Monday, February 16, 2009


On the road again

Indonesia is a big country. The distances involved are immense at times and the logistics involved in getting to away games time consuming. Persija, leaders of the ISL, are looking forward to a road trip that will see them away from home for the best part of a month, playing three games on the island of Kalimantan and two in East Java.

Rather than flying in and out just for the games obviously the bean counters, if they have one, have decided the best thing for the squad to do is keep together for the whole time which makes it difficult for the family men in the team.

Many of the younger players, or the single ones, live in a mess at the Persija training centre so for them they probably welcome the break. More of the same but with the promise of better food.

But for those with families it’s harder. I recall after the AFF Cup defeat against Thailand last December seeing the Indonesian players distraught arriving back at the hotel they were staying at and I was drinking at. One by one they trooped in wearily except for one. He saw his wife and children sat in the lobby area and his whole demeanor changed. He had on his Indonesia track suit and was wearing all the football gear but he was no longer a footballer, he was a family man and his children were cheering him up after a bad day at the office.

As fans we live and breathe football but for the players it’s a job. Behind the headlines and supposed glamour they’re just geezers trying to take care of their families and we sometimes forget that.

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