FA Cup 2020 called off

Fadhil Yunus

Brunei Darussalam’s premier cup competition – the FA Cup 2020 – has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and unavoidable technical issues, the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) announced yesterday.

A press statement said the national football governing body will be having further discussions with representatives from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on the selection of the club that will represent Brunei in the 2021 AFC Cup Qualifying Round.

Earlier this month, NFABD postponed the decision to organise the FA Cup 2020 until the next press conference on the next de-escalation plan.

It had previously given a timeframe of no later than November 9 to come up with the decision on the cup competition’s status.

The FA Cup, which format and structure will only be clear once it is confirmed, has been meant to be the remaining competition for local football clubs this year following the cancellation of the Brunei Super League (BSL).

File photo shows Kota Ranger players receiving their prizes after their FA Cup final match against MS PPDB last year. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

The league had only contested two rounds before its suspension in March at a time when COVID-19 measures were rolled out nationwide.

This year, the league has been expanded to 16 teams with clubs provided opportunities to play at least 30 games in a single season.

Major teams such as DPMM FC have also made plans to expose young talents in complying with the requirements of NFABD, while Tabuan Academy had planned to use the league as an avenue to prepare national age group players for international competitions. Kota Ranger are the FA Cup defending champions after their 2-1 victory against MS PPDB 2-1 in the final at the Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex last year.

The police personnel made their second successive final appearance and had looked to go one step further after falling in the final hurdle against Indera SC in the previous edition.

Last year’s FA Cup saw 17 teams participating, including teams mostly from the BSL and Brunei Premier League, the country’s second tier competition.

Should a local club get selected in the 2021 AFC Cup, they could be drawn against Myanmar National League runners-up Hanthawady United, Hun Sen Cup winners Visakha and Lao Premier League champions Lao Toyota.