Brunei Darussalam’s national development team Tabuan have returned to the Brunei Super League (BSL) this season looking to add experience in their bags.
After a year-long absence, the NFABD Under-16 Youth League champions recorded their first win in the BSL over Panchor Murai FC 2-1 at the Tutong Sports Complex last month before the COVID-19-enforced break.
As part of the league’s expansion with 16 teams taking part, Tabuan made their return to the top flight since the 2017-2018 season, when they finished in sixth place.
The national development team head coach Haji Omar bin Jamil hopes their participation in Brunei’s top tier will help them ready for future international matches.
Tabuan’s Technical Advisor Izzat bin Omar, during a pre-season press conference in January said, “It is a good opportunity and platform for us to play at a high level against the senior players. The boys are looking forward in the tournament as this will help their preparation in the international events.
He added, “Everyone will have the exposure to develop in this tournament. The boys can also learn from all the other teams.”
In their first match last month, Tabuan left it fashionably late after Panchor Murai had threatened to come away with all three points.
Sharul bin Haji Sabtu gave Panchor Murai the lead two minutes before half-time as his side looked on course for victory until Tabuan provided a late response.
Tabuan marksman Syaherrul Affendy bin Syahmirul Nizam continued his ruthless streak from the youth league last season after stabbing home the equaliser in the 80th minute. They found the winner through Mohd Irfan Roshidi deep into stoppage time.
Arguably a team with the youngest average age, the national development team also has a quartet of 15-year-olds in their ranks namely Hafy Herman, Malik Norazlan, Hazwan Hasmi and Md Syafiq bin Shahrin.
Meanwhile, BSRC are also making their return to the top flight. In recent seasons, the Belait-based side were among the teams challenging for promotion in the Brunei Premier League, the second tier of Brunei football.
BSRC have had a mixed start so far this campaign in their opening two fixtures after a 3-1 win over Bakes FC followed with a 2-3 loss to KB FC in the Belait District Derby.
The Brunei Super League has been suspended since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.