| Fadhil Yunus |
HIS Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, who is also the Chairman of DPMM FC, yesterday presented prizes to winners of the under-12 tournament during the DPMM FC Football Fanfare 2018 at the Jerudong Mini Stadium.
Also competing in the under-12 tournament was Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim, who was part of the International School Brunei (ISB) team that finished as runners-up.
Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim guided his team to the final after netting a brace in a 2-0 victory in the last four against PIP ‘B’, the second of which was a pure classic with a neat touch that diverted the ball from the opposing goalkeeper’s reach.
DASH Junior FT emerged winners of the under-12 tournament after claiming a 3-1 victory over ISB helped by a twin of long range strikes.
The newly crowned winners survived two penalty shootout scares with their goalkeeper, who was previously under the books of well-renowned PIP, an important member in the win.
As the second best team in Group ‘B’ could not be determined with both DASH Junior FT locked with the same number of points, goal difference and number of goals, the remaining team was decided through the lottery of a penalty shoot-out.
Parma, who had earlier locked in a stalemate with their conquerors, were the unlucky team after the crossbar denied them passage as DASH continued their journey towards the semi-final.
DASH, who had only scored one goal in the entire competition heading to the semi-finals, faced a relentless PIP ‘A’ side who not only enjoyed a perfect 100% record but has also scored nine goals and conceding none in three games.
But, they did not follow the script as they took the game to penalties and for a second game running emerged victorious in a 4-3 win and sent the stunned PIP ‘A’ out of the competition.
DASH stormed to the lead after Awangku Md Irfan bin Pengiran Haji Bolkiah belted a screamer from long range.
ISB thought they drew level after DASH’s goalkeeper inadvertently slipped Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim’s effort but the ball was apparently had not crossed the line.
Determined to get back into the tie, Anastase created a decent chance from a tight angle but the ball rolled narrowly wide.
DASH doubled their lead through Hamzi Hazaiq bin Hazmin Hatta but Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim helped hand his side a reprieve after reducing the deficit.
However, ISB hopes were instantly dashed after a firm strike from long range made it 3-1.
Awangku Md Irfan of DASH Junior FT was awarded best player after his starring role in the final.
DASH Football Academy was established in 2017 and focuses mainly on building grassroots football.
“It is our first tournament in 2018 and all the hard work pays off. We usually train on Sundays. This is the fruit of our training so we’re very happy and hopefully more to come,” said DASH Football Academy coach Hazmin Hamzah in an interview with the Bulletin.
The academy has currently more than 60 players including under-8, under-10 and under-12 age groups.
“We are focusing on grassroots level. If you need to win, you have to start from grassroots especially below 12,” said the coach.
DASH teams have already featured competitively in tournaments in 2017 and harboured hopes of playing international tournaments involving similar age groups from various countries.
Rubbing shoulders with the region’s finest young players will be seen as an indicator of their level of football and standard compared to the international scene.
“Our ambition is to bring these players outside of Brunei to be exposed to other countries. It will be in the under-12 tournaments and there are tournaments in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.”
“There are more tournaments outside of the country that is more intensive and more high level.”
“We want to see the standard and we have to measure. If we play only locally, it will be difficult,” he added.
Meanwhile, PIP ‘A’ finished in third place after edging PIP ‘B’ 2-1 in the playoff.
The guest-of-honour at the DPMM FC Football Fanfare was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin.
Also present was the High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore to Brunei Darussalam, Lim Hong Huai.
Earlier, the Vice President of Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Razali Saad said in his speech that Singapore enjoys bilateral ties with Brunei Darussalam and this relationship has deepened and strengthened through football especially since DPMM FC first joined the S League in 2009.
“Over the years, DPMM FC brought great competitive value to the league and Singapore football and proved to be a quality opponent winning the S League title in 2015 and the League Cup in 2009, 2012 and 2014,” he continued.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) warmly welcomed DPMM FC’s participation in Singapore football following their confirmation that they will be taking part in the 2018 season.
He also said that DPMM FC’s participation not only enforces the close relations between the two countries but more importantly the show of support for their new vision to improve the standard of football in Singapore.
“We are thankful to have Brunei’s strong and continued support in Singapore’s football as we hope to improve and increase opportunities in the development of young players in the country,” the vice president said.
Among the highlights was the unveiling of the DPMM FC squad for the 2018 season to the public including the three foreign imports, one of whom is the returning Brian McLean.
The event proceeded with the guest-of-honour being introduced to the DPMM FC players and the management by the club’s manager Pengiran Haji Muhd Waslimin bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Momin as well as the eight teams that took part in the under-12 tournament.
Before the under-12 tournament commenced, a coaching clinic was held with eight stations set up supervised by local coaches for all participants.