Friday, February 04, 2011


Under Pressure

Never before has Indonesian FA chairman Nurdin Halid been under so much pressure from so many angles. Halid is of course no stranger to controversy. He may well be one of the few FA chiefs to have served time in jail for his role in a corruption scandal. Interestingly the FIFA fat cats, them what’s supposed to run the game world wide, overlooked this breach of their own statutes, an oversight they have never adequately explained.

Halid has long been a controversial figure in Indonesia and the chants of Nurdin Turun (Nurdin Out) are a common feature at domestic football matches as well as other less complimentary chants.

Last year the government announced they would not support the PSSI’s surprise bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 citing lack of success on the world stage in recent years. They even went so far as to convene a special congress on what ails the games…a congress rightly ignored by the FA who said thank you very much.

The setting up of the Liga Primer Indonesia, without FA sanction it is to all intents and purposes an illegal league in the eyes of the world, focused yet more attention on the FA as the LPI went public with their grievances and three teams in the official Indonesia Super League withdrew to join the breakaway league.

Tough talk from the PSSI regarding punishments and sanctions on players, officials and agents involved in the upstart league have proven to be little more than playing to the gallery and in the vacuum opponents of the current regime have grown bolder in their demands with more teams threatening to quit the official leagues and join the LPI.

Accusations have been made on line that a game in Malaysia last year, just the 1st Leg of the AFF Cup Final was fixed with Indonesian players complicit in the 3-0 defeat, an allegation yet to be proved but one that has been doing the rounds within the game for several weeks.

Now we have a military general throwing his hat into the ring as a candidate in the upcoming election for the PSSI chief, a job Nurdin is thought t want for a third term.

Matchfixing allegations, corruption allegations, lack of success, alternate leagues. You name it, it all seems to be happening in a rush and, if you believe the political conspiracy at the heart of the dispute then you’re not gonna think it’s all a coincidence.

Being the contrarian sod that I am I would like to balance the allegations in this post, none have been proved of course, with one fact. Under Nurdin’s stewardship the PSSI have sent promising young players to train in Uruguay on four year programmes and obviously some have seen this to be successful with two players being loaned to Uruguayan giant Penarol.

This, and the creation, eventually, of the Indonesian Football Academy, means that at last Indonesia is on the way to tapping into the vast talent pool that exists in this country. It’s a sad fact though that for the players to fully realize their ability they will probably need to play overseas, far from the non technical distractions that so damage football here

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