| Fadhil Yunus |
Matahari FC emerged as champions of the Standard Chartered Trophy 2015 Brunei local tournament and moved a step closer towards realising the dream of going to Anfield, the home ground of Liverpool FC in the United Kingdom.
Matahari will proceed to the regional tournament in Kuala Lumpur as a Brunei representative where only representatives from Malaysia and Thailand now stand in their path to qualification to Anfield, one of the most popular and historic stadiums in the world.
The winners ended Syah Kampong’s brave resistance with a 2-0 win in the final at the Indoor Stadium last night.
The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah presented the champions mock cheque and the individual prizes.
Mohd Zainul Hazmin bin Mohd Saifuddin scored twice both deep in the first and second half to all but seal his team a place in Kuala Lumpur for the right to represent the Southeast Asia region alongside nine other countries in the Standard Chartered Trophy finals.
Matahari had already threatened early on but it took a moment of sheer quality and the audacity to perform something out of the extraordinary to unlock the concrete walls of Syah Kampong’s defence.
Everyone in the arena was left to appreciate Matahari’s football as the goal was met by a deafening roar of applause.
Iswandi Wahid had no right to turn but somehow adjusted his body shape to completely deceive a stunned Syah Kampong’s defender and leaving him for dead before slicing a delicate pass for Md Zainul to coolly convert a simple finish.
Syah Kampong had the chance to draw into level terms when Matahari’s goalkeeper parried the ball away onto the path of Hanif Aniz who only managed to blast his shot wide.
Any hopes of a revival for Syah Kampong was instantly dashed when Md Zainul bundled home from close range a minute from time.
The Matahari’s pair of Iswandi bin Wahid and Md Zainul Hazmin bin Md Saifuddin collected the Most Assists and Top Scorer prizes respectively. Iswandi walked away with a signed Liverpool Football Club jersey by goalkeeper Brad Jones while Md Zainul received a signed LFC jersey by midfielder Joe Allen.
Mohd Asyramisyanie Kamis of Syah Kampong FC was awarded the Best Goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, Rino Donosepoetro, the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Brunei said, “The Standard Chartered Trophy has been an exciting journey for us as we have gotten to know the teams better throughout this week and witnessed their skills and passion for the game.”
“I am extremely hopeful that Brunei will be one of the countries to compete for the Standard Chartered Trophy Finals in Anfield, Liverpool, UK in May 2015, the home of the Liverpool Football Club.”
During the closing ceremony, a mock cheque of BND$2,400 was handed over to the Community Development Department (JAPEM) on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for the Humanitarian Fund of the Malaysian Flood Disaster. The funds was raised from registration fees collected from the participating teams, 100 per cent of which were donated.
Earlier, the quarterfinals of the Standard Chartered Trophy Brunei qualifying were contested with all group winners from the preliminary round in contention.
SLHM/Easyway, Syah Kampong, AMBD FC and Matahari FC all qualified to the last four while the quartet of HMD, Royal Origin FT, GG FT and OLSCB were eliminated.
Mohd Asyramisyanie saved a penalty in the shoot-out to send his team to the final while Matahari’s solitary goal in the second semi-final was enough to confirm their place.
The Standard Chartered Trophy Brunei 2015 is supported by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and endorsed by the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam.