| Fadhil Yunus |
NAJIP FC head coach Johari Hj Bungsu admitted that the DST FA Cup final against MS ABDB may not have come at a perfect timing amidst concerns over players’ availability and training limitations.
He added that most of his charges had just returned from the year-end holidays, while some were still away.
Tomorrow will be the club’s first appearance in a major final following their stunning win over current DST Super League champions Indera SC in the last four.
They will come up against MS ABDB, who will miss the services of captain Ak Mohd Safri bin Pg Othman through suspension after he collected a second yellow in their win over QAF FC.
Johari felt that his opponents would be better prepared.
“The final does not come at the right time for us. Our preparations are quite restricted because our players have gone for holidays. Time does not favour us.”
Johari also believed that his opponents were dealing with the added pressure of defending the title, in contrast to his side who he labelled as underdogs.
After being beaten twice by MS ABDB in the DST Super League earlier in the season, Johari will be all too aware of the danger his opponents pose.
“Weather conditions can also play an important part in the outcome … it could decide how we approach our tactics,” said Johari.
“When we met Indera in the semi- finals, the confidence of the players’ in the dressing room was very high, especially before the game.
“That became our main asset for the team. I’ve told the players that good morale and teamwork are very important. For example, I emphasised that reaching at least 60 per cent in morale can influence a match”.
He said that although “the final is a bonus” for his side, he has his sights trained on capturing the title.
“Any team who keeps possession and finish will ultimately win the match.
“For example in the semi-finals, Najip FC did not have a lot of attacks but they prevented Indera from making an impact.”
Meanwhile, MS ABDB manager Major (A) Pg Farisan Pg Hj Metassan has warned his side against complacency.
“We cannot look down on Najip FC. Indera FC are not an easy team to beat. We will observe their strengths, weaknesses and tactics.
“We will always respect the opposing side.
“We will keep our discipline intact and ensure that we do not show any nerves”, he said.
Neither side has any real injury concern.
“Mohd Baharin’s return to form after his injury setback will provide us potency in attack,” said Major (U) Pg Md Farisan.
“Hopefully, we can bring the quality shown in training to the final.”
Meanwhile, the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) voiced concern over the safety and availability of facilities in Brunei.
It said the track and field at Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex and Tutong Sports Complex are the only ones up to par.
There are also plans to host weekend fixtures in Brunei-Muara for Temburong-based club Lun Bawang, who won promotion to the DST Super League.