By Teo Teng Kiat
In football, success on and off the pitch does not simply come down to talent and tactics, but requires years of meticulous planning. With this in mind, Goal.com presents a statistical and structural evaluation of five top clubs in the South-east Asian region along with a verdict on why these teams are heads and shoulders above the rest.
In this edition, we take a look at one of the most prestigious clubs in Brunei, DPMM.
Brunei DPMM are a club that first came to existence in 1994, when they started out as a high school side that comprised the best school's best players. They are based in Bandar Sri Begawan, the capital of Brunei, and is the country's only professional club. The club is owned by the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, who himself used to play for them as a goalkeeper.
They started playing in the Brunei Premier League, then the top-tier of the country's leagues, and won the title in 2002 and 2004. They also won the Super Cup in both years, as well as the FA Cup in 2004. Thereafter in 2005, they joined the Malaysian Premier League as a foreign side and were promoted to the Super League, where they played for two seasons. DPMM then joined the S.League in 2009 and won the League Cup that year, becoming the first foreign side to do so. They have also participated in the Singapore Cup since 2004.
However later during the season, the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam were suspended by FIFA for government interference. This resulted in DPMM's expulsion from the S.League, and the suspension lasted for 20 months.
DPMM rejoined the S.League again in 2012, and surprised many by finishing second to champions Tampines Rovers.
|HASSANAL BOLKIAH NATIONAL STADIUM
||DPMM play their home games at the massive Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, which is in Bandar Seri Begawan. The stadium can hold 30,000 spectators and was opened in 1983. It cost around type="html"00 million to build, with the public contributing about type="html"m of that. The ground is owned by the Youth and Sports Department of Brunei and has natural grass as its playing surface, and their S.League opponents usually fly in a few days before to prepare for matches.|
| Tales dos Santos
||Rosmin Kamis||Shahrazen Said|
|The Brazilian centreback appears to have played for at least eight other clubs prior to joining DPMM at the start of last season, and has quickly established himself as one of the S.League's best defenders. He dominates aerial duels thanks to his giant 1.97m frame as well as his strength, while also being equally adept on the ground with his quick thinking and good positioning sense. The 28-year-old suffered a long injury lay-off from the end of last season and only recently returned to action.||The team captain is also the skipper of the Brunei national team, and is regarded as the driving force behind DPMM. His all-action displays in the middle of the park are a crucial part of the team’s play, and the 31-year-old is one of the club’s best players.||The 27-year-old striker is the one the Wasps turn to for goals with his inspirational displays from the wings, where he usually flanks the main striker. Blessed with quick acceleration that allows him to get away from opposing defenders, Shahrazen’s trickery, skill and clinical finishin make him one of the most dangerous players in the league.|
|VJERAN SIMUNIC - HEAD COACH
|Loud, effusive and never afraid to speak his mind, Croat Vjeran Simunic first took charge of DPMM in 2008, after a storied career that saw him manage at least 20 difference clubs, the majority of which were in his homeland. He led the club to the Singapore League Cup title in 2009, their first season in the S.League, and left when they were suspended from all competitions by FIFA later that year.
Simunic returned in 2012 when the ban was lifted and led the club once again in the S.League. They recaptured the League Cup crown and surprised many by finishing second in the league after almost three years without competitive football action. He was later named Coach of the Year at the annual season-end S.League Awards Night for his feats.
The 59-year-old is also the current coach of the Brunei national team, and takes a lot of pride in the local players in DPMM.
DPMM is owned by Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, the heir to the throne of Brunei. He can often be seen at home matches.
With their two League Cups and a runners-up finish last season, DPMM have shown that they are able to compete with local clubs and as such, benefit the S.League by improving the overall standard of play. Their second-place finish is all the more impressive, considering that they had only just returned from a lengthy 20-month ban by FIFA. Having the bulk of the national team’s players in their side playing regularly and with each other will also benefit their own football development.
Simunic is one of the more interesting and outspoken coaches in the league, and helps to add colour.
DPMM have struggled a little this season with unexpected defeats to Harimau Muda away, and at their home fortress to Tanjong Pagar and Warriors FC. They also recently released their foreign trio of Stephan Auvray, Dino Drpic and Ivan Bosnjak, and will suffer from having a small squad unless they manage to bring in adequate replacements.
However, the Wasps remain one of the most obdurate sides in the S.League, regardless whether they play at home or away, and one would expect them to be challenging for the top spots come the business end of the season.