DPMM want Cup win to salvage season
DPMM coach Kean wants a record fourth triumph to salvage average season
BRUNEI DPMM v ALBIREX NIIGATA
(Tonight, 7.45pm, StarHub TV Ch 112/205 & 76.25MHz)
It has been a trying year for Brunei DPMM.
But, tonight, they can go some way towards salvaging their season.
Their best, and perhaps only chance of silverware will come when they take on Albirex Niigata in The New Paper League Cup final at Jalan Besar Stadium.
The defending Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League champions have endured a troubled campaign.
A massive 16-point gap stands between them and league leaders Albirex.
With eight matches left to play, it now looks virtually impossible to retain their title.
The Bruneian outfit are also out of the RHB Singapore Cup, meaning tonight's match may represent their only hope of not finishing the season empty-handed.
All this while, DPMM coach Steve Kean (left) has insisted that they will not give up on their title defence until it is mathematically impossible, although he does admit victory at Jalan Besar Stadium tonight could prove crucial on many levels.
"That's the great thing about football," he told The New Paper yesterday. "You can have a bad spell, but there will always be another game around the corner.
"We've still got this competition to play for and, hopefully, we can win the final and then go on to win most, if not all, of our games in the league.
"That would also be great for our confidence going into next season.
DPMM are the most successful side in the League Cup.
Captain Rosmin Kamis, who played a part in the club's three previous triumphs in 2009, 2012 and 2014, is well aware of the task at hand, given Albirex have both the best attacking and defensive record in the S.League.
But the 35-year-old is also confident of an upset if they stick to their plan.
He said: "Including this season, we've reached the League Cup final five times and we've won three of those.
"I don't think there's any extra pressure on us… the important thing is just to win it.
"Everybody is well prepared and looking sharp and we're looking forward to the final.
"Albirex are a good team but, if we play to the coach's instructions, we know we have every chance to score and then it's down to how well we defend."
Most teams have struggled to cope with Albirex's quick-passing style of football this season, including DPMM.
Kean's men have lost both their meetings against the Japanese outfit, but the DPMM coach feels his side have improved significantly since.
"In this competition, we've shown we're a bit more stubborn now in not giving chances to our opposition," said the Scot.
"It's no secret that Albirex like to play from the back so we'll be trying to engage them high up the pitch.
"If we can win the ball, then we're immediately on the attack.
"Certainly, if we do get pinned back, we've Rafa (Ramazotti) to hold the ball up and players like Adi Said and Paulo Sergio who have plenty of pace, so we're also very dangerous on the break.
"There's no point going all the way to the final and not win it because no one remembers the losing finalists.
"My final message to the boys would be to go out there and become the first team to win it four times."