Pennock underlines need to bring in young local players

Fadhil Yunus

DPMM FC head coach Adrian Pennock underlined the need to bring in more young local players into the first team and push their way into contention of playing in the Singapore Premier League (SPL).

The Gegar Gegar men have recently promoted 19-year old Hanif Farhan Azman into the first team following a string of excellent performances in the Brunei Premier League last year.

Pennock, whose side have been deprived of competitive action this season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, also called for a nationwide search for the best talents especially from the young age groups.

“We got to get more young players through to the senior team. We got to look all around the country for the little jewels even from the 12, 13, 14 and 15 year olds,” said Pennock in an interview with the Bulletin recently before the COVID-19 enforced break.

He added, “We’ve got to look for the best ones and bring them to DPMM FC and coach them. We want the best players because we want to represent Brunei in the Singapore Premier League, which is a very good league.”

File photo shows DPMM FC young player Hakeme Yazid Said during training. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

The Brunei Super League (BSL), which is currently suspended, has already seen a number of young players making their mark in the two rounds that have been contested.

The young players can be sourced from the Brunei’s top flight if they caught the eye of Pennock and the rest of the management.

“We’ve got to scout them. Surely, the best young players be it in the Brunei Super League, they will want to come to a full-time football team. And we are the only full-time football team in Brunei.

With a number of players noticeably past their peak years, Pennock indicated the need to lower the average age of the team.

“We’ve got to work harder to get these young players through. I want my squad to
be younger.”

“It is important that everyone in DPMM FC be it from the under-9 or all the way to the seniors, we’ve got to look out for the best Bruneian players.”

The youngest player in the team is Hakeme Yazid Said, who made headlines last year after scoring in his league debut aged just 16. Defender Wafi Aminuddin is also another player who is below the age of 20.

Earlier this year, Pennock brought young players from the reserves squad to train with the senior team amid the possibility of a promotion.

“I’ve done that because I want to see the local players with the B team to come up and so I can see them if they are good enough.”

The Ipswich-born will not be reluctant to bring in young players if they are good enough to make the grade in the first team.

Pennock has been impressed with Wafi Aminuddin and Hakeme Yazid, both of whom were originally from the B team, last year and drafted the pair into the first team.

“It doesn’t matter what age they are. I like to work closely with the coach (the B team) if I need any numbers. If he said to me I got to look at him, then I got to look at him.”