SINGAPORE: Singapore’s futsal team, Kampung Buangkok, is poised to create history by becoming the first team to compete in an overseas futsal league.

The team is set to participate in this year’s Brunei Futsal League, which is expected to open its campaign in August 2024 and runs until February next year.

Making their debut in the Brunei Futsal League, Kampung Buangkok has set a bold target of securing a top-three finish in their inaugural season. However, the team also believes bringing the coveted trophy back to Singapore is within reach.

“Our journey from a small, local team to competing on an international stage is a testament to our passion and dedication to the sport.

We are excited and honoured to be the first Singaporean team to compete both in the Brunei Futsal League and an overseas league,” expressed Kenneth Kwang Wai Kit, Kampung Buangkok’s goalkeeper and spokesperson.

The team’s participation in the Brunei Futsal League will be entirely self-funded, with an estimated cost of approximately S$90,000 for the entire season.

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It is reported that Kwang had generously offered to foot a significant portion of the team’s expenses.

With the team being self-funded, the coaches and players will also be chipping in for travel arrangements. As such, the team has arranged a cost-effective travel plan for their upcoming participation in the Brunei Futsal League.

The players will take the flight from Singapore directly, while the coaches, mostly from Johor, will be travelling from Senai Airport, with both parties regrouping in Brunei.

The team will be led by head coach Ahmad Hanif bin Sarmin, more affectionately known as Jojo, within the Malaysian futsal fraternity. Head coach Hanif will be assisted by his coaching staff from Johor Bahru.

Previously, head coach Hanif and his coaching staff had coached Malaysian futsal team Kuantan Rangers, now Pahang Rangers, who became the first foreign futsal team to win the Brunei Futsal League during their debut season in 2017.

Jojo started his futsal career in Malaysia with the Academy Old Boys in 2003 before switching to Johor, where he won the National Futsal League title in 2006 and 2007.

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Jojo also played for Figos RSA FC before ending his career with PKNS FC.

Manimaran Cup 2024 : Champions, Kampung Buangkok B with Dr Paul Tambyah (Photo credit: Singapore Democratic Party)

Kampung Buangkok also participated and won the inaugural Singapore Democratic Party’s Manimaran Cup (pic above) earlier in the year.

It was an all-Buangkok final, as teams from Kampung Buangkok A and Kampung Buangkok B won against their opponents in the semi-finals.

But there had to be only one winner in the final, and Kampung Buangkok B lifted the trophy as they emerged as champions in the 2024 Manimaran Cup.

As they embark on this historic journey, the team aims not only to succeed on the international stage but also to foster a deeper appreciation for the sport while elevating the profile of futsal back in Singapore. 

“Playing in the Brunei Futsal League is not just about the competition for us. It’s about showcasing the potential of futsal in Singapore and inspiring others to take up the sport.

We hope our journey will motivate many to explore and engage in futsal,” added Kwang.

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The team hopes that their achievements and participation in the Brunei Futsal League will draw attention within their local community, resulting in more interested parties playing futsal in the long run.

Officials from the Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (FABD) explained the format and structure of the 2024-2025 Brunei Futsal League to the club representatives during a briefing session in May to the participating clubs.

There will be two groups of ten clubs each. Group one will see the best ten clubs from the 2023 Brunei Futsal League competing in 18 matches in a two-round league format.

Group Two will see the inclusion of new futsal teams, who will play in a normal league structure. According to FABD, the winner from Group Two will have the opportunity to compete in Group One in the following season.