Kean impact has Wardun dreaming of Brunei football immortality

Fresh from winning the League Cup, Wardun Yussof believes better days are to come yet for Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota Football Club (DPMM FC) this season under Steve Kean.

The 33-year old goalkeeper has been impressed with the transformation at DPMM since the former Blackburn Rovers manager arrived to helm Brunei’s sole professional side in pre-season.

Under the tutelage of the Scot, DPMM earned their third League Cup trophy last week after a 2-0 final victory over Tanjong Pagar United, are presently leading all comers in the S.League and have made the semi-finals of the Singapore Cup for the first time.

Wardun confessed having a former Premier League manager in Kean leading his club was still surreal after previously watching him in the English top-flight on television years before.

“Our club are very lucky to have a great coach in Steve who comes from one of the best football leagues in the world,” he told FourFourTwo at the club’s Singapore base.

“With him, there is emphasis on sports science, with focused recovery and gym sessions.

“Training on the pitch is very focused as he teaches us the finer points, highlights the weaknesses and mistakes, and teaches us how to correct them.”

While the locals have made strides in their match preparations and tactical understanding this year after a dismal 2013, the long-serving custodian also attributed the foreign quintet – Bosnian defender Boris Raspudic, Croat midfielder Roberto Alviz, Brazilian attacker Rodrigo Tosi, and Irish duo Joe Gamble and Roy O’Donovan – for their professionalism on and off the pitch.

Having played with several imports in his eight-year period at the club in the Singaporean and Malaysian domestic leagues (prior to 2009, DPMM featured in Malaysia from 2005 to 2008), he rates them as the best he has featured alongside.

“As for foreigners, I am 100 percent satisfied,” said the DPMM first-choice goalkeeper.

“On and off the field, they are part of us like a big family.

“Even though our country’s football ranking is near the bottom, they never view it as such and treat us as equals as they would with other professionals in their previous clubs elsewhere in the world.”

With the Singapore club football season reaching the business phase in the next few months, Wardun’s performances between the posts will be as pivotal as the likes of O’Donovan, Tosi and Azwan Ali Rahman deliver further upfield.

The Bruneians will be looking for the veteran to replicate his splendid showing in the League Cup final in the other tournaments as the 2014 squad seek to create a new milestone in the Brunei football history.

Should DPMM make a clean sweep with a treble of the S.League, Singapore Cup and League Cup at the end of the season, it will eclipse Brunei’s 1999 Malaysia Cup win as the greatest football achievement in the Sultanate.

Like his head coach, Wardun advocates his team taking it one match at the time as DPMM inch closer to potential football folkfore and immortality in Brunei.

“We already have one cup, but there are two more tournaments to go and two more silverware to win,” he said.

“We will go game by game, cup by cup. Experience from previous seasons have taught me much, so I have to play with my wealth of experience which I will use to my advantage.

“Our fans support DPMM just as they will support our national team. For their support and our country’s pride, all locals and imports have to show our best for Brunei.”

Image Credit: Pengiran Khairil Saypri