SINGAPORE: Defending champions Brunei DPMM will not participate in the curtain-raiser for the upcoming Singapore Premier League (SPL) season due to "precautionary travel restrictions" by the club, said the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Monday (Feb 17).
"The FAS has been notified by Brunei DPMM FC of its precautionary travel restrictions in light of the current COVID-19 situation," said the association in response to queries from CNA.
"As such DPMM will not be able to play Tampines Rovers FC at this weekend’s Community Shield match. The FAS is reviewing all options and more information will be shared shortly."
The AIA Community Shield match between Brunei DPMM and Tampines Rovers was originally slated to be held on Saturday at the Jalan Besar stadium.
DPMM have won the league twice, finishing as runners-up on two occasions.
Last week, the FAS had announced that the upcoming SPL season will proceed as planned, with measures such temperature screening to be carried out at entry points to stadiums.
These measures are being introduced in light of the "rapidly evolving situation" due to COVID-19, said the FAS. It has since established a task force to determine the protocols and advisories for its activities amid this outbreak.
As part of the FAS DORSCON protocol for level Orange, mass events of 300 people or more - such as SPL matches - will continue, with measures in place such as temperature screening at entry points of venue.
Any fan who displays symptoms of respiratory illness such as flu, cough or shortness of breath will be denied entry to the stadium, said FAS. Entry will also be denied to any fan with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher.
In addition, all carnival activities, festivals and non-essential football events will be cancelled, said FAS. There is also the possibility that matches may be played behind closed doors.
Singapore Premier League (SPL) defending champions Brunei DPMM FC unveiled their squad, ahead of the new season at the end of this month, at The Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong yesterday.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin was the guest of honour.
The 22-man squad have seen a boost with the arrival of Brazilian goalkeeper Emerson and local young players Muhammad Hanif Farhan bin Azman and Azriel bin Arman.
Returning to the squad for another season are defender Charlie Clough and last season’s top scorer Andrei Varankou. Central midfielder Blake Ricciuto has left the club.
Completing the DPMM FC squad are Muhammad Wafi bin Aminuddin, Abdul Muiz bin Sisa, Azwan bin Muhamad Saleh, Muhd Azwan bin Ali Rahman, Mohd Hendra Azam bin Mohd Idris, Abdul Azizi bin Ali Rahman, Mohammad Najib bin Haji Tarif, Suhaimi anak Sulau, Mohammad Helmi bin Zambin, Hazwan bin Hamzah, Muhammad Hakeme Yazid bin Said, Razimie bin Ramlli, Md Nur Ikhwan bin Othman, Abdul Aziz bin Tamit, Mohammad Shah Razen bin Said, Awangku Yura Indera Putera bin Pengiran Yunus and Md Wardun bin Yussof.
Brunei DPMM FC unveiled their home and away jerseys for the Singapore Premier League 2020 season during the signing ceremony for players and sponsors at The Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong yesterday. Photo shows DPMM FC players Wafi Aminuddin and Azizi Ali Rahman wearing the home kit while Nurikhwan Othman and Azwan Ali Rahman donning the away kit. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI
Brunei DPMM FC head coach Adrian Pennock (above)
Head coach Adrian Pennock said it will be an uphill battle for his team to defend the title as a new SPL rule states that Singaporean teams can sign four import players, giving a one player advantage over other foreign teams in the league.
However, the head coach looked on the positive side and focussed on nurturing Brunei talent in competing at a high level.
“This season would be more of a development season where I want to bring more young players under the club. This pre-season, we have three young players and we want to nurture them during the whole season for the future of DPMM FC.”
In the pre-season games in Cambodia, he commended the players’ attitude were great. “The squad works very hard and with less than two weeks to start the league, we are really looking forward to it.”
Talented forward Adi Said has left DPMM FC to join Kota Ranger FC, who are competing in the Brunei Super League. “He left the club on his own decision. He has been a great player for the club,” Pennock said.
Veteran goalkeeper Md Wardun Yussof is also expected to leave the club by the end of 2020 season, which prompted the club to find a suitable replacement.
“What a fantastic career that he has for DPMM FC. We got a young goalkeeper in Azriel and import Emerson … it would be a very healthy competition among them at the club.”
Meanwhile, the club has appointed a new fitness coach, Jason Moriarty. On the team’s fitness, he said, “The team will continue to improve their fitness as the season moves on.”
The players will undergo a fitness test as required by SPL tomorrow.
“I am confident the players will complete and pass the test. The work in pre-season is enough to bring the expected results,” Moriarty said.
Moriarty has 11 years experience with EFL League One side AFC Wimbledon before arriving at Brunei DPMM FC.