Tabuan clinch Under-16 Youth League title

Fadhil Yunus

Tabuan rising star Awangku Mohd Idzzaham Alwshahmezan bin Pengiran Metali provided a moment of magic with a stunning free-kick during the dying seconds of the 2-2 draw against DPMM FC to help win his side the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (NFABD) Under-16 Youth League title at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium yesterday.

The national youth development team was awarded a free-kick in a promising position deep into injury time and the Tabuan talisman unleashed a fine strike worthy of any championship-winning goal as joyous scenes erupted both in their camp and across the stadium. The league leaders, who needed just a point to reclaim the coveted title, found themselves behind by two goals as DPMM FC, who had reprised the role of pacesetters in the table for several rounds, enjoyed a dream start.

DPMM FC player Mohd Akram Waqeel bin Bakri collected a hoisted ball from Mohd Ateq Hishan bin Zainal Abidin and skipped past the goalkeeper before slotting into the empty net.

The junior Gegar Gegar men doubled the lead through Safwan Zawawi bin Sazalee after the unmarked player latched on to a pass from a teammate before applying a cool finish past the despairing hands of Tabuan goalkeeper Mohd Khairul Hishyam bin Haji Norihwan.

Having seen their hopes of the title slipping, Tabuan clawed their way into contention in style as striker Mohd Syaherrul Affendy bin Mohd Syahmirul Nizam belted a screamer into the top corner past the hapless DPMM FC goalkeeper Muhd Mirza Luqman bin Roslie.

Tabuan in a group photo with the championship trophy

DPMM FC could have restored a two-goal cushion shortly after but the unmarked Safwan Zawawi rushed his shot which Tabuan goalkeeper Mohd Khairul Hishyam managed to put away.

The goalkeeper was called into action again after he tipped away DPMM FC designated corner kick taker’s cross-cum-shot to safety.

DPMM FC attacker Awangku Mohd Syafiq Hilmi bin Pengiran Mohd Shahrom darted into the box and the clearance fell to the unsuspecting teammate whose attempt flew over the bar. Tabuan striker Mohd Syaherrul Affendy looked to add on to his league tally but he contrived to hit against the post before the DPMM FC defence frantically cleared the ball.

The national youth development team pushed for a late leveller in the final minutes of the match and substitute Mohd Hasnol bin Abdullah Haslan narrowly cleared the bar with his effort from distance.

The junior Gegar Gegar men had the opportunity to deliver the final blow when Awangku Mohd Syafiq Hilmi flicked the ball into the box, which Mohd Akram Waqeel gave chase.

The goal-scorer managed to get the ball onto his feet but he struck his shot directly to the Tabuan goalkeeper. Having been one of the league’s brightest stars, the stage was set for Tabuan captain Awangku Mohd Idzzaham Alwshahmezan when he lined up for the free-kick and provided the winner. Meanwhile, Projek Ikan Pusu cemented third place after winning 3-0 against Rimba Star FC earlier in a morning kick-off. There were no major surprises with the recipient of the Under-16 Best Player, which belonged to Tabuan forward Awangku Mohd Iddzaham Alwshahmezan.

His partner-in-crime and Tabuan principal striker Mohd Syaherrul Affendy scooped the Under-16 top scorer award, having bagged 16 goals in his last six appearances.

The prize presentation ceremony and closing match also saw DPMM FC being crowned NFABD Under-19 Youth League champions. Kasuka FC emerged as runners-up while Kota Ranger FC settled for third place. The Fair Play award went to Kasuka FC. DPMM FC’s Mohd Syafiq Al Azim bin Sharizam was named the under-19 best player while Mohd Aisan Aizuddin bin Abdullah Muhd Aiman of Kasuka FC walked away with the under-19 top scorer award.

Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Colonel (Rtd) Pengiran Haji Maiddin bin Pengiran Haji Said and Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education Dr Chin Wei Keh presented the prizes. Also present were President of NFABD Pengiran Haji Matussin bin Pengiran Haji Matassan as well as NFABD executive committee members.