2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

Said brothers shoulder Brunei's hopes

© AFP

History has proven siblings can make a significant joint contribution on the international stage. Sir Bobby Charlton and his elder brother Jack with England, Denmark duo Michael and Brian Laudrup, as well as the Netherlands’ De Boer twins - Frank and Ronald – are just some of the names which spring to mind.

In the case of Brunei Darussalam it is a pair of brothers valued for their predatory skills – Mohd and Adi Said – who aim to help the south-east Asian nation open brightly against Chinese Taipei in Thursday's first-leg 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifier.

The 29-year-old Mohd is among Brunei's most notable stars, having starred with local giants DPMM FC for a decade, while also earning regular international caps. Adi, despite being five years younger, emerged the national team's top-scorer with two goals in last year's 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers. Having developed telepathic understanding on the field, the brothers are expected to lead the attacking-line against Chinese Taipei according to technical adviser Mike Wong.

"Mohd and Adi have exceptional talents," he told FIFA.com. "They are a defender’s nightmare when they are on song. I reckon they are as good as any striking partnership in south-east Asia."

Family passion
Hailing from a footballing family, both brothers are among the country's most accomplished footballers considering that DPMM FC are Brunei's only professional club. As a move to improve their game, DPMM FC joined the Malaysian league in 2005, before then competing in the Singapore League in 2009. Having rubbed shoulders with the region's big clubs the brothers have gained valuable exposure and experience developing into notable goal-scorers.

Mohd first shone in the 2006/07 Malaysia Super League season when he earned the Golden Boot award with 21 goals as DPMM FC finished a surprising third upon their promotion to the top flight. The diminutive forward continued to dazzle viewers after they moved to Singapore, propelling his side to the Singapore League Cup title in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Adi, for his part, showed early promise helping the national U-21 side to the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy title three years ago. In the process, he was on target five times to finish joint second top-scorer alongside Andik Vermansyah, an Indonesian prodigy who has earned a reputation as the country's "Messi".

"We are a football-fanatical nation," Mohd toldFIFA.com. "Adi and I both started playing football from childhood. We played football at every opportunity we had. Naturally, my skills have been improved with my love for the sport. Of course, football runs in the family blood which has brought us closer. All my brothers are currently playing professionally and representing the country in various age groups."

Mohd attributed his personal development to competing in the leagues of Malaysia and Singapore. "The overseas experience has been very helpful in developing our skills," he continued. "We are also more aware of our opponents' strengths and weaknesses. I am grateful to have been a part of Brunei's tremendous progress."

Mutual support
Team-mates for both club and country, the brothers share a common idol in Cristiano Ronaldo. For Adi, though, elder brother Mohd invariably is his motivator and mentor. "Mohd is an (elder) brother and he has pushed me forward, teaching me what he had experienced," he told FIFA.com. "He is my brother so I don’t think of Mohd as my team-mate, friend, buddy or so forth. Mohd is my brother and I love him that way.

"I have played for DPMM for merely three years, yet Mohd has done for so for 10. When I step on the field with Mohd I always feel confident. We have a perfect understanding. Why not? We have played together since being kids."

Mohd, meanwhile, was matter-of-the-fact speaking of his brother. "Adi is an excellent player," he stated. "He will always have my support as well as my prayers for his success."

The Chinese Taipei encounter marks only Brunei's third appearance in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Having finished bottom in both previous bids, the country are aiming to progress to the second round for the first time. "I think we can defeat Chinese Taipei by working together," said Adi. “We are both strikers so we can create a good plan for our team."

"This is a history-making chance for our country," Mohd summed up, "The whole team, including me and Adi and other team-mates are proud of being part of it. Chinese Taipei are a strong team but I am confident in our abilities. We are strong as a team and we will do our best to make our nation proud."

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