13 February 2016

DPMM FC start season

Saturday, February 13, 2016

TWO fewer foreign players and a couple of new local faces, but reigning champions DPMM FC are ready to start their Singapore League (S-League) season against Albirex Niigata (S) FC tonight.
S-League titleholders DPMM FC start their title defence against Singapore Cup holders Albirex in the Community Shield at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, and it is far from certain how DPMM FC will deal with their backline after the release of Bosnian Boris Raspudic and the late arrival of Brian McLean.
McLean only arrived back in the sultanate to join the team on Tuesday, and he will have to adjust quickly as DPMM FC coach Steve Kean has entrusted Abdul Aziz Tamit to start alongside him in the season-opener -which marks the first chance of the year for both teams to win silverware.
“We’ve had five really good weeks of work,” said Kean in an interview with The Brunei Times after a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium on Thursday.
“Brian’s wife delivered a baby girl early and he was in different country and he only just made it back, but he is a very good pro as he was training everyday on his own.
“Even though he might not be 100 per cent match fit, his experience will get him through this game with no problems,” he added.
DPMM FC have promoted three Under-19 players – Mohd Na’im Hj Tarif, Mohd Azim Izamuddin Hj Suhaimi and Abdul Hafiz Abdul Rahim – to the senior squad, but they will have to wait to get a taste of action.
Meanwhile, former Indera Sports Club player Muhd Nur Ikhwan Othman will be making his debut in DPMM FC colours as he will be given the start with skipper Rosmin Hj Md Kamis suspended for the match.
“This gives Ikhwan an early opportunity in his first full season. He is a good player, has got good balance and can see a pass,” praised Kean.
“There is no hesitation to put him in because he has had a good pre-season,” added the Scotsman.
Albirex - who also won the Singapore League Cup last season -are a revamped team with 16 new players on the roster as well as a new coach in Naoki Naruo - who was previously at the helm in 2009.
According to a report on the S-League website, the White Swans have retained key players like Atsushi Kawata, Kento Nagasaki and Rui Kumada.
The Japanese outfit have also welcomed back Tatsuro Inui, who will take over the vacant playmaker role after 2015 S-League Player of the Year Fumiya Kogure left for Hougang United.
Albirex struggled for goals last season but the inclusion of Kawata and the towering 1.9m Kazuki Mine from J-League 2 side Kyoto Sanga will help the team in front of goal.
Although Kean doesn’t know what to expect, he believes his charges have got the edge.
“I have no idea how they will play but knowing the mentality of the club, I’m sure they won’t move too far away from what they normally play,” said Kean.
“They try to control the ball and they don’t play direct football. They try and build it up through the back and middle leading to the front. I don’t see that changing too much.
“It is a challenge because it is a new team and it might take them a few weeks to gel.
“On the other hand, majority of our players have been together for two years so I think that is an advantage for us.”
Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

The Brunei Times

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