24 January 2013

DPMM FC lend fresh legs to Brunei's AFC campaign

Thursday, January 24, 2013
THE players from the Sultanate's only professional club, DPMM FC, will be lacing up for the national team at the qualifying stages of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Challenge Cup 2014 in March.

With the 2013 Singapore League (S-league) approaching in less than a month, football clubs will often request for their players to be exempted from participating in international tournaments, leaving footballers in dilemma. But such is not the case for DPMM FC as they believe that national duty comes first.

Speaking to The Brunei Times last night, DPMM FC manager Ali Hj Momin said that his players will be available for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila Philippines.

"We will have no problems releasing our players for international tournaments. We are aware of this and we will not stop our players from representing the country in any international tournaments," he said.

Asked if the tournament will affect their S-League campaign this year, the manager quickly replied: "It should not be a problem as S-League will be having a break in March."

"At the moment, I have no idea which players in DPMM FC will be representing national team in the tournament. It is up to the national team's management and, of course, there will be a selection process. I wish them all the best."

The group-stage qualifying draw was held in Kuala Lumpur last year on December 15 where Brunei was drawn into Group E with hosts the Philippines, Turkmenistan and Cambodia.

Group A will see Myanmar (hosts), India, Taiwan and Guam do battle while Group B comprises Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Pakistan and Macau (hosts).

Laos (hosts), Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Mongolia will vie for honours in Group C while Group D are made up of Nepal (hosts), Palestine, Bangladesh and Mauritius.

There are a total of five groups comprising four teams each with each group to be hosted in a different country.

The winners of each group, as well as the two second best teams, will advance to the tournament proper with host nation Maldives.

The AFC Challenge Cup, which is the counterpart of the Asian Cup, is a biennial event and is contested by emerging footballing countries in Asia.

The winners of the Challenge Cup will automatically qualify for the next Asian Cup in 2015 in Australia.

The last two AFC Challenge Cup titles were won by North Korea.

North Korea will no longer compete in the Cup, as they have moved up into the Asian Cup qualifiers.The Brunei Times

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