Football Talk

Yesterday afternoon, at Jerudong, together with my deputy minister and deputy ps, we were watching our MOD football team playing a friendly against DPMM FC. The Crown Prince came later. To say it was a friendly probably is an understatement. No doubt our MOD football team is considered among the best, if not the best team among the ministries in Brunei, against DPMM FC, we were clearly out of our depth. So it wasn't a friendly, more like sparring partner ... and maybe even that was not accurate, we were the punching bag would be a more apt description.

We lost 6-0 I think. I lost count. And mind you this was DPMM FC's 3rd or 4th team. The reserves of the reserves. The first team and the reserves were in Singapore playing against the Super Reds. Imagine had this been the first team, the score could have been like rugby scores. Mind you, the DPMM FC management team, a couple of months ago thrashed us 11-0. I don't know why we keep playing against DPMM FC in whatever form.

Anyway, one of the topics that came up was the position of DPMM FC in the S-League. Not our ranking but rather the affiliation of DPMM FC. DPMM FC is affiliated under the now defunct BAFA. But AFC, hence their parent, FIFA still considers BAFA as the legitimate football association regardless of the existence FFBD. DPMM FC would have to stop playing in the S-League if this affair is not settled soon. That huge football FIFA Academy near the stadium is also an issue. The construction is clearly going ahead as the funding via FIFA is there. It would be interesting to see who would run it when it is completed, which I have been told sometime end of the year.

I get clearly worried. The biggest crowd of the S-League matches in the last 13 years was actually in Brunei and that was only around 10,000+. During our run up to the Malaysia Cup final in 1999, our stadium was packed 30,000+. DPMM FC is certainly the next best thing to having our national team in the Malaysia Cup. I am not a football fanatic. My teams Ipswich Town and Newcastle United have clearly seen better days and will not see better days for quite a long time yet. But regardless I still keep up with them through thick and thin. You see, the former Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly once said, “Football's not a matter of life and death ... it's more important than that.” If I have to explain that, clearly you are not a football fan. Nuf said.

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