Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Shocking, Scandalous, Embarrassing, Disgraceful, Farcical

Footballers go on the pitch expecting to win and they expend every effort in that pursuit. Sometimes it works and they're heroes. Sometimes they lose and they're zeroes. History will record that, for today at least, Persija will be zeroes and Persik the heroes.

Persija started in shocking fashion and it was no surprise they went 1-0 down so early. If they had been two down after 10 they couldn't have complained as Yongki Aribowo tormented them down the left.

But Persija fought back and in M Ilham they had their own potent threat down the flank. It was his determination that led to the cross swept home gleefully by Aliyudin to make it 1-1.

They had the chances second half, especially Bambang Pamungkas from a few yards out. All he had to do was attack the ball with any part of his body and they would have been in the lead. Instead, cultured player that he is, he sought to place the ball but was decieved by the flight or the bounce and even now the ball ain't come down.

And then came the moment when football was brought into disrepute. Mahyudi Panggabean sped down the inside right, in came Baihakki sliding to try and clear the ball. Panggabean rode the challenge, there was no connection, and carried on until, on getting into the penalty box, he decided to fall spectacularly. No one could have been fooled. It was simulation, stimulation, it was 4ucking cheating that' what it was.

Remember Eduardo's supposed dive against Celtic? This was nowhere near. Panggabean couldn't get a job on a local soap, his acting was so bad.

But he got the ref. The ref, the most important man on the pitch, he fell for it and pointed to the spot.

If your Panggabean what would you have done? Players go down all the time, it's up to the ref to be wise, alert and street smart.

The Persija players went mad and pushed each other to get at the ref to voice their protests. Baihakki went to the linesman, not 10 yards from the incident. Leo Saputra should have seen red for his pushing, not just yellow. But the ref weren't for changing. He said pen and pen it would remain.

Persija lost and to be honest, tough titty. They had their chances. That's football. And refs, they make honest mistakes, course they do. But this, this was so blatant he surely cannot sleep tonight, not after seeing the replay.


Nothing broken, I hope...

I think everyone would agree Indonesian is pretty physical. Two footed challenges are so common refs flash yellow when a player jumps in with one leg. Whacks on the ankles, elbows in the throat, taking out from the waist are par for the course.

Given its physical nature why aren't there more long term injuries?

Have a look at this list of long term injuries suffered by the Arsenal over recent years. And compare that with Indonesia where the only guy who seems to have long lay offs is Boaz Solossa. (Though Claude Ngon A Djam has had a miserable time of it this season.)

English football is softer than a baby's bum so how and why do Arsenal suffer so badly?

In Indonesian football every team is made up of Ron Harris, Peter Storey, Billy Bremner and Jimmy Case.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes clubs deliberately target his players and if you look at the other teams in England you can see he has a point.

But if you look at tackles flying in here you wonder. Are the Arsenal players a bunch of namby pambys, it only happens to them 'cos they're southern softies? Or is he right. Are the challenges inflicted on his players designed to cause maximum impact.

'Cos I look at games here and wonder why the rough house tactics of some teams don't cause serious damage while in our Super Soft Premier League they cause serious damage.


Persija Football Thugs Shock Horror!

The Jakarta Post loves to have a pop at Indonesian football. And yes, there are many stories out there that could dish the dirt on. But they don't. Instead they prefer to sensationalise and scare monger.

Last week Persija played Persib and a few fans were caught carrying weapons. Out of 35,000 you're always gonna find twats, I'm not condoning this.

If they wanna cover football then fine, do so. Over 500 Persis fans who travelled to their final game of the season against Persikota. Give some analysis of the Malang gob fest but in context of existing FIFA statutes. (Not like this where they get basic facts wrong*). Look at why Indonesian players and coaches aren't going abroad. Will Pelita Jaya escape relegation and why? Mix it up a bit.

At least we have the Jakarta Globe

* The Malang meeting cannot change anything. It can only make recommendation which the FA can accept or reject as they wish.

UPDATE - They have done good pieces in the past. This is a goodie about Bonek while the same edition also looked at Aremania, the fans from Arema.


Goin' Down, Stayin' Up

15 - Persisam 24 8 5 11 23-31 29 WLWLL
16 - Pelita Jaya 26 6 8 12 25-35 26 WWWLL
17 - Persik 25 6 7 12 30-45 25 LLLWL
18 - Persitara 26 5 5 16 24-43 20 LLDLL

Momentum is with Pelita Jaya now that Redouane Boukaroui has been rattling in the goals of late but they will find it hard to continue that fine form when they hit Malang for two games. First today they play a Persema who won last time out breaking four straight defeats that had seen them look nervously at the pack down below.

Subangkit's men sit 6th but they are only eight points clear of the pack so they can not breathe easily themselves.

Persik today host Persija wondering what has happened. Back in December they were at the other end of the table but they have been leaking goals alarmingly and now have the worst defence in the league. Difficult to halt sides, especially this late in the season so keeper Herman Batak will be hoping his defenders have their act together today while Saktiawan Sinaga and Yongki Aribowo can do the business should the Persija defence give them any opportunities.

PSPS go to Surabaya today boasting two of the ISL's top scorers and one of the league's best home records. Won't help them none today because they have one of the worst away records. Interesting game for Josh Maguire the Australian midfielder who was considered surplus to requirements by Persebaya a few weeks back and after much wrangling joined PSPS till the end of the season.

They sit 8th but just six points off a play off spot themselves while Persebaya have the same points as Persisam who currently sit in the dreaded 15th position that will see them playing off against IPL teams for the right to remain in the top flight.

Persiwa are home to Bontang and both sides will feel nervous about the run, perhaps the Papuans less so as they have six home games left, including today and no one wins there. Bontang have been scoring goals recently thanks to Aldo Baretto and Kenji Adichihara but their away form has been poor, just one wins and four draws, and their final run in is mostly on the road.

Not playing today but still with reason to be concerned are PSM, Persela and Persijap.

It's squeaky bum time!


Cambodia looks at marketing

PHNOM PENH – The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) recently organized a marketing seminar for the stakeholder from the football clubs involved in the Metfone Cambodian League 2010.

The seminar was conducted by FIFA expert Anter Issaac and Stuart Rama Lingam, FIFA Marketing Consultant.

The seminar was held at the National Football Centre at Phoum Cheng Meng in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Amont the topics discussed were, ‘What marketing is? How to attract sponsors? and what expectation do sponsor need from Football Clubs?

“What the sponsor needs is not the result, but the product,” emphasized Stuart.

A further course on Marketing Plan will be organized in these few months.


1. KHOV CHHAY, Marketing, National Defense Ministry FC

2. TEP LONG RACHANA, Manager, National Defense Ministry FC

3. YEP PHIRUM, Chief coach, Prek Pra Keila FC

4. PHAN CHAN PHAT, Assistant Coach, Kirivong Sok Sen Chey FC

5. DAMAGU DU SOLOMON, Chief coach, Khemara Keil

6. UKACHUKWU BEZIAI C., Assistant Coach, Khemara Keila
7. BE MAKARA, Manager, Phnom Penh Crown

8. OK SAMNANG, General Secretary, Preah Khan Reach
9. BUN PICH MONY, General Secretary, Build Bright United

10. LAM TINY, General Secretary, Naga Corp

11. VAN DARA, Wat Phnom

12, NGUON KIRY, Chief Coach, Chhma Khmao

13. TEP PHANY, Media Officer, FFC

COMMENT - love the fact that there were five coaches in attendance. As if the poor buggers haven't got enough to do with making sure errant players catch the bus on time and mark the right geezer at set pieces, now they have to hand out leaflets and dress up as the club mascot!


Are you good enough for our gang?

AFC is tightening the requirements of clubs who wish to compete in its flagship competitions the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup.

Club Licensing Manual

Among the criteria:
Approved Youth Development Programme
Youth Teams
Medical Care of Players
Written Player Contracts
Approved Stadiums
Training Facilities
Club Offices & Officials
Transparent Club Ownership

Club Licensing Regulation

Of course this is all fine and huky dory and assumes the National Association is competent. But what happens when they aren't? Why no regulations about local/national government involvement? How about speeding up the appeals process when players/coaches don't get paid on time? How about suspending national associations/clubs that serially offend with non payment? How about a regulation outlawing corporate names of clubs*?

* Unlikely I know in the short term.


On the road again

Another long weekend means the missus has given me permission to get out and about for a couple of days. But the question is where?

It's FA Cup semi final second leg day in Malaysia on Saturday with Negeri Sembilan at home to Selangor looking particularly tasty. Holders Selangor are 2-1 down from the first leg...

In Singapore Sengkang Punggol host Albirex Niigata tomorrow while Home United mix it with Geylang United. I enjoyed watching Sengkang Punggol when they hosted SAFFC. They had something about them. On Friday has the talk of the town, lah, Etoile take on Balestier Khalsa.

The highlight in Thailand is probably the Chonburi Derby between Pattaya United and Chonburi while my 'local' team Thai Port play the Police. But will the airport be left open as Thaksin's own fan club get excited in Bangkok. He must have his money back guys mustn't he?

Closer to home Persebaya are at home to Persija in one of Indonesia's 'classic' fixtures. Pelita Jaya will be looking for a fourth, or fifth depending on today's result, straight win in Malang against leaders Arema.

Further afield in Myanmar early leaders Zeyar Shwe Myay are up against Delta United while Manaw Myay play Kanbawza. And in Cambodia NDM welcome Kirivong Sok Sen Chey and Wat Phnom play Prek Pra Keila, both at the Olympic Stadium on the same day in Phnom Penh.

All will be revealed on the morrow.


Indonesia Premier League - The Final Day

Well, not quite. One game outstanding to be played today between PSBL and Perseram.

Persikabo v Persipasi 3-3
Semen Padang v Persih 1-0
PSMS v Persires 1-0
Persiraja v PSAP 0-0

1 - Semen Padang 20 12 6 2 33-13 42
2 - Persipasi 20 11 4 5 34-21 37

Heartbreak for Persikabo as they came from 3-1 down at home to snatch a late, late equaliser but it wasn't enough to secure a play off spot. Next time pay your players! Crowd trouble in Aceh at the game between Persiraja and PSAP. Aceh is the province that has Islamic sharia law where unmarried couples caught snogging can be beaten with a cane so it's refreshing to see the holier than thou morality bullies can't handle a bunch of football scamps!

Persikota v Persikab 0-0
Persiba v Mitra Kukar 2-2
Pro Duta v Deltras 1-0
Persidafon v PPSM 4-0
Gresik United v PSIS 2-0

1 - Persidafon 20 13 3 4 51-12 42
2 - Persiba Bantul 20 11 4 5 33-16 37
3 - Deltras 20 11 4 5 21-16 37

14 goals in two games for Persidafon as they finished top of group two. Elie Aiboy among the goals. Surprise results for Persiba and Deltras. OK, job done, they reached the play offs but Persidafon showed professionalism by mullering their 'weaker' opponent.

PSIM v Persiku 1-1
PSS v PSIR 2-1
Persipro v Perseman 1-0
Persigo v PSMP 3-0

1 - Persiram 19 13 2 4 33-15 41
2 - Persibo 20 12 1 7 31-17 37
3 - PSMP 20 11 0 9 25-20 33

So the above eight teams will go into the play off to be played somewhere at sometime.

Persita, Persikabo, Persikab and Persipro will join the above eight and enter the draw for the Indonesia Cup which will be made tomorrow in Surabaya. And in true Sky Sports style I will be there reporting live as the draw is made.

No, no I won't.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Results 30/03 - Arema comfortable in front of President

AFC Champions League

Persipura v Kashima Antlers 1-3 (Yustinus Pae;) 732

Indonesia Super League

Arema v Persitara 2-0 (M Riduan, Dendi Santoso) 33,693

Probably the first ISL game seen by President, the man himself was seen going up to the ticket office to buy a ticket along with his entourage then entering the stadiu. Before the game he was introduced to both teams, Noh Alam Shah greeting him with a Thai style wai.

Comfortable for Arema but Persitara have improved since the first half of the season. Problem is their results are poorer. Diego Mendieta has added a bit of quality up front meaning Prince Kabir Bello has more space. Meanwhile Oktavianus has natural pace to burn. It was never gonna be enough against Arema, but if only Persitara had those players at the start of the season.

They have eight games left and remain rooted to the bottom of the table ten points from safety. A big ask for a team who have only won five games all season. The one thing in their favour is that five of their remaining games are at home.


Beijing Guo'an v Gombak United 1-0 (Wang Hao) 971

Malaysia FA Cup

Selangor v Negeri Sembilan 1-2
Ternegganu v Kedah 0-2

Advantage with the home sides in the second legs at the weekend? It would appear so...


Early memories of South East Asian football

I first hit this region in 1987 as a callow, skinny youth off to Australia. At that time I envisaged 12 months away from home before returning to follow the Arsenal over land and sea, and Leicester, but that never happened did it?

I spent a week in Yogyakarta staying at a hotel by the main railway station. I used to eat at a warung up there and talk to some of the local lads. We would talk football and I remember them telling me that the fans from Surabaya were the most notorious.

12 months later I was in Singapore and visited a small shop called La Vanita which is still there, in the same location. I picked up a couple of Singapore football magazines and recall reading aout Fandi Ahmad and a team called Pioneer Arsenal. Sad to say the mags have long gone.

Four years later I was in nearby Solo, funnily enough I have pictures of me at the station wearing a St George shirt (cheers Andy Harper) and in my wanderinsg round the town stumbled across the Sriwedari Stadium. Little knowing of course that my mate Isman Jasulmai, now Persis Solo coach, played their for the now defunct Arseto.

I moved across Java and eventually caught a flight to Singapore. There were some Cup semis being held at the time, July 1991, played at a pre refurbished Jalan Besar Stadium. Geylang were one of the other teams, the other I don't know. I did once ask Fandi Ahmad if he knew but he couldn't remember...he may not even have been there at the time.
It wasn't long before I moved to Thailand. There was a league of sorts but I found it difficult to get excited about teams like SET, KTB, TFB or Army. TFB or Thai Farmers Bank was where I kept my few satang and at that time they were quite a power in Asian football. The Thais had put up an impressive showing at the Asian Games in Hiroshima and hopes were high that they would soon be qualifying fr the World Cup.

Thai Farmers Bank had a retail outlet in Siam Square and I would occassionally wander in their to see what they had. A few pennants and t shirts was about it.

I kept meaning to catch a domestic league game but could never really be bothered until I finally decided to take in an international. Thailand played South Korea in 1997 in a qualifying match, the Koreans won and that was my first game in the country. Funnily enough Chonburi Dale was at the same game and it was his first too.

Back then most of us never bothered with trivia like work permits so every month we would have to go one visa runs to Malaysia. One trip I picked up an interesting book about the Malaysia Cup, again now sadly lost, and I always promised myself I would time a visa run around a game there. Every trip I would try and find fixtures but it never happened.

Sadly did walk to the stadiums in both Kota Bahru and Penang but never saw any games until last year.

And that was it. Local football was never really on the radar for the rest of my stay here. I met a couple of Persebaya fans when I lived there but could never find the time to see a game. It wasn't until 2005, watching a game in a bar between Arema and Persija that I decided I was missing out on something.

Hence Jakarta Casual was born...


Get your matchday programme!

Chonburi were early pacesetters in the region for match day programmes, the buggers even do them for some away games! You can now read the programme on line as a .pdf file here. Well, if you can't read Thai you can still look at the pictures.

Arema host Persitara today in the ISL and there programme is already on line. Download it here but you need to be able to read .rar which I can't for some reason.

As of now you can't access Etoile programmes on line but I'm sure it won't be long.

Now how long will it be before these guys offer subscriptions. 'Cos I tell you what guys, never underestimate what a fan will spend on his beloved football club.


Results 29/03 - ZSM open gap in Myanmar


Etoile v Geylang United 2-2 (Boujdema, Verschave; Walid Loumis, Peter Tomko) 2,017

Did we expect much else from two teams who have more draws betwen them than I have socks.

Myanmar National League

Nay Pyia Taw v Kanbawza 0-2

1 - Zeyar Shwe Myay 3 3 0 0 5-0 9
2 - Kanbawza 3 2 1 0 3-0 7
3 - Southern Myanmar 3 2 1 0 5-3 7


Another website looks to cash in

Persib Bandung have been doing a lot of things right on and off the field. Now a group of fans at Simamaung website have decided to test the waters by offering merchandise for sale.

Among their early offerings are T Shirts paying tribute to Thai internationals Kosin and Suchao.

It can't be much longer before clubs, even with their apparent distrust of marketing, get inolved as they see the likes of Simamaung and Ongisnade blaze a trail. Or can it?


Persikabo could rue dropped 3 points

It's not often one of the many cases backlogged at FIFA gets acted upon. But Persikabo could well rue the day they didn't do what they were supposed to have done, I don't know what they didn't do or what they should have done (apologies to non native speakers for that!) that led to them being reported to FIFA.

Today is the climax of the Indonesia Premier League and Persikabo must win today, at home to Persipasi, to secure a place in the promotion play offs. But for them dropped points they could relax a bit against a Persipasi side assured of second place.

Despite the import of the game, at least to the Persikabo fans, don't expect to hear too much about it. ISL Leaders take centre stage when they host Persitara in front of Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono while Persipura host Kashima Antlers in the AFC Champions League.

And I have a day job so can't get to any bloody game...

Monday, March 29, 2010


Special Football Congress

The stale, fetid aroma of politics will hang over Indonesian football for the next couple of days as a special conference gets under way in Malang.

Nearly everyone agrees things ain't rosy in the happy world of football and hasn't been for some time. What has changed recently is the level of debate has intensified, especially over the last few months.

This year Indonesia failed to qualify for the Asian Cup. Last year they managed to lose to Laos at the SEA Games. They never looked like winning at the ASEAN Cup back in 2008 while they hosted the Asian Cup in 2007 but never looked like getting out of the group stage. Indonesia's World Cup ambitions ended 3 years ago. There was another flop at the 2007 ASEAN Cup.

Then there's the local level. And not all these points may be brought up, I have no idea what the schedule is.

In one province the police chief has threatened to arrest match officials he thinks aren't fair; punishments imposed by the disciplinary commission are overturned; there are still occassional outbreaks of serious crowd disorder; there was the World Cup bid. And there's more.

But football has been in a rut for years. Why now? The media have really turned on the FA over recent weeks. The President has had his say and indeed will be in Malang to see Arema take on Pelita Jaya. And now we have this special congress.

Who knows what goes on behind the scenes here? One thing is clear though. If FIFA even whiffs political interference in the FA they could well start the process of suspending Indonesia from all competitive football. Just months after accepting their WC bid.

God knows how and when FIFA decide to act. There are thought to be dozens of complaints piling up in Geneva against teams from disgruntled players seeking outstanding payments. They turned a blind eye while the FA chief was in jail.

Football is political here, there is no getting away from it. The clubs rely on local governments for subsidies!

I don't know what people hope to achieve over the next couple of days. If the FA have the support of the regional FAs then nothing will change. The media will have had their headlines, they will move on to something else. Ex players will stil complain away in the background, sad old gits like me will still be writing drivel and nothing will change.

Hopefully the Jakarta Globe will provide some coverage of the events in Malang.


Sorry. Etoile again.

No, I am not getting any commission from the Frenchies. I'm getting no kisses, letters, toast or fries.

They have one guy from the Supporters Club over on Kallang Roar talking to the guys on the board. He's giving them information, answering questions, trying to get people to come along and support the club.

Now you could argue that as a new club they should be pulling out all the stops to attract attention and I would agree wholeheartedly.

You know where I'm going with this, doncha...

Why haven't the local clubs been doing this? For now those clubs who do seem to have a supporters club operate very secretivly. Information can be hard to find, it all seems cliquey, Don Corleone would be proud.

Tonight Etoile take on Geylang United. With ticket prices at a tenner tonight will anyone turn up? Will the French team see any benefit from their on line presence? Will the green shirted automatons who follow Geylang United fill the Queenstown night sky wth chants of Defend Defend while wiping bits of chicken from their mouths?


Sheer bloody incompetence

You don't have to be in this part of the world very long before you realise it ain't Kansas Dorothy.

Schedules aren't worth the paper they're written on. Planned tournaments are dropped without so much as a by your leave.

And now this.

Meetings were arranged for the long weekend. Flights there and back were booked. Flights were booked for the same town as the meetings. So far so good. But the dates for the flights don't tie in with the dates for the meetings!

What the hell? Why can't anything be organised properly? Is there a law that says there must be a cock up in all plans made in advance?


Sunday, March 28, 2010


Persiba Balikpapan

We never get to hear much about Persiba. Out of sight, out of mind seems to be the attitude of the Java based media so many people are surprised that Persiba's ISL title bid lasted as long as it has.

Yesterday's defeat againt Pelita Jaya surely ended their remote hopes but the team from Kalimantan can look back on a good season with plenty of promise for the future.

In an exclusive interview with Mijo Dadic, the Persiba defender, Jakarta Casual TV looks back on Persiba's season and also considers some names for the future...if the new national team coach can make it there for a game.


Results 27/03 - Pelita Jaya revival continues


Muang Thong United v Persiwa 4-1 (Kone, Teerathep, Yaya, Panupong; Rumaropen) 12,000

Indonesia Super League

Persitara v PSM 1-2 (Oktavianus; Park 2) Report
PSPS v Sriwijaya 2-0 (Isnaini 2)
Pelita Jaya v Persiba 2-1 (Jajang, Eduardo; Ariwan)

Indonesia Premier League

Persikota v Persis 1-1 (;) Images


SAFFC v Albirex Niigata 3-0 (Indra Sahdan Daud 2, Niklas Sandberg) 1,615 Report

Thai Premier League

Buriram PEA v Samut Songkram 3-1
TTM Phichit v TOT 0-1

Myanmar National League

Yadanarbon v Magway 2-2
Okkthar United v South Myanmar 0-1

Cambodia Premier League

Phnom Penh Crown v Wat Phnom 8-1 Report Images
Preah Reach v Chhma Khmao 6-0

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Ei - eye - adio - we scored a goal

All my instincts were telling me it was the game to see. Not because it promised to be a classic but because it was Persis and it was about their following. But I decided to go elsewhere. Mainly 'cos the coach didn't wanna be interviewed, mainly 'cos people who did were near bars.

Persis scored. Only their ninth goal of the season, their only goal of the second half of the season. Suddenly that journey home doesn't seem so long now. 1-1 and their coach receives a serenade at the end of the game for point all season.

What makes football so special is that everyone can be an expert. It's a great leveller for pundit, pro and fan. Anyone remember Steve MacMahon last year slagging off Roy Hodgson? Macca has what 25 years experience of a football insider. But when it comes to punditry he is as fresh as a daisy.

I was not looking forward to seeing Persitara v PSM today. I was expecting a dour bottom of the table clash. What I got was non stop entertainment that would have pissed on every pundit's predictions.

Perceived wisdom says that if you get in the box you gotta work the goalie. Persitara did that five, six times. But working the keeper is one thing. Making the bugger move is another. Time and again Persitara got in the final third and time and again their finish was comfortably collected by the keeper. You don't wanna work the keeper. You want him going to hospital with back ache.

PSM, packed with more Koreans than MASH, played the better football by far. And thanks to Park and their keeper they won the game 2-1. For me, a neutral, it was a good game of football but for Persitara, who did little wrong, it was a frustrating day at the office.



I've always maintained there is more to football than 22 guys kicking a ball around. Perhaps it's one reason why I started this here blog. To try and encompass the whole football experience. What boots Ronaldo wears or who do Real Madrid wanna sign just dumbs the game down even more. Maybe it's what people want but that's another story.

Football is a day out. It's about meeting your mates somewhere, having a few jars, bit of a laugh, bit of a crack before heading to the game where you meet the rest of the gang. At least that's what football used to be like.

Away days were always a buzz. Travelling round the country just to be called a cockney twat was fun. Unless you've done it I can't really explain it.

I see numptys walking round shopping malls in Bangkok, Jakarta, Singapore, KL and they don't get it. They buy a rip off shirt and think they're a fan. Maybe the definition of fan has changed, maybe I'm stuck in a time rut and I'm wrong.

Since I've started this blog I think it's fair to say I've met some of the biggest names in South East Asian football. Players and coaches. But none of that has left me with a tingling sensation down my spine.

This morning I met up with Persis Solo coach Isman Jasulmai and we had a good old we usually do.

He took over the team for the second half of the season and he has yet to celebrate a goal. The story behind the scenes is better than any soap opera but one I'm not telling here.

As I was leaving the players hotel in Tangerang ahead of their game against Persikota this afternoon some of their supporters were arriving. You would think that three wins and eight goals all season, you would think the fans had given up. But not these guys. And despite what you may read in the Jakarta Post there were women in the group. And they did seem happy. And they weren't rioting.

500 fans, they told me, had made the 15 hour train journey from Solo for this game. A meaningless, pointless game of interest to saddos like me and gamblers. 500! Home games they have been pulling 15,000. This for a team that for all intents and purposes won't exist next season after being relegated from the Premier League. This for a team that boasted Greg Nwokolo, the Jakarta Casual Player of the Year 2009, just a few years back.

On the way home I drove past the stadium and there was the bulk of their support. Clad in red, sitting patiently outside waiting for the gates to open in another 4.5 hours.

Meeting them, thinking about their journey, thinking about their devotion to a team in terminal decline, that sent the tingles down my spine.


Spoilt for choice

After weeks of no football in and around Jakarta today I have three to choose from. Persitara continue their fight against relegation by hosting PSM while the evening game has Pelita Jaya, with back to back wins, taking on tit;e challengers Persiba.

Meanwhile in the Premier League Persikota will want three points as they too seek to avoid relegation. Their opponents are already relegated Persis Solo.

Decisions decisions...

Friday, March 26, 2010


Results 26/03 - Brave Pipik foils Persita

Indonesia Premier League

Persita v Persipasi 0-0

Good game this. Both teams went for it with perhaps the home team edging it. Antonio Telas was in fine form for them but it was just his bad luck that Pipik in the Persipasi goal decided today was the day he would play a blinder. Good game and a good crowd, perhaps 12,000.

Persiraja v PSSB 1-0
PSMS v Persih
Semen Padang v Persires 4-0

1 - Semen Padang 19 11 6 2 32-13 39
2 - Persipasi 19 11 3 5 31-18 38

Persiba v Deltras 0-0
Pro Duta v Mitra Kukar 1-1
Gresik United v PPSM 4-0
Persidafon v PSIS 10-0

PSIS only travelled to Papua with 13 players. Semarang Dave where are ya?!

1 - Persidafon 19 12 3 4 47-12 39
2 - Deltras 19 11 4 4 21-15 37
3 - Persiba 19 11 3 5 31-14 36

Persigo v Persibo 2-0
PSS v Persiku 1-1
PSBI v Perseman 3-2
Persipro v Persiram 1-0

1 - Persiram 19 13 2 4 33-15 41
2 - Persibo 20 12 1 7 31-17 37


Home United v Sengkang Punggol 2-1 (Choi Chul Woo, Valery Hiek; Farizal basri)


Pay peanuts ... Is the SLeague selling itself short?

Yet again Etoile have been pushing debate in the SLeague. They look to be the first club to take marketing seriously. Now the geezer that runs the club with that impossible to remember surname has opened another can of worms.

Etoile will start charging 10 SGD for fans wishing to watch their games. A membership scheme where you buy a card will allow you to 20% discount on that price.

This in a league where $5 is the norm.

Frenchie says the SLeague is selling itself short and that it needs to rethink its pricing policy and it's probably no surprise to learn that I agree with him.

Now once you mention ticket prices you will no doubt get the usual whiners complaining how expensive it already is. You can bet your mortgage on it.

5 SGD is not expensive to watch a game of football in Singapore. Think about this. If I go and see an Indonesia Premier League game here the ticket will cost more than an SLeague game. How daft is that. Indonesia, a poor country, has second tier football with ticket prices higher than it's richer neighbour.

SAFFC are never going to be able to compete in the Asian Champions League when their taking at the gate doesn't cover the cost of turning on the light at the ticket office.

The usual whine about higher ticket prices is that the football is of poor quality. Again that is bollocks. I have seen plenty of great SLeague games. I've seen plenty of piss poor ones to but hey, you pays your money...fact is there is quality in the SLeague and if people who whine about there being none, and whine about 5 SGD being too high then like I said stick to collecting Happy Meal toys from McDs.

The SLeague don't help themselves with their culture of give aways. Treat your product like that and of course people will get used to freebies. Where's the incentive to pay a realistic price when the owners of the game put so little value on it?

I was suspicious of Etoile initially but now they are saying, and doing, the right things. I hope they're doing something else no other club does. I hope they are tying their players into two year contracts. Some of their players are bound to attract attention from other teams in the region. Tapping into the hundreds of players released each year in Europe could well provide a forward thinking club with yet another revenue stream.

Except the thinking isn't really that revolutionary. Marketing, alternative revenue streams have been buzz words in football for many years now. What is revolutionary is that a pissant little island that has given the world one the best airlines and best ports can't sell its own football and hasn't tried.

This could all blow up in Etoile's face. The merchandise may not sell and the crowds may drop below 500. But they're smart enough to re assess. At least they tried, at least they are giving it ago. If only more clubs followed their lead.


Indonesia Cup

Used to be called the Copa Indonesia but not no more it ain't.

What ever it's called it kicks off next month. Possibly.

It is scheduled to start 15 April and run through to 1 August. It features all 18 ISL teams, 12 from the IPL and two others from the nether regions of Indonesian football.

The format has been changed. Whereas before it was home and away now the first round will be a group stage with four teams based in one sity playing each other. This will minimise unnecessary expenditure by clubs and is probably a good move...falls off seat and sprains ankle in disbelief at the last sentence.

A couple of years back Perseman Manokwari, in Papua, didn't bother playing the second leg of a game against Sriwijaya blaming the high cost of travel and accomodation.

Nine cities will be used for the eight groups with a heavy bias to East Java.

Palembang (Sumatra), Karawang (West Java), Kediri & Blitar, Lamongan, Malang, Surabaya (East Java), Samarinda (East Kalimantan) and Jayapura (Papua).

The draw will be made before the 15 April I guess...

Previous Winners

2009 - Sriwijaya
2008 - Sriwijaya
2006 - Arema
2005 - Arema

Persipura have appeared in the last three finals and guess what? Lost them all.


Fare Thee Well, PSMS?

Two years ago they finished runners up to Sriwijaya in the old format Liga Indonesia. Last season they battled valiantly in the AFC Cup while battling relegation. A battle they lost.

PSMS are a lesson in how not to run a football clu. Instead of building on the success of 07/08 the team was allowed to fall apart as people sat around waiting for money to fall in their deserving laps.

The money of course never came. Their stadium wasn't up to scratch and the team from Medan, North Sumatra were forced to play their home games first at Bung Karno, Jakarta then Siliwangi Stadium in Bandung.

That didn't help. Nor did a revolving door policy over the coach. They changed coaches last season more times than I changed my socks.

A team masquerading as PSMS are back playing in their spiritual Medan but they stare a second consecutive relegation in the face. They are tied in a three way dog fight with PSDS and Persires and the only thing they have going for them is their last two games are at home which should give them a slight advantage.

Today they host Persih. Lose that and everything will be set up for their last game of the season against fellow struggler Persires on Tuesday.

PSMS are one of Indonesia's glamour clubs. Back in the 1980s they played Arsenal in a friendly. Now they face the ignimony of life in the amateur leagues of Indonesian football. Judging by the fans website, they are already there.


Struggling Nam Dinh have a Glint in their eye

Vina Megastar Group has signed up former striker of Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy, Gavin Glinton, to shore up the fortunes of northern V-League club Nam Dinh.

Club owner Nguyen Hoang Long said that Glinton would begin practicing with the team on Monday (Mar 22).

“Glinton is worth every cent and will help strengthen the front line of the team. His first performances have met the club management’s requirements,” Long said

Nam Dinh, languishing at the bottom of the league with only one point after six rounds, doesn’t have to “pay a cent” because Glinton’s contract with the North American Soccer League club Carolina RailHawks has just ended.

Nam Dinh’s sponsor Megastar, a leading corporation in Vietnam’s entertainment industry, hopes the 31-year-old striker from the Turks and Caicos Islands will help the club avoid being relegated to the second-tier First Division at the end of this season.

According to an initial agreement between the two sides, Glinton, who was capped 51 times for LA Galaxy and scored six goals, will get US$10,000 per month.


Le Cong Vinh mulls retirement

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on Tuesday decided to suspend striker Le Cong Vinh for six matches for sarcastically kowtowing to referee Vu Bao Linh in a sixth-round V-League match on Sunday.

Along with the suspension, the leading Hanoi T&T and Vietnam national team striker was also fined VND10 million.

The decision was made based on the league’s regulation 39, which says that a footballer will be suspended for six matches and fined VND10 million for insulting another person by using gestures, actions or words.

Vinh, the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Golden Ball winner, made the gesture near the end of the match at Cao Lanh Stadium between hosts Dong Thap and his club because he thought the referee had made a mistake.

Vinh was shocked when Thanh Nien informed him of the news. He said, “The penalty is too harsh. I am shocked and very sad.

“As soon as I did it, I realized it was wrong and apologized immediately. The heavy penalty makes me wonder about my future. I might think of retiring.”

Vinh said he was not happy because he found the punishment unfair. When a referee makes a mistake, he can be suspended for two matches at the most. But when a player is wrong, the penalty is more severe, he noted.

Nguyen Hai Huong, head of the VFF’s disciplinary committee, said, “The decision was made based on the leagues’ regulation 39. Vinh is not a young player. He is mature and has been famous for several years

At Chi Lang Stadium last year (2009), Cong Vinh points at referee Vu Quang Vinh in the face and hurls insults, but the nation’s leading striker was not penalized for his behavior then

“He must know that he is a public figure and must be careful about what he does and says.

“Vinh is captain of Hanoi T&T and a member of the national team. He can never display such unacceptable behavior.”

Huong said the disciplinary committee made the decision after talking to referee Linh and match supervisor Dang Quang Duong. They also reviewed the video recording of the incident.

Huong said Vinh’s actions could badly affect the image of the club and the league, and exert a lot of undue pressure on referees.

It would have been unacceptable even if the referee was wrong, but in this case, the match supervisor said the referee was right, Huong said.

“Vinh has publicly apologized, but that cannot be used to reduce the penalty.

“Last year, Ha Hoang Dam and Hoang Danh Ngoc were each suspended for six matches for respectively swearing at the referee and giving the finger to The Cong fans.

“The two players were young and didn’t know all the rules but they were still penalized. Vinh’s penalty can’t be less severe.”

However, Huong said Vinh can appeal against the decision if he wants to.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Hanoi T&T head coach Phanh Thanh Hung said, “The club hasn’t held a meeting to decide on a penalty within the club.

“However, I have talked to Vinh and perhaps Vinh will not appeal the decision. I have also advised Vinh not to have negative thoughts of retiring.

Hung said he had told Vinh to ‘stand up after the fall’ and not to make another mistake [deciding to retire] that will badly affect his future.

Hung added that there are only seven matches to go in the first half of the season, so Vinh might return in the second half. He said it would be a big loss for the club.

While Vinh is suspended, the national team will gather on May 02 to prepare for a friendly with German Bundesliga 1 club Frankfurt on May 12.

Vinh is very unlikely to be called up for the team because national team head coach Henrique Calisto has never called a player who is serving a penalty.

Thanh Nien was not able to ask Calisto for his views on the situation because his mobile phone was off on Tuesday.

Nguyen Trong Giap, a VFF official in charge of national teams, said more discussions will be needed on whether or not to call Vinh.

Before VFF met to decide on the penalty on Vinh, he had sent a letter of apology to the public for kowtowing to referee Linh.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, club manager Nguyen Quoc Hoi said the club would have a meeting and impose a severe penalty on Vinh later.

Referee Linh said, “I was shocked at his behavior. Such a situation had never happened to me before.

“Perhaps, it was very hot and his team was losing. But his behavior was unacceptable.”

Linh said Vinh phoned him to apologize after the match. Linh said it was brave of Vinh to apologize, but added that he could be severely penalized by the club and the league’s organizers.

The incident on Sunday was not the first time Vinh had been “hard” on a referee. In the 10th round of V-League 2008, Vinh insulted referee Do Quoc Hoai during a match at Pleiku Stadium between hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai and visitors Song Lam Nghe An (Cong Vinh was then playing for Nghe An).

Vinh had sarcastically said, “Hoai, you have done your job very well” at the end of the match. He had claimed that Hoai had badmouthed him.

However, the VFF did not impose any penalty and only held a mediatory meeting between Vinh and Hoai.

Last year, in a 15th-round V-League match at the Chi Lang Stadium between hosts Da Nang and Hanoi T&T, Vinh pointed at referee Vu Quang Vinh in the face.

Vinh also said words that referee Vinh said he couldn’t repeat because they were so terrible. However, Cong Vinh was not penalized for that behavior.

Many say Vinh has escaped serious penalties so far because he is a big star. Several other players have been penalized for similar offences, they note.

In 2005, goalkeeper Danh Hoang Tuan of Dong Nai was suspended for one match for kowtowing to the referee in a second-tier First Division match between Dong Nai and Thanh Hoa.

In 2006, central fullback Huy Hoang of Nghe An was suspended for two games and fined VND2 million for kowtowing to referee Dao Van Cuong while hosts Nghe An were playing Tien Giang at the Vinh Stadium.

COMMENT - good to see at least one FA in the region views abuse of referees seriously. Perhaps Indonesia should follow suit. Ha ha ha, as if...


PKNS eye glory

PETALING JAYA: Selangor PKNS hope to rule the local football scene again.

The pioneer club side, who had a big reputation in the 1970s, are bent on regaining their supremacy in Malaysian football.

Team manager Yaacob Jailani said that his boys in the Premier League were well on course to make it to the top flight next season.

“PKNS have come a long way and we are leaving no stones unturned in our bid to regain our image in Malaysian football,” said Yaacob yesterday.

Solid as a rock: Yuzaiman Zahari (left) is PKNS’ pillar in defence.

PKNS, who have a rich tradition in the game, are now in second place in the 12-team standings on 22 points from nine matches. They trail Felda United by three points. The top two teams gain promotion to the Super League.

“We came close to winning promotion before but luck was not on our side. We have a balanced side this time and should maintain our position.

“We do not have star players but we have a side who work hard as a unit,” said Yaacob.

Among the notable hands in the squad under chief coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim are former international defender Yuzaiman Zahari, goalkeeper Badrul Zaman Abdul Halim and striker Mohd Zamri Hassan, who is the leading scorer in the Premier League with nine goals. The promising players are Mohd Alafi Mahmud, Mohd Fadhil Hashim, Fairuz Montana Zainal Abidin, Christie Jayaseelan and P. Rajesh.

“PKNS were the powerhouse of Malaysian football at one time and we had an abundance of talent, among them Reduan Abdullah, Santokh Singh and the late Mohktar Dahari and R. Arumugan.

“We hope to regain our top status,” said Yaacob.

PKNS play against Harimau Muda at the Hang Tuah Stadium in Malacca tomorrow.


Hunting in pairs

Every good team needs a strike partnership. Two guys who can be relied upon to hit the net regularly. Or do they? This list shows clubs with high scoring strikers and where they sit in the table.

3 - Persipura (Alberto Goncalves 16, Boaz Solossa 11)
4 - Persib (Christian Gonzales 15, Hilton Moriera 10)
9 - PSPS (M Isnaini 11, Herman Dzumafo 10)
11 - Bontang (Kenji Adichihara 11, Aldo Baretto 10)
12 - Persiwa (Eric Weeks 12, Boakay Eddie Foday 11)


Bulls leave it late

Gombak United slipt into second place in the SLeague after overcoming Young Lions last night. Goals from Chang Jo Yoon and Fazrul Nawaz put the Bulls ahead of highflying Balestier Khalsa and Etoile, just a point behind Tampines Rovers


We'll Support You Ever More

It's not been a season to remember for Persis Solo. They've only won twice and scored eight goals in their 17 games. Little surprise then they are relegated.

Which is a shame.

It's always a shame when big clubs fall on hard times. In England we've seen the likes of Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Southampton slip off the football radar into the oblivion of 3rd division life. Or whatever they call the 3rd division these days.

Funnily enough when a club does struggle badly, as opposed to struggling well, fans seem to find that extra push into showing their support. It's easy to follow winners, to walk round shopping malls wearing Manchester United shirts, especially after they have won another trophy.

But to sit on a cramped bus for 18 hours to see a team who won't win, probably won't score, play a meaningless game against another team facing relegation, takes a certain devotion.

I am so impressed I have just put my hat on so I can take it off to them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Funny game innit?

At 0-0 everyone would have been happy except for both clubs who would have been pissed off at seeing points dropped. At 1-0 after Gonzales had given Persib the lead the Bandung team would have been celebrating their reappearance in the title race while Persija would have beeen pining for 0-0.

When Aliyudin equalised minutes later Persija were made up while Persib would have had a whinge about the space the dimunitive striker was allowed at the back stick.

Gonzales' late penalty sent the Bandung fans watching back home mental while local offices and businesses set about boarding their premises ahead of the brawl that happens at most Persija games ((C) Jakarta Post).

But Abanda's late late header from a free kick was celebrated like a World Cup winner and brought sighs of relief probably to everyone within a 10 mile radius of the stadium.

From defeat was dragged a single point. Meaningless now the title race is over for Persija but after losing to Persipura last time out the performance was much better this time round against a quality Persib side, intriugingly not calling up Budi Sudarsono despite Hilton Moreira being absent.

Good game, dipolomatic result!


Persija v Persib

Well it looks like it's still on and it looks like fans will be able to watch the game. Persija fans at least. Persib fans have been told to stay home or, if they do go to the game, not to wear anything that identifies them.

The police apparently offered the Persib team the use of a tank, well armoured personnel carrier, to go to and from the stadium but that has been rejected with the club saying they would rather travel by bus.

It's one of Indonesia's 'classic' games along the lines of Liverpool v Manchester United. It's a rivalry built not on geography but perhaps perceptions. Bandung, West Java, the centre of a Sunda kingdom, full of pride and togetherness. Resentful of the middle class Jakartans who flock to their city every weekend and holiday with their prejudices and assumptions.

Jakarta is the big, brash capital city. It's outward looking, proud of it's cosmopolitan make up. It's Gordon Gecko in a bajaj smoking kretek

I guess the nearest parallel in England would be Persija as Chelsea and Persib as Newcastle United.

UPDATE - The Jakarta Post is reporting that 2,000 police will be on duty at this game. I would link to the story on line but they haven't updated their website yet. They also say that 'most Persija games in the past have ended in brawling' which is a shocking and untrue statement to make. First define most. Second define brawl. I probably get to more Persija games than the Jakarta Post writer and I rarely even see any away fans let alone fighting.


Time to change the model

The way Persipura were contempously played with yesterday by Kashima Antlers during their ACL game in Japan will have disheartened followers of Indonesian football. It was so one sided it made a nonsense of Fair Play for All. It was like pitting my old pub team against Brentford. It's not a gap, it's a bloody chasm that makes the Grand Canyon look like a bloody scratch.

The commentators doing the game did say that Persipura's performance was a big improvement on what had gone before. Maybe it was but the gap hasn't narrowed none.

Persipura went there on damage limitation. Leading scorer Alberto Goncalves was left on the bench as was the aging but still inspirational skipper Eduard Ivakdalam.

Yes, they kept there shape for long periods of time and yes some of the goals they conceded were lucky. But Kashima had so much possession all they had to do was keep a-knocking. There was no way the Indonesians were going to hold out indefinitly. They're just not set up that way.

The Black Pearls are all about pace and power. They dominate domestically but as they are finding out the ISL is no preparation for anything the Japanese, Koreans or even the Chinese can put up against them.

Watching the game yesterday you could see Persipura's coach Jacksen F Tiago had taken on board the previous thumpings. The only foreign coach to have won the Indonesian title twice had done his homework and had gotten his defenders disciplined. No mean achievement in a lague where containment and sitting deep just aren't done.

As a coach Tiago is probably wondering what more he can do, operating on a budget perhaps 10% of his north east Asian rivals.

It's fair to say that Indonesian football has yet to really grasp Asian club football. It's just more fixtures on an already confusing schedule. No club is built to take on Asia but no club is built for anything beyond one season at a time.

Persik Kediri perhaps had the best go. They won two and drew one of their three home games in the 2007 group stages. But that team was soon broken up at the end of the season when clubs scramble for funding, coaches and players.

Indonesia won't make an impact on the Champions League all the while this short termism, married with pitiful budgets, is the way the football is run in the country.

It looks like Arema could well be Indonesia's representative in 2011. But will their coach Robert Alberts still be there? Will players like Noh Alam Shah, Pierre Njanka and Markus Horison stick around waiting for the club to come up with some cash for a contract. It's nonsense that Arema, with crowds approaching 30,000 every home game, can't even find a major sponsor willing to plough serious money into the club.

Sriwijaya meanwhile are showing what a bit of continuity and experience can do. Finishing bottom of their group last season in the Champions League they are now in the AFC Cup and have as good as already qualified for the knock out stages. The next step on their learning curve will come against the teams from West Asia, and their poodle refs, but for now they can bask in the glory of qualification.

There's another thing about Sriwijaya. They have played continental opposition recently. OK so it was teams from Malaysia but it's a step up on frequent friendlies against your cousin's team down the road.

But until they get serious injections of cash, until they can fill their team with top quality players in every position then the AFC Cup group stages will be about their limit.

I won't menion Persiwa. They shouldn't even be in the AFC Cup, their second place in last season's ISL was based pure and simply on their home form up in the mountains.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Results 24/03 - Another Asian Pummeling for Persipura

Asian Champions League

Kashima Antlers v Persipura 5-0


Victory v Selangor 2-1(;Amirul Hadi)
Sriwijaya v Binh Duong 1-0
Da Nang v Tai Po 3-0
Thai Port v Geylang United 2-2(Jirawat, Sompong Soleb; OG, Peter Tomko) 5,000

Indonesia Super League

Pelita Jaya v PSM 3-1 (Barkoaui 2, Vizcarra; Tarkas) 3,500
Arema v Persijap 3-1 (Esteban, Chmelo 2; Iswanto) 18,661
Persema v Persela 1-2 (Robbie Gaspar; Leanardo Martins, Sukadana) 5,225
Persisam v Bontang 3-1 (Pipat 2, Almedia; Kikuchi) 8,965
Persitara v Persiba 1-1 (Romero, Julio Lopez)

1 - Arema 25 16 3 6 33-13 51
2 - Persiba 27 14 6 7 37-10 48
3 - Persipura 25 12 10 3 40-25 46
4 - Persib 24 13 3 8 38-25 42

Pipat's double heralded the start of a new era at Persisam after coach Aji Santoso and captain Hamka Hamza were sensationally dropped the day before the game. Back to back wins for Pelita Jaya see them start their slow but inexorable climb away from the drop zone while fellow strugglers Persitara took the lead against Persiba but Julio Lopez saved a point for the side from Balikpapan.


Balestier Khalsa v Beijing Guo'an 1-0 (Rivaldo Coasta) 1,668

Seven yellows and three reds as Balestier Khalsa beat the Chinese


SAD Success for Indonesia

Once in a while I've mumbled something on here about a bunch of kids in Uruguay. They're actually called SAD and they are Under 19 year olds taking part in one of Uruguay's lower divisions.
Finding information about them is difficult because this is Indonesia and no one seems to believe in PR here.
At a time when the FA is coming under increasing fire, and I can't be bothered to join that particular bandwagon because it is as much political as it is football and perhaps more so, the Englishman in me is looking for some positive titbits to toss the baying hoardes.
Indonesia had their first glimpse of the stars of tomorrow when they took part in an AFC Under 19 competition last season. After their first game, a 1-0 defeat to Singapore, the general perception from most seasoned locals was that they were crap and it was all a waste of money.
As ever I took the contrarian view. They played the opening 20 minutes with a verve and fluency you rarely see in local football. It was literally wave after wave of Indonesian pressure and Singapore did well to hold out against the onslaught.
They did and as so often happens after standing firm against the initial barrage they crawled their way back into the game and ended up nicking a goal.
But at this level performance is as important as the result and the lads from Montevideo turned in a good shift. Players like Alan Martha, despite a girl's name, Syamsir Alam and Abdul Rahman Lestaluhu had a bit about them.
It remains to be seen whether they will be allowed to continue in South America if the current FA leadership are removed. It remains to be seen whether any of the players even make the grade, a similar high profile apprenticeship saw the best of the best move to Sampdoria but none of that generation made an impact overseas, but it is a step in the right direction.


Arema launch match day programme!

I love Ongisnade!

Seriously, here is a bunch of guys who are looking to tap into the growing interest in their club by offering products that they believe fans want to buy.

They have long had the best football website in South East Asia in my humble opinion. They launched a shop selling club and website merchandise with an on line presence. The three different home shirts have already sold out!

They used to have a frequent on line magazine, I'm not sure if they still do or not.

And now, with their home game against Persijap, they are launching a match day programme. My Indonesian skills aren't the best but I believe it will be available today at the game as well as on line.

I'm not sure what the relationship is between the club and Ongisnade but if I was Arema I would snap these guys up to do all PR work. And if I was Ongisnade I would be offering my services to every bloody club in the country.

NOTE - if anbody from Ongisnade reads this, can they please email me using the address on the Links column, thanks.


Shahril Jantan (SAFFC)

To say the keeper played well after losing 4-2 sounds like the final words of a coach desperately looking for a silver lining amid the debris of elimination. But despite SAFFC's loss last night at home to Gamba Osaka in the ACL he did play bloody well.

He's been around a bit and no doubt like the good pro he undoubtedly is he will be waking up this morning and digging into his Frosties in a pretty bad mood. 'Cos his heroics apart his team still lost.

Shahril has been in impressive form all season with the Warriors leading some to call for his call up to the national side.

Against Suwon Bluewings at the Jalan Besar he showed Asia what a top shot stopper he is. He maybe the wrong side of thirty, or in my case the right side of forty, but his agility belies his birth certificate. For long periods against Suwon, as last night, he held the more glamourous visitors at bay with reflex save after reflex save.

Unfortunately for goalkeepers for every spectacular finger tip save there is the more glaring mistakes. Obvious errors which give this special breed of player nightmares for years after.

No keeper will like to be beaten at the near post. Positioning is half his job, perhaps more, get that wrong and everything else becomes academic. I'm sure Bob Wilson still relives that moment in the 1971 FA Cup Final when Steve Heighway beat him on his right hand side, the gap between keeper and post just too inviting. Come on son, can you do it?

Leaving the gap is one thing. Exploiting it is another. The finish needs power and accuracy and last night the Gomba striker had both.

In all my years of watching football I can only recall three flawless goalkeeping performances. Where everything came off the man and ricochetted away from danger. The first was Jim Montgomery in the 1973 FA Cup Final between Sunderland and Leeds United. The next was David Seaman while he was playing for Birmingham City against Arsenal at Highbury in 1985. The most recent example was Achmad Kurniawan for Arema away to Deltras in the Liga Indonesia.

Flawless in that they got in the way of every bloody thing that was thrown at them. It was a day when they got them breaks so cruelly denied on a regular day at the office. It goes without saying they kept clean sheets.

Jantan, or Macho in English, will not need some geezer with a laptop and way too much free time to tell him what he did right or where he erred. His heroics between the sticks this season for SAFFC will have made people sit up and take notice of the champions keeper. Whether he is able to build on that, whether he is able to make clubs consider taking a punt is down to him identifying the errors and taking steps to correct them. And of course lashings of lady luck.


Results 23/03 - 10 man SAFFC battle bravely

Asian Champions League

SAFFC v Gamba Osaka 2-4 (Erwan Gunawan, Niklas Sandberg;) 3,226 Images


Muang Thong United v VB 3-1 (Yaya, Mohamed Kone, Teerathep;) 8,700
South China v Persiwa 6-3 (Pieter Rumaropen, Albertho Mambrasar, Eric Lewis Weeks) 2,392

Wow. Persiwa took the lead and still lost. Mind you second half they drew 2-2.

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