Ode to Brunei football
The fate of Brunei’s football governing body will be known tomorrow. Maybe it will also see the fate for Brunei football players in action at regional and international levels. Maybe, the football team from the Sports School will have to re-think of their fate too. Maybe there will never be any ‘Ikan Pusu’ project. Maybe Bruneians will just play footbal for fun at school grounds or their backyards. Maybe we will never see our own ‘David Beckham’ or ‘Ronaldo’ or even ‘Pele’. Maybe. One thing for sure is that there will never be ladies playing football in Brunei, thats for sure. Okay that’s another story.
A meeting to elect the administrative council for the recently-formed Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD) will be held tomorrow evening at the National Stadium. Registered football associations and clubs have the right to elect the council members.
As reported in the local papers today, the Asian Football Association, AFC did not recognised FFBD as the new football governing body in Brunei. Read from Brunei Times here. A press release from the AFC’s website here says that it will only recognise one football association in Brunei in which the office-bearers were elected via the body’s Congress.
As most are aware of, FFBD was set up by football fans following the de-registration of the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam, Bafa last November. It was a shock to many, the de-registration I mean, not the registration. Bafa simply failed to report its annual general meeting to the Registrar of Societies, says Brunei Times. What really happened was unexplained but its too late now as BAFA has been strike off the registered list. Now come FFBD to the rescue who quickly submitted applications to become members of AFC and the International Federation of Association Football, Fifa.
The effect: This statement was posted on DPMM FC’s website:
1/Because of BAFA’s(Brunei Football Association) inexistense, DPMM FC is unable to participate in the upcoming Malaysian Super League season.
BAFA was formed on 15 March 1956, makit it one of the oldest associations in Brunei. It was affiliated with Fifa in 1969 and to AFC the following year. At the time it was formed, it was known as the Brunei State Football Amateur Association. In 1993, the word “Amateur” was dropped, and since then, the FA has been known as the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam.
There are approximately 2,500 footballers playing with Brunei’s 22 registered clubs. Footballers are mostly amateurs or semi professionals. A check on Bafa’s website shows that ‘the page could not be displayed’ L
Football is no doubt the number one popular sport in Brunei. The AFC website on Brunei says that Brunei is currently ranked 181 in Fifa. So far, Brunei has entered the World Cup qualifying competition only once, in 1986 and has also made only one appearance in the Asian Cup in 1976. On both occasions, they were eliminated in the first round.
Their best achievement was perhaps being Champion of the Malaysia Cup in 1999. What a year that was. I remember that night when Brunei met Sarawak in the final. Back then, Brunei competed in the professional Malaysian league and despite competing against Malaysian clubs, Brunei had previously never made an impact. However, in 1999, they shocked everyone by lifting the Malaysia Cup.
Will Brunei ever achieve its glorious moment in the regional level again? Time will tell and this ‘time’ is the recognised governing body working hand in hand with the players and also equally important, with continuous support from the local fans.
Come on and show your support tomorrow evening. Wear your yellow jerseys. Brunei bulieh kali ah! (Brunei can ah – in Singlish. Brunei can – in English)