| Fadhil Yunus |
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office graced the DPMM FC / S League Football Fanfare 2015 at the Jerudong Mini Stadium yesterday.
His Royal Highness, who is also the Chairman of DPMM FC, joined the junior participants and the new import players for a group picture.
Among those participating was His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Muntaqim, who joined more than 100 junior participants in the technical training session during the DPMM FC / S League Football Fanfare 2015.
HRH Prince ‘Abdul Muntaqim also received a certificate of participation for the completion of the training session, which was conducted by DPMM FC’s head coach Steve Kean.
Also participating in the training session were the grandsons of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, YAM Pengiran Anak ‘Abdul Raqiib bin Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Rahim and YAM Pengiran Anak ‘Abdul Haseeb bin Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Rahim.
Fresh from completing the foreign quota with the arrival of new imports Craig Fagan, Brian McLean and Rafael Ramazzoti, the club is in its final week of preparation ahead of their first home game this season against Harimau Muda this Sunday, March 1.
The open training session attracted the participation of more than 100 junior footballers the majority of whom were from various schools and clubs that encourage youth development and promotion with the likes of Sports School and International School Brunei (ISB).
Kean revealed that he sees the young participants as potential players in the future adding that it only takes few hours to identify talent.
“We see these children today as potential players for us in the future. It was always nice for them to spend some time with the current players. We had a good response last year and this year was even better,” Kean said.
“Certainly, in the few hours, you can identify some players that has potential to be professional players. It doesn’t take long to see the ones that got something special and we’ve seen lots of them today,” Kean added.
Each of the eight technical stations comprised of a group of individuals playing in similar positions implementing different skills and playing in small games.
Instead of a normal football game, the training focused on a group of strikers or midfielders implementing a specific set of skills and replicating it on the end of the pitch during small games.
The S League ‘Coach of the Year’ 2014 nominee added that they would be interested to organise a formal training in the future and increase the frequency of training sessions.
“But at the moment, it is down to having these fun fairs once a season.”
Humid weather conditions did not discourage the motivation of the junior participants to gain further knowledge from Kean who takes great appreciation of injury prevention at senior level.
Kean was fairly impressed with the conduct and attitude shown by the junior players adding that the participants would return after a water break to learn about the other components linked with the technical aspects of the game.
“It was very warm today and the players asked that if they can have a little water break and after 10 minutes again they want to go back out and do something else”.
“They were asking how this warm up, how we should warm down, and what type of stretching you should do. We mentioned a lot of injury prevention and they were asking if we can show them something. We showed that in the end and hopefully they can learn something”.
“It is about participation. If the young players can get enthusiasm and excitement today and wants to play football, it is not just about watching on TV. Hopefully they get what I would call the bug to play and that excitement never leaves you”.
“If they can get a ball and practice at school, practice with a friend at school, after school, when they get a break at the weekends and as much contact with the ball and keep their skill level up, I’m sure they are some of those players who are here today that in the years to come would say that was the first time I decided to be a professional player”.
The objective of the training was to further comprehend the technical elements of the game for instance by controlling the ball not just by the stronger foot but also to work on a weaker foot.
“When someone is juggling with the ball it is always easier to keep up with the strong foot but sometimes mix it up with a weaker foot so that in years to come you don’t have a weak foot”.
“You’d never stop learning. Even the senior players like Joe Gamble, Craig Fagan and Bobby our captain, they’re learning and improving everyday”, added the head coach.
Meanwhile, Lim Chin, the Chief Executive Officer of S League commended DPMM FC’s initiative of building a fan base and encouraging active community participation and education through football.
“It is like a family concept and this is where we should build a fan base for each club through the children. The children can get to see up close and personal with the stars and besides just shaking hands and getting autographs, they are playing with the football stars”, Lim said.
“I think it is great to build up a fan and player relationship and DPMM FC did the right thing to hold a football fun fair on a beautiful Sunday morning”.
“I know the training is very short but I think what the children would remember that they learn the art of heading from this Brazilian player or he learnt dribbling from Azwan Ali. So when they see these players in action he remembers the half and hour sessions with them on that particular day. And maybe in time they (the club) can do more of this to engage with the fans”, Lim concluded.
Shortly after a certificate presentation to the participants, a souvenir was presented to the CEO of S League, Lim Chin as a token of appreciation by YAM Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pengiran Anak Haji Abdul Rahim bin Pengiran Indera Mahkota Pengiran Anak Dr. Kemaluddin Al Haj, the Vice Chairman of DPMM FC.