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Monday, May 21, 2001

Brunei's World Cup campaign ends in five-goal rout in India

BANGALORE, India - India hammered bottom-placed Brunei 5-0 in their final World Cup football qualifier at Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday but failed to take the second spot in the Asian zone group 8.

Virtually toying with the point-less minnows, India scored at regular intervals with goals coming from Dias Alberto Jules Claudio, in the 12th minute, I.M. Vijayan (23rd), Baichung Bhutia (35th), Jo Paul Anchery (59th) and Abdul Hakim (76th).

However, India coach Sukhwinder Singh's boys narrowly missed the second qualifying spot, despite overwhelming their opponents in Sunday's encounter.

Already eliminated from the qualification race, India needed to win by a six-goal margin on Sunday to push Yemen to third slot. UAE had last week claimed the lone qualifying spot, emerging group leaders with 12 points.

With both Yemen and India ending with 11 points, Sunday's result gave Yemen the second spot in the group by virtue of scoring more goals - 14 - compared to India's 11.

Brunei finished last in the four-nation group 8, failing even to score a single goal in their six outings.

Keen on claiming the second spot and signing off on a high, ahead of their packed international calendar ahead, India went on the offensive right from the word go as the visitors dished out a rather lacklustre showing. Claudio gave the hosts the lead as he neatly netted in after the Brunei defence thought it was an off-side with even custodian Mohammed Wardun Yussof coming out.

The highly talented Vijayan made it 2-0, heading in a superb pass from Anchery with Brunei's defence in disarray.

India's third goal was scored by skipper Bhutia off a spot kick, which was awarded after Anchery was tripped by Abang Norsillmy Taha. After the breather, Anchery, who had played a major role in the match dominated by the Indians, headed in off a corner kick taken by Claudio. Soon after halftime, a heavy downpour began and the proceedings were interrupted for a while.

Hakim, who came on as a substitute, did a good job, scoring the fifth goal for India, taking advantage of a rebound from the goalpost off an Anchery strike.

However, despite frantic efforts in the dying moments, the all-important sixth goal, that would have seen India through to the next round, along with UAE, eluded the hosts.

Meanwhile in Guangzhou, China beat Cambodia 3-1 on Sunday in a World Cup qualifying Group 9 match.

Midfielder Ma Mingyu gave China an early lead, scoring in the fifth minute. Cambodia leveled the match 1-1 in the 12th minute, only for Xu Yunlong to put China ahead in the 22nd minute.

Striker Li Bing completed China's 3-1 victory with a goal in the 42nd minute of the second half.

China were undefeated going into Sunday's match in the southern city of Guangzhou. - Courtesy Times of India

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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Shot in the arm for soccer in Brunei

It may have been a long time coming but Brunei Darussalam will for the very first time soon have its very own football academy in an effort to keep pace with the rapidly progressing standards of football around the region.

An initial trial sponsored by DPMM FC was held yesterday at the Mini Stadium, Jerudong as the local football authorities attempt to single out the potential elite players of the future.

Following in the footsteps of giant clubs such as Ajax Amsterdam and Manchester United, the academy will be a central figure in nurturing and developing football players to take on the rest of the world.

On hand to watch the trial yesterday was His Royal Highness The Crown Prince Hj Al Muhtadee Billah, a royal patron who has always taken a keen interest in the success of the local footballing scene.

The trial was a major success with over 300 youths aged between 16 and 18 years old turning up to show off their footballing prowess in an attempt to obtain selection to the academy.

According to Hj Mohd Rosli Abdullah, Director of DPMM FC, out of the 300 youths, only 50 will be selected to join the academy at which point they will be asked to train twice a week under professional supervision.

Hj Rosli also pointed out that with the start of the academy, he was hopeful that it would begin to produce skilled national players for a long time to come.

Brunei have found it hard to keep up with their regional neighbours when it comes to football and success in the international arena has been limited to just one win in their history against the Philippines.

However, with the formation of such an academy, Brunei have taken a vital first step in their planning for the future, with the benefits to be reaped in the long-term.

Much of the skills that a player will need to compete in the international stage should be developed at a young age and the academy will surely assist Brunei footballing authorities in ensuring that there is always talent in the pipeline to take over at any given time.

It is no secret that the most successful teams both in the club scene and international scene pride themselves a lot on the fact that the secret of the success has come from good youth set-ups.

According to former football director of West Slovenia and current coach of DPMM FC, Sandi Seydinovski, the talent is available in Brunei and it is just a matter of developing and nurturing such talent.

When Brunei won the Malaysia Cup in 1999, it sparked a mass exodus of players, who for various reasons tendered their resignation from the national setup.

The majority of the players who did resign however were clearly nearing the twilight of their playing careers but for the first time Brunei football suffered a setback as it did not have any players ready to take over the mantle of names such as Liew Chuan Fue and Mohd Said Abdullah.

Perhaps now with the introduction of Brunei's first ever academy, such a situation will not repeat itself ever again and Brunei can begin to look forward to many years of uninterrupted success in the football world.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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Sunday, May 20, 2001

M-League - KL, Sarawak share spoils in drab match

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak played to a goalless draw in a Premier One match at the KL Football Stadium in Cheras yesterday.

The game was on the whole a dull afair with ball in the centre of the field most of the time as both sides did not seem to go all out to score.

Nevertheless, Sarawak will probably be satisfied with the result as they came to Kuala Lumpur without several key players who were injured, including goalkeeper Mazlan Wahid.

The City boys had the greater share of action but failed to take advantage of goal scoring opportunities.

Liew Kim Tu, in particular, blew three chances in the first half. His shots in the 15th and 27th minutes were easily saved by Sarawak keeper Mohd Azley Abdullah while his attempt in the 45th minute went wide.

Sarawak put up a better show in the second half but both sides failed to find the net.--Bernama


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Fishing - Labuan Sea Challenge

Labuan will be hosting a six-day sea sport event - the Labuan International Sea Challenge (LISC) 2001 - for the fifth time from May 29 to June 3. It is organised by the Labuan Anglers Association, Borneo Divers and Labuan Adventurers Association.

The Sea Challenge is Malaysia's premier sea sport event held yearly and this year Labuan will be showcasing three action-packed events.

The JORAN fishing challenge event will be held at the Marina Hotel Waterfront while the Underwater Treasure Hunt will start from June 2.

The third event - Labuan Round Island Kayak Race - is a new event and will start on June 1 at the sea sport complex.

More than 83 anglers from United States, Maldives, Singapore, West Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan and Brunei have confirmed their participation for the fishing challenge.

Forty people have signed up for the treasure hunt while 80 paddlers from Singapore, West Malaysia, Sabah, Labuan and Brunei have registered for the kayak race.

One of the objectives of the event is to introduce Labuan as one of the sea sport tourist attraction to the outside world.

(By Azrol Azmi)

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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Badminton - QAF a class above HSBC

QAF Brunei showed their firepower in the latest match of the QAF Corporate Badminton League 2001 when they outclassed HSBC 14-3 on Friday night at the Royal Brunei Police Headquarters, Gadong, to remain unbeaten in their four matches so far.

The QAF team was anchored by Prince Abdul Qawi, Executive Deputy Chairman and CEO of QAF Brunei, who won all three of his matches to give his team the perfect platform upon which to build the victory.

As for HSBC, their hopes were given a huge blow when their top ladies player Foo Man Peng was unable to take any further part in the match after injuring herself in the first singles match with two rubbers yet to play.

With the win, QAF Brunei jumped to the top of the table ahead with Brunei Shell yet to play their fourth game.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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Saturday, May 19, 2001

Karate - Bright future for Sabah karatekas

KOTA KINABALU - Some of the eight Malaysia Games (Sukma) aspirants included in the State squad who will be making their debut in this weekend's Malaysia Senior Karate Championship, could spring some surprises.

This is based on this year's golden feat at the National Junior Karate Championship and also the just concluded Sabah Junior Championship.

Among the most notable exponents is five-time national junior champion, Keningau-born Harry John who has been entered in the below 65kg kumite division - his first senior outing.

The 18-year-old, first won his national junior under-14 kumite title in 1997 in Johor, followed by the under-15 the following year in Kelantan, under-16 in 1999 in Melaka, under-17 in 2000 in Kedah, and recently the gold in the under-18 in Penang.

In the recent Sukma trials and also the State senior meet, the Grade Two SPM student of St. Francis Xavier Secondary School, Keningau, showed his class over his rivals to earn a berth for the National Senior Karate Championship.

When approached here while under centralised training at the Likas Stadium yesterday, the soft spoken kumite exponent said he wants to win gold for Sabah, while Sabah Karate Association (SKA) coach Allan Lo and manager Julian Chin expects him to do well.

SKA vice-presidents Loh Beng Hooi and David Lee who were present during the training, said Harry has a very bright future and the exponent just might be noticed by national selectors on the lookout for exponents to be part of the SEA Games training squad during the championship.

"I am looking forward for Harry to be called up and I won't be surprised because he has all the qualities and potentials to be a champion and furthermore, he is a very strong and matured kumite fighter," Loh said.

Sukma aspirants Anney Henry (+60kg/open) of Keningau, Hisham Michael (kata), Alex Wong (kata/below 80kg), Valerie Wong (kata), Anna Wong (kata), Hayatie Emran of Keningau (below 53kg), Tenom's Suzilahwati (below 48kg), are also medal prospects.

SKA is confident that Hisham, 18, Alex, 18, Valeirie, 18 and Anna, 19, all from Kota Kinabalu (Main Dojo) and prospects Anney and Harry are capable of doing well in the championship.

(By Catherine Ong)

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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M-League - Kelantan JKR edge 10-man Sabah 2-1

KOTA BAHRU: Kelantan JKR collected three points when they edged Sabah 2-1 in a Premier Two match played at the Sultan Mohamad IV Stadium last night.

The homesters scored through Zool Ihsam Yunus in the 61st minute and Adnan Musa in the 75th minute.

Shahril Arsat scored Sabah's solitary goal in the 27th minute.

Sabah were forced to play with 10 men when Burhan Ajui was flashed the red card by referee Ong Kim Heng in the 18th minute for a foul on Ahmad Faisal Othman.


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M-League - Johor FC whip Brunei to bag RM20,000 bonus

PASIR GUDANG: Johor FC bounced back from their 2-3 defeat to Sarawak in last Tuesday's quarter-final first-leg FA Cup match with an emphatic 2-0 win over Brunei in a Premier II match at the Pasir Gudang Football Stadium here last night.

The win was also sweet for the club side who have now picked up an unassailable lead with 28 points to take home the RM20,000 incentive money for finishing top in the first round.

Two first-half goals by Sheikh Ahmad Redzuan in the 40th and Azni Ariffin four minutes later put Johor FC in solid grounds with still match in hand in the first-round.

With the win, Johor also stretched their unbeaten run in Premier II to 10 matches and will wrap up their fixtures in the first-round against Malacca Telekom at home on May 25.

It was a heartwarming performance from Johor FC who missed going one up as early as the eighth minute when the woodwork stopped Hamzani Omar's attempt. Neither did the homesters let infuential midfielder Hairy Azly Mahamad's early exit stand in their way. Hairy was stretched out with an ankle injury in the 10th minute.

However, Johor FC had to wait till the 40th minute before breaking the stalemate. The Brunei backline finally crumbled with a move started by Azni Ariffin who fed Ahmad Norhapiza Bashri who in turn crossed for Sheikh Ahmad Redzuan to put the finishing touches with a delightful flick.

Four minutes later Brunei gave away a freekick when Junaidi Latip was brought down by Sharimin Hairul Sharbini. Azni foxed Brunei keeper Alizanda Sitom with a curled dipping shot from 30 metres.

Source: The Star

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Friday, May 18, 2001

M-League - Biggest test for Brunei

Brunei's pedigree in the Malaysian League will come under full scrutiny tonight as they face unbeaten league leaders Johor FC in Johor Baru in what is expected to be a true test of their abilities.

So far, Brunei despite a modest record of four wins and three losses, has attracted the attention of the rest of the teams in Premier Two with their attractive yet effective brand of attacking football. The reason for their losses has not been sheer domination on their opponents' parts but put the matches under the microscope and it becomes apparent that Brunei really have themselves to blame with some sub-standard finishing in front of goal.

Against Melaka Telekom, in what Mick Jones calls a perfect game where everything just came together, Brunei created the chances and took all of them. The result was a convincing 5-0 annihilation leading to an obvious increase in crowd attendance at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium. But that was just one game and even Jones is realistic enough to realise that this is not always going to be the case.

Said Jones, "It has been a major worry for me that we haven't been able to take all our chances and by doing so we always leave the door slightly ajar for our opponents, whoever they are."

Anaemic finishing aside, the players' characters and their will to win will be tested tonight as they come up against opposition who have so far destroyed all before them and do not look in any mood to let up against Brunei either. Jones and the players are aware of that and the team are on full alert but that said, the players are also eager to prove that they are the real deal and that the wins this season have come courtesy of skill as opposed to luck.

And there is perhaps no better way than to beat the current front runners of Premier Two on their own ground to establish the seriousness of their credentials as potential powerhouses of the league. At fourth position in the table, Brunei are a force to be reckoned with and in no shape or form will Johor FC be taking the Wasps lightly.

However, Johor FC are 13 points ahead of Brunei and while Brunei still have two games in hand, the onus is undoubtedly on Brunei to make up ground.

Added Jones, "I've said before about how the other teams' head start will hurt us. But still we have to go out and make up the ground. The pressure is on us and it is my job to make sure the players respond to the pressure of doing so."

The closest team to Johor FC is Sabah, who are second on 21 points and four points behind the leaders, and the Borneo side has already seen first hand just what Brunei are capable of, losing 1-0 to Brunei on their own ground just last month.

It is with this victory in mind that the squad can entertain thoughts of handing Johor FC their first loss of the season and end any notion of their opponents' invincibility.

"I think being undefeated makes them the favourites but we're not going to go there and lie down without a fight. We showed character in Sabah when we hung on to a slim 1-0 lead and I think it demonstrates the fighting spirit within the squad. Certainly, we have to be prepared because it's going to be tough and it is without doubt the biggest test of our season so far. While one match does not make or break a season, if we can get a result from this one then the players may very well be on to big and better things from here," said the Brunei coach.

(By Benny Ang)

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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M-League - Sabah relish Brunei victory

KOTA KINABALU - Brunei would be doing Sabah a big favour if they can win over Johor FC in their Premier II match at the Pasir Gudang Football Stadium tonight.

But the three points would put them in better stead as the first round fixtures comes to an end and if Sabah were to win or even draw against Kelantan JKR at the same time, Brunei would move back to third spot where they rightly belong.

For if Brunei and Sabah win, then the gap between the top two teams would be reduced to just one, while Brunei, with two matches remaining move up to third, leaving the other teams trailing.

But Johor FC, realising how tough it can be in the competition, will be focussing more on the league.

Coach Azuan Zain is now more concerned with the home match against Brunei as the Johor club try to end the first round matches with an unbeaten record so they can land the cash incentives offered by the FA of Malaysia (FAM).

They have thrown in the towel in the FA Cup competition after their 2-3 defeat by Premier I league side Sarawak in the quarterfinal first-leg match at the on Tuesday night.

The purse for the first round leader in Premier II is RM20,000, runners-up RM17,500, RM15,000 (third), RM10,000 (fourth) and RM5,000 (fifth). More importantly, Johor FC are eyeing the Premier II title or a top three finish which will earn the team a promotion to the elite Premier I league.

"We were simply not good enough to take on Sarawak. The players simply froze," said Azuan. The coach,

however, was full of praise for goalkeeper Zuraimi Hassan, a former international signed from Pahang this season. He also heaped praise on skipper Musa Hendrek, a former Sabah player.

"Forget about the return-leg in Kuching. We have never drawn, let alone get a win in our past outings there. I don't think the players be able to rise against a big vociferous crowd," Azuan said.

Johor FC are unbeaten in Premier II after nine matches. The club lead the table standings with 25 points--four more than closest rivals Sabah.

Sabah team manager Datuk Lawrence Gimbang is optimistic of victory, but a fatigued Sabah side can expect a torrid time against club side Kelantan JKR at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium.

Gimbang, who is also the Sabah FA deputy president, has every reason for thinking optimistically. Sabah confirmed that they are a team to be reckoned of following the drubbing of Premier I Perak in the first leg of the FA Cup quarterfinal clash at the Penampang Stadium on Tuesday. "In football you have to win. You win means, you will enhance your image and at the same time it will pull the crowd to watch us play," he added.

Said Gimbang: "At the moment, actually, Sabah team is one of the best in the country and this is proven against Perak. If we can maintain our work-rate, I don't think any team can beat us. We have several good players around and against Perak they were brilliant.

"Well, on paper we should qualify for the semis, but I have my own fears. Last year, Perak turned the tables around on us.

"We already scored a 2-0 victory in the first leg played at the Perak Stadium, but we fumbled in the return leg losing 0-3 at the Likas Stadium and I hope this thing won't happen," he said yesterday.

(By Catherine Ong)

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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