Former Blackburn manager Steve Kean suffers Singapore sadness

Steve Kean Blackburn Bench

Manager of Singapore side Brunei DPMM since November, Premier League managerial flop Steve Kean has seen his team dumped out of the country’s FA Cup.

A non-popular figure at Ewood Park after presiding over Blackburn Rovers' relegation from the Premier League, Steve Kean has suffered another managerial setback after exiting the Singapore FA Cup at the semi-final stage in dramatic fashion.

The 46-year-old moved to the Singapore club in November after a difficult 21-month spell at the helm of Blackburn, during which he guided the club down into the Championship, where a string of poor results saw club owners Venky's finally lose patience with the Glaswegian boss.

Until now, however, his time at the helm of Brunei DPMM had been an unrivalled success, with the team currently top of the S.League standings and already triumphant this season after winning the country’s equivalent of the League Cup.

Speaking in an interview with the Guardian last month, Kean expressed his delight at the progress made, with the team gunning for a sensational domestic treble.

"We are a good team in a decent league," he said.

"The team finished eighth last year and didn’t win anything so to have the League Cup won, be top of the league and in the semi-finals of the FA Cup shows it has been a fantastic working year. If we win the league we will qualify for Asia’s version of the Champions League and that will allow us to play against teams from other emerging countries. It would be great for the club – it’s not about me."

But any dreams of a trio of trophies in his debut season have now been extinguished after Home United dumped Brunei DPMM out of the Singapore FA Cup in dramatic fashion.

Played over two legs, Kean’s team hosted Home in the return fixture having already picked up a credible 1-1 draw on the road.

Things appeared to be going well for the ex-Blackburn boss too, with Brunei DPMM cruising into a 2-0 lead within 36 minutes.

But Home United fought back and gave themselves a lifeline just before the break with a goal one minute into first-half injury time to reduce the arrears.

That was how it stayed until 83 minutes, when the visitors sprang to life once again, scoring to make the scores level on aggregate.

All of a sudden, Brunei DPMM were the ones set to go out on away goals and be denied a place in the final.

Kean urged his team forward in search of goal but with so many pouring forward so late in the game, Home United were able to exploit the defensive gaps left and duly sealed their place in the showpiece game with another goal on 89 minutes.

A crushing defeat for all concerned, morale surround Brunei DPMM could suddenly crumble with the team five points clear of second place Warriors but suddenly under increasing pressure from a large fan base, that often fills their 16,000-seater stadium, to deliver the title.

Fresh from a confidence boosting 1-0 win away at Fulham in the Championship, things are looking up for Blackburn fans in more ways than one.

 

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