Azwan Ali Rahman (R) trying to
evade an tackle as a member of
the national squad during the
2012 Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy
competition. Azwan has impressed
both fans and coach in his
first season with DPMM FC.
Picture: BT file
Midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman is relishing the challenge of competing for a starting spot in his first season with DPMM FC.
Signed at the end of March from Indera Sports Club, Azwan admitted he didn't expect to walk straight into the team, but the midfielder has now featured in five Singapore League matches for the club and is starting to get some of the recognition he deserves after impressive displays in DPMM FC's last several outings including a 1-0 win over Geylang International FC on July 19.
"I had planned something new and I had previously said that our No 2 (Azwan) will be the new star of the league," said DPMM FC coach Vjeran Simunic after the 1-0 win.
"But he played against Tampines and then was out for three months after a challenge from Mustafic (Fahrudin).
"But did you all see how he played? Was he good?" asked Simunic.
Azwan also won the fans' hearts with his performance and assist during the club's 1-1 draw with Tanjong Pagar United on July 13, when he picked out Rodrigo Tosi at the far post in the final minute of the game with the Brazilian then heading home the equaliser at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
"Playing regularly for a team like DPMM FC is a tough challenge for every footballer in the country," said 21-year-old Azwan in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"Whether you are competing for a starting spot with the import players or the local players, there is always competition
"For me, what I got to do is to show the coach that I really want to play in the game and slowly earn his trust.
"So far I am very happy with how I've progressed with the club.
"The players here are the best, and they are very experienced, especially captain Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis... And by just being around these players during training will help me a lot," he added.
Apart from Rosmin, Simunic has plenty of midfield talent at his disposal with Hendra Azam Mohd Idris, Azwan Salleh and latest signing Tosi also on form.
Azwan stared his DPMM FC career in the club's 4-2 victory over Geylang International FC in the S-League on April 3 when he came on for Portuguese striker Joao Moreira in the 81st minute.
The midfielder was an important figure for his former club Indera in the first edition of the DST National Super League which concluded on March 10.
He was the club's hero last season after scoring the only goal in their dramatic 1-0 victory over the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB) as the club finished as champions above MS ABDB on goal difference.
Azwan also scored a staggering 17 goals in his eight appearances for Indera and his astonishing goal tally earned him the award for top-scorer in the league.
He was a part of the national Under-21 team that won the 2012 Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) in March and he also featured in the national squad at the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2012 qualifiers in Myanmar in October.
DPMM FC, though, are currently enduring a dismal run of form after only managing one win in their last five S-League games.
The club also bowed out of the Singapore Cup last Saturday after losing 5-4 on aggregate to Filipino side Global FC.