Football

Ex-Blackburn boss Kean to coach DPMM; Tampines win S-League title

Ex-Blackburn boss Kean to coach DPMM; Tampines win S-League title
Steve Kean will be on a one-year contract to take charge of DPMM. Photo: Getty Images
Published: 4:02 AM, October 21, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, October 22, 2013

SINGAPORE — Former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has been named as the new head coach of Brunei DPMM FC, the club announced on their website late on Saturday.

The 46-year-old Scot arrives on a one-year contract and replaces Vjeran Simunic, who had two spells (2008-09 and 2011-2013) in charge of DPMM. Simunic led DPMM to the StarHub League Cup and a second place finish in the Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League last year, feats that won him the Coach of the Year award for 2012.

DPMM failed to finish in the top half of the 12-team S-League after two rounds of league play this season, relegating them to the mini-competition for clubs in the bottom half. Failure to defend the League Cup and a quarter-final exit from the RHB Singapore Cup led to Simunic announcing his departure at the end of the season.

Kean is famously known for keeping Blackburn in the English top flight following the sacking of Sam Allardyce in December 2010 by new Indian owners Venky’s.

Initially handed the Rovers managership on an interim basis, Kean was given a permanent contract a month later, although his 21-month spell was unpopular and often controversial, with the club relegated after the 2011-12 season.

Though tasked to lead the club back to the top flight, Kean left Ewood Park last September claiming he had been “forced to resign”.

DPMM are set to continue their participation in the S-League with a signing ceremony scheduled for tomorrow at the Jalan Besar Stadium between the club and the Football Association of Singapore.

Meanwhile, Tampines Rovers have won the 2013 S-League title after their nearest rivals Albirex Niigata (S) failed to win last night’s match against Balestier Khalsa.

With Tampines 12 points ahead, Albirex needed to win all four of their remaining league matches to stay mathematically in the hunt.

The issue was settled by first-half goals from Balestier’s Qiu Li and Park Kang Jin, with Albirex scoring a late consolation in the 2-1 loss, a result that put Tampines in an unassailable position. This is the third straight S-League title for Tampines and their fifth overall since the league began in 1996. PHILIP GOH