Thursday, July 19, 2007


Some random thoughts

Many people round me last night were incensed by the referee’s performance. Normally I am loathe to criticize an official because they do have one hell of a job. But while we expect them to miss challenges and offsides surely time wasting is as blatant as they come? The Koreans were using this tactic throughout the second half yet the ref only once brandished a card. Once or twice he mumbled at players to get a move on but usually he let them go. Subbed players walked off the long way round. The keeper took ages to clear the ball. I never knew the Koreans were so adept at rolling around on the grass clutching their ankles. They would of course get more adept the longer the ref went without admonishing them. Reacting to timewasting of course is the reaction of the vanquished. A leading team almost has a duty to wind down the clock but I do wish the powers that be would do something about this part of football. Be it Arsenal or the White Hart Old Bastards it has no place in a game seen by millions. Officials need to clamp down on it.

The other aspect of the officials I’ve noticed this tournament was foul throws. There’s been loads of them. The normal cliché of the pundit is to decry it as Sunday League stuff but that is to dishonour those fine drunks who crank up round the country religiously with blazing hangovers and runny noises. At this level the linesman is some odd shaped guy who can’t get a game regularly so is given a flag so he feels part of the team. He may not be FIFA accredited but he does often know a foul throw. It maybe all he knows and delights in raising his flag in certainty for once. Some of the throw ins I’ve seen at Bung Karno have seen players almost bent double, ball landing almost inches in front. The Sunday League lino would pick up on these through the mist, why the hell can’t the pros? One classic last night had the lino waving this way and that like he was guiding a taxiing jumbo jet till he knew which way the ref wanted it.

Overall the football has been pretty good though I imagine the AFC will be disappointed with the crowds. For example the Rajamangala had some 46,000 for Thailand v Australia in a game which both teams had a chance of going through but that’s only about 75% capacity. I’m sure Arsenal had more there way back then. As for Malaysia! Rumours the Jakarta International Football League have asked them to join the league next season remain just rumours but one drunk in BuGils last night did express the hope they would join. ‘We might win a game’ he opined before staggering off to the toilet.

Indonesians have been pleasantly surprised by the football they have seen, especially by their own team. Despite my own odd rant, hey I’m an odd person, things have gone pretty smoothly match day but then it’s not me going to Senayen every other day to collect tickets. I can understand the AFC were wary of ticket touts and on line applications. Indonesian games have of course been well attended but still there are many people I talk to who are unaware of what the Asian Cup is. One chap this morning had no idea the final was held in Jakarta! More I feel could have been done to promote it here by road shows in shopping malls, that type of thing. Go where the money is! It would also be the sponsors target demographic. Having a tent at the stadium where most fans are in the lower income brackets isn’t getting value for money for a high end camera producer. Talking sponsors. A Japanese beer company is involved but I haven’t seen any of their fine product yet in the stadium. Gentleman, I am most desirous of sampling your fine product but where the bloody hell do I find it?

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