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Match Preview: Possible DPMM Expulsion from Singapore Cup Reignites Eagles' Cup Dream


Photo credit: Geylang International FC

Eliminated from the Singapore Cup after a derby defeat in early November, Geylang International may have been gifted an unexpected second chance by global footballing body FIFA, when the latter is mulling the suspension of the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) - a move that would see Bruneian teams, including DPMM, barred from competing in all football tournaments.


Not the first time to be sanctioned by FIFA, FABD's latest trouble was a result of alleged third-party interference after the sacking of its President and Secretary-General by the Registrar of Societies (RoS).


An appeal by the RoS is ongoing and a decision over the fate of the Bruneian football authorities has yet to be reached at press time.


The unfolding drama in Brunei brings good news to the supposedly ousted Eagles as the 2009 cup winners stand a fighting chance of achieving cup glory.


Should Group A leaders DPMM be thrown out of the domestic cup, fourth-placed Geylang have the opportunity to leapfrog Albirex Niigata to the final qualifying spot so long as they grab all three points against Young Lions this Sunday (November 26) while hoping their Japanese rivals slip up in their match with Tampines Rovers.


Initially deemed as a dead rubber contest, the ongoing turmoil in Brunei means that there is everything for the Eagles to play for against the under-23 developmental squad and the home team need no further incentive to do their best in overpowering their younger opponents.


Having notched five straight victories against Young Lions in all competitions ahead of the final group game, the risk of complacency is ever present for Noor Ali's team. Hence, it is crucial for him to rouse his charges to go for the jugular and do a professional job in dismantling the basement club.


Team news: Naufal Azman remains suspended for the Young Lions clash. Also ruled out of the contest are long-term absentees Vincent Bezecourt and Huzaifah Aziz who are still recuperating from their ligament injuries.


Player to watch: Yushi Yamaya - While presently the Eagles' top goalscorer with 11 goals this season, the Japanese signing from Yokohama Marinos has not quite hit the height that was expected of him at the start of the year. A talent who proudly declared his aim of scoring 20 goals and assisting 10 upon his introduction to the local media, his returns are deemed to be underwhelming given his pedigree. But there is still an outside chance for Yamaya to realise his lofty individual target, should Geylang advance through the tournament at the expense of DPMM's disqualification.

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