A MS ABDB player (C) tries to dribble the ball past an Indera Sports Club player (R) in their Six Corners Football Championship tournament opener last August. The two teams will resume their rivalry on Sunday when they meet in the one-off Sumbangsih Cup, though Indera will be without Azwan Ali Rahman. BT file
DST Super League defending champions Indera Sports Club (SC) have always been known for their fast football, propensity to attack and their never-say-die attitude - characters which have long been built into the psyche of the club and the players.
Indera SC are also known as a club that produces a lot of talented players who have gone on to represent the country at national and regional tournaments, and to date, they have contributed more than 30 players to the national team.
However, the club are undergoing a huge transformation this season with more than half of the squad being replaced, so they will need to be at their very best to defend their title against rivals Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Councul (MS ABDB) - who they beat for the DST Super League title by virtue of goal difference last year.
Though he knows the team have a tough task ahead of them, Indera SC manager Rosdin Hj Abdul Aziz said the club will do their best to retain their crown.
"This year will be very challenging for us as the other teams are getting stronger with their new players, so it will be very interesting to see (what happens)," he said in a recent interview with The Brunei Times.
"We just started training a few weeks ago. A number of key players have left the club and we have yet to establish a consistent starting eleven for this season," he added.
They will meet MS ABDB for the Sumbangsih Cup on Sunday, the clash at the Balapan Track and Field of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas serving as the curtain-raiser for the 2014 DST Super League season.
But with the "depleted squad" Rosdin has, it is obvious he doesn't consider Indera to be favourites.
"I do not want to get my hopes up as we have a very depleted squad right now, but we will try our best to win the Sumbangsih Cup," he said, adding that MS ABDB have brought in a number of quality players to their team and they have been preparing since November.
"Some of our players (midfielders Muhd Nurikhwan Othman, Mohd Asri Hj Aspar and goalkeeper Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin Pg Hj Sallehuddin) are currently training with the national team for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy and they will not play on Sunday," said Rosdin.
The loss of Muhd Nurikhwan, Mohd Asri and Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin will be severely missed as the trio, who were a part of the national Under-23 team which competed at last month's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar, are among the most important players for Indera.
Ak Omar Nur Aqammadin proved to be an integral part of the national team in Myanmar with numerous saves to keep his team in the game, though the country were still unable to win a single match at the biennial meet.
Indera's biggest loss, though, will that of midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman - who was snapped up by DPMM FC last year after a hugely impressive DST Super League season.
Azwan, who also laced up at last month's SEA Games, was the key to Indera's success last season after scoring 17 goals and finishing as the league's top goal scorer.
Arguably the most important goal he bagged was the strike which secured a dramatic 1-0 victory over MS ABDB as the club finished as champions above MS ABDB on goal differenc on the final day of the season.
Both teams finished the league tied on 22 points but Indera's superior goal difference was enough to land them their first league title since their formation.
Formerly known as Indera Football Club (IFC), Indera Sports Club was established in the late 1970s and changed their name in 2010.