DPMM FC vice-chairman YAM Pg Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pg Anak Haji Abdul Rahim Pg Indera Mahkota Pg Anak (Dr) Kemaludin Al-Haj (L) applauds as he witnesses yesterday's signing ceremony for players and sponsors. The club signed 23 players for next season's S-League, while seven companies agreed to contribute as sponsors. BT/Yusri Adanan
DPMM FC held their annual player and sponsor signing ceremony for the 2014 Singapore League (S-League) season yesterday.
Four foreign players were among the team of 23 that inked their names onto contracts yesterday, after which representatives from Mitsubishi Corporation, Brunei Shell Marketing Co, Maju Motors, DST Group, Royal Brunei Airlines, Sri Sentosa and Sports Partnership Pte Ltd also signed on as sponsors.
The ceremony at the Red Jade Room of the Centrepoint Hotel in Gadong was witnessed by DPMM FC vice-chairman YAM Pg Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Sahibul Irshad Pg Anak Haji Abdul Rahim Pg Indera Mahkota Pg Anak (Dr) Kemaludin Al-Haj.
Brazilian striker Rodrigo Tosi was the only foreign signing that the club retained from last season, with Brunei's premier football club officially signing midfielders Joseph Gamble (Ireland) and Roberto Alviz (Croatia) as well as Bosnian defender Boris Raspudic as new imports this season.
Gamble - who learnt of DPMM FC through ex-DPMM FC player and friend George O'Callaghan - made the move to Brunei's most notable football club as he is looking to gain experience playing outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
"O'Callaghan recommended me to come here because it's a very good club with great facilities, and a club that will look after you in terms of the environment that you train in," Gamble told The Brunei Times yesterday.
Bosnian defender Boris Raspudic during yesterday's signing ceremony. BT/Yusri Adanan
Irish midfielder Joseph Gamble during yesterday's signing ceremony. BT/Yusri Adanan
Brazilian striker Rodrigo Tosi during yesterday's signing ceremony. BT/Yusri Adanan
"Also a big reason for the move was the coach, Steve Kean, as I have known him from my time at (current Championship side) Reading as a youngster from 2000-2004," said Gamble.
"So put all that together and it's a new experience for me, and one that I don't think I could have said no to.
"It's been very good and tough so far, as pre-seasons are, but we've had a trip to Thailand and the matches that we played were quite good," said the 32-year-old.
DPMM FC defeated Nakhon Si Heritage 3-1 in their first match of the 2014 Phuket Saksee Cup on Jan 25 in Thailand before losing 2-0 to Phuket FC a day later in the same tournament.
They also showcased their play in front of the home crowd last Friday in a 0-0 draw against Kelantan at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas - their first home game of the season.
"I think we look good on the field. Very strong and organised, but I think there is still more to come from us," said Gamble.
"I think training has been really good because most of the stuff we have done has been new to the Brunei players. New for me and new for all of us.
Croatian midfielder Roberto Alviz during yesterday's signing ceremony. BT/Yusri Adanan
Players signing their contracts with DPMM FC club manager Pg Waslimin PSJ Pg Hj Abd Momin (3rd L) and team manager Ali Hj Momin (3rd R). BT/Yusri Adanan
"We're trying to get new training ideas and training methods that will hopefully make us better on the pitch, so we will perform better to get better results - which is what we're here for," added Gamble.
Alviz, who is close to reaching his second month with DPMM FC, was recommended through a friend of his agent to try out with the club.
"I heard many positive things because many Croatian players have played here before, and ex-DPMM FC coach Vjeran Simunic has also said many positive things about the team," said Alviz.
"I'll try to do my best and try to play my football, and as I build up my career with them, I hope we can produce good results," added the midfielder.
Raspudic said he is satisfied with how pre-season has gone and thinks that DPMM FC have a team capable of performing well this season.
"I think we have a good team to fight with the other teams in the S-League," said Raspudic.
"We have about 18 days to get ready for the season, and I will give 100 per cent of my body to represent this team, myself and my country."