the team, but he had settled down quickly."The team have good techniques and the players are very fast. It was quite a surprise for me actually, but I already expected a good team here in Brunei," said Gral during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday."Playing here is quite similar to being in Qatar where the weather is hot and humid just like in Brunei. There is also no problem with the local food since I'm used to eating rice and having tea from my playing days in Japan," he added.The pint-sized (176cm and 70kg) striker relies on his speed in the box to score. The 34-year-old Brazilian started his career together with ex-Barcelona and -AC Milan attacking midfielder Ronaldinho in Gremio youth teams in the 1990s.Gral represented Brazil at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship and even had a goal to his name in the Nigeria tournament which he scored against Zambia in the group stages. He was also part of the Brazil Under-23 squad that competed in the 2004 Olympics in Greece.He spent five years playing in Japan with Jubilo Iwata and then Yokohama Marinos from 2001 to 2006 and averaged one goal every two matches during his time in the Land of the Rising Sun.He then moved on to play in Qatar for the next three years before returning to Brazil to play for Brazilian Football Championship Second Division side Bahia EC.Next on the calendar for DPMM FC will be a friendly at home against Thai Premier League team, Chiangrai United, on Jan 18 to further prepare for the S-League.
The Brunei Times