Saturday, April 19, 2014


Rams Overcome Stags

While I have been bouncing around Central and East Java, there is plenty of stuff going on in Singapore.

On Wednesday, Nicolas Velez hit four for the Warriors as they defeated Albirex Niigata 4-0 at Jurong East Stadium.

On the same evening, DPMM kept their recent fine run going as they defeated Hougang United 1-0 at Hougang with the goal coming from Azwan Rahman 13 minutes from the end. After a couple of convincing home wins against the Singapore and Malaysian development sides, coach Steve Kean would have been just as happy with scraping the three points on the road against one of the better teams in the country.

Home United are rattling in the goals at the moment...they defeated Tanjong Pagar 4-0 at Bishan with Lee Kwan Woo, Dakyung Kwon, two, and Shafiq Yacob doing the damage. On the bench for Tanjong Pagar, but unused, was Lucas Jester...I kid you not!

Jorg Steinbrunner seems to be doing a fine job at Geylang International. He has reversed their slide and they managed a 1-1 draw at Balestier Khalsa. It was the home team who had taken the lead between you know mean you don't know? What planet are you on? Goran Ljubojevic if you must know but Felix Ezequial equalised for Geylang with about 10 minutes remaining.

And to the shock. Champions Tampines going down 2-1 at home to Woodlands Wellington.  Chang Jo Yoon had given the visitors a 10th minute lead but Shahdan Sulaiman equalised a few minutes into the second half. 

Atsushi Shimono restored Woodlands advantage just minutes later and they held on for a famous victory, one that perhaps justified coach Darren Stewart's rejection of a switch to Newcastle Jets in the ALeague.It was only the Rams second win of the season and the three points saw them climb to 8th place.

Those fascinating results leave the table looking like this:

1 - DPMM 8 6 1 1 20-4 19
2 - Tampines  8 6 0 2 18-12 18
3 - Warriors 8 5 2 1 15-6 17
4 - Home United 8 5 1 2 18-8 16


Arcan Iurie's Wry Smile

Now I am not suggesting for a moment former Persita coach Arcan Iurie felt any schandenfreude yesterday. As a professional, that is an emotion best steered away from.

But, in the sanctity of his hotel room last night, he can be forgiven a wry smile or two.

Earlier in the day, Persita lost 2-1 at home to Barito Putra. Rizky Riporal and James Koko Lomell had given the visitors the lead before Riquelme hit a penalty three minutes from the end of the game to give Persita some dignity.

Meanwhile, Iurie's new club, Persepam MU, beat Persiram. They were sent on their way with a penalty from veteran striker Zaenal Arif and while Errol Ethicus pulled one back just after half time, Jose Gonzales hit a late, late winner.

Victory for Persiram, and they would have been unlikely leaders of the eastern conference, at least for a few hours.

The attendance was give as 9,230...a tad optimistic I feel!


Persikabo Keep On Winning

After been locked out of their new stadium on the opening day of the season, Persipasi managed to borrow PTIK Stadium in South Jakarta for their game against Persires and were rewarded with a 3-1 victory. Unfortunately, no fans were present at the game.

PSIS made it two wins on the spin after they defeated PSIR 1-0 with a goal by Julio Cesar half way through the first half in front of a crowd just shy of 10,000.

Villa 2000 remain winless after two games cut coach Ricky Nelson can take heart after they held an experienced Persikad to a 0-0 draw.

It was fair pissing down up in North Jakarta, delaying the kick off of Persitara against just really delayed the inevitable. The visitors, clear favourities for Divisi Utama this season when onlu two clubs get promoted (at the moment), won 3-1 with all the big hitters getting on the score sheet.

Aliyudin gave them the lead just before half time but although the home team did pull a goal back on 70 minutes through Fathul Adul, Budi Sudarsono made it 2-1 just a couple of minutes later and Rudi Widodo made it 3-1 with just a few minutes on the clock.

Up in Aceh, Persiraja came from 2-0 down to earn a draw with Pro Duta. Syamir and Fiwi Dwipan had the visitors 2-0 before 50 minutes were on the clock but two goals by  Septi Hariansyah, the second from the spot, saved a point for the home side.


Persijap v Persija 0-2

Persija kept their unbeaten start to the season, defeating Persijap 2-0 at Bumi Kartini Stadium last night. 
There may be no such thing as a straight forward win in football but this was as probably as comfortable
as it gets against a Persijap side still missing their coach, Raja Isa.

Persijap giving a better performance than their team
Persija had lost on their last two visits to Jepara but there was little danger of making it three consecutive 
losses in front of a crowd given as 3,068 (I have my doubts - in fact a local paper said there were approximately 4,000 home fans plus a traveling support of some 1,500 which sounds a better number). 

Agung Supriyanto gave the visitor the lead on 36 minutes and Ramdani Lesalahu made the points safe 
early in the second half.

This was the second time I had seen Persijap this campaign, the other against Pelita Bandung Raya in
the Inter Island Cup, and while they showed a slight improvement on that game when they drew 1-1, 
they remain a side lacking in real quality.

Persija defended solidly and on the odd occasion when the hosts were able to get a good cross in, 
Andritany Ardhiyasa showed why he is so highly rated with a good command of his area.

It is difficult to see where Persijap go next. They are two points clear of Persik at the bottom of the table
with just one win and one draw from their opening eight games and have conceded more goals, 16, than
any other Indonesia Super League team. 

There are obviously problems at the football club and despite the good support they fans gave them 
some surgery needs to happen if they are to retain their place among Indonesia’s elite.

In the other ISL game, Persik lost 2-1 at home to Semen Padang to remain rooted at the bottom of the

The Cement men though moved to second, equal on points with leaders Persib despite having played 
one game more.

Esteban scored twice for the visitors, the second just five minutes from the end. Dimas Galih Gumilang
did pull one back on 90 minutes to set up an exciting climax but it was too little, too late and most of
the 7,565 crowd went home disappointed.


Divisi Utama Opening Day

The first day of a new season is always an exciting one. Clubs and fans start with clean records and 
big dreams.Unless you are a fan of Persipasi. They arrived at their brand spanking new Patriot Stadium
to find it all locked up and security all around to ensure no one could gain admittance!

Why? Who the hell knows...some local petty official playing at Mr Big perhaps. Now, Persipasi are 
threatening to withdraw from the league.

Their fans have taken the battle to the internet, making a petition asking for the stadium to be reopened.

Another game never happened. With Persebuol being awarded a walkover, can I assume Persid Jember
never even made it to Sulawesi?

OK, in games that actually took place, and I am not going to list them all cos there are too damned
many, Divisi Utama favourites Persikabo won 2-1 at newly promoted Villa 2000 with Rudi Widodo and
Aji Mostapha getting the goals after Fadhil Ibrahim had given the new boys a dream start in front of
1,323 in Ciracas.

With Persikabo boasting s starting 11 featuring Budi Sudarsono, Aldo Baretto, Joel Tsimi and 
Johan Juansyah as well as the goalscorers and the likes of Bobby Satria and Aliyudin on the bench, 
you can see why hopes are high at the club.

One club thought to have withdrawn from the league managed to stay put. Persiraja defeated PSMS
in Banda Aceh but the fans don’t seem to have to enthused with just 2,000 bothering to turn up.

One team that don’t have any trouble with fans turning up are one of several sleeping giants in Central 
Java, Persis. They hosted PPSM at Manahan Stadium and were held to a 2-2 draw in front of 13,470.

In another Central Java game, PSIS defeated Persipur 3-1 in front of 8,725...not that bad a crowd 
considering the season started on the first day of the national school exams.

New team Pusamania Borneo defeated Perseta 2-0 in their first ever game after buying out 
Perseba Super Balangkan. Formed by fans annoyed by the politics of the game here, just 250 attended 
the birth of the new team with the experienced Danilo Fernando scoring the first goal from the penalty
spot on 16 minutes. Febri Hamzah scored the second on 23 minutes to get the club off to a flying start.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Indonesia & Justice For The 96

So today is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster when 96 football fans went to a game and never returned.

Many fans who are old enough will remember where they were when they heard the news of what happpened at the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Me, I was on the train home after a piss up in London. We were sat opposite a Forest fan, a rare sight down our way, and he wasn't the most communicative chap in the world. Hardly surprising given what he had witnessed but given our drunken state and 'knowledge' we nodded among ourselves and said 'fucking scousers at it again.'

It wasn't until we got home and saw the awful images from Sheffield that we realised our first impressions were way off the mark. You didn't need to be a genius or even a South Yorkshire cop or tory politician to realise what had taken place was nothing to do with hooligans.

Fences and shitty policing were par for the course in the 1980s, the first images we saw proved what we had long suspected...they were a death trap.

Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale. Luton, Southampton, Coventry, Oxford...grounds with lousy away endings and a local plod who hated your guts and made that hatred clear were par for the course.

They weren't just Liverpool fans who died on the Leppings Lane terrace. They were Arsenal fans, Rochdale fans, Walsall fans. They were football fans and they could have been us.

While football fans knew what had happened, the government lied and said it was the fault of the fans. Football fans then were the bearded mullahs of the 20th century. It's taken 25 bloody years and we are only just having inquests. Justice eh?

There is a large Liverpool following in Indonesia of course. Seduced by the glamour of Keegan and the Kop, You'll Never Walk Alone and all the other stuff, despite the lack of success, they remain a massive club.

The last few years have seen a few Indonesian football fans go to games and not come back but they remain largely forgotten.

Does anyone recall the names of the Persib fans who died after being beaten up at Bung Karno Stadium. Or the Persija fan who was set upon and beaten to death near an upmarket hotel and shopping mall? Anyone remember their names or the anniversaries of their deaths?

Is anyone here demanding justice for them and the others who die on their way to or from football in Indonesia?

On the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough, the silence is deafening over dead Indonesians. Why should that be? Why do people find it easier to remember and honour people who died in a city they couldn't find on a map before they were even born? Is an English person's life worth more than an Indonesian's life?

The West is not the best and the East is not the least.

I guess we seeing globalisation at work here. The globalisation of grief. Let's forget about the local fans who die at football and jump on board the latest trends on twitter?

English football in the 1980s in many ways is like Indonesian football today. 'Polite society' loathes it. The pitches are crap, stadiums are falling to pieces and of course there may even be the odd outbreak of violence at games here.

Following on from Bradford, Heysel and greedy club owners, Hillsborough fundamentally changed the game of football in England and how it is experienced.

Perhaps those fans here who would like to remember the 96, perhaps they can try and bring about change in the football experience in this country by working to make sure no more fans die while doing what they love. By making sure the fans who have died receive some kind of justice? Surely that would be something tangible and worthwhile? Surely that would be a good way of honouring the 96?

It's not only charity that begins at home. So does justice.

Monday, April 14, 2014


SLeague Top Scorers

  • 7 - Rodrigo Antonio Tosi (DPMM), Geison Moura (Hougang United, Miroslav Pejic (Warriors)
  • 6 - Roy O'Donovan (DPMM). Miljan Mrdakaovic (Tampines Rovers)
  • 5 - Kazuki Sakamoto (Albirex Niigata),Goran Ljubojevic (Balestier Khalsa) 
  • 4 - Leo Felice (Geylang International), Diego Oliviera (Hougang United)
Note the Singaporeans in that list!


Woodlands Lose Second Straight Game

Woodlands Wellington coach Darren Stewart recently turned down a move to ALeague side Newcastle Jets, preferring to finish the job he had started in North Singapore.

Yesterday they lost 3-0 at home to Home United...a defeat that to all intents and purposes leaves the Rams bottom of the SLeague with seven points from their opening seven games.

OK, to be precise, they are comfortably above development sides Young Lions and Hariman Muda who seem to be outdoing themselves as the national team with a worse record at the moment.

Thing is, tables can be misleading. Woodlands have lost just two games which is better than the teams above them so there.

You can't imagine Stewart being happy with his defence...until last night's reverse, Woodlands had conceded less than champions Tampines. But two defeats on the spin, they lost a few days ago against Warriors, will have the Rams heirarchy looking for an immediate improvement.

Talking Tampines, I was honest, check the last paragraph, they beat Balestier Khalsa 3-1 to leapfrog DPMM at the top of the SLeague. Goals from Noh Alam Shah, great to see him back playing regularly again, and two from Closa gave the Stags a 3-0 half time lead.


Persib Overcome Leaders Arema In Thriller

The Indonesian office is a funny place. Mind you, it has been so bloody long since I stepped into a British office I would probably have some kind of culture shock there as well.

Yesterday, anyways, was a case in point. The match of the season would have been the English media hype as Persib hosted Arema.

It certainly proved to be a game and a half...what ever that may mean.

Arema went in at half time 2 up thanks to goals from Samsul Arif and Gustavo Lopez.

Persib however fought back and in some style. Djibril Coulabily,  who was courted, signed, released and re-signed pre season, scored on 53 minutes to give Persib a role in the match.

Firman Utina made it 2-2 on 78 minutes and if there is a Bobotoh heaven they found in a few minutes later when Konate Makan finished the remarkable come back, ending Arema's 1005 record and propelling the Bandung outfit to the top of the western division.

As for the office. No one it seemed gave a raspberry cripple. Not until Liverpool against Manchester City came on did anyone show any interest in football.

Odd, eh?!


Persija v Ajax

As I mentioned the other day, Ajax, their Amsterdam Arena pictured left, will be coming to Jakarta next month and it has been announced they will play Persija in a friendly at the Bung Karno stadium 11 May.

This won't be Ajax's first visit here of course. They were also here in 1975 along with Manchester United for a few games...check out my report here.

The site I based my story on is no longer there...for some reason, that story said the game ended 4-1 to the visiting Dutch side but this link looks more credible eh?!

Ticket prices...

VVIP : Rp. 1.500.000,-
West VIP : Rp. 540.000,-
East VIP : Rp. 340.000,-
Cat I : Rp. 160.000,-
Cat 2 : Rp. 80.000,-
Exc.Ticket Fee Rp 10.000

What with PSV and the Dutch national team visiting in recent months it's getting to be like Batavia in the 1920s!


Sunday, April 13, 2014


The Curious Case Of Pusamania Borneo

After I had been leaving on South East Asia a few years I decided to cut back on some of my personal belongings. A few books and some clsothes got lost by the wayside.

And I made the heart wrenching decision to leave my logic locked in a left luggage locker at Heathrow Airport. It was for the best. Things just took too long to explain and it would never understand it anyway.

Here is another example. It is hilarious but it defies logic.

Some fans of Pusam, formerly known as Persisam, decided they wanted to form their own football club. One guy told me they weren't happy about all the politics in the game. I also understand with Persisam moving to a new stadium in or around Samarinda, some who unhappy with the expense and longer journey times.

So they did a Manchester United and formed their own club, called Pusamania Borneo. The name encapsulates the traditions, heritage and origins of the original club so fair enough.

Rather than work their way up through the leagues though as most new clubs have to they scouted around to buy an existing club. I know what you are fans!

They found one...Perseba Super Bangkalan from the island of Madura.

They duly bought the club and changed the name to reflect its new owners, at the same time I guess consigning the old club to history.

With the release of the Divisi Utama fixtures, there we see the new team drawn alongside their opponents for the upcoming campaign...alongside Persida, Persekap, Persepar, Deltras, Martapura, PSMP, Perseta...a neat mixture of teams from East Java and the island of Borneo.

Just one thing though...the same official fixture list shows Pusamania Borneo playing their home games in ...Bangkalan!

So the club that was formed by fans in a city in East Kalimantan could well be playing their home games on a totally different island on a totally different province...while keeping their name and roots!

Explain that one...logically!

UPDATE - Now it seems they are playing their home games in Samarinda!


Results 11-12/04

Indonesia Super League

Persijap v Semen Padang 1-2 (Claudio Sobrinho; Esteban, Hendra Adi Bayaw) 3,500

Patience it seems is in short supply in Jepara, Central Java. As the ISL returned after a break for the election, Persijap showed no signs of returning to winning ways, going 2-0 against the visitors in half an hour.

The defeat is Persijap's fifth of the campaign and leaves them just one place off the relegation places.

Interestingly, coach Raja Isa wasn't at the game. He was back in Malaysia. After the game some Persijap fans called for Isa to be replaced.

The three points for Semen Padang sees them move up to third in the ISL, level on points with Persib who meet Arema today in a top of the table clash at Jalak Harupat Stadium, Soreang.


Geylang International v Hougang United 3-2 (Felice Ezequiel 2, OG; Geison Carvalho, Fairoz Hasan)

Geylang's revival under new coach Jorg Steinbrunner gathered apace with this remarkable result against fancied Hougang.

With 10 minutes on the clock and trailing 2-0, the Eagles fought back to win the game 3-2 in a pulsating climax that also saw Felice and skipper M Ridwan yellow carded.

It's funny you, there are still people out there willing to stay up all hours to watch pretty poor Arsenal and Manchester United fans play mediocre still who won't accept there is good football in their own backyard.

Don't forget, it was only a few days ago Hougang inflicted champions Tampines first defeat of the season.

DPMM v Harimau Muda 5-0 (Azwan Rahman, Sairol Sahari, Roy O'Donovan 2, Rodrigo Tosi)

Brunei's DPMM moved to the top of Singapore's SLeague after effortlessly brushing aside Malaysia's Harimau Muda.

That's 11 goals in the last two games for Steve Kean's team as they steamrollered first Young Lions and now Malaysia's own development side leaving both of them rooted firmly at the bottom of the table.

Getting thrashed big time is of course par for the course for young players and is one reason why these teams exist. What the coaches will focus on is less the result and more how the young players react to the result. That is what will ultimately sort the wheat from the chaff.

Of course it is also possible for a team filled with internationals boasting more than 500 caps coached by a manager with 30 years experience to get thrashed eh Arsenal?!

11 - Young Lions 7 0 01 6 8-21 1
12 - Harimau Muda 7 0 0 7 3-22 0

Malaysia Super League

Johor Darul Takzim v PKNS 1-0
Terengganu v Sarawak 1-2
LionsXII v Sime Darby 0-1
Pahang v T Team 2-0
Selangor v Perak 1-0
ATM v Kelantan 0-2

1 - Pahang 12 8 1 3 22-11 25
2 - Selangor 12 7 3 2 16-11 24
3 - Terengganu 11 6 2 3 17-9 20
4 - Kelantan 12 6 2 4 17-12 20

With all the upheaval going on at JDT you can imagine the sigh of relief that greeted their narrow win over PKNS. Still, for all the investment in the Southern Tigers, five wins from their opening 12 games is being seen as a poor return...perhaps one day someone will realise aging big name players on big salaries may not always what they are cracked up to be!

A shock for champions LionsXII, going down at home to Sime Darby. They sit one place and one point behind JDT and retaining their title is going to be a big ask for coach Fandi Ahmad and his team.

Before the game, Fandhi had said the next four games were vitally important...

Another defeat for Perak crowned a pretty poor week after they were also docked a point by the FAM for playing an illegible player.

Friday, April 11, 2014


VLeague Side Withdraws From AFC Cup After Match Fixing Suspicions

Ha Noi  — V-League side Vissai Ninh Binh have sought permission from the Viet Nam Football Federation and the Viet Nam Professional Football Joint Stock Company to stay away from play this season.

In an official document sent to the two organisations last night, Ninh Binh said this was in order to investigate allegations of match-fixing by their footballers.

Pham Van Le, chairman of the club, confirmed it and said, "We suspect that our players are involved in match-fixing. Over the past few months, we have received information related to the team's results in both Asia's second tier Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup and the V-League. The team's boss Hoang Manh Truong got furious and decided to stop all activities of the team to investigate the matter. We have requested the police to make things clear."

The matches over which Truong had doubts are the ones in which Ninh Binh lost to Quang Ninh 1-3 and to Binh Duong 2-5 in the national premier league, and won against Malaysia's Kelatan 3-2 in the AFC event.

Yesterday, coach Nguyen Van Sy also told all players that they would not be playing any matches in the AFC and domestic tournaments anymore.

The team has had three wins at the AFC Cup and has won a berth in the second round. They would have made it to the event's quarter-finals or semi-finals.

In the V-League, Ninh Binh is ranked No 11 out of 13 teams and has seven points after eight matches. The match between the team and Hoang Anh Gia Lai tomorrow won't be taken place.

According to Pham Ngoc Vien, VPF's general director, this is unprecedented in Viet Nam's football history. It means the team will stop playing in football events.

Today, the VPF will hold a meeting to resolve the issue.

More coverage from Goal Singapore 

COMMENT - Isn't it lucky we don't have any pf this kind of nonsense on Indonesia!?


Football In North Sulawesi

What the hell has happened to football in North Sulawesi? My first watching the game in Indonesia there were Persimin Minhasa, Persma Manado and Persibom Bolaang Mongadow.

Then the Indonesia Premier League came along and according to this post from 2010, the above three teams to become Manado United.

According to players who played their, the crowds were pretty large and animated.

Now there is nothing again. There is Persigo Gorontalo which is next to North Sulawesi but that is about it.

Even Division One, which I published yesterday, the names from above are strangely missing. Instead, we have PSKT Tomohon!

So, what has happened to football in North Sulawesi?

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Improve Your Geography With Indonesian Football!

These are the groups for Division One, the third tier of football in the country. Games kick off at the end of April...good luck finding a fixture list!
Som interesting names lining up. Persikota are returning after taking a gap year. I have no idea where they will play their home games; a fatwa prevented them using Benteng Stadium in Tangerang a while back and their rivals, Persita, are playing their home games in Karawang.
In my first season covering Indonesian football, Persekabpas had a prety decent season, reaching the play offs. In their ranks that year was agentleman named Zah Rahan who of course went on to play for Sriwijaya and Persipura with such success before heading to Malaysia and Felda United.
Bontang of course were relegated after upsetting the PSSI for some now forgotten reason and must start from scratch.
They are the lucky ones of course. Persibo and Persema must start from Division Three!
Group 11. Aceh Utara FC
2. PS Pidie Jaya
3. Persidi IDI
4. PSAB Aceh Besar
5. Persal Aceh Selatan
6. PSGL Gayo Lues
Group 21. PSSA Asahan
2. Medan United
3. PS TGM Medan
4. Medan Jaya
5. PSTS Tanjung Balai
6. PS Siak
Group 31. Rumbai FC
2. Persiks Kuantan Singingi
3. Persiju sijunjung
4. PSP Padang
5. PS Pasaman Barat
6. Persepak Payakumbuh
Group 41. PS Bungo Jambi
2. PS PLN Jambi
3. PSBL Bandar Lampung
4. Persilat Lampung Tengah
5. Persibabar Bangka Barat
6. Cilegon United FC
Group 51. Perserang Kab Serang
2. Markuban Matador FC
3. Jakarta Timur FC
4. Persikasi Bekasi
5. PSB Bogor
6. PS Kab. Tapin
7. Persikota Tangerang
Group 61. PS. Maung Bandung
2. Persista Sintang
3. PS Uni Bandung
4. Pesik Kuningan
5. Persekap Pekalongan
6. Persibat Batang
Group 71. Persik Kendal
2. Persibas Banyumas
3. ISP Purworejo
4. Persebi Boyolali
5. PSISra Sragen
6. Persipa Pati
7. Tunas Jogja
Group 81. Persatu Tuban
2. Surabaya Muda
3. Persesa Sampang
4. Persikoba Kota Batu
5. Persekabpas Pasuruan
6. Persisum Sumbawa
Group 91. PSID Jombang
2. Persikapro Probolinggo
3. PSIL Lumajang
4. Jember United FC
5. PS. Badung Bali
Group 101. Persikutim
2. Penajam Paser Utara
3. Persipas Paser
4. PS Nunukan
5. Bontang Mitra United FC
6. Persekap Kapuas
7. Bontang FC
Group 111. Persikos Kota Sorong
2. Persisos Sorong Selatan
3. Persinab Nabire
4. Nusa INA FC
5. PSKT Tomohon
Group 12:1. Persitoli Tolikara
2. Persipani Paniai
3. Persewar Waropen
4. Persias Asmat
5. Persiyali Yalimor


Persipura Reach AFC Knock Out Stage

A goal by Boas Solossa in the 75th minute set Persipura on the way to the group stage of the AFC Cup last night in India. The home team pulled one back within 10 minutes by Singh but Persipura had kept their unbeaten run intact.

It is easy to describe the role Solossa plays in the Persipura team. Think Steven Gerrard. He is the local boy done good and with four goals in five group games he is as talismanic as Liverpool's captain.

They play Home United in their final group stage game with the Singapore team knowing they must win to stand a chance of reaching the next stage.

They defeated New Radiant last night 2-0 but remain in 3rd place with a poorer goal difference than Churchill Brothers who travel to the Maldives to take on New Radiant in their final game.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014


ISL Games Rescheduled

The league has stopped for the election. The election has finished and still the league can not start again.

Persik were scheduled to play Persija this Saturday after a lengthy break but that game has been postponed. Why? I really don't know. The police have not released a security clearance which all games need.

And there is more.

Gresik United's game with Pelita Bandung Raya slated for Sunday has been called off which means I imagine PBR's trip to East Java has been called off...their ga,e with Arema next Thursday had alray been moved to accomodate Arema's AFC Cup tie with Selangor.

And Monday;s game between Sriwijaya and Barito Putera has also fallen victim to the trend.

12/04 Persik v Persija 21/04
13/04 Gresik United v PBR 23/04
13/04 Sriwijaya v Barito Putra 04/05


Franchise FC Win First Game In CLeague

OK, so it was 30 March but hey, my internet is pretty slow!

Albirex Niigata have been spreading their presence through South East Asia; first in Singapore's SLeague and this season making their debut in Cambodia's CLeague.

It hasn't been the best of starts for the Japanese side. They lost their first six games, only reversing the trend at the end of March.

25/01 - Boueng Ket 1-4
02/02 - Svar Rieng 2-6
08/02 - Tri Asia 2-8
16/02 - Police Commissary 0-5
23/02 - Naga Corp 0-2
01/03 - Phnom Penh Crown 1-4
30/03 - Western University 2-1

No surprise they are bottom of the 12 team CLeague.

Often many payers from Albirex Niigata have made their back to the mother ship in Japan and made careers there?


Hong Kong, Myanmar Sides Too Much For Tampines, Kelantan

Kitchee v Tampines Rovers 4-0

Something is going on in Hong Kong football that seems to be passing insular South East Asia by. A couple of things of late have made me sit up and take notice...first was Pakistan international Zesh Rehman leaving the 'popular' Thai Premier League's Muang Thong United for a two year stint at Kitchee.

The next was Hong Kong side South China breezing past Tampines Rovers earlier in the year at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Then we had the sight of Kitchee thumping Singapore's finest 5-0 also in Singapore.

I went to Hong Kong and took in a couple of games, check out the pictures on Asian Football Pictures, and came away impressed with what I had seen. Not the biggest teams in the territory but good, footballing sides, committed to attack and playing the ball on the ground.

There must be something in the water up there, or perhaps, even a reasonable, professional management structure in place that is allowing coaches to coach and players to play.

So it was no surprise then to see Kitchee knock Tampines aside last night in the AFC Cup. Yet the Stags need just a draw in their final group stage game at home to Nay Pyi Taw to go through to the next round.

Worryingly, Nay Pyi Taw come from Myanmar

Kelantan v Yangon United 2-3

In their defence, you could argue Kelantan are running on empty as they are in the middle of 14 games in 42 days; a gruelling schedule that would have Jose Mourinho with a stack of excuses up his leave for a tame media yet has the Malaysian journos having a pop at coach Steve Darby.

Yangon, coached by Eric Williams, secured their spot in the next round of the AFC Cup with a hard fought 3-2 at a sparsely stadium in Kota Bahru while Kelantan will be faced with one last battle against South China to avoid bottom place.


Persiraja Withdraw From Divisi Utama

With just days to go before the 2014, Persiraja have decided to withdraw from the competition siting a lack of support from the lcoal government.

Apparently, the local authority had closed the players mess and the club offices. Why? I are better asking me if intelligent life lives on Pluto.

Announcing the decision, the club said the actions of the local government were proof they did not support the local football club.

Of course, the sooner we can get rid of politics from football the better. This week is election week here and the last few months in Aceh have seen plenty of political violence with politicians and party supporters targeted.

If only those people could show as much passion in carrying out their public duties as they do in resolving their personal feuds...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Hougang, DPMM On Fire

Hougang United v Tampines Rovers 4-2

I don't think many saw this coming. Saturday night in deepest Hougang, the home town heroes raced into a three goal lead within 12 minutes against SLeague champions Tampines Rovers.

Geison De Carvalho netted twice with the third coming from Diego Gama De Oliviera before half the crowd had finished munching on their free snack designed to attract more fans to the ground as well as rot their teeth.

Aleksander Duric pulled one back for the Stags on the hour mark but Diego restored the three goal advantage just 13 minutes later.

And in a kick in the teeth for those who think Singaporeans don't score enough goals in their own league, Shahdan Sulaiman scored for Tampines with 10 minutes left on the clock but the damage had been done in those opening few minutes and the champions fell to their first defeat of the season.

Home United v Balestier Khalsa 2-1 (Suzukicastanheira Brunojunichi, Li Qiu; Goran Ljubjevic)

Nothing else to add but got to love what Bruno has done to his name!

DPMM v Young Lions 6-1

Young Lions' remit is not to win the SLeague. And they can't get relegate. Their sole purpose in life is to prepare players for the SEA Games and ultimately the national team. Does it work? Well, Singapore won the ASEAN Cup in 2012 if national team success is the yardstick.

Doesn't matter to DPMM who or what the Young Lions are for, they were blown out of the water in Brunei by Steve Kean's side. And it was Young Lions who had the cheek, nay the gall, to take the ead on 23 minutes from Sherif El-Masri.

Red rag, bull and all that. Roy O'Donovan, twice, Rodrigo Antonio Tosi, twice, Roberto Alviz and Azwan Rahman made them pay big time for their affront.

1 - Tampines 6 5 01 14-9 15
2 - DPMM 6 4 1 1 14-4 13
3 - Warriors 6 4 1 1 10-5 13
4 - Hougang 6 3 2 1 13-10 11

Monday, April 07, 2014


T Team Sign Ex Glass Bunny Leandro

Brazilian striker Leandro Dos Santos has joined Malaysian Super League side T Team. He formerly played for Army United, Police United and Bangkok Glass and will be remembered for his first season with Army when he scored a lot of goals.

Mind, you would never know it was Leandro who T Team had signed. The Malaysian papers don't seem to have done any fact checking so they are all spelling his name wrong.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Ajax Heading to Indonesia

Ajax Amsterdam have announced they will be visiting Indonesia in May and Jakarta Casual can exclusively reveal Dennis Bergkamp will not be part of the travelling party so there!

The club announced the tour on their website but no more details were forthcoming.

Rather worryingly, the secretary general of the PSSI had this to say about the tour.

'PSSI have not yet had a report about Ajax's planned tour. We appreciate their plan to come here. But, if it is true they are coming in May, the chance they can play the national team is very slim because they will be preparing for the Asean Cup later this year. Probably they will play either Indonesia U23 of an Indonesia Select,' said Joko Driyono.


Why not get creative. Why not have Ajax play a couple of club sides? Stop this nonsense of Select this or All Star that...bloody awful constructs.


Rebranding Familiar Names

Back in 2011 Persema and Persibo are two of the Indonesia Super League clubs who hitched their cart to the wrong pony when they withdrew from the ISL to join the Premier League, remember, the one that was going to change the game?

Memories seem to be long in football about certain matters here and this coming season will not see Persema or Persibo in either the ISL or Divisi Utama. Instead, they have to work their up from the very bottom.

Well, now both clubs from East Java are starting the long, lonely road back to the top hoping a rebranding can help extinguish some of the bad vibes hanging around them.

Persema, who went retro last year with a crest and kit reverting back to their early days, are now calling themselves Persema 1953 while Persibo are also calling on their history by rebranding themselves Persibo 1949.

Persibo, now matter what they call themselves, may have a tougher task of rehabilitating themselves after a humiliating AFC Cup campaign that saw them losing 8-0 away to Hong Kong side Sunray Cave JC Sun Hei after 65 minutes only for the ref to call the game off because Persibo were only left with six players after a series of injuries.

Their record in that campaign is worth recalling.

Yangon United v Persibo 3-0
Persibo v New Radiant 0-7
Persibo v Sun Hei 3-3
Sun Hei v Persibo 8-0
Persibo v Yangon United 1-7
New Radiant v Persibo 6-1

They finished fourth, no shit, with one point, scoring five goals and conceding 34.

The club patently had no money and it seems like everyone just left them out to dry and sod the reputation of Indonesian football.

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Persida Coach Slams 'Verification' Process

I don't think I have ever written about Persida Sidoarjo before.

This will be their first season in Divisi Utama for bloody ages if indeed at all and their preparations aren't going too well if the stories circulating today are to be believed.

Apparently, coach Freddy Muli has been talking about the state of the club with less than two weeks before the season begins.

The players have yet to sign contracts with the club and have been receiving Rp 50,000 a day training expenses! That is just over three quid in English money.

Freddy too is waiting his cash and his words would be making a splash if they were uttered by a Mourinho or Wenger.

'This is what our football is like,' he is quoted as saying. 'I don't understand how this can be called a professional league and,' in a dig at the people who run the game 'I don't understand how (the club) can pass the verification stage.'

'It is very difficult for the players who have families to take care of but I am sure Persida are not the only club to be in this situation.'

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Friday, April 04, 2014


Warriors Edge Woodlands As Stewart Linked With Newcastle Jets

This used to be quite a fesity affair. Back in the day when Warriors were known as SAFFC and won the SLeague as if by right and Woodlands were always at the bottom, the Woodlands fans took no crap from their illustrious neighbours.

I recall one game at Woodlands Stadium where the PA at the end of the game advised the travelling SAFFC support to stay inside the ground for a bit while security waited for the angry home fans to go home! Ahh, happy days.

Certainly, the SLeague needs a crunch match and not the corporate monstrosity East Coast Derby or the one time Uniform Derby. The sooner the Singapore authorities realise football culture spreads from the bottom up and is not imposed from on high, think free ice cream, dancers, clappers and the bloody awful PA at games, the better.

Anyway, I digress dear reader.

Miroslav Pejic, no relation to Mike or Mel I guess, scored the only goal of the game for the Warriors on 34 minutes from the penalty spot, keeping up his goal a game average.

The win moved Warriors to second in the table while inflicting Woodlands first defeat of the season

2 - Warriors 6 4 1 1 10-5 13
8 - Woodlands 6 1 4 1 7-7 7

Before the game came news that Woodlands coach Darren Stewart was being eyed as a possible candidate for Newcastle Jets in next season's ALeague.

47 year old Stewart, who led Balestier Khalsa to the League Cup last season before being released, was born in Newcastle and had three spells with Newcastle Breakers during a career that also saw him play for APIA, Johor and Balestier Central.

This is not the first time Stewart's name has come up. Late last year there were rumours Newcastle, sorry I cannot call a football team Jets, were considering the former Socceroo as a replacement for Gary van Egmond

Thursday, April 03, 2014


Rampant Stags Claw Back Into AFC Cup Contention

There may have been people out there ready to write off Tampines Rovers chances in the AFC Cup after Kitchee went to Jalan Besar and hit them 5-0 in the first group stage game.

After they travelled to Myanmar and were beaten 3-1 by Nay Pyi Taw they were ready for the last rites out in eastern Singapore for the team that plays in western Singapore.

But credit to the team, they have fought back in impressive style.

A pair from Miljan and one from Closa Gonzales saw Tampines defeat Pune 3-1 and just to show that was no fluke, the Stags went to India and done a better job, defeating them 5-2!

Miljan gave the SLeague champions the lead on five minutes but within 14 minutes they were 2-1 down but an equaliser by Jamil Ali just before half time sent the sides into the break at 2-2.

Second half saw experienced campaigners Alex Duric, with a brace, and Mustafic Fahruddin score to give the Stags an impressive 5-2 away win against bottom placed Pune.

The fixtures don't get any easier with Kitchee in Hong Kong on 8 April likely to be a tough trip if that first game is anything to go by, followed by Nay Pyi Taw at home on 22 April.

Getting anything from unbeaten Kitchee will be a tough ask but with the Myanmar team hosting cellar dweller Pune on the same evening that is what the Stags must aim for if they are to remain alive in the competition.

Defeat in Hong Kong and victory for Nay Pyi Taw will see the Myanmar men go second with a better goal difference leaving everything to play for in the final group game between the two teams.

An exciting campaign but perhaps Tampines will be ruing the first two ties that ended in defeat. But they have turned things would be a shame to see it crumble at the final hurdle.

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Persikad Add Familiar Names

Persikad Depok are back in the big time. Well, the Divisi Utama at least.

And for the new season they have signed two of the most experienced foreign players around.

Chilean central defender Patricio Jiminez has been in Indonesia since before independence from the Dutch* and the list of clubs he has played for looks like a Persi... reunion.

Deep breath...  Semen Padang, Sriwijaya, Persib, PSMS, Persisam, Bontang, PSIS, Persitara and most recently Persip.

The we have Jean Paul Boumsong, recently released by Persik after a few games.

Since he arrived in Indonesia in 2005 he has worn the colours of Persitara, PSIS, Persisam, Persikad, Persipasi, Persikabo, PSSB, Persiram, Persebaya and of course Persik.

The Cameroon born striker is now looking forward to his second spell in Depok.

*This is of course bullshit!


Persija Away Days

Once the election has been done and dusted we can get back to the more important matter of the Indonesia Super League and indeed the start of Divisi Utama.

Persija fans across Java are already planning for their first game after the break...away to Persijap and as can be seen from the promos above, plans are already well advanced for a healthy following at the game.

Check out this video for a taste of a Persija away game

Persija have started the season well with three wins and two draws from the opening five games putting them 3rd in the western division of the ISL on 11 points, four points behind leaders Arema

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Indonesia's European Record

Indonesia's recent tour of Spain was only their sixth visit to Europe since independence

09/09/1956 Yugoslavia v Indonesia 4-2 (Belgrade)
12/09/1956 Croatia v Indonesia 5-2 (Zagreb)
20/09/1956 East Germany v Indonesia 3-1 (Karl Marx Stadt)

That first tour is interesting as it shows perhaps the leftist leanings of the government of the time even though it comes just months after the country had hosted the Non Aligned Movement conference in Bandung.

And that game with the time there was very much a Yugoslavia so I wonder how the Croatia team was a representative 11?

03/09/1974 Denmark v Indonesia 9-0 (Copenhagen)

A one off friendly coming 18 years after the last European visit to a country at the heart of a new Europe and its European Economic Community.

30/10/1996 Moldova v Indonesia 2-1 (Genoa)
03/11/1996 Lithuania v Indonesia 4-0 (Vilnius)
16/11/1996 Estonia v Indonesia 3-0 (Celle Ligure)
24/11/1996 Iraq v Indonesia 4-0 (Italy)

A fairly lengthy tour when Indonesia was booming as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. And to celebrate they played friendlies against a group of 'new' countries emerging from behind the Iron Curtain. Oh, and Iraq!

Little could anyone realise what would happen to Iraq between 1996 and 2007 when they visited Indonesia as part of the AFC Asian Cup and won the trophy in front of an appreciative crowd at the Bung Karno Stadium.

04/07/1999 Lithuania v Indonesia 2-2 (Estonia)
06/07/1999 Estonia v Indonesia 0-0 (Estonia)
10/07/1999 Levadia Tallin v Indonesia 2-0 (Estonia)
12/07/1999 Viljandi Tulevik v Indonesia 3-0 (Estonia)

Back to Estonia, this time playing a couple of local club sides and still not managing a victory in European soil. Interesting time again with the country going through the throes of a financial crisis.

28/09/2000 Vitesse Arnhem v Indonesia 4-2 (Netherlands)
05/10/2000 Dordrecht 90 v Indonesia 4-1 (Netherlands)
07/10/2000 NAC Breda v Indonesia 7-1 (Netherlands)

Whoops...a bit of a bashing in the Netherlands!

26/03/2014 Andorra v Indonesia 0-1 (Valencia)
29/03/2014 Cuba v Indonesia 1-0 (Valencia)
02/04/2014 Villarreal B v Indonesia 0-1 (Valencia)

Finally. Almost 60 years after their first foray into Europe, Indonesia gains not just one win but two!

SOURCE - results and dates come from Top Skor


Remarkable Day For Indonesian Football

God knows, Indonesian football gets a bad rap from many people. Yesterday I asked on Twitter how many foreigners followed local guy responded not many locals followed local teams!

A few more days like yesterday and who knows, maybe the sentiment may turn positive!

We'll start with Persipura. They travelled to the Maldives to take on New Radiant, now coached by former Mitra Kukar and Pelita Bandung Raya gaffer Simon McMenemy.

The Black Pearls came away with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from skipper and team icon Boas Solossa.

The win keeps Persipura top of their group with a lead of four points over second placed Churchill Brothers who Jacksen F Tiago's men play next week. A draw there and Persipura will be assured of top spot in the group stage.

It was the second time within 24 hours an Indonesian team had defeated a club side from the Maldives following Arema's narrow 3-2 win over Maziya S&C in the same competition.

Indeed, if you add in Indonesia U23's 5-0 thrashing of their counterparts from Sri Lanka, you could say that Indonesia rules the roost when it comes to Indian Ocean island nations!

Talking about the U23s, last night they travelled to Singapore to play the SingaporeU23 at Hougang Stadium, Jalan Besar was being used by Home United for their AFC Cup ties with Churchill Brothers, they won 2-1.

Shafiq Ghani gave the home team the lead on 36 minutes but Indonesia, preparing for the Asian Games later this year, fought back second half and goals from Ramdani Lestaluhu (56) and Dedi Kusanandar gave them a surprise win.

And there is more. The national team, on their tour of Spain, defeated Villarreal B 1-0 with a goal by Zulham Zamrun.

There can't be many times in recent years when so many Indonesians have done their nation proud within such a short period of time, and playing away from home...and remember, this does not include the trailblazing Under 19s who started the winning feeling last year in the AFF and AFC qualifying competitions.

Whether or not we ware witnessing a sea change in the fortunes of football here can be left for those with the benefit of hindsight. Surely, for now, it is enough to savour a rare series of wins...

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Johor Darul Takzim Fined In Tunnel Spat

Petaling Jaya: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) has once again got off with just a slap on the wrist when the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) handed them a RM30,000 fine for failing to provide adequate security at the Larkin Stadium during their FA Cup second-round match against T-Team on Feb 1.
JDT’s failure sparked the infamous “tunnel fiasco” where T-Team striker Evaldo Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado and fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo alleged they were assaulted by a top Johor FA official and his bodyguard.
The Terengganu club refused to come out after half-time (with JDT leading 2-1), citing “security reasons”, resulting in the FAM’s competitions committee later penalising T-Team for breaching competition rules and awarding the match to JDT with a 3-0 win.
On Tuesday, FAM disciplinary committee chairman Datuk Taufek Abdul Razak said Johor FA secretary Fahmy Yahya, who represented JDT at the disciplinary committee meeting, admitted there was a security lapse.
Taufek said JDT can appeal to reduce the fine. He stressed that the lack of security was in the tunnel and the match should have been continued as there were no problems on the pitch.
After discussion, we concluded that if the tense situation in the tunnel had been controlled, the incident could have been avoided,” said Taufek at the Wisma FAM on Tuesday. (And if my Uncle Edward had no balls, he would be my Aunt Edwina)
As police reports had been lodged on the Feb 1 incident, FAM say they have to wait for the Attorney-General (AG) to take action.
“We have been told by the Inspector General of Police that the police’s investigation is complete and a report has been sent to the AG.
“We will take action against the individual involved if the AG doesn’t pursue the matter. The case is not considered closed yet and the disciplinary committee has two years to act on the offence.”
Commenting on another disciplinary matter, Taufek said that no action would be taken against JDT midfielder Pablo Aimar and striker Luciano Figueroa in an alleged racial abuse case on Pahang’s Damion Stewart during their Super League match at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Feb 7. The case was dropped as there is insufficient evidence.
The committee also fined the Sarawak FA RM5,000 because their fans fired flares in a Super League match against Armed Forces at the Selayang Stadium on Jan 18.


Arema Leave It Late In AFC Cup

Arema left it late, oh so late, but the ever reliable Cristian Gonzales popped up deep into injury time to secure a nervy victory and gave Arema the advantage ahead of their next AFC Cup tie against Selangor on 16 April.

Arema had scored twice in three first half minutes to give them what surely would be an unassailable lead over Maziya S&C. First Gonzales, then Gustavo Lopes.

With the Maldives side without a win in their opening three games and playing in front of a partisan 25,000 plus crowd they surely couldn't come back.

But come back they bloody well did with Amdhan on 62 minutes and Abdullah four minutes later setting up a nervy 20 minutes or so.

How nervy? I was checking my twitter feed and it seemed no Arema source was mentioning the score! It was almost as if a collective force had decided to just take a deep breath and do the bare minimum until the job was done.

In the other game, Selangor overcame leaders Hanoi T&T 3-1 at Shah Alam Stadium, inflicting the Vietnamese side's first defeat in the group stage.

And as has happened so many times this season it was Paolo Rangel who did the scoring, netting a 15 minute first half hat trick.

Next weeks sees Hanoi travel to the Maldives while Arema host Selangor a week later.

1 - Hanoi T&T 4 3 0 1 10-5 9
2 - Arema 4 2 1 1 8-7 7
3 - Selangor 4 1 2 1 5-4 5
4 - Maiziya 4 0 1 3 5-12 1

Monday, March 31, 2014


Fab For Persita

With Arcan Iurie leaving Persita and moving to Madura to replace Daniel Roekito, former national team coach Fabio Oliviera has moved into the Persita hot seat with effect from April 1st.

He speaks excellent Indonesian does Fab. In fact the first, ok the only time I met him it was only after he left I found out he was in fact Brazilian!

Persita are a nomad team for this campaign, playing their home games at Singaperbangsa Stadium in Karawang...a bit closer to Tangerang than the season before when home was in Kuningan!

Fab will have to hit the ground running. Despite boasting an experienced side, Persita have just two wins to their name this season...Semen Padang away and at home to Gresik United.

Persita's first game under their new gaffer with be 16/4 at home to Barito Putra

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SLeague Needs More Singaporean Goalscorers?

Young Lions v Tanjong Pagar United 2-3 (Amy Saimon, Muhaymin Salim; Zerka Monsef 3)
Woodlands Wellington v Albirex Niigata 1-1 (Chang Jo Yoon' Taiyo Nishida)
Home United v Hougang United 2-2 (Bruno Junichi, Fazrul Nawaz; Geison De Carvalho Moura, Diego Gama De Oliviera)
Tampines Rovers v Harimau Muda 3-2 (Noh Alam Shah, Miljan Mrdekovic, Roberto Martinez; Akhir Bahari, Nurshamil Ghani)
Balestier Khalsa v Warriors 2-2 (Goran Ljubojevic, Paul Cunningham; Miroslavi Pejic, Nicholas Velez)
Geylang International v DPMM 1-1 (Ichikawa Yuki; Rodrigo Tosi)

The last round of SLeagie games played over the last few days. 6 games, 22 goals. Now, remove DPMM, Albirex, Young Lions (they have to choose local players, it is their raison d'etre) and Harimau Muda from that list and you are left with 16 goals scored by the 8 teams.

Only Noh Alam Shah and Fazrul Nawaz are Singaporean!

Fazrul, Yasir Hanapi (Home United 2 goals) and Taufiq Ghani (Woodlands) are the only local players, outside of Young Lions, to have netted more than two goals this campaign.

6 - Miljan Mrdakovoc (Tampines Rovers)
5 - Miroslav Pejic (Warriors)
4 - Goran Ljubojevic (Balestier Khalsa), Rodrigo Antonio Tosi (DPMM), Geison Moura (Hougang United)

The likes of Shafiq Ghani and Khairul Amri (LionsX11) and Shahril Ishak (Jhor Darul Takzim II) are playing in the Malaysia Super League.

Where does this leave the SLeague? Is it, as some claim, just a aged pit pony waiting to be put out of its misery? Or is it an opportunity for other players to stake their claim, an opportunity to raise their own individual bar?

When it comes to Singapore, I tend to be a pot half full kinda guy. I have to be or I would go crazy! Rather than complain about the terminal decline, I would rather point to the recent progress of a team like Tanjong Pagar who joined as many were waiting for the last rites. I point to the ASEAN Cup and of course LionsXII winning the MSL.

The problem lies in Lions winning the MSL last season. It puts immense pressure on the coach, Fandi Ahmad, and the players. The FA didn't help matters by having some of the biggest names join the Lions.. Which begs the question...are LionsXII designed to be a surrogate national team and if so, where does that leave the teams in the SLeague?

There are a lot of 'dead' games in the SLeague. Within the league, it doesn't really matter whether or not DPMM, Albirex, Harimau Muda or Young Lions win the league or the cup or even the toss. They can't move into any Asian club competition be it Champions League or AFC Cup.

In effect you are left with a league where 25% of the teams are essentially playing risk free (I know and understand there are professional people behind the clubs and they have the professional mentality that every game must be won) but no one in Niigata, Bandar seri Begawan or Johor will be partying in the streets if they win the SLeague.

The Singapore FA have obviously decided the LionsXII is their priority. Perhaps that needs to change. Yes, the bums on seats at Jalan Besar suggests the fans wanna see the Lions. But perhaps they need to look at what the Malaysians are doing.

They send Harimau Muda to compete in the SLeague. Not their peudo national team but a development team And it is not even their first choice development team/ The first choice are in Queensland! The lot in Singapore are Harimau Muda B while Harimau Muda C are in Malaysia.

But Malaysia's best players are in their top flight division. Malaysia is striving, in its own sweet way to build a strong, local league featuring the top players.

Maybe that is the path Singapore needs to take. They won the MSL already...why not have the Young Lions in the MSL, as LionsXII or whatever, but try and keep the best players at home as much as possible...obviously some players may well be wanted by clubs overseas but then that is called the market.  If they are good enough, they will have their price.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Messi Guides Persiram's Flying Start

Persiram are one of those teams that perennially operate beneath the radar. No one expects them to do anything except perhaps get relegated.

But at the first break of the ISL season, they are one of only four teams to remain unbeaten (Persija, Persipura and Arema are the others).

Coached by Jaya Hartono, their opening games have seen them win three and draw three, a run that sees them second in the eastern division.

Despite being based in the diving heaven of Raja Ampat, Persiram are playing their homes games at Maguwarharjo Stadium in Sleman, one of the nicest grounds in the country.

Their first home game of the season can't have enthused many in the attendance of 243...drawing 0-0 with Persiba Balikpapan,

Next came the short trip to Bantul, just the other side of Yogyakarta and Messi scored the only goal of the game to earn Persiram the three points in front of a crowd of 7,000.

Persebaya went into the season among the favourites after investing huge amounts of cash on players like Nwokolo and Kenmogne and recruiting Rahmad Darmawan. But humble Persiram soon shut up the Persebaya hardcore support, and I do mean hardcore because only 1,543 turned up at the cavernous Bung Tomo Stadium.

The wonderfully named Errol Ethicus Simunapendi gave the visitors the lead before Nwokolo equalised just short of the hour mark.

They played PSM in Surabaya, two rootless teams going head to head in a stadium distant from their homes. They drew 1-1, Messi with a last minute penalty cancelling out Ponaryo Astaman's spot kick but the crowd was 200!

If the draw against Persebaya didnt make people sit up and take notice then what came next surely did. Ambitious Mitra Kukar defeated 2-0, Messi's third goal of the season while Osas Marvellous netted his first.It was their second home game of the season and the fans must have been impressed by Persiram's start to the campaign...a whopping 247 saw the defeat of the leaders.

The fans' joy must have been short lived. Only 79 bothered watching the next game against Putra Samarinda. The stayaways missed a Messi penalty, seven Persiram players yellow carded and one, Elvis Herawan, sent off.

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ISL Standings

Western Conference

1 - Arema 5 5 0 0 14-1 15
2 - Persib 6 4 1 1 10-4 13
3 - Persija 5 3 2 0 9-7 11
4 - Pelita BR 7 3 2 2 9-7

Eastern Conference

1 - Mitra Kukar 7 4 1 2 11-6 13
2 - Persiram 6 3 3 0 6-2 12
3 - Persebaya 7 4 2 1 12-7 11 (3 points deducted by FIFA!)
4 - Persela 6 3 1 2 10-9 10

6 - Emmanuel Kenmogne (Persebaya), Ilija Spasojevic (Pusam)

The top four from each group will go into the play offs later in the season.

The season is on hold for the time being with political parties campaigning ahead of the general election early next start again 12/04


Knackered Before They Start

The current Indonesia U19 team have become celebrities in their own right. Winners of the ASEAN U19s, in Jakarta and the AFC Under 19 qualifiers, in Jakarta the PSSI have sensed they maybe on to something and sent the kids zigzagging round East and Central Java as well as East Kalimantan on an exhausting itinerary that saw some pretty lengthy bus trips and no doubt lashings of bakso.

To continue the punishing schedule, they are now being sent to the Middle East for yet more games...and for the Muslim lads in the team a minor haj.

After five days in Saudi Arabia, they fly to Oman for a friendly against their U19s on 9 April. They then get back on the plane for the short hop to Dubai where, and I am only guessing here, they won't be staying in that seven star hotel thing, they face United Arab Emirates U19s in a couple of friendlies (14 & 16 April) before winding down the trip with a final game against club side Al Shabab's U19s on 19 April.

There is also talk of a trip to Europe!

The AFC U19 Championships take place in Myanmar from 9-23 October. It will be easy to spot the Indonesia players...they will be the ones in wheelchairs, on stretchers and on IV.


Whatever Happened To ... Obadin Aikhena

I guess Singapore has done away with its naturalisation project. You know, the one that saw the likes of Mustafic Fahrudin, Alex Duric and Agu Casmir earn Singapore passports and go on to represent their new country.

I always thought Obadin Aikhena was being groomed to join that list. He was part of an excellent Gombak United, remember them, built by Darren Stewart and featuring the likes of Casmir, Gabriel Obatola, Goran Subaru, Fazrul Nawaz and that Kingsley geezer.

Obadin was a consistent performer at the back, part of a rearguard that had the reputation of one of the meanest in the SLeague.

But then it seemed the naturalisation project seems to have been quietly dropped amid a backdrop of Singaporeans whining about the number of foreigners in their country.

Kingsley and Obatola had their work permit applications rejected a few seasons back, leaving Gombak right up the crapper a few games into the season, while before this season Mamadou Diallo had his turned down as well.

 I have no idea whether or not Obadin had dreams of playing Singapore or not but I guess the moment has now passed. He is now playing in the Myanmar National League with Nay Pyi Taw.

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