16 vie for top honours as new season looms

Fadhil Yunus

The new-look Brunei Super League will be expanded to 16 teams this season with reigning holders MS ABDB and FA Cup champions Kota Ranger FC among the leading clubs vying for top honours.

Last year’s teams MS ABDB, Kasuka FC, Wijaya FC, Indera SC, Kota Ranger, MS PPDB, Lun Bawang, Setia Perdana, IKLS MB-5 and Bakes will be joined by newcomers DPMM FC, Panchor Murai, Rimba Star, BSRC, Tabuan Academy and KB FT.

The league, which is slated to kick off on February 28, will be expanded from 10 teams and the expansion will allow each team to play at least 30 games during the season with two rounds of matches.

Meanwhile, the traditional curtain raiser Sumbangsih Cup will be contested between MS ABDB and Kota Ranger FC at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium on February 8.

The FA Cup, the premier cup competition in the country, will begin in early June while the Brunei Futsal League 2020 will be held after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivity.

President of NFABD Pengiran Haji Matusin bin Pengiran Haji Matasan with teams’ representatives and other officials at the press conference. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

The under-16 and under-19 youth leagues will be held concurrently in the middle of March and is expected to conclude in September.

President of National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Pengiran Haji Matusin bin Pengiran Haji Matasan announced the dates of the respective competitions during a press conference for the Brunei Super League at the Multi-purpose Hall of the NFABD House yesterday.

“As with any parent organisation for football in any country, NFABD envisions to organise competitions which is of prestige that must be held by all national associations as one of their main activities,” said Pengiran Haji Matusin in his opening remarks.

The administration in NFABD changed last November and in the short space of time, the national governing body of football will move a steady pace to organise any football-related activities.

With the expansion of teams and increased number of games, the president added, “This should be a way to improve the quality of football in the country. What NFABD envisions is combined efforts to increase the performance and quality of the respective teams.”

The president also stressed on the importance of meeting the needs of club licensing, which is an essential passport for any team if they were to compete on a continental level particularly competitions handled by Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Next week, Indera SC will represent the country in the playoff round of the AFC Cup where they will take on Myanmar’s Yangon United over two legs. The president said, “The reason why Indera was selected because they have met needs which have been required by AFC. I hope other teams will take the necessary steps so that they can grab the same opportunity.”

During the press conference, MS ABDB and Kota Ranger representatives updated on their preparations ahead of the new league season.

“Currently, we are making preparations during the pre-season. We keep on training after the league concluded last year and our preparations are focussed towards work on the field and strength of the players as well as gym sessions,” said a MS ABDB representative.

Insya Allah by next week, we will be able to have players that we can select. For this year, there will be strong teams with DPMM FC also in the mix.”

“The teams that we don’t know will provide us a challenge including teams from previous years such as Indera SC and MS PPDB. Insya Allah, we will provide competition against other teams.”

A Kota Ranger representative said, “Our preparations are as usual and we will continue to improve our football towards an even higher level.”

Several newcomers also expressed their desire to perform their best in the competition against the league’s usual teams.

Insya Allah, DPMM FC will uncover the talents of young players to gain experience playing in the Brunei Super League as well as complying to the requirements of NFABD,” said a representative from DPMM FC.

“The other teams and ourselves will together cooperate to succeed Brunei’s football,” said a representative from KB FC.

A Tabuan Academy representative said, “It is a good platform for us to play at a high level and we are looking forward to the competition as this will help the boys and the team for international preparations.”