Rene Weber: His memory will live forever

Fadhil Yunus

Former DPMM FC head coach Rene Weber recently passed away at the age of 59 due to COVID-19 complications. The Brazilian only spent a season with the Gegar Gegar men in 2018 but his contributions to the club, especially within a short period of time, will be both valued and appreciated.

A well-respected figure in Brazilian football, the tactician was joined by foreign imports Brian McLean, Volodymyr Pryyomov and Mojtaba Esmaeilzadeh to spearhead the club’s charge.

The Brunei-based outfit looked for a fresh start after a disappointing end in the previous instalment when they finished eighth out of nine teams, winning only five games.

Weber enjoyed a decent start in his managerial career after losing just once in six league appearances, with their defeat coming in a 2-0 loss against reigning holders Albirex Niigata (S).

His side moved into top-three contention in the table following a 2-1 victory against Balestier Khalsa at the Toa Payoh Stadium during the early stages of the season, consequently ending a run of six appearances without a win against the Tigers.

File photo shows the late former DPMM FC head coach Rene Weber. PHOTO: AIA SINGAPORE PREMIER LEAGUE

Weber also played a part in the steady rise of former forward Adi Said who was slowly establishing himself as one of the important figures in the squad with his numerous goals and assists.

After back-to-back defeats against Home United and Albirex Niigata (S), Weber guided his side to a seven-game unbeaten run, including four victories.

The Brunei-based outfit also claimed impressive victories against Tampines Rovers FC and Warriors FC.

However, they received a major setback of runner-up finishes when they slipped to consecutive defeats for a second time against Home United and the Albirex Niigata (S), with the undefeated White Swans running away with the title.

Weber led his charges to another seven-game unbeaten run but eventually settled for a third place finish behind eventual winners Albirex Niigata (S) and Home United.

The Brunei-based side produced a set of impressive results taking all points against usual title suspects Tampines Rovers and Warriors FC at the final stretch of the season to solidify third position.

Weber also instilled in his squad an attitude of never giving up, as was shown when they rallied from a goal behind against Warriors at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium to reinvigorate their hopes of a top-two finish thanks to a Pryyomov brace.

The Ukrainian emulated his heroics against Tampines at home at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas with another brace to give Weber’s men a fighting chance of grabbing second place from the clutches of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League-chasing Home United.

However, their hopes of a runner-up finish disappeared following a 1-1 draw against Balestier Khalsa just a week later.

Meanwhile, in the Singapore Cup, DPMM FC reached their first ever final appearance under the guidance of Rene Weber.

The club’s progress in the Singapore Cup also saw stars such as Azwan Ali Rahman picking up form in a crucial time evident with his strike against Balestier Khalsa in the semi-final.

The Gegar Gegar men fended stiff competition from both Warriors and Balestier Khalsa en route to the final where they were denied a historic title by the rampant Albirex Niigata (S).

Under the Brazilian league winner with Botafogo, the local players were provided opportunities in the Singapore top flight with goalkeeper Haimie anak Nyaring cementing his position in the first team.

Outfield players Adi Said, Hendra Azam Idris and Abdul Azizi Tamit enjoyed a consistent run of games.

Adi was notably instrumental to DPMM FC’s push for a third place finish after posting double digits in both the goals and assists department.

Weber also aided the progress of Abdul Azizi bin Ali Rahman, with the forward netting his first hat-trick for the club in the 3-1 win against Hougang United.

The Brazilian said of the attacker, “Azizi is a good player. He has speed, good aerial ability and a fighting spirit.”