A journeyman striker

Fadhil Yunus

Wijaya FC’s new recruit Afindi Yati bin Tuah boasts a long football CV and a storied career spanning more than a decade at the top of the Brunei football pyramid, having seen remarkable progress since starting out as a schoolboy.

At the age of 37, the evergreen Afindi is still going strong as he embarks on a fresh challenge of playing for Wijaya FC in this season’s Brunei Super League, the top tier of football in the country.

He is one of the few surviving members from a multi-talented generation that is actively featured in the top flight and this campaign will be his 22nd season since his first year with a domestic club.

Afindi, who primarily operates as a striker, is considered a valuable asset to Wijaya, who was placed third twice in three seasons, and will complement their attacking options.

A former international player and one of the country’s charismatic football personalities, he also enjoyed a rare distinction of representing title winners DPMM FC and QAF FC during his illustrious career.

Afindi (2nd L) and his teammates. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

The Kampong Sengkurong-bred forward first represented Brunei-Muara in the under-13 and under-15 teams and as a schoolboy he featured for Sengkurong Primary School.

As he furthered his education, Afindi represented Sayiddina Husain Secondary School as an athlete from 1995 to 2002. Over the years, he moved up the age group teams as he represented the under-16 Brunei-Muara team in 1996.

Two years later, he was part of the side that lifted the under-20 league title.

In the same year, Afindi was one of the aspiring footballers involved in the under-17 mixed schools football scheme. In 1999, he went through the Department of Youth and Sports scheme.

The forward’s undoubted talents earned him a place in the Brunei-Muara team as one of the main players in the district from 1999 to 2000.

He began his club career with Kasuka FC in 1999 until 2003 where he enjoyed considerable success. Afindi was part of the side that won both the Brunei Muara Champions Cup and the Pengiran Sanggamara Diraja Cup in 2000. His side also finished third in the RBA Invitational Cup during the same year.

He helped the Kasuka FC side to victory in the Md Amir PP Cup during his early years with the team.

In 2001, his club emerged as victors in the Pepsi Cup where his achievements were not left unnoticed as he became a member of the Brunei national team that played in the Malaysia League in the same year.

Progressing from district football to international level, he represented the Brunei team in the Sukma Games for consecutive editions in Penang in 2000 and Sabah in 2002.

In 2000, he represented the under-19 Brunei team in Guam and was part of the team that featured in the 28th Asian Schools in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2002, he was a member of the under-21 team and had a stint in futsal the same year where his team was crowned champions in the Ref Station Cup.

Afindi was also part of the pioneering Brunei team when the country hosted the inaugural edition of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy tournament in 2002. He spearheaded the attack for his country and guided them to their first win in the competition in the group stages when he netted a 21st minute penalty against Laos. He scored for a second successive match against Malaysia and finished the competition as his country’s top scorer.

At club level, he gained appearances in the Proton B League FA Cup during his formative years as a competitive player.

In 2003, he represented the Brunei team in Melaka and a year later featured for his country in the 2004 Malaysia Premier League.

He also played competitive football in Brunei that year where he laced his boots for Sengkurong FC in the Brunei League.

Afindi went on to spend several seasons for NBT FC from 2005 to 2009 where in his first year he guided the team to the Brunei National League Division 2 title.

He enjoyed instant success as an NBT FC player after winning the Golden Boot and was voted as the club’s Best Player before repeating his heroics as the club’s top scorer a year later in 2006.

Having taken the domestic scene by storm, he joined Brunei DPMM FC and represented Brunei in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship qualifiers in 2008.

After the country’s ban by FIFA was lifted, the Brunei Super League was established and Afindi joined QAF FC where he was in the club’s books from 2012 to 2014.

In 2015, he returned to the Brunei Muara team that took part in the Brunei Darussalam National Games (SKBD). In the same year, he played for Jerudong FC in the Brunei Super League before returning to Kasuka for his second spell in 2016.

After helping his former side Kasuka to a runner-up finish last season, he has now embarked on a fresh challenge in Wijaya FC colours.