NFABD President His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (2nd R) is greeted by FIFA Development Officer Domeka Garamendi (L) and AFC Director of Member Associations and Development Sanjeevan Balasingam (2nd L) at the NFABD headquarters in Berakas yesterday. BT/ Saiful Omar
NFABD President His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (R) presenting the NFABD Flag to AFC's Director of Member Associations and Development Sanjeevan Balasingam at the NFABD headquarters in Berakas yesterday. BT/ Saiful Omar
Delegates from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) yesterday reviewed the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam's (NFABD) two-year action plan and assessed the country's development in the sport.
Two separate closed door meetings were held at NFABD's headquarters in Berakas, where NFABD President His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah met with FIFA Development Officer Domeka Garamendi and AFC Director of Member Associations and Development Sanjeevan Balasingam.
Introduced last May, the two-year action plan was formulated by NFABD's executive committee and is aimed at improving grass roots football, futsal, referees department, IT (Information Technology), among others.
"We were here last year for the two-year action plan (which was) a key milestone for NFABD to accomplish. And the reason we are here today is to get updates on what needs to be revised and what else we can do to help achieve this plan," said Garamendi.
"The objective of this action plan is to get NFABD on their feet, and once they are on their feet, we can start on longer reaching programmes such as establishing a five-year strategic programme.
"Brunei was suspended (from FIFA) for two years (from 2008 to 2010) so basically they are starting from scratch.
"They will need to work on everything, the technical as well as the management sides, and what is good about the situation is that Brunei is building from the ground up (so) we do not have to worry about the existing structure.
"I think NFABD have achieved several milestones (but) maybe there are a few issues that need to be revised as some are not as relevant as they were last year - so we are here to help NFABD finish this two-year action plan so we can start the real work of football development," added Garamendi.
Garamendi also paid a visit to the country because FIFA are funding the construction of an artificial pitch near NFABD's headquarters.
Meanwhile, Balasingam's meeting was focused on how AFC can help NFABD in their development programmes - which includes those for women's football.
The AFC Director of Member Associations and Development said he was also in the Sultanate to talk about the continental football body's Kick Off programme, which according to the AFC website, focuses on strengthening the club and league management of AFC's member associations through tailor-made, self-sustainable solutions.
"We were discussing about how to assist Brunei in its development and activities and to have a Kick Off programme assessment visit," said Balasingam.
"Brunei is a very important member of AFC and we are here to find out about their development and how we can help to build the capacity of NFABD to enhance their administration and their new programmes - for example, (in) women's football," he said.
"I think Brunei has been moving in the right direction in the last few years under the presidency of His Royal Highness (Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah) and we are just here to help Brunei on the path to success.
"I was at one of the local matches last night (Tuesday night) when the Army (Royal Brunei Armed Forces Sports Council) played the Police (Royal Brunei Police Force Sports Council), and they got a very good crowd and it was a good high tempo match, so I think Brunei is heading in the right direction and FIFA and AFC are here to help as much as we can" he said.
Asked if any concrete plans or decisions have been made as a result of yesterday's discussions, Balasingam - who called for patience in the matter - said they would be made after the meeting.
"(Success) won't be easy, it will take time. Nothing good comes easy, we have to be on the right path."