| Fadhil Yunus |
PROJEK Ikan Pusu (PIP) were crowned champions of the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Under-16 Youth League after accumulating 18 points last August.
The newly crowned youth winners were officially presented with the championship trophy and certificates during a prize presentation ceremony at NFABD House yesterday.
Presenting the championship trophy to PIP Head Coach Haji Omar bin Haji Jamil was the Acting Deputy President of NFABD Haji Abdul Razak bin Haji Ibrahim.
Bang Dalam FC finished as runners-up in the Under-16 league and were PIP’s closest rivals.
After finishing second best both to Tabuan ‘A’ in consecutive years, PIP finally won the coveted crown in some style after scoring 27 goals and conceding only twice.
Crucial to their form were the performances of Shafiq Hidayat Al-Azim who finished as the league’s top scorer with 15 goals and Syafiq Saifuddin who was his nearest rival, with six goals.
The holders finally ended the dominance of Tabuan ‘A’, who won the title in 2016 and 2017.
“For the last two years, we were runner-up to Tabuan ‘A’, the National U-16 Team. This year, we finally made it,” said head coach Haji Omar.
“This time around, we are fortunate to not only have a great team of players, but also a great team of coaches – in particular, under-16 coach Ameer Aziz-Hakim Haji Abdul Lani and goalkeeping coach Muhd Zainal Abiddin bin Haji Ismail,” he added.
Haji Omar also lauded the role of the support system especially parents in realising the success that they have worked steadfastly for to win the crown.
“We have a great team of parents and families whose very strong support made this successful turnaround possible,” the head coach said.
Meanwhile, PIP Manager Cheah Swee Ming thanked the participating teams for providing fierce competition to his squad.
“This may sound surprising but I would like to say thank you to all the participating teams for being ‘tough as nails’ whenever they play PIP,” said Cheah.
“The constantly fierce but friendly competition is actually the key to progress for all the participating teams. For example, at PIP, because all teams were continuously improving, we have to constantly go back to the drawing board to work on our weaknesses and build on our strengths to be where we are today.
“We can train all year-round, but it is only with stiff competition that the rough diamonds will be able to emerge, shine and dazzle,” Cheah added.