Brunei have struggled in recent years. The seniors are undoubted seniors, with youngsters playing cricket in such few numbers that the Brunei Cricket Association have been unable to field a team in the most recent ACC U-16 Challenge Cup. And they still have no women’s team. “Brunei realise things have got to change if they have any chance of being better than the lowest team in the ACC rankings at present. They want to change. They are making a change,” says ACC Development Officer for Brunei Aminul Islam.

Brunei pioneered the Level 0 form of coaching five years ago, bringing cricket to those who had absolutely no idea of it beforehand. “Cricket has not ever really been a sport in Brunei which is not really a sporting country, but there are some genuine people who love the game and want to see it taken up by as many people as possible,” says Aminul. On his most recent assignment to the country Aminul and three local coaches took 49 school and university PE teachers, including 14 women, through a basic four-day coaching and umpiring program.

Native Bruneians were the beneficiaries, sent by the Education and Sports Ministries who are keen that the small nation become more physically active. The government has issued a directive to all educational institutions that they must have either synthetic or turf facilities on flat ground as well as a running-track. “We want the local residents to take up cricket, our teams before have been made up of foreigners who come and go and give us no long-term continuity,” says Brunei Cricket Association Vice President Haji Mosli Mohamad.

At present most of Brunei’s sporting facilities are indoors. “It’s enough for now, they are just starting really. It may even be that they spend a couple of years building a base of players before they again play ACC tournaments,” says Aminul. The aim is indeed to create a local community of cricketers. “One teacher in our schools can reach twenty cricketers a year,” says Brunei Cricket Association Development Manager Haji Rusdi.

Aminul Islam, kneeling, directs coaching activity in Bander Seri Begawan, Brunei

An MoU has been signed with neighbouring Malaysian states Sabah and Sarawak to hold an annual Borneo Cup for cricket, with a long-term aim of entering cricket into the Borneo Games.

“Brunei’s current position does not make them happy. They want to come back up,” affirms Aminul.

Brunei Cricket Profile

Filed October 25th, 2011