Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It's All Gone Quiet Over There

After plenty of indignation and threats things seem to have gone quiet over at the PSSI. Three weeks in to the new, unsanctioned, Liga Primer Indonesia and nothing much has happened.

Irfan Bachdim has been told he can't play for the national team. And that's about it.

No foreign players have been deported. No local players or coaches have had their licenses snatched from them. Nothing has happened, not a darn thing.

Apart from a trip to Qatar and another to Bali for the PSSI officials.

Why the silence? Possibly they have decided to live and let live? That living together and perhaps seeking a compromise is best for Indonesian football?

Would be nice wouldn't it? But I'm a cynic, always have and always will be. Perhaps the PSSI are just marshalling their troops for now ahead of elections to the top posts in March. Their aim is to be re-elected and that will require all their political skills.

The beauty of the current PSSI set up is that they care not one hoot what the man on the Jalan Raya thinks. They are irrelevant in the big scheme of things. Yes, they can wave their banners and shout 'goblok' once in a while but they won't influence the voting. What self respecting official is going to be swayed by a teenage street urchin without shoes yelling 'anjin' after he has enjoyed a few days being seduced by the glamour of Doha and Nusa Dua?

No-one is going to have their heads turned by inconveniences such as negative headlines and irate Twitterers. They have thick skins and are so used to public clamouring for their ouster it becomes background music like the hum of traffic or the vibrating of handphones.

The danger is that while they sit and appear to do nothing the LPI carries on regardless and clubs, getting frustrated at the same old, same old, start casting envious eyes at the LPI with their bigger budgets. Good new for the new league of course with a reported three teams eager to jump ship. They can afford to take their time and assess which club would best suit their own profile.

It's easier picking the winner at the Grand National or Melbourne Cup. At least the nags have form. This is unchartered territory for all concerned and for all the hype both sides seem to be playing the game cagily.

It would be nice if the PSSI, ISL and IPL could all live and let live, but I'm not sure they'll be allowed to do so. The continued existence, let alone success, of the IPL will start undermining the ISL's credibility at some point.

It almost seems like the PSSI is biding its time and waiting for the opportunity to play the benevolent negotiator after big, bad FIFA wades in from its alpine ivory tower and demands the PSSI take action. Face-saving all around at home and the littles will shake their fists in FIFA's general direction. It's all too depressingly predictable.
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