Indera SC will not make their maiden appearance in the inaugural ASEAN Club Championship (ACC) in the coming months following the recent announcement that the regional competition had been re-scheduled to next year amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Brunei Super League outfit were due to represent the country in the club football competition, which will involve 10 match days spread over five months in the regional schedule.
The remaining clubs that were scheduled to take part are Thailand teams Chiangrai United and Prachuap, Vietnamese teams Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, Indonesian teams Bali United and Persebaya, Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, Myanmar’s Shan United, Philippines’ Ceres-Negros, Cambodia’s Svay Rieng and Laos’ Lao Toyota.
Indera’s participation in the regional scene was made possible after meeting Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club Licensing requirements, which allowed them entry in the AFC Cup earlier this year.
The Brunei-based outfit were drawn in the playoff stage alongside Ceres-Negros, Svay Rieng and Lao Toyota where they will try to secure a berth in the group stage.
The national leagues under the purview of the AFF member nations have already been suspended with the Singapore Premier League the latest to make the move in line with the updated guideline set by the country’s COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.
“With the ASEAN Club Championship been slotted into 10 match days over five months in the regional schedule, it’s now clear that with the prevailing conditions and the pending rescheduling of many AFF national leagues and AFC competitions, yet to be decided, that there will not be sufficient time to complete the inaugural championship this year. All members can now plan for the launch in 2021,” the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) said.
AFF President Major General Khiev Sameth said, “These are unprecedented times for the whole world, including our football family and communities, but we will get through it together. However, getting through this will require all of us to play our part.”
The president added with the high risk of transmission of the disease at mass gatherings, they have made the decision to delay and whenever necessary to cancel the competitions.
The AFF has also confirmed that tournaments sanctioned under them including the under-16 and under-19 championships both in Indonesia which Brunei are also expected to feature, will be postponed until later this year.
Meanwhile, the two competitions that have seen involvement by the Brunei national futsal team and a local futsal club in recent years – the AFF Futsal Championship and the AFF Futsal Club Championship – will go ahead as planned.
DPMM FC rose up to the challenge against their well-recruited rivals and title contenders after masterminding a superb 2-0 win over Tampines Rovers in the Singapore Premier League at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas last night.
A goal each from Charlie Clough and Andrei Varankou in either side of the half gave the home side a much-needed lift in their league opener after a delayed start to the season.
The club’s young player Hanif Farhan Azman’s meteoric rise from the team that featured in the Brunei second tier last year was confirmed after he was handed his debut in the heart of midfield alongside new foreign import goalkeeper Emerson.
The visitors found the gap in between the defence with influential winger Jordan Webb racing into the box but Emerson foiled his attempt with a smart save.
Tampines’ forward Zehrudin Mehmedovic proved a tricky customer as he produced a delightful ball into the path of Boris Kopitovic who managed to get his shot only into the arms of Emerson.
The hosts took the lead after Charlie Clough planted a looping header beyond the Tampines goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari after Hendra Azam Idris had floated in an excellent delivery from a set-piece.
Varankou managed to keep down a lofted ball but Tampines defender Shannon Stephen put his body on the line to prevent him from taking a shot before the former picked out to Abdul Azizi Ali Rahman, who was denied by good goalkeeping from Syazwan.
Tampines forward Kopitovic forced another fierce strike on target from a tight angle following good work in the middle of the park from Mehmedovic.
The visitors made a response to falling behind with a double substitution as head coach Gavin Lee introduced attacking-minded duo Kyoga Nakamura and Taufik Suparno into the fray.
DPMM FC dead ball specialist Hendra produced a teasing cross into the box but tight marking from a Tampines defender ensured that Varankou could not get his header cleanly. The visitors were robbed off possession after a misplaced pass as Abdul Azizi’s attempt took a deflection for a corner with Hendra again central to the threat.
From the ensuing corner, Charlie Clough’s header across the box was nearly guided into the roof of the net from a Tampines player but only the crossbar saved them from an own goal.
The Gegar Gegar men wrapped up victory with a potential Singapore Premier League classic four minutes from time after Varankou outplayed the visiting defence through a moment of individual brilliance before following up with a low finish past the goalkeeper.