Our last stop in Asia – rural Laos and wealthy Brunei. Though they seem quite the opposite, it's Laos who has a modern national stadium, even if Brunei's is bigger.
Constructed in 2009, this stadium was part of so called „Stadium diplomacy” ran by China. Commonly, Chinese authorities offer new spectacular stadia to developing countries in exchange for economic cooperation and lack of thereof with Taiwan. In Laos' case the new national sport complex was built for vast land in Vientiane that later became the capital's 'Chinatown' with foreign investment. Those were much smaller than initially planned after massive criticism throughout the nation.
As is tradition with stadia offered by China, this one was also designed and constructed entirely by Chinese companies.
Laos needed a new national stadium ahead of 2009 South-East Asian Games, with the old one being outdated. Contrary to its predecessor, the new venue lies some 16 kilometres from the city, making it rather remote. Nevertheless, many Vientiane-based clubs use the facilities. Apart from the stadium there are also indoor arenas, swimming pools and tennis courts both for events and training.
Built in 1983, this stadium was opened as celebration of sultan's 69th birthday. To entertain crowds and the ruler, national team fought against Sheffield United, but failed to win or draw. Back then it was among the most impressive venues throughout the region, despite Brunei being one of the world's smallest countries.
Also worth mentioning, reports say that citizens have contributed to the cost, not minding the fact that public funding is available. Was it voluntary or forced in any way, we cannot judge, but the contribution was in excess of 1% or S$1 million.
Current name of this 30,000-seater praises ruling sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who also is the patron of Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, tournament between national teams from South-East Asia. Everyday use is provided by football club DPMM, owned by sultan's son. After having dominated domestic league the team joined Malaysian premier league, later switching it for the Singaporean one.
In 1999 South-East Asian Games were staged here.
Built literally next to the largest, national stadium, this one is part of the extensive sports complex in central Bandar Seri Begawan. And despite modest size, this stadium can be called the true heart of football in Brunei. Vast majority of domestic fixtures are played here as most clubs are tenants.
With no need for 30,000 seats, national league plays in front of the 3,000-seat stands that aren't usually too crowded.