Tuesday, August 02, 2011


A Masterpiece Of Timing

Indonesia are hosting the 2011 SEA Games. This tournament features the Under 23 teams from the ASEAN nations and initially they were to be held in Palembang. But then it was decided that the stadium there, the Jakabaring, wouldn't be ready on time.

So the whole caboodle was shifted to Jakarta with Bung Karno (capacity 88,000) and Lebak Bulus (capacity 12,000) sharing the honours.

Which is all fine and hunky dory. But this year also sees the World Cup qualifiers and Indonesia have only gone and reached the 3rd qualifying round. The draw sees them hosting Iran on 15 November which is slap bang in the middle of the SEA Games.

In this part of the world an Under 23 tournament will trump the World Cup. Hell, an ASEAN Women's Subbuteo event would trump the World Cup.

Apparently FIFA doesn't like stadiums hosting major football events to hold anything else in the run up to said game. Which is awkward in Jakarta as Bung Karno is used for civil servant exams to religious revival events to political rallies with everything inbetween. Including of course the SEA Games.

So far the PSSI are suggesting the Jalak Harapat Stadium be used for the Iran game. It is fairly close to an international airport, Bandung, if the Iran team fly from Tehran on a budget airline and transit in Kuala Lumpur.

Another issue I guess has yet to be considered. If the Indonesia Super League 2011/2012 ever gets started this calender year then Persija will be hoping to play their home games at the Bung Karno. But won't be able to 'cos the SEA Games take priority.

For such a football mad nation it's daft the capital city has only one major arena capabale of hosting anything beyond an old ladies tea party.

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