Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
DPMM FC coach Steve Kean is looking to sign off from the S.League with a victory.
The match against the Garena Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore tonight will be the final game with the Scotsman in charge as he will part ways with the club at the end of the month.
The last time the two sides met saw DPMM FC romp to a 7-1 win - their second largest ever triumph in the competition - at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas on Oct 7.
Kean, who led the club to their first S.League title in 2015, is focused on ending the season strongly.
“We are desperate because till the club’s next competitive game, it is a long time,” said Kean after a training session on Thursday.
“You want to finish the season with a win. We have a good opportunity to do that as the players have done fantastically well over the last 15 days.
“There is no reason why we can’t go out and express ourselves and finish on a high,” he added.
Having arrived in Brunei in late 2013, Kean led DPMM FC to a second place finish in his first season in 2014 before capturing their maiden title the year after.
With the reduction of imports from five to three in 2016, DPMM FC got off to a slow start but eventually shifted gears to place third.
It was only this season that they failed to hit their stride to see them finish second from bottom in the nine-team table.
Kean hopes to be remembered for the positives
Kean revealed that the decision was made last month and that he will depart the club on good terms.
“It is sad when you leave a club but I have been in this position many times in my 20 odd years coaching teams,” said the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
“But the most important thing is to reflect on the good times. This season there have been disappointing results.
“I don’t think we got enough points from some games which we performed well.
“But you reflect on bigger picture. Who could have told me four years ago that I would be here four years later… being in the top three and winning the league for the first time?
“The most important thing for me is that I feel every single player in the club is better than when I arrived,” he added.
“That is the job as a coach to make them better individually and hopefully they can look back to that with years to come and think that was a good spell under myself,” continued the 50-year-old.
Winning S.League title will forever be etched in Kean’s mind
Winning the League Cup in 2014 may be Kean’s first silverware but capturing the S.League will still be the most memorable of the lot.
DPMM FC needed a victory to ensure nothing will stop them from finishing at the top of the podium.
The Brunei side then put up their best performance to romp to a 4-0 win over Balestier Khalsa FC with Paulo Sergio notching a hat-trick.
“Winning the league that night at the packed stadium and to see the S.League officials getting the trophy ready and bringing it towards the touchline
“To win any league especially if club’s first time to win. That will always be on my mind,” he continued.
Thankful for chance to coach national team
Kean was also tasked with bringing the DPMM FC squad to represent Brunei at the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers in 2014 - his first time ever to coach a national team.
However, they didn’t get any points under their belt in Laos and it was also the season where they looked favourites to win the S.League title but stumbled on the last hurdle to place second.
“When I got the letter to take national team, I was delighted. Looking back at it, some games we were close in getting results,” said Kean.
“(I remember) that Timor Leste took a full team of Brazilians and were even later on handed penalties.
“It was also difficult after we came back and it cost us a few extra points.
“Overall for the players and myself, to represent the country, it made me very proud,” he concluded.