Friday, November 30, 2007


Should Borussia Dortmund come to Jakarta?

Just who will play for Indonesia?

The Loga season reaches a climax on 30th December and on the 16th there is a full round of fixtures penciled in. On the 18th, the day before Dortmund play in Jakarta there is a potentially vital game between Persita and Persib. A game that will have an impact on the Top 4 ambitions of both clubs.

I’m not really a big fan of club sides traveling the world playing friendlies against national sides in so called prestige friendlies. Far better they play local club sides like Persija or Persib. As Manchester United found out to their cost when a lucrative friendly was cancelled against Malaysia because it clashed with the Asian Cup, primacy should be given to the domestic game. Let’s face it. If Brazil offered to play Germany in May right in the middle of the climax to the Bundesliga season would the Germans be agreeable?

Indonesia has been starved of European sides for so long it’s great that at last someone out there remembers the country and it’s footballing heritage . But the timing sucks big time. Now I appreciate BVB will be in their winter pause but that’s not the point. This is decision time locally and should Indonesian football roll over and beg just because the Germans decide they want to come here at a time that best suits them?

This game smacks of self interest and it ain’t for the Indonesians. The national team players are needed by their clubs as they battle for the top 4 play offs and of course the Liga Super next year while the Under 23’s will be just knackered having just returned from the SEA Games.

Having big European clubs visit places like Indonesia brings little enough benefit to the local game, beyond a bumper day at the turnstiles. Better they come at a less hectic time of the season when people can be more focused and more prepared.


Yesterday's Liga Indonesia

Persikota v Persiraja 2-0 1,000 (Mustofa Ali, Essa Mvonda)
Persikabo v PSDS 4-0 6,000 (Batoum, Mardiansyah, Rodrigo Santoni 2)
PSSB v Persija 1-3 8,000 ( Collante: Ismed Sofyan, Aliyudin, Ilham)
Perseman v PSIM 4-2 9,000 ( Mendoze, Joseph, Dodi, Reginaldo: Sandoval, Wawan)
PSM v Sidoarjo 2-1 25,000 (Baretto, Badarou: Pronetto)

Western Division

1. Srwijaya 27 15 6 6 42-22 51
2. Persija 29 15 6 8 42-32 51
3. Persik 28 15 4 9 51-40 49
4. PSMS 27 14 5 8 35-19 47
5. Persib 29 13 8 8 37-25 47
6. Persela 30 13 8 9 32-28 47

Eastern Division

1. Persipura 30 16 7 7 46-22 55
2. Persiwa 30 16 4 10 46-28 52
3. Persiter 30 16 6 9 30-24 51
4. Persimin 30 14 8 8 39-28 50
5. Sidoarjo 30 14 7 9 39-28 49
6. Arema 28 13 9 6 37-24 48

Persija came from behind to earn a vital three points up in deepest Bireuen which puts them joint top in the Western Division. In Cibinong Rodrigo Santoni made it four goals in the last two games as Persikabo thumped PSDS. In the match of the day Sidoarjo failed to move into third spot after losing in Makassar in front of a bumber crowd.

This weekend:

Persib v Persitara
PSS v Sriwijaya
Persikota v PSDS
Persikabo v Persiraja
PSMS v Persija
PSSB V Semen Padang

Perseman v Sidoarjo


Borussia Dortmund come to Jakarta

Thanks to Adrian for this.

On 19th December Borussia Dortmund, one of Germany's traditionally big clubs, will play Indonesia in Jakarta.

The match is part of the DFB's foreign initiative which I guess means that it will be organised by the Germans and the local FA said ok.

Full details can be found here.

Bad news is I'm off to Lombok that day and will miss the game...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Persikota v Persiraja 2-0

Persikota dominated against struggling Persiraja but only had the two goals to show for an afternoon when they had plenty of chances but little cutting edge. Mostapa and Essa, the second in injury time, earned the three points but the Tangerang club, playing in front of a thin crowd of dozens, remain rooted in 15th spot. Their opponents from Banda Aceh stay 17th.


Fandi Ahmad - An ASEAN legend

45 year old Fandi is one of the few players from ASEAN who has spread his wings beyond these tropical shores.

He started playing in the Malaysia Cup back in 1978 when he was a mere 16 years old. In 1982 he moved to Indonesia where he played for NIAC Mitra. As an aside he was with the Indonesian side when Arsenal toured here...must ask him if he played in that game. (If I ever get to meet him!)

In 1983 he headed to Europe for a two year spell with Groningen in the Dutch League. In 1985 he was back in Malaysia with Kuala Lumpur and he settled in the capital city for four years. In 1990 he was back in Europe for a season with Greek side OFI Crete.

1991, still only 28, he was back in Malaysia with Pahang FC before returning 'home' to Singapore in 1993 who at the that time were playing in the Malasyian League.

In the SLeague debut season he played for Geylang United before ending his days with Singapore Armed Forces.

Before moving back to Indonesia and coaching Pelita Jaya he spent a couple of seasons coaching Young Lions in the SLeague.

He's had an eventful first season in Purwakarta and is on target for getting the team into the Liga Super next season. At the same time the club are in the Quarter Finals of the Copa Indonesia and victory there could see Fandi pitting his wits next season in the Champions League.

Before that he's taking Pelita Jaya to Pahang next week for a friendly.


PSMS v Semen Padang

PSMS won this all Sumatran clash with two goals in the last 10 minutes at Teladan Stadium, Medan.

Goals from Murphy Kumonpole and Andika Yudhistra were enough at the death to beat hapless Padang who pay the lowest salaries in the league and lie third from the bottom of the table.

PSMS lead a pack of three clubs on 47 points, Persib and Persela.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Persita, Persipura and the Asian Champions League

This could be interesting. With Persipura challenging for both the Liga and the Copa along with Persita should both teams share Indonesia's major footballing honours both the AFC and the Indonesian FA would have a decision to make.

Persipura play on the island of Papua. So remote it takes some six hours flying time from Jakarta and goes right round the islands. You can be sure teams like Urawa and Shanghai won't be relishing that journey. Neither would teams closer to home like Chonburi or Bangkok University.

Would Persipura be forced to play their home games elsewhere I wonder should they qualify?

Persita would pose quite different problems. They play at the Benteng Stadium, in the flight path of the nearby international airport. Incoming players could clear immigration, collect their baggage and fight their way through the back streets of Tangerang and be at the stadium within a couple of hours of landing. Thing is, the stadium, which they share with Persikota, is shit and is probably not up to AFC standards. Hell, it ain't even up to Liga Super standards.

Decisions, decisions. Knowing the FA they'll probably take the path of least possible resistance and do nothing. It worked in 2006 when no Indonesian teams, then Arema and Persipura, played in the Champions League 'cos no one sent off their registration forms.



Persija to play at Bung Karno Stadium?

With their tiny Lebuk Bulus holding 12,500 slated for renovation next season Persija are looking at holding their home games at the cavernous Bung Karno Stadium in Senayen. Quite what the coiffured Ibu's may think about 60,000 orange clad waifs ruining their precious shopping expeditions can only be guessed at.

Still, it is a nonsense that Indonesia's capital city club and one of the most glamourous names plays in front of such poxy crowds. I hope they do renovate LB as it is one of the few real football stadiums in the country and doesn't have a running track round it.

The extra capacity from either BK or LB will be needed as clubs face up to raiding more money for themselves and not relying on handouts.


The English Prostitute League

Michel Platini, the guy in charge of UEFA has been in the news a lot recently. When he’s not trying to introduce quotas on foreign players he’s bemoaning the tie up between big money and the game. EPL? Les English Prostitute League n’est ce pas? The English, prickly to perceived insults from mere foreigners, have gotten the hump and some suit called Scudamore turned round and said : "They don't rise much above the view of people in the corner of the pub,"

I feel nauseous whenever I see or hear the people who are charged with running our game. For Scudamore, sorry, I can’t be arsed to find out his background, to be so condescending about a guy who was one of the best players of his generation just shows the moronic state of mind of the football establishment on our shores. Whenever they come under attack these puerile people retreat into their little Englander shells and face down all comers rather like Private Fraser and the like in Dad’s Army. Who do you think you’re kidding Mr Platini?

Barwick, some TV type who gave us Stevie Mac as the last England manager is also the man to find his replacement which is a hoot. On TV last week, lined up with the other Jurassic types, Barwick and Thommo told cameras, straight faced, they felt the pain of England fans up and down the country. A pain they no doubt assuaged with a few days abroad taking in the 2010 World Cup Qualifying draw with all expenses picked up by the poor saps who fill Wembley. Not my pain fella. I dropped you lot years back and you won’t get another baht out of me. Who takes responsibility up there in cloud cuckoo land where they still think the trains run on time and getting to games is a doddle midweek. When you answer to a bunch of coffin dodgers interested in protecting their own FA Cup Final tickets just who is there who will say: Um, sorry, it was my fault actually. I take full responsibility. Didn’t mean to but hey, I went to the right school and we all play golf together so…

Did you see the fixtures played last night in England? Burnley traveled to Watford. Hartlepool headed down the A1, M82, M6, M5 and M4 to Swansea. Sounds easy like that doesn’t it? Mid winter, mid week just what the hell are these people playing at scheduling games like this? But they don’t go to the games; they don’t talk to the fans in the corner of the pub do they?

Back to Skidamore’s comments. It just shows the contempt he and his coterie of creeps have for the average fan in the street, or the bar. They feel immune from the brickbats and arrows that maybe launched their way because they hide behind the numbers and the numbers tell them attendances are healthy, sponsors are queuing up and all is ship shape spic and span on the good ship Premier League.

I would suggest to Scudamore, Barwick and the rest of the suits that they come down from their rocking horse and spend some time in the pubs on match day. They needn’t worry; they’re so anonymous no one will recognize them. Spend some time listening to what fans say about the state of the game. Don’t ponce about like prima donnas in the sponsors lounge or with the executive box holders but get out on the streets and find out what people there think. On match day in and around the stadiums. Venues like Spotland, Victoria Ground, Layer Road, hear the pre match gossip about you. And about their game you are taking away from them and selling to the highest bidder.

Then go back to Economics 101 and remember what follows a boom.



Persela v Persita 1-1

Two sides looking to squeeze into the top 4 fought out a 1-1 draw in a card sodden affair in Lamongang, East Java. Ernest Siankam gave Persita the lead on 15 minutes but Souza equalised early in the second half.

Eight yellows and two red cards dished out which has upset Persita coach Benny Dollo. Before the game he asked for the ref to be strong and was rewarded with seeing six of his players get booked as well as Firman Utina getting a red.

Persela are level on points with 4th placed Persib while Persita are two pints further behind in 6th spot.

Tonight sees PSMS play Semen Padang.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Persib v Sriwijaya 0-1

Persib's recent poor run continued as they fell at home to fellow title challngers Sriwijaya at an empty Siliwangi Stadium this afternoon. Poor defending at a corner allowed someone a free header that bounced over the despairing leap of the diminutive defender on the goal line.

The side from Palembang go top of the league while Persib look back on two wins in their last eleven.

The game was not accompanied the usual histrionics that plague games here. I guess with no fans there was no audience to play up to. Pity we don't see it more often.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Who'd be a manager?

Billy Davies of Derby has just been given the old heave ho. OK, his team have just won once this season and haven't scored away but I wonder just what the Derby board imagine a new manager will achieve with the same squad? Whoever takes the job, there may well be a bounce where performances pick up then normal service will be resumed. Wonder what Davies compensation pay off was? Derby old boy Steve McLaren is looking for a job?!

I've never really liked Rafa at Liverpool. If you add some of the things he has said together it just looks like he's covering his arse for when things go wrong. He begged for more money after last season's defeat in the Champions League final to Milan. He got it and spent it. Then with Torres and Babbel warming the bench he said that if Liverpool don't win the league this season it's because the refs haven't protected his players. Now he's having a pop at the owners saying they don't understand the transfer window and he needs more money. Why he didn't sign more during the close season he doesn't say. Perhaps Rafa thinks he's gone as far as he can at Liverpool and he's angling for a compo pay off rumoured to be 6 million quid if he gets the push?

Then we have Steve Bruce. His new chairman, Dave Whelan, has come out and said Bruce is one of the best managers in the country which is worrying. Perhaps he really means it? Odd when you consider the nose busted Bruce's less than stellar career at places like Palace, Huddersfield and Sheffield United. Or perhaps he really is a great manager. If he is then we really need to worry about our game.

Over at Spurs One Day Ramos has been a big disappointment. Nary a squeak has been heard from him since he got his feet under the Totts manager's desk which is a great shame. There's nothing we like better than to laugh at some foreigner's cack handed efforts to speak our lingo. We're such cunningliguists in England ain't we?

Then there's Gary 'who are ya' Megson who has come to a place where nobody wanted him and not only drawn at Bayern Munchen but then went on to beat Manchester United with the added bonus of seeing Fergie get red carded. Great fun!

Gareth Southgate also suffers from a hooter spread over his face. He is also a young English manager giving young English players a chance and wouldn't Middlesbrough fans love all that to change with their team lying 17th and empty seats at the Riverside almost outnumbering filled ones. Mind you he deserves abuse for selling Viduka and trying to replace him with Arsenal ball boy Jeremie Aliadiere.

We have walrus Sam at Newcastle where his team slide from disaster to disaster. He has apparently ruled himself out of the running for the England job, so have I but it never made the headlines, which was big of him. Only in England could such a manager, go on list the trophies he has won, have been even considered.

Down in them lower leagues Ian Holloway recently moved to Leicester City. Holloway has been rated highly at clubs like Plymouth and QPR where he had sod all money and you wonder whether any Premier League club would take a punt on him? Doubt it. The guy is full of himself, is a laugh and has things to say. Not someone a club chairman wants giving too many press conferences at the highest level. Shame really, all these monotoned managers intoning the FLMA mantra game in, game out, ( I didn't see it, the ref was crap, the pitch was muddy, the players were tired, they haven't played much recently) are just so much fun aren't they? Come back Jose...

Finally Esther there's the story of the club who has gone and given a young manager a chance and nobody noticed. Following on from David Moyes, Billy Davies and Paul Simpson Preston have appointed Moyes' Number 2 Alan Irvine who I once saw score for Palarse in an FA Cup tie. Given the recent bad press Number twos have received, McLaren, Hutchings, Lee, it will be interesting, perhaps painful, to see how he does. One thing is certain. You won't be reading much about it in the media.


The Big Match

Yesterday under the boiling sun in Ciputat the Arsenal Soccer School coaches met their W#aterloo in a rag bag bunch of drunks, beer bellies and people who could run a bit.

Despite going a goal down early on the coaches technique soon told and in the second half they were 4-1. But the Supporters' Club are a gritty bunch and clawed their way back into the game. It ended 4-4 though the ref, perhaps he had been officiating another game(?) said the SC had won 5-4!

Whatever, it was a nice day for a beer!

You can find exclusive pictures of the game, sana photoshop, here ...


SAF claim domestic double

Coming from behind, Alex Duric inspired SAF to a dramatic 4-3 win over 10 man Tampines Rovers in the Singapore Cup Final yesterday at Jalan Besar.


Persipura win Eastern battle

PSIS v Pelita Jaya 2-1 10,000 (10 yellow cards!)
Arema v Persipura 0-1 25,000
Persmin v Persibom 2-1 10,000
Persiter v Persma 1-0 3,000

Copa Indonesia
PSM v Persija 1-0 (Persija go through 2-1 on aggregate)

Western Division

1. Persik 28 15 4 9 51-40 49
2. Sriwijaya 26 14 6 6 41-22 48
3. Persija 28 14 6 8 39-31 48
4. Persib 28 13 8 7 37-24 47

Eastern Division

1. Persipura 30 16 7 7 46-22 55
2. Persiwa 30 16 4 10 46-28 52
3. Persiter 30 16 6 9 30-24 51
4. Persmin 30 14 8 8 39-28 50

This week:

Tuesday sees Persib host Sriwijaya in front of an empty Siliwangi Stadium. Perhaps one of them might even deign to win? Certainly Persib are without a win in their last six while I can't even remember when Sriwijaya played last! Persela play Persita with both sides eyeing a place in the top 4.

Just one game Wednesday sees PSMS play Semen Padang. The Medan side have slid down to 6th spot recently but they must fancy their chances against the whipping boys from Minangkabau.

Busy day Thursday with Persikota hosting Persiraja in a game that has had fans queuing al week for tickets. Or maybe not. PSDS go to Persikabo and Persija travel to PSSB. The match of the day is PSM, now struggling in 9th spot, at home to Sidoarjo who are 5th. The final match sees Perseman play PSIM in a battle of the celler dwellers

Sunday, November 25, 2007


PSM v Persija 1-0

Persija go through 2-1 on aggregate. They play Sidoarjo in the next round.


What's wrong with the English game

Just days after the Croatian debacle and all the hand wringing that followed you only had to watch the Arsenal v Wigan game yesterday and listen to the wise saws of the venerable Martin Tyler and colour commentator Waren Barton to know how deep lies the malaise in our game.

Wigan were praised non stop for their defensive doggedness and hard work ethic...

They created little up front and had little guile or inventiveness in the middle yet still the football 'experts' wobble on about their guts and determination!

Rewind a few days and these self same media types were bemoaning just these qualities as being ineffective on the international stage. I don't get it. Actually, I do. Tyler will hype the Premier League till he's blue in the face. He could commentate on some turgid nonsense dished up by the likes of Bolton and Sunderland and he would make it sound like the Bolshoi ballet.

It's all about the ratings, innit? When you fork out millions to show the stuff you're not going to turn round and say, hey that was a load of old soiled knickers are you? Straight away we have a dumbing down of the debate about our game.

Many fans, me included, are prefectly frank about our loyalties. Club over country every time thank you very much. Much of the media are the same though they dress it up behind headlines and exclusives. Yeah, we get a few corcodile tears when we muck up on the pitch and the press rejoice when the manager leaves but at the end of the day it's the league that counts.

Wednesday and Thursday's recriminations are forgotten as we get back to the Churchillian spirit typified by pluck Wigan against the majesterial Arsenal.

It's not Wigan's fault. They have to make do with the resources they have and they have done brilliantly over the last couple of years. Certainly they made Arsenal work hard yesterday for their three points. But please don't canonise them for defending in numbers and not trying to win a football match. Ultimately they got what they deserved.


Singapore Cup

Last night at Jalan Besar Stadium Bangkok University beat Woodlands Wellington 1-0 to secure 3rd spot in the Singapore Cup.

In today's final SAF are bidding for a domestic double and they are up against Tampines Rovers.

Bangkok University, who also took part in the Asian Champions League were one of four foreign teams to compete in this season's cup. They were joined by Phnom Penh Empire, Chonburi and DPMM from Brunei.

Any chance of an Indonesian team taking part next season?

Yes, daft question I know...


PSS v Persitara 3-3

I had to leave this game just after PSS had scored their first goal. It left them 3-1 down and facing an unlikely defeat to Jakarta's 'other' team. Unlikely because away wins are a rare feature of life in the Liga Indonesia but with 28 minutes left and Persitara 3-0 up that was the likely outcome.

It wasn't to be of course. Niane scored on 84 minutes and in the 6th minute of injury time (!) a penalty made it 3-3. Of course far be it for me to suggest anything untoward. I mean the recent PSIM clash with Persiter played on until the hosts got an equaliser. But they're conincidences right?

Needless to say the Persitara players and officials weren't happy bunnies while the PSS fans, faced with a shock home defeat, threw plastic water bottles on the pitch in time honoured tradition.

As things stand neither club is on course for a spot in next years' Liga Super. Shame because PSS have one of the better stadiums in the country.


PSIS for sale

Semarang Dave was in touch last night with this nugget. Local papers are reporting a large transport group and a tobacco manufacturer are in talks to buy ailing PSIS. A sum of 20 billion rupiah is being mooted which is a very large sum indeed with many zero's. 9,000 to the USD for you cunning number folk.

There are presently four privately owned clubs in the Liga, as opposed to the rest who get their funding from local government. Semen Padang, PKT Botang, Arema Malang and Pelita Jaya Purwarkarta. Semen Padang are owned by a cement company, PKT by a fertiliser group (come on you shits), Arema by big tobacco and PJ by the Bakrie Group.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Malaysian Super League

Pahang v Kedah 1-2
PDRM v Penang 2-0
Terangganu v Sarawak 4-0
Selangor v Johor 1-1
DPMM v Negeri Sembilan 0-1
MyTeam v Perak 0-1

PDRM (Police) and Perak are the only teams with a 100% record after two game. The Police lead the table with a better goal difference.

No fixtures for a month as the focus switches to the SEA Games.


PDRM v Indonesia Under 23's

In a hastily rearranged game after initial opponents Perlis pulled out, the Under 23's beat the Royal Malaysian Police Force 3-1 despite having two players sent off.

Ardan Eras, Eka Ramdani and Ian Loius Kabes got the goals.

Next Monday they play the Malaysian Under 23's before going to Thailand.


Big clash tomorrow

No, I don't mean Arema v Persipura. Actually that as well. But this other clash sees the Arsenal Supporters' Club taking on the Arsenal Soccer School at ISCI in Ciputat.
I have threatened to come out of retirement for this game but am now having second thoughts. Come on, it's Arema and don't get much bigger.

Decisions, decisions...

Arema, unbeaten at home, should welcome back the impressive Emile Mbamba while Alex Pulalo and Bruno Casmir are suspended. Boaz Solossa is still out for Persipura which means he won't come up against his brother Ortizan. Also missing for the Black Pearls are Wanggai, Ian Louis Kabes, Bachtiar Ude and Ricardo Salempassy who are with the Under 23's in Malaysia.

It promises to be a great game of football and Arema, if they beat the leaders, would move to within one point of the Papuan giants.


Pity Persija

Persija will be hitting the road over the next few days. Tomorrow they play the second leg of theiur oft delayed Copa Indonesia tie in Makassar on the island of Sulawesi. They then head to the wilds of Aceh where they are due to play PSSB Bireuen on Wednesday afternoon.

The nearest airport to Bireuen is Medan which is a two hour flight from Jakarta. Then it's on the bus for a 4 hour drive up the coast.

Mind you players have it tough in England as well. Liverpool are flying to Newcastle for today's Premier League clash. What the...I guess the M62 then A1 is good enough for the fans but not the players eh?

Friday, November 23, 2007


Liga Indonesia this week


PSS v Persitara


PSIS v Pelita Jaya
Arema v Persipura'
Persiter v Persma
Persmin v Persibom


Persipura go top

PSIS V Persita 2-0 10,000 (Lopez 2)
Arema v Persiwa 2-1 25,000 (Ichwan, Fernando: Habel)
Persekabpas v Persipura 0-2 5,000 (Goncavles, Rumere)
Persmin v Persma 4-1 17,000 (Yalet 2, Moreno 2: Carrasco)
Persiter v Persibom 3-1 3,000 (Fabiano 2, Julio Cesar: Safrudin)

Tables later lah

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Character assassination

Over on some Indonesian message board I'm being charactised as not only an Arsenal hooligan (EH???!!!) but also a diplomat working at the British Embassy!!!

I've been called many things in my four score on this poncey rock but no one has ever called be diplomatic!
Not sure what a picture of some girls laughing about a g string has to do with this post mind...
Forget PSIS v Persita, I'm off to solve the middle east crisis then invite that Iranian geezer over to Jakarta to buy him a tie. Should keep me busy for an hour or so...


SLeague Champions

Two early goals were enough to secure the SLeague for SAF in front of a bumper, non paying crowd, of nearly 4,000 fans. The win against Gombak United meant the efforts of Home and Tampines were all in vain.

Home finished second thanks to Qiu Li's last minute winner at Geylang United.

Tampines finished 3rd, beating Albiirex 3-1 at the Tampines Stadium.

Full table here.


Arema v Persiwa 2-1

800 security personnel were on duty for this high octane Eastern Division clash yet the biggest thugs still got through. Persiwa made little attempt to play football in the first half, instead preferring to kick and dive their way through a game that was shown live across the nation, and deserved to go in at half time a goal down.

Persiwa don't get too much exposure and for many here their position at the top of the Eastern Division has been a surprise. Watching their brutish efforts on the pitch today it remains a surprise no more. Enough to say they remain unbeaten at home this season and there are no roads in or out of the Papuan town. A referee is very much on his own out there!

Second half they started playing football and while there equaliser may have had a touch of offside about it the finish from Habel was as aweet a volley as you're likely to see. Relative of course but in a league where flaying is the norm Habel kept his eye on the ball all the way and it was beautifully executed. Much to the delight of the few Persiwa fans in the crowd who didn't get to Malang on the bus.

With 15 minutes left Elie Aiboy, shoing the form he as struggled to achieve internationally, had Persiwa tracking martians leaving new boy Fernando to head home and restore Arema's lead.

With Arema back in the league Persiwa allowed indiscipline to raise its ugly head but to be fair Arema were no saints and a spitting incident featuring Suroso seemingly going unpunished. Without Mbamba they lacked a bit of quality going forward that makes me sound like Brian Marwood so I'll stop now.

Arema's victory takes them on to 48 points but with two games in hand on the Papuan leaders Persiwa and Persipura. For Persiwa they stay joint top but two straight away defeats won't be much of a surprise. They are where they are because of their home form.


Blame the fans

What can you do when a country of 45 million souls that boasts just a solitary trophy on the world stage and believes its own hype yet again fails to reach the standards it has set for itself? During all the recriminations surrounding our defeat to Croatia and subsequent failure to qualify for the Euro Championships next year we overlook pertinent facts at our peril.

Having what may or may not be the best league in the world is no guarantee of international success as one Champions League success in seven years testifies.

Our supposed golden generation may have shone in our little England minds but they were taken from a limited pool of talent and there ain’t a lot left in reserve.

We have a culture to build something up then when we don’t like what we see we are determined to bring them back down to earth. The Australians call it the tall poppy syndrome.

We mercilessly slagged Sven off because he lacked passion on the bench!

When we have a football club chairman who calls Steve Bruce one of the best managers in the country then we have to worry. Worry that the people who run our game may actually have lost their collective marbles or, even worse, he maybe speaking the truth. Bruce by the way has seen his installation at Wigan delayed as he quibbles of advanced image payments from Birmingham. This is football 2007 when a cauliflowered hooter Geordie has image rights!

We have a footballing public who are part of the problem. Who else buys the books the players produce with tedious regularity? It sure ain’t people with an interest in literature. We have developed a culture of the celebrity and fans buy into it. Mac was scared to drop the big name players because he was scared of the potential backlash from the media and the saps who lap it up.

To be an England fan you must join an England supporters club. Then you buy the shirts, paint your face and sing England till I die to a Salvation Army brass band accompaniment. You pay premium prices for below par performances and if you didn’t then somebody else will, willing to buy into the England/Wembley experience.

You’re Flossie the cow and you’re being milked year round but you have never turned round and said pull the udder one. As long as you fill the seats and buy the merchandise the FA will be happy to take your money and change zilch. By spending that money you’re approving of their actions. Or inactions.

The media hype up the fans. The fans believe it and hype the players, the players believe it and book photo spreads, the fans buy the photo spread and the football gets forgotten. No one wants to break the circle and actually tell the truth.

The fanzine generation was supposed to break that circle. It was supposed to bring a new critique, a new way of thinking about football. It hasn’t. What we get now on the magazine racks is more of the same 20 years ago. Teenager magazines with gloss and sponsored articles but sod all analysis. Compare, someone please, with Kicker in Germany where you find intelligent thought and debate.

In England we have what we deserve. We glorify stupidity and anti social behaviour and call intelligent footballers gay. Publishers sign up some scouse kid with zits for a 5 book deal not because he has done anything of any interest. He hasn’t. They sign him up ‘cos the name Wayne Rooney sells and you are buying it. You are buying in to the whole rigmarole that keeps football debate in the playground.

So blame Stevie Mac (but say nothing as he barters for his 'compensation' pay off). Blame the suits at the FA. Hell, even blame Arsene Wenger. Blame who the hell you want as you reach for the red top and the latest WAG scandal.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Persija v Persikabo 2-2

Persija missed the opportunity to go top of the Western Division as they twice allowed 10 man Persikabo to come from behind this afternoon at Lebuk Bulus in front of another sell out crowd.

Lacking the fluency that so tore PSM apart in last weeks Copa, Persija took an early lead through the immense Abanda.

The visitors were unlucky to have their keeper Fauzi sent off when replays showed there was no connection when Bambang went sprawling just on the 18 yard line. The following free kick was wasted.

However on 38 minutes Leonardo, getting a rare start this season, slipped up on the edge of the penalty box allowing Rodrigo to equalise.

Second half and a neat through ball by Agus Indra released Aliyudin down the inside right channel and he beat the replacement keeper, Halim, at the near post. 2-1 the Jak but you wondered whether they had enough in the tank.

Roger Batoum was as effective for Bogor as he was for Persija last season but the home team were just about absent without leave in the midfield.

It was no suprise when yet more poor defending gifted Rodrigo a second.

A disappointing result but you wonder whether anyone wants to finish top. Persib and Sriwijaya have all spurned chances in games they should have won while PSMS are sliding to oblivion. Maybe everyone is content to sit back and allow Persik the number one spot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Three Thais head west

Manchester City, bankrolled by former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have signed three young Thais in an effort to boost shirt sales in Bangkok. Sorry, that's not fair. Thaksin has signed three countrymen to curry favour back home in the run in to the upcoming election. No no, apologies. Sven signed them because he sees a great future for these guys ability and...sorry. Thaksin, it's his money after all, has told Sven who to sign and in the near future he will take a hands on role in team selection when the Swede has a runny nose.

Rumours that City will soon by sponsored by Thaksin's former politcal party, Thai Rak Thai, have been rubbished by the club. Nonsense they said, politics and sport don't mix. Instead Thai Rath, a leading player in the media field, are looking at expanding into the British market.

City fans will soon be learning new songs though as Thaksin has apporoached Thai star Tata Young to write some more culturally sensitive stuff.

Jai yen yen, jai yen yen
Rao pen khon City
Jai yen yen

The snack bars round the City of Manchester stadium will be overhauled and out go the pies and mushy peas. Instead fans can enjoy pad thai and som tam while drinking coke through a straw out of a plastic bag.

Players won't be unaffected either. Anyone receiving a straight red card will have to have his head shaved and enter the monkhood till the next rainy season, which in Manchester is usually only a couple of hours away.

Next June, depending on the election results in December, City will head East and play friendlies against Provincial Electricity Authority, Nakorn Nowhere FC and Krung Thai Bank.

Thaksin is also looking at having Oasis tour Thailand supporting Thai folk legends Carabao. The tour, provisionaly titled "Issan Rak Citeh" (Issan loves City), and all dates will be shown live on ITV, the TV channel owned by the Shinawatras.

Or it could all be bollox!


Malaysian Super League

Penang v Pahang 0-2
Sarawak v PDRM 1-4
Johor v Terengganu 2-1
Negeri Sembilan v Selangor 0-2
Perak v DPMM 2-0

PDRM, the Royal Police, are top of the league and tomorrow play Penang. Selangor host Johor on the same day while another newly promoted side MyTeam play Perak at Kelana Jaya Stadium

There is a second tier Premier League which features the Malaysian Under 19 squad but I won't bother keeping tabs on this. I do have a day job you know!


Problems in paradise

Persigi Bali FC coach Henk Wullems has seen his team struggle recently. They lie 17th in the Eastern Division and can contemplate next season in the new look 32 team Division Premier. To add to the Dutchman's woes he hasn't been paid for a few months. He could be ready to take his case to FIFA if nothing happens in the near future.


Struggling Persib

Persib Bandung remain in 3rd spot in the Western Division but with just three points in the last five games they must be looking forward to their run in with some trepidation. Coach Arcan Iurie must be looking at his squad and wondering what has gone wrong with the team that had started the season so well.

Last weekend the city of Bandung celebrated its 197th anniversary and the Persib players joined in the celebrations prompting Patricio Jimenez to say the fans were like nothing he had seen before.

Maybe but they won't be so happy if a season that has promised so much ends up with nothing.


A thrilling week of football

It promises to be an outstanding week here in South East Asia with a title decider in Singapore, top of the table clashes in Indonesia and the season up and running in Malaysia.

We'll start in Indonesia of course. Toworrow sees Roger Batoum return to one of his old clubs as Persikabo make the short journey up the Bogor toll road to take on Persija. Persikabo, who expect to be followed by about 100 fans, a far cry from the 8,000 Persija fans who made the opposite journey earlier in the season, have yet to win away, their 14 games seeing them collect seven draws and seven defeats. Persija can go top if they win but as Persib have shown recently, there seems a reluctance by clubs to take top spot.

Pelita Jaya travel to Persela knowing three points could see them rise to 5th spot, just off the pace.

Thursday has Benny Dollo's Persita head to struggling PSIS. Victory for the Benteng Viola would see them level on points with Persib but 30 goals all season tells its own story. Remove Ernest Siangkam from their forward line and they are positively light. It has seemed that Julio Lopez has personally carried PSIS this season and he will be expecting a decent showing from his team mates or they will be looking at a life away from the Liga Super next season.

An important week in the Eastern Division. Persiwa are at Arema Malang who have been coming good recently while Persipura take on Persekabpas. Both games are in East Java and in both games you would favour the home team...but Persipura, who have the best away record in their division, will make it tough for a team that last time out turned over Papuan rivals Persiwa. The Black Pearls have players on international duty while Boaz Solassa is still injured.

Crunch time tomorrow in Singapore. The three horse race between SAF, Home United and Tampines Rovers will be finally decided under the lights with the Warriors having the slight edge. Victory for them will seal the SLeague for them, irrespective of how their challengers do.

Home travel to Geylang knowing they must win and pray SAF don't. Tampines host Albiirex knowing they must win and SAF lose with Home losing or drawing to be champions.

Follow that?

I'll do a Malaysian round up later.


Exclusive interview with Jakmania leader

As I said earlier at the weekend I met up with Danang from the Persija fan club Jakmania and we sat and changed the world over a couple of beers. Catch the interview here.

First time I've done something like this so feel free to give comments lah!

Monday, November 19, 2007


From demo organiser to mother hen

At the weekend I sat down for an interview with Danang, the Gen Sec of the Jakmania and also leading light behind the movement to oust Nurdin Halid as FA Chairman. We had a very informative chat over a number of topics, ok one, football, and hopefully the interview will see the light of day over on the ESPN website soon.

One thing I asked about was evening kick offs at Lebuk Bulus for Persija games. The recent Copa tie with PSM was originally slated for 6.30 but soon reverted to the more traditional 3.30 pm. Annoying for me 'cos I can't get there in time.

"Many of our supporters are young and come from distant parts of Jakarta. By kicking off later it means they would be stuck in traffic coming to and from the stadium and they would end up getting home late," he explained.

Note to the English Premier League: please read and comment!


It's the players, stupid!

The other week I decided to build a new home for one of my rabbits, Bintang his name after a local beer. As I gazed at the plans I marveled at what I hoped would be Bintang's own little palace for years to come. It was as near to Bunny heaven this side of the M6 and I couldn't wait to get started.

It didn't take long for my dreams to be dashed. Much of the wood I'd got was useless. The nails bent too easily. I had left a hole for him to poop merrily into but I'd left no way for me to remove said shit. The wire mesh was too sharp at the edges. And the roof caved in come the first monsoon. The result was one drenched and fully miserable looking rabbit. But it had looked so good on paper.

Formations are much my like plans for Bintang's luxury pad. 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-3-3. Oh and don't forget we have the man in the hole. 4-1-3-1-2 or 4-4-1-1. I don't ever recall Brian Clough or Bill Shankly discussing formations at any great length. Maybe they did in the changing rooms but I'm sure it was more a case of '...and if their centre forward gets too close to goal I don't care which one of you bastards does it but break his bloody leg.'

Watch Arsenal. They line up at kick off time 4-4-2. Then it goes out the window. With so many red shirts piling forwards at any moment defenders must feel like General Custer at the Little Big Horn. Which way to turn? Now, what did the boss say if their left back overlaps I must, hold on. Clichy is the left back but this is Adebayor going down the line and we were told that if the big man goes wide then Hutchie has to follow him and Gatesy covers Hutchie while I...

Formations are like every other theory put forward by mankind to try and bring some meaning to life. They look good on paper but they fail to take into account people. It's the players that make the difference between a good time and a bad team, not pretty patterns on a chalk board.

If I want numbers I'd take up Bingo...

BTW Me and a mate finally knocked up a reasonable abode for Bintang that used all he sodden materials and till now he seems happy enough. Especially as he has found the front door doesn't lock...


Syria v Indonesia 7-0

Indonesia's place on the world stage reached an all time low as coach Ivan Kolev's gamble of going with youth backfired big time in Damascus last night.

Before this second leg WCQ Kolev had ditched the first team and drafted in the Under 23's reasoning they were better prepared after their month in Argentina but now questions will be asked about the Bulgarian's future.

Confidence will have taken a battering last night; how will that effect preparations for next months SEA Games in Thailand which seems to have been the main priority of the FA all along?

But for the Indonesian public, after the false dawn of the Asian Cup, football here is back to same old, same old. The optimism has been swept away by first the Nurdin Halid case and now an embarrassing display in football's showcase event.

An 11-1 aggregate defeat is a stark enough message in any language. I hope it gets through to the bigwigs.

Somehow I doubt it. Instead what we'll see is lots of finger pointing, shuffling of feet and covering of arses but nothing will substantially change.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Tampines fight on

Tampines Rovers moved to within two points of leaders SAF last night after beating Sengkang Punggol 4-2 last night.

Is it too little too late? Final fixtures are on Wednesday and if there ever was a god of football all three games would be shown live on pan ASEAN TV.

Geylang v Home
SAF V Gombak
Tampines v Albirex

The table at the moment


Persiwa lose

Papuan side Persiwa Wamena lost the chance to go 6 points clear as they fell to bottom club Persekabpas 3-1.

They remain three points clear of Persipura at the top of the Eastern Division but their away form could soon see them slipping down the table.

Did you know their goalkeeper is named Charles Woof?

No games today


England's No 1 (would you want these people in your team)

English players like Bothroyd, Pennant caused nothing but problems at Arsenal, moaning they were never given a chance in the first team. Hardly knocking on the England door now are they even when the resources are gossamer thin?

Then there's players Wenger has released:

Taylor (Villa reserve), Sidwell (Chelsea reserve)Harper (Reading), Bentley (Blackburn), Halls (Stoke?), Noble (?)

They have hardly covered themselves in glory have they?

Lets look at Spurs and their 'policy' of buying young English talent:

Bent (HAHA), Jenas, Lennon, Robinson, Defoe, Dawson, Huddlestone, Routledge...only Robinson has been an England regular and don't you wish he had't?

And then we have the English players talent for ASBO behaviour:

Ferdinand, Barton, Hughes, Bowyer, Dyer, Pennant, Terry

And finally Manchester United and their policy of paying top whack for the best talent. No wonder Fergie is gloating about this being his best ever quad. Throw in the foreigners and it is also the most expensive so it should be good.

Rooney, Rio, Hargreaves, Carrick, not everyone has 94 million in loose change!

Paper talk last week had Villa's Agbonlahor valued at 15 million!!! Give me van Persie at 20 % of that any day.

English players are overhyped, overpaid. No wonder Arsene doesn't bother with them ...

Tellingly no one wants them in Europe either.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Liga Indonesia action

Just one game this weekend sees high flying Persiwa, three points clear in the Eastern Division, travel to Persekabpas who may be bottom but are no mugs at home having lost just three games all season.

Mind you in the Eastern Division no bugger has won more than three away games all season.

Persiwa have had a blinding second half to the season but 43 of their 52 points have come at home. Four of their remaining six games are away from home so it looks unlikely they will remain top for much longer if their miserable record on the road continues.

Tomorrow sees Indonesia play Syria in the irrelevant second leg of their World Cup Qualifier.


Home and SAF as you were

Home United drew 0-0 with SAF last night at Bishan Stadium meaning we now go into the final round of fixtures with the champions unknown.

SAF are top with 76 points. Home are second with 75 while Tampines look to have blown it. They are third on 71 and must win their last two games at the same time hoping both SAF and Home lose their last game.

Crunch day is Wednesday when Home travel to Geylang while SAF host Gombak United. Today Tampines play Sengkang Punggol but it's academic.

It's too tight to call. SAF score goals for fun and have home advantage but football is a funny old game...

Friday, November 16, 2007


Alexander Duric, Singapore and SAF

Not been checking the Singapore press for a while but I wonder how the SAF fans are feeling having to be without their in form striker Alexander Duric for their vital end of season games?

Tonight sees SAF play Home United in what could be a title decider while Duric is with the Singapore team on World Cup duty.

Does it give Home any advantage?

Guess we'll fin out in about an hour!


Does Indonesia need a Liga Super?

If all goes well, and it rarely does here, Indonesian football will see a major shake up (again) next season and will adopt a single division Liga Super comprising the top 9 clubs of the current East and West Divisions.

All fine and hunky dory. The current 36 team set up is too large and some of the distances difficult to cover. There just isn’t the quality in players, officials and infrastructure to go around.

But football here is about to enter a financial crisis and it sits rabbit like staring at the headlights, unwilling to act.

Central government last year prohibited local government from funding local football. Instead of receiving grants now clubs are receiving loans that may or may not be paid back. Football is a hot potato politically because the fans who go to games have little else to do in the way of entertainment. They are reluctant to go to the malls that the middle class populate for fear of standing out. And having no money to spend. They are also a potential vote bank come election time.

Further down the line the main source of sponsorship could dry up. Indonesia will be under pressure to prevent tobacco being financially involved in sports and if that happens then it’s goodbye to the sponsors of Liga and Copa Indonesia.

What’s left is a bloody great hole that could only be filled by on the run tycoons settled safely in Singapore with their embezzled billions.

A recent club gob fest pleaded with the government to allow public funding of the sport or they would boycott competitions next year. A dafter threat is hard to dream up. If you don’t give us any money then next season we won’t play football! Instead of thinking of ways to maximize a club’s income through sponsorship, gate receipts and merchandising clubs rather stick their heads in the sand, wave their butts in the breeze and beg the government to bail them out.

There are some privately owned clubs. Arema Malang, PKT Botang, Pelita Jaya and Semen Padang. Of course it can be done. It just takes vision, foresight. All the things career bureaucrats’ lack.

Perhaps instead of having a single divison next year we should get more regionalized. It’s daft that PSMS Medan for example would have to spend something like 15,000 USD flying to Persipura in far off Papua when that money does not exist.

Financially it surely makes more sense to have Sumatran teams play Sumatran teams. Javanese teams to play Javanese teams. And Bali. Perhaps have Papua and Maluku in one division and Kalimantin with Sulawesi in another. The top 2 clubs in each division could then get together and compete in the Indonesian Champions League.

Four ten team groups with each team playing home and away. Perhaps a third game at a neutral venue?

I know this contradicts the point I made earlier about insufficent resources to go round but maybe clubs could do with an all round tightening of belts. Let them concentrate on developing players and playing football, not seeing the inside of every airport in the country.

If the ultimate aim is to develop a league that can compete with the best in the region surely it's better done on a firm financial footing? There can be nothing worse than a Super Liga opening amid great fanfare then clubs finding out those long distance trips are just a flight too much.

So much time and money is tied up in travel that it makes sense to minimize that.


Pick a number

Crowd figures for the Persija v PSM Copa tie ranged from 15,000 to 25,000!

Lebuk Bulus officially holds 12,500. You pays your money, you take your choice. On the same day one source had the Persik v Persib crowd as 10,000, another was 15,000. Again Brawijaya was overflowing, it holds 20,000, apparently.

But then when the amount of money you earn isn't important because you can make up shortfalls from local government grants or loans why bother with gate receipts?


Persebaya v Bali 1-0

No surprise that Persebaya won. No surprise that Bali failed to score. The only surprise was that there was only one goal in it.

Juan scored just on half time but in the final 10 minutes before half time they could have had 4 or 5 more.

Nice looking pitch. As Emma says on a comment elsewhere the pitch there looked good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


And why is that, Ivan Kolev?

This comes from the ASEAN football website.


'JAKARTA (Nov 13, 2007) – The Indonesia Under-23 side, which is being prepared for the SEA Games at the end of the month, will be used to play Syria this Sunday in Damascus. With a place in the next qualifying round of the 2010 World Cup virtually out of reach following their 4-1 loss to Syria in Jakarta, the decision to use the Indonesian U23 squad has been widely accepted by the Indonesian FA (PSSI).“

It will be an official match for the U23 side and it will be a positive experience to their preparation for the SEA Games,” said Indonesia national coach Ivan Kolev.
“There might not be a target set for these players but they have to realise that they will be playing for their country and they have to play at their best.”
Kolev pointed out that part of the reason why the U23 side have been chosen ahead of the senior squad was also due to the lack of preparation of the senior team.
He said that it was obvious from the first leg in Jakarta that the senior players did not have a lot of time to prepare whereas the U23 squad have been in training since October and where they had only recently returned from a tour of Argentina.'

You're the coach Kolev. Why were they unprepared? Is the SEA Games the extent of Indonesia's football ambitions? Why was nothing done to prepare the full squad?

I've remarked on here plenty of times the lack of seriousness given to the national team compared to younger levels. Should we put the current crop out to pasture now? Shall we tell Budi Surdasono and his mates that sorry lads, we did nothing to support you so we're going to drop you?

And what are the plans for the national team anyway? There is the ASEAN Championships coming next year. And then what? Apalagi? Is there a vision beyond sending 15 year olds To Uruguay? When will Indonesia start playing top class international friendlies on a regular basis. Not Malaysia and Singapore ad nauseum but Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran.

Inertia seeps from the top down and remember fans ain't stupid. Did those rows of empty seats at Bung Karno last week not tell you anything?

To be fair we shouldn't just blame Kolev. There is a gaggle of paper shuffling committees behind the scenes that breed the culture of inactivity and with so many positions going to people for who they know and not what they know any meaningful debate let alone change is as likely as a hangover free piss up.

In the meantime Indonesia slips from the top tier of ASEAN football down to the second tier alongside Laos and Cambodia.


That's better

After the disasters of Syria and PSIM I am now back to feeling all gooey after some wonderful moments in Liga and Copa Indonesia.

The Persija performance against PSM was impressive. Bambang & co., can feel disappointed they didn't put the tie to bed first time round, they had the chances. With a lot of debate around the world regarding foreigners it's worth noting Robertinho's rising learning curve and at the back Herman Abanda's impassive consistancy. Up front the all-Indonesian strike force of Bambang and Aliyudin may not get served in the bars of South Jakarta without ID but with 30 goals between them they are proof expensive imports are not always the answer.

Budi Sardosono also showed Indonesian players have the skill and know how to match the best of them. He has already reminded me of Peter Beardsley, comfortable on the ground, an eye for goal and an intelligent brain. Against Persib, the team with the best away record in the league, he showed Henryesque moments, cooly beating the keeper in one on ones. I would strongly advise every Liga Indonesia club who aspires to the highest level get their butts down to Kediri and look at the job coach Daniel Roekito has done there and see what happens behind the scenes to allow this to happen.

Christian Gonzalez may well be the player of the season and the top scorer yet again but Budi deserves all the accolades he gets...and some. He may not feature down the centre so much when Gonzalez is playing but his performance on Tuesday showed that anything foreigners can do, Indonesians can too.

Yesterday saw Pelita Jaya, Persema Malanag and a downpour disappear off my screen but not before PJ took the lead with a nicely taken goal on 28 minutes. Playing football is difficult enough when the bumpy pitches are dry. Magnify that by a factor of 10 when the playing surface is under inches of water. Add a monsoonal downpour and you can forgive teams for either a) hoofing the bloody thing or b) saying sod that for a game of football and retreating back into the dressing room.

That PJ and Persema tried to play football, and I mean short passes, quick movement, is either a credit to their coaches' ethos or proof they have no plan B. Whatever the truth the way Jerkovic controlled the ball on the 6 yard line, turned inside and slid the ball home deserves greater exposure.

Today we have Persebaya. Will we get more of the beautiful game or will cynicism rear its ugly head?


Copa Indonesia Quarter Finals

Sriwijaya v PSMS
Persekabpas v Persipura
Persita v Pelita Jaya
Sidoarjo v PSM/Persija

People may moan about the FA Cup back in England but here in Indonesia as we finally get down to the final 9 (!) there is a genuine excitment about what is to come.

In part because of Persija's impressive display at home to PSM on Tuesday but also for the right mix of romance and tradition.

The romance comes from Persekabpas who are having a woeful time in Western Division. They play might Persipura (all games are home and away) and will fancy their chances of a good result at home. In Papua though, it will be a different story.

Benny Dollo took Arema to consecutive finals, winning both times. Now with Persita he is striving for his own personal hat trick against Fandi Ahmad's Pelita Jaya. This could be a close affair with both sides tough to crack at home.

PSMS have no money and must be delighted at making the relatively short journey down to Palembang to face Sriwijaya. The Medan team traditionally have a strong defence, Markus' blunder for Indonesia last week notwithstanding, but are poor travellers.

Sidoarjo have been a delight this season. Inspired by Pronetto, Hilton and Jose Sebastian they have played some great attacking football and look a major threat for the Liga.

All games are home and away with dates to be reconfirmed later. PSM host Persija 25th November for the right to play Sidoarjo.

The semi finals will look something like this:

Persekabpas/Persipura v Sidoarjo/Persija/PSM
Persita/Pelita Jaya Purwakarta v PSMS/Sriwijaya

The semi finals have been booked for 11th January which, according to my wife's work calender is a Friday and may well be a holiday. The Final and 3/4 the place play off will be on 13th January. Both semis and Final are slated for Bung Karno Stadium. Hmm, the good ibus of Senayen may not be too happy at the thought of Persija playing Persita interfering with their polluting SUV's, Starbucks and look-at-me-shopping expeditions.


Tampines croak

Tampines Rovers were suprisingly held last night by Gombak United at Tampines Stadium with both goals coming in the first half.

Rovers are now 4 points behind leaders SAF who play Home United on Friday. Tampines will be hoping for a draw there to keep their faint hopes of the SLeague title alive.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Sack the Mac!

Poor old Steve McLaren. England’s hapless manager has the media vultures swirling overhead preparing to pick at his corpse while he prepares for a game that ultimately be futile.

McLaren was patently not the man for the job. Every newspaper and blogger has told us this so it must be true. Fine. Sack him. Negotiate another healthy pay off and start posting Wanted ads in the Evening Standard let’s start the whole messy, undignified process again.

McLaren isn’t the problem. Part of it yes but not the full pizza. Just a slice. The numpties who appointed him are also slices in the problem. As is a lunatic media that is quick to praise and even quicker to bury. Then there is the lack of support from clubs who always find their star player is injured whenever friendlies come around. Oh yeah and Arsene Wenger is also worth a slice or two on his own.

There’s plenty of blame to be passed around, fear not if I left your slice out of my particular pizza of guilt.

If England fail to qualify for the Euro 2008 next year and sack the Mac then what? Where to find some masochist thick skinned enough to want to deal with Fleet Street’s finests’ dirt digging escapades? Don’t forget we’re the country that even pillories our relatively few successful national team coaches. Think Robson and Hoddle.

England are not as good as we like to think we are. Lampard is not a world class player and Crouch would not get in any other national squad in the world. I look at the England team and think there is nobody there I would have in my Arsenal side and I bet Wenger thinks the same. How often do you hear about foreign clubs coming in for the cream of the English crop? Hold on, I just saw a pig fly past the blue moon.

We’re the country who couldn’t see talent when it hits us in the face. Where other countries would build a team around the likes of Le Tissier, Currie and Worthington we mistrust them and question their work rate.

As the debate hots up and everyone is asked their opinion (and I offer mine without being asked) people like Steve Coppell and Gordon Brown call for affirmative action. Sorry, quotas. Regardless of quality, clubs must field a minimum number of home grown players, something Brown would never try forcing on the City. It’s cheap politics and deserves short shrift. Do you really want your team to be like Derby County?

We’re crap and we need to accept we’re crap. We also need to accept we’re crap ‘cos we put club before country. I want my team to do well, If they don’t I still want them to do well. I couldn’t give a flying duck about England. Whether Terry partners Richards or Jagger is of immense indifference to me.

Wenger, who has raised players like Sidwell, Bentley and Pennant through the ranks at Arsenal probably feels some justification in letting them go. I mean they have hardly become England regulars have they and given how thin on the ground England players are these days it says a lot about how others perceive their ability.

The worst thing that can happen is we scrape through to the Euros and we sit back and say oh yes, we’re going to win it this year. Our delusions will flood the reality and sour our memories and we will be carried along on a tide of patriotism and false dawns. Again.

Or perhaps we get through and McLaren is allowed to overhaul the rotten stinking carcass that runs our game and we can look forward to a promised land where blame is apportioned to dodgy penalties and short sighted officials.

The fact of the matter is this talk of pizza has gotten me hungry. {Stretches for the Sarpino's menu}


Time, time, and thrice time

Ok so we accept football is about results; the performance is secondary to the consideration of three points. But, as a football manager, shouldn’t there also be a responsibility to the future of the club?

This is what happens I believe in many European countries where you have a manager who often hangs around for eons and is in close contact with the board. And you have the coach who rounds up the balls, bibs and cones and picks the team for each game.

In England of course we do things differently. Here the manager does everything from design the training centre to deciding what the players drink after the game. Oh and sign new players, keep an eye on the youth set up, paint the crash barriers, that sort of thing.

Perhaps then we can see where the likes of Chelsea and Spurs are coming from. They install a Director of Football who is there to oversee a long term strategy and make sure the club is on the right path going forward. The coach is brought in to deal with just the first team. He is responsible only for results in the here and now and his remit extends no further.

It’s a policy that seems effective at the big teams on the continent where managers come and go and the clubs remain there and thereabouts. It provides a stabilizing force at the club and ensures the coach is a transient figure employed at the whim of results.

For Arsenal and Manchester United the manager is like a Baron in charge of a petty fiefdom. He is lord and master of all he surveys, yes he delegates but his reach his further and his word more powerful.

It’s not rocket science how successful clubs are run. Somehow within their set up they look for a stability that goes beyond a coach coming in with his mates, working a few years then leaving. There is if you look a corporate policy that extends from top to bottom. Other clubs lacking this vision struggle.

Some people would say Sam Allardyce was a successful manager at Bolton. He took a pissy team and made them a redoubtable if unspectacular part of the Premier tableau through sheer hard work on the pitch. But he did nothing about developing the club. Everything he did was geared towards the first team to the extent that when he left, as he was bound to one day, the whole thing collapse. There was nothing behind the scenes, no infrastructure, no supporting cast.

Now Bolton are playing the managerial merry go round where they appoint a new bod, he appoints his mates, they lose, they leave, they start again (hope you are keeping up with who all those leaves refer to!) and the club is no further forward than it was before.

I look at Derby and wonder how long before Billy Davies gets the chop? Like many newly promoted teams before them Derby are struggling and, as is the norm, some fans are calling for his head. Derby were never going to survive this season but what would scking Davies achieve? A meteoric climb up the table to a UEFA Cup spot perchance? Or more of the same after a slight upturn in results.

I’m not a Derby fan, I used to hate them when they had Terry Hennessey playing for them (whatever happened to bald footballers?) but surely a team that yo yo’s between the top two divisions, all the time getting Premiership TV money and parachute payments, is better than mid table mediocrity year in, year out, like Middlesbrough? Surely allowing Davies the chance to do his job. To get experienced in the Premier League, to develop strong foundations at the club benefits all Derby fans in the long run? Or is another 10 years mediocrity what the fans really desire?

He was good enough to get the club promoted. Then his name was feted. Surely he deserves the chance to learn and develop and improve the club in the top league?


Another Malaysian side visits Indonesia

Following on from KL's recent tour it has been announced Malaysian Premier League side Selangor PKNS will head to Malang at the beginning of December.

Arema hope to arrange a friendly with the visitors.

Very good but perhaps Indonesia should be doing more to attract the Malaysian Super League teams like Kedah and Selangor.

Still, any international friendlies can only be positive


Under 23's - the chosen ones?

After playing Syria in the now meaningless World Cup Qualifier the Under 23's have arranged a couple of friendlies in Malaysia against Perlis on 23/11 and Malaysia Under 23's on 26/11.

If only the full team had been so favoured perhaps they could have put on a better showing.


Eastern Islands Derbies

Yesterday Persiba earned their under pressure manager Peter Butler some breathing space after beating PKT Bontang 3-1 in the Borneo Derby. Timely because the Englishman's contract apparently expires next week.

In the Papuan Derby Persiwa unsuprisingly won at home again. They beat Persipura 1-0 and have dropped just two points at home this season while on the road they are pants.

Finally spare a thought for Persib's Eka Ramdhani. Yesterday he played for Persib in Kediri. Today he must travel to the nearest airport, Solo a four hour drive, fly to Jakarta then head off to Damascus!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Meanwhile over on ESPN

Had a couple of articles published there. One had a good moan about the state of Indonesian football.

Next I have a pop at Italian thugs in uniforms and their method of solving the war on the terraces.

Tonight being Tuesday, as indeed most of today has been until now, I'm looking forward to Top Corner, the weekly highlights show about Asian football, and Football Focus.

Tonight I predict Steve MacMahon will purr about Fernando Torres' goal against Fulham, Jamie Reeves will purr about Arsenal and Shebby will wind everyone up.

Great fun!

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