Albirex Niigata (S) vs Brunei DPMM
(February 22, Saturday, 7.30 pm, Jurong East Stadium)
Written by: Phoon Jia Hui
Albirex Niigata (Singapore) hosts Brunei DPMM at the Jurong East Stadium in a game which will see both coaches make their Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League debut.
Tatsuyuki Okuyama replaces Koichi Sugiyama for Albirex while former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean takes over from Vjeran Simunic in the DPMM hot seat.
The White Swans finished third in the league last season, Albirex has seen a host of changes to its squad, and this might greatly impact their ability to compete this season.
Despite the squad overhaul, Okuyama can still call upon the retained duo of Kazuki Sakamoto and Shuhei Hotta this season.
With 14 goals to his name last season, Albirex will turn to their hitman Sakamoto to deliver the goods again while Hotta’s experience will prove vital as he leads a relatively inexperienced side.
After managing only a bottom-half finish last year, Kean’s task is to lead DPMM – the Sultanate’s only professional club – back into the top three.
The Wasps have made their statement of intent with the high-profile signing of Kean, and further bolstered their squad with four new foreign signings.
Former Irish international Joseph Gamble, Boris Raspudic and Robero Alviz and former Sunderland striker Roy O’Donovan joins retained Rodrigo Tosi to fill up DPMM’s foreign slots.
O’Donovan will be expected to produce the goals, especially with his experience of playing in England’s top-four league. The forward has already stated his confidence to do well, but admitted he still has yet to adapt to the humidity level of this region, and this might play against O’Donovan’s.
While majority of the locals have been retained, long-serving defender Sallehudin Damit was shown the exit door along with Joao Moreira, Arturas Rimkevicius and Tales Dos Santos who has signed for Thailand’s Phuket FC.
Due to the change in coaches, it is hard to tell what kind of game can be expected. However, with the offensive talent available from both teams, it is safe to say an explosive game is in store for the fans.
Albirex Niigata (S) – LWWLW
4/11/13 Home United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
1/11/13 Tampines Rovers 1-3 Albirex Niigata (S)
23/10/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 3-1 Woodlands Wellington
20/10/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-2 Balestier Khalsa
24/9/13 Tanjong Pagar 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
Brunei DPMM FC – DDLWW
6/11/13 Brunei DPMM 2-2 Geylang International
31/10/13 Harimau Muda B 2-2 Brunei DPMM
23/10/13 Warriors FC 3-2 Brunei DPMM
19/10/13 Brunei DPMM 1-0 Hougang United
27/9/13 Courts Young Lions 2-3 Brunei DPMM FC
Head to Head (S.League)
28/6/13 Brunei DPMM 0-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
11/3/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Brunei DPMM
18/7/12 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Brunei DPMM
11/3/12 Brunei DPMM 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S)