LLRC FT's Safuan Juhar (R) shields the ball from Wijaya FC's Mohd Azmi Hj Hamzah during last season's DST Super League game. Safuan is once again expected to be a key player for LLRC FT this season. BT File
With a new coach and new players, Liang Lumut Recreational Club Football Team (LLRC FT) will be challenging for a top-half finish in the DST Super League this season.
Head coach Hj Affendi Hj Julaihi will not be leading the Belait-based football team this year, with the club appointing Hj Bahrin Hj Sahari to take his place this season.
Hj Affendi, however, will still be involved with the club as he is now appointed as assistant to the club's manager Ahmad Sazarin Hj Ahmad Sabli.
"We've got a number of new players in the team. There are about five of them while the rest of the team are still with the club," said Hj Bahrin in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"There will be changes in our style of playing this season and we need the players to adjust to it," he added.
The club's best player, Safuan Juhar, will once again play an important role for the club alongside playmaker Muhd Amirul Jafri - but Hj Bahrin wants a team effort from his players.
"Key player like Safuan will be very important to the club, but other players must work very hard too," continued Hj Bahrin.
"We are targeting a top-five finish this year, but if we can break into the top-three, it will be a bonus," he added.
LLRC FT finished sixth in the national elite league last season with 13 points after recording four wins, one draw and four losses.
They scored 19 goals and let in 21 goals.
LLRC FT kicked off last season with a bang following a win over Najip FC in a 7-5 thriller, and then followed that up with a 3-0 win against Kilanas FC.
However, they were sent crashing back to earth with a 5-1 defeat to champions Indera Sports Club (SC), and suffered a similar fate in their next game - a 4-0 loss to the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council (MS ABDB).
They dropped another three points, this time to QAF FC in a 2-0 defeat, but would bounce back the following week with a 4-1 victory over Wijaya FC.
They edged the Royal Brunei Police Forces Sports Council (MS PDB) 3-2 before they were held 1-1 by Jerudong FC.
They would close the season with a 1-0 defeat to Majra United.
LLRC FT will face MS ABDB at the Padang Arena in Kuala Belait at 4pm on Sunday.
They were supposed to play Najip last Sunday but the game was postponed due to due to bad weather which resulted in unsatisfactory pitch conditions of the tournament venue.
Since its inception in early 2007, LLRC FT have established themselves as one of the top new football teams in the country.
There have been signs over the last few years that the club are making inroads in their quest to be one of the football powers in the Sultanate.
Among their recent achievements include winning the Six Corner Championship last year after defeating Indera 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after both teams were locked 1-1 in regulation time.
The club started out as a non-league team in 2006, with many of their players made up of employees from the Kuala Belait Municipal Board.
In 2008, LLRC FT began their football campaign in the national league in impressive fashion by finishing second behind AM Gunners FC in the Brunei Premier League II.
They recorded four wins, one loss and two draws in the league.
They carried their momentum into the post-season and battled their way through to the semi-final of the Brunei Premier Cup, where they lost to the MS ABDB.
The following year saw LLRC earn their right to fight in the top-flight Brunei Premier League I after finishing at the top of second league.
This season's DST Super League features 10 teams - MS ABDB, Indera, MS PDB, QAF FC, Majra, Kilanas, Jerudong, Wijaya, Najip and LLRC FT.
The league started last Monday with QAF FC and Jerudong playing put a 2-2 draw.