News • February 19, 2017

Wasps Gunning For Treble


After failing to win any silverware last year, it has made Brunei DPMM more determined to win something and they have boldly targeted the treble this season.

Ending 2016 empty-handed, Brunei DPMM have strengthened their squad for the upcoming season with head coach Steve Kean believing they are capable of competing on all fronts – the S.League, Singapore Cup and the League Cup.

Having retained fans’ favourite Rafael Ramazotti, DPMM have added ex-Tampines Rovers forward Billy Mehmet and French defender Francois Marque to their squad.

Marque last played for French outfit FC Le Mont and had turned out for Swiss club FC Basel from 2007 to 2010, and won the Swiss Cup and the Swiss Super League in 2008.

It will be a direct replacement for Brian McLean and Marque is likely to be tasked to lead the backline alongside seasoned campaigner and captain Rosmin Kamis and Yura Indera Putera.

The Wasps will not only be relying on Marque – who stands at 1.87m – in defence, but also in set-piece situations with his aerial presence.

With a combined goal tally of 32 in the S.League last season, Mehmet and Ramazotti could possibly form one of the deadliest strike partnerships this year.

As such, Kean will be relying on the duo to continue their scoring streak and lift DPMM higher than their third-placed finish in 2016.

“We aim to do better than last year,” said Kean, who guided DPMM to a runners-up finish in the League Cup last year.

“We finished the season off really well but we need to make sure we start better. The first and second rounds we need to do better than last season. This will help us make a real big effort in challenging for the title.

“We have won the League Cup a few times in the past, but we’ve never done well in the Singapore Cup. We want to go for all three trophies on offer and I think we have a good enough squad to challenge in the three competitions.”

Although Mehmet and Marque are new additions to the team, Kean feels that they will not have any problems settling in.

“I don’t think we can only rely on one formation or system,” the former Blackburn Rovers manager said.

“Different players probably will adapt better to different systems so we will slightly change the way we play this year, but the good thing is the local players are improving and i think we’ve got a better squad than last year.”

Ramazotti is looking forward to his new strike partnership with Mehmet and the two have been working hard to form a telepathic understanding on the field during their pre-season tour in Thailand.

“The process of adapting with players like Mehmet is always very easy and fast,” the Brazilian enthused.

“We ended the pre-season in Bangkok with positive results. I get along with Mehmet very well on and off the field and it seems like we’ve known each other and played together for many years. I hope it’s a season of goals and wins for us.”

It will be Ramazotti’s third season with the club and despite offers from elsewhere, the lanky striker has decided to extend his stay with the 2015 S.League champions.

“It’s been two incredible seasons that marked my history and that of the club, especially the 2015 league title and 52 goals in two seasons,” the 28-year-old said.

“The combination of all this and my good relationship with the players, and the coaching staff made me want to stay at this wonderful club.”

Another player eagerly waiting for the new campaign to start is Brunei international Azwan Ali.

While disappointed with missing out on the league title last season, the midfield wizard is keen to put in better performances this year and hopes to get his hands on the coveted S.League championship again.

“It gives us a challenge to win the trophy back as last year we were disappointed not to win the league but we want to win as many competitions as we can,” said Azwan.

“I want to help the team score as many goals as I can both with goals myself and assists for other players and I’m sure if I do that we will have a successful season.”

DPMM will open their 2017 S.League season by hosting Home United at Bandar Seri Begawan on 3 March before travelling to the Jurong East Stadium to face defending S.League champions Albirex Niigata (S) on 9 March.

S.League 2017 fixtures: