Brunei Darussalam’s forward Faiq Jefri Bolkiah carved his name in the history books after becoming the first Bruneian to play in the Thai professional league following his senior debut for Chonburi FC in the Thai League 1 at the Chonburi Stadium in Thailand on Sunday night.
The Brunei international also became the first player in the country to represent an overseas-based club in a top division of any international league after replacing midfielder Gidi Kanyuk as a late substitute during the 1-1 draw against Muangthong United.
His cameo role against the four-time league champions also coincidentally marked his first senior appearance in club football having spent most of his career in the reserves or youth teams.
Faiq, who did not make a single senior team appearance during a brief spell with Portuguese outfit Maritimo FC, expressed his delight after getting playing time for the Sharks and looked forward to the next match.
The 23-year-old could be in contention for a starting berth during Chonburi’s first round meeting against Chiangmai FC next in the new Thai League Cup edition tomorrow.
His new employers enjoyed a deep run in a domestic competition last season having reached the Thai FA Cup final, where they were eventually beaten by Chiangrai United.
The former Chelsea and Leicester City youth prospect was visibly delighted in his first interview shortly after his move to Chonburi FC was confirmed at the end of last year.
Faiq said, “I’m really happy and everyone had helped me in settling really well. The players are really nice and all of the staff had helped me.
“The last two years I don’t think I had much of an opportunity to show what I can do on the pitch at the last place I was at.
“So, I had to really be careful about my next destination so that I can get a chance to show what I can do. After speaking to the coach, it was one of the main reasons why I came here.
“I felt that this is the right place to come to progress at this stage of my career.”
During the league restart, Chonburi trailed to a Sardor Mirzaev’s free-kick in the first half before Renato Kelic rescued a point for the hosts following a cushioned header from Kritsada Kaman.
The Sharks climbed to third with 29 points in the league table but are four points adrift of Bangkok United who currently occupy top spot.