Thursday, February 15, 2007


Pelita Jaya v Tangerang City

The ugly side of Indonesian football was on show yesterday afternoon in Puwarkarta where Pelita Jaya hosted Tangerang City. A numb game was enlivened by a controversial penalty given to the home side halfway through the second half and the reaction of the City players.

Indonesian players come on to the pitch before kick off preceded by a large FIFA Fair Play banner but it’s obvious the players have no understanding of just what fair play means. Refs make decisions, of course they do, they’re human after all. But the manhandling and the pack chase of the ref after he gave the spot kick was disgraceful. The Tangerang players were pulling their own players out the way to intimidate the ref and there were plenty of hands laid on him in a none too gentle manner. I believe, though I cannot confirm this ‘cos I was only watching it on TV, that a visiting player spat at the ref!

This physical intimidation has no place in football anywhere and both the club and players should be sanctioned. After all it damages the game and the country. Amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly, no one was booked; Pelita took the penalty and took the lead. Tangerang City later equalized through an own goal but the actions of their players left a sour taste in the mouth. Paul Jewell is getting in trouble because he gobbed off at the ref after seeing his side lose at Arsenal on Sunday but I didn’t see him or his players pushing or pulling the official this way and that.

In Tangerang City’s first game, the local derby against Tangerang I reported on the lack of passion displayed by the players when playing in front of an empty stadium. This time they went to the other extreme. Next season sees the Super League kick off and I imagine City fancy their chances of getting into it. If they do, I hope they remember their responsibilities. To their club, their fans and the game. With funds from local governments drying up what potential corporate sponsor wants to be associated with mob mentality on and off the pitch?

This afternoon sees Sidoarjo play host to Yogyakarta in the Eastern Division which seems as attractive as a dentist visit while suffering a monumental hangover. But as ever keep up with any action here…

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