Monday, January 31, 2011


Indonesian FA Report LPI Players, Coaches

Regarding a few foreign players who take part in clubs outside Super League competition Djarum Indonesia (LSI) and the Main Division, PSSI has submitted a notification letter to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights and related agencies. 43/UDN/19/1-2011 numbered letter dated January 12, 2011 and signed human rights PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid was a continuation of the letter submitted by PSSI on 25 November 2010 on the Premier League Indonesia.

In a letter dated January 12, 2011, PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid to make four points to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Patrialis Akbar. Namely, 1. Foreign players in question had been recommended to get a visa and residence permit (Permit) to play football in Indonesia organized by PSSI in Indonesia Super League (LSI) and the Division of the period 2010-2011.

2. Foreign players in question (names attached) has violated provisions to play in competitions organized by PSSI and move to the Premier League play Indonesia, which is not recognized in accordance with rules and regulations of football from both the AFC and FIFA PSSI as well as from the 8 and 9 January 2011.

3. That the existence of the Premier League Indonesia (LPI), not only disturb the development of the national football, but also threaten Indonesia in the international football for opposing the rules and regulations issued by the AFC and FIFA.

4. Based on the above, then we hereby declare that the recommendations given to the player is removed and no longer guarantee the presence of foreign players in Indonesia, and please be followed up in accordance with applicable law.

Letter to Minister of Justice and Human Rights Patrialis Akbar was forwarded to several agencies, including Director General of Immigration in Jakarta and the Head of Immigration Office in Indonesia. In the attachment the second letter submitted to the Minister of Justice and Human Rights Patrialis Akbar was assigned to the names of 11 players and coaches who obtained his visa and Permits by PSSI.

The 11 players and coaches are, Javier Leopoldo Roca Sepulveda (Chile's national origin / now playing in Batavia FC), Na Byung Yul (Korea / Persibo Bojonegoro), Eugene Dadi (Australia / Persibo Bojonegoro), Kim Kang-Hyun (South Korea / Persibo), Carlos Eduardo Bizarro (Brazil / Persibo), Li Zhying (China / Persibo), Timo Susilo Scheunemann (Germany / Persema Malang), Robert Mark Gaspar (Australia / Persema Malang), Seme Patrik Pierre (Cameroon / Persema Malang), Guybertrand Ngon Mamoun (Cameroon / Persema Malang), and Takpor John Sonkaliey (Liberia / Persebaya 1927).

Among the 11 names on there who have for years lived in Indonesia to have to extend her visa and Permit, including Javier Rocha. However, visas and residence permits Javier Roca is up, the last dated 10 October 2010. Likewise, the visa and residence permit Na Byung Yul, has run out on 23 September 2010.

Eugene Dadi, of Australia, including the already over-stay. He had obtained a visa but not taking care of a residence permit or a Permit. Eugene Dadi is certainly not going to get a residence permit because he did not have the IMTA or Permit Foreign Labor Employer. Ngon Mammoun and Takpor John also has not obtained a residence permit. (Adi)

This post comes from PSSI website and is translated by Google

COMMENT - players and coaches listed above had initially been registered for Indonesia Super League or Divisi Utama teams before lining up with Liga Primer Indonesia teams. Nobody mentioned from PSM. yet!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


NJ Mania's Divided Loyalty

NJ Mania are the lads who followed Persitara Jakarta Utara. A rowdy, boisterous bunch they now also follow Batavia Union in the breakaway Liga Primer Indonesia.

I saw Persitara play Persiraja the pther day and there was a healthy turn out of NJ Mania even though the core, them with the drums, turned up halfway through the first half.

Days later and I saw Batavia Union taking on Solo and again the NJ Mania were out in force. Arriving late of course.

Next weekend will see them facing a dilemma. Batavia Union are scheduled to host PSM in the LPI while Persitara host Persires at the Tugu Satdium.

Which game will they opt for?

And turn up late?


A Tale Of Two Reactions

A small disturbance at the end of yesterday's game between Persija and Persijap was instructive. Earlier in the game there had been a loud speaker announcement telling fans not to celebrate goals with flares after play head been momentarily held up following Persija taking the lead.

Tensions obviously got a bit high in the end behind one goal and at the end of the game there was something going on at the back of the enclosure. The police were straight in there, segregating, breaking up the crowd. Moments later another surge and they responded with some baton swings.

The point is a potential flash point was spotted and quick reactions by the police prevented it getting out of hand.

Now compare this with last week at the Persib v Arema game. A few lads climbing on the fence requires some stern words but little else. They didn't even get that. Security just waved their arms a bit while backing off.

Emboldened some lads behind started chucking things on to the pitch. The play was held up and we all thought that the police would have this minor incident under control in minutes. They didn't. More fans started chucking things onto the pitch and sporadic outbreaks of disorder spread to behind the goal where fires were lit on the terraces and a few youths climbed over the fence and on to the pitch, throwing rocks at the retreating security services.

There is a science to crowd control and while I don't know what it is I do know after over 30 years watching football that a firm and speedy reaction can prevent tiny incidents from getting put of hand.

Check out this picture. How many police do you see and which way are they facing?

One person said yesterday's reaction was over the top. Maybe. Maybe the ideal would be something just as firm but less violent.

Golly, I can't believe I'm writing good things about policing at football matches.


Results 29/01

Indonesia Super League

Persija v Persijap 3-0 (M Nasuha, Agu Casmir, Oliver Markor) 10,230 Asian Football Pictures

Small crowd to catch this game. Persija should have won at a canter but M Yasir in the Persijap goal was in fine form against his old club.

Deltras v Persela 2-0 (Marcio Souza, Cristian Lopes) 8,675

You don't say? Deltras got a penalty at home? One person who saw the game said 'this is not football.'

1 - Persipura 10 8 2 0 31-6 26
2 - Semen Padang 11 7 3 1 18-7 24
3 - Arema 12 5 5 2 20-9 20
4 - Persija 11 6 2 3 16-8

Divisi Utama

Persiba v PSS 5-0 (Udo Fortune 4, Ezequial Gonzalez) 12,153

Comfortable victory for Persiba in this local derby played on Friday.

1 - Persidafon 10 8 1 1 21-6 25
2 - Persiba 10 6 2 2 19-4 20

Liga Primer Indonesia

Solo v Bandung 2-1
Persebaya 1927 v Bogor Raya 2-0
Persibo v Tangerang Wolves 2-0
Semarang United v Minangkabau 2-1

Malaysia Super League

Selangor v Kelantan 0-2
Terengganu v Sabah 0-0
KL v Perak 1-1
Johor FC v Felda United 0-0
Kedah v T Team 0-0
Negeri Sembilan v Harimanu Muda A 1-0
Pahang v Perlis 3-1

Thrilling start to the MSL with goals flowing in left, right and centre. At Pahang. Kelantan to be champions this year?

Friday, January 28, 2011


A Family Affair

Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 01/17/2011

The Bakries, Indonesia’s most influential family, recently chalked up another headline following allegations of having turned the national soccer team into a political commodity.

Aside from having tentacles in the political sphere and business associations, the family has a long standing record as financier of several major sports organizations, particularly ones that organize events for sports that have the potential to attract huge crowds.

Aburizal Bakrie, the family’s patron and chairman of the powerful Golkar Party, is an aficionado of badminton, tennis and cycling, while his younger brother Nirwan Dermawan is a soccer fanatic and a benefactor of volleyball and swimming associations.

The family’s youngest, Indra Usmansyah, is an active backer of basketball and horse riding organizations and clubs.

Despite engaging in sports development since the early 1980s, it was not until 1986 that the family began to seriously invest in sports by setting up the Pelita Jaya Sports Association, overseeing sports loved by the brothers.

Among the association’s flagships is the Kerawang-based Pelita Jaya soccer club, which gained fame
after importing retired World Cup soccer stars, including Roger Milla and Maboang Kessack of Cameroon, and Mario Kempes of Argentina.

Aside from building the Lebak Bulus soccer stadium in South Jakarta, the Bakries also built a 15-hectare sports training complex in Sawangan, Bogor, West Java, in 1987 to support the development of its athletes.

“Back then, Lt. Col. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono [now president] regularly used the Sawangan facilities to train his Army volleyball team,” said Bakrie family spokesman Lalu Mara Satriawangsa.

“But now his [Yudhoyono] supporters often criticize the family for turning sports into a political commodity. Look, we were involved in sports long before anyone became interested in spending money to help develop our athletes.”

Since 1986, the family is estimated to have donated at least Rp 1 trillion (US$110 million) to sports organizations, clubs and events, according to Lalu Mara.

The family, Indonesia’s 10th richest with a net worth of US$2.1 billion, according to Forbes Magazine, was the first to donate heavily to sports, in which during the 1980s and 1990s was also largely financed by proceeds from a government-sponsored lottery.

The Bakries played a role in Indonesia’s first Olympic gold medal for badminton in 1992 in Barcelona when Aburizal was deputy chairman and backer of the badminton association. Badminton is Indonesia’s second most favorite sport after soccer.

Betting on it: Indonesia’s first international tennis pro Yayuk Basuki (right) answers questions while Aburizal Bakrie looks on at Cilandak Tennis Center in South Jakarta in this Aug. 5, 1991 photo. Aburizal gave Yayuk a luxurious sports car for her outstanding performance. JPBetting on it: Indonesia’s first international tennis pro Yayuk Basuki (right) answers questions while Aburizal Bakrie looks on at Cilandak Tennis Center in South Jakarta in this Aug. 5, 1991 photo. Aburizal gave Yayuk a luxurious sports car for her outstanding performance. JPAburizal was also behind the budding career of Indonesia’s first international tennis pro, Yayuk Basuki, who now works as Aburizal’s private trainer.

Despite their long record in the sports world, the Bakries have recently been under spotlight for what people consider as riding on the coattails of the national soccer team’s success to boost both the family’s and the Golkar Party’s image.

The debacle started when the family hosted the national team at Aburizal’s private residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Dec. 20 after it defeated the Philippines for a ticket in the finals.

The visit, covered widely by the media, was made at the height of the soccer fever following the team’s astonishing performance during the 2010 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, although it eventually becoming the runner up after being beaten by Malaysia.

Before the squad, Aburizal pledged Rp 3 billion to be paid out as bonuses to the players, and donated 30 hectares of land in Sawangan for the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) to be used as a training center.

“Giving instant rewards to national team players gives political leaders higher value for their rupiah,” said capital market analyst Lin Che Wei of the Independent Research & Advisory Indonesia.

Lin said using soccer as a platform for promotion was cheaper than spending money on sufficient training infrastructure and youth development in the game.

“These politicians try to take the easy route instead of really improving soccer infrastructure. My heart sinks when I see players being treated like commodities by politicians,” he said.

After the trip to the Bakries, PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid, who is also a Golkar politician, thanked the family for its extensive generosity in helping finance PSSI-initiated activities and the national team.

He also claimed that 80 percent of PSSI and the national team’s annual budget of around Rp 100 billion comprised Bakrie donations.

“The family is where PSSI can always turn to for every penny. It has been going on for ages so I don’t see why people are making a fuss about the family’s financial assistance to the organization,” said Lalu Mara.

Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Andi Mallaranggeng welcomed the family’s financial contribution to national sports, but voiced hope that it was done in all sincerity.

“We always support anyone who donates money for sports development. However, we hope nothing is expected in return for their contribution,” said Andi, who is a Democratic Party politician.

Andi, a harsh critic of the way Indonesian soccer is managed, also urged politicians to refrain from meddling in sports so that athletes could be managed professionally.

“I don’t buy the claim that 80 percent of PSSI’s annual budget comes in the form of donations from the Bakries,” said Andi.

“The government always gives 20 percent of the needed budget while the remaining 80 percent comes from proceeds from tickets, sponsorships and donations from various parties.”

Despite the critics, Yudhoyono and his Democratic Party have also been accused of not being sincere in efforts to improve soccer management.

Analysts believe political rifts between the Democrats and Golkar have now spilled over into soccer, with the stake being a chance to win over soccer fans — a huge public relations audience targeted to promote any political agenda ahead of the 2014 elections.

However, the Bakries and Golkar are unlikely to give up any of their stake during the upcoming PSSI congress in April, which will see a shake up in the association’s management, particularly when the family has had a strong presence in the organization for decades.

Compared to other sports, soccer is probably the crown jewel of the Bakries, besides its coal business. The PSSI has been traditionally managed by both Golkar politicians and family associates and company executives.

Nirwan, a prime mover in Indonesian soccer, has been active in PSSI since 1986, and is now PSSI deputy chairman. Many call him the “real PSSI chairman”.

PSSI secretary-general Nugraha Besoes, who has held the position largely since 1983, is also a Golkar politician and former executive of the Pelita Jaya Sports Association as well as Nirwan’s associate in managing the volleyball association.

National soccer team manager Andi Darussalam Tabusalla is an executive at PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya, the Bakrie company handling the Lapindo mudflow disaster.

The PSSI’s technical deputy for National Team Agency, Imam Arief, is an executive of PT Bumi Resources, a coal company associated with the Bakries. Imam is the key figure behind the hiring of Austrian Alfred Riedl as the national soccer team coach.

The family’s love of soccer also extended to foreign land when it purchased a 20 percent share in Leicester City FC in November through Cronus Sports Management Pte. Ltd.

Imam, the Bakries’ trusted lieutenant in the sports, represents the family’s interests in the club, which is 80 percent owned by Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn.

Leicester, which is coached by former England squad manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, is now playing in the Football League Championship — second-highest division in the English football competition system after Premier League.

Nirwan’s eldest son Adika “Aga” Nuraga Bakrie, who is the assistant manager for the national under
23 team, is also active in managing the club, particularly its soccer academy.

In the long run, Leicester is slated to function as one of the training and scouting grounds for national team players.

The Bakries were also behind the international program of grooming future soccer players held recently in Uruguay and previously in Italy and the Netherlands.

However, the national team has won no international trophy since 1991 when it won the SEA Games gold medal.

COMMENT - the story I've been wanting to write. Well, it doesn't go far enough but it's a pretty good piece from an unlikely source, the Post, and one I have overlooked 'cos I never check the thing for football stories.

A read through this, add in some of my comments over the last few months and perhaps my doubts about the LPI come a little clearer.

The reason I've not done something like this before? It needs to be Indonesian I think. There is a danger at times that foreigners, when writing on a subject, can come across as a tad domineering or perhaps even colonial. Plus the overtly political nature of this would have meant way too much research for me!


Ou Est Les Champigons?

Excuse my piss poor French!

But the SLeague champions, with less than two weeks to their Charity Shield game against Tampines Rovers, have done little on the PR front. Their website, for example, has been untouched for yonks.

If they can't be bothered to keep fans up to date with what's going on, and I'm sorry but Facebook and Twitter don't count, then they shouldn't be surprised if fans, and potential fans, lose interest.

When does the club house open?
What players are being retained?
Found a new coach yet?
What new players have been signed?

Etoile started last season in a blaze of publicity with plenty of promises but that soon tapered off after a falling out with their PR company. At least that got some headlines. Now, apathy is setting in as another foreign team fails to live up to their own expectations of themselves and take the traditional South East Asian path of silence being the best form or advertising.


Hong Kong Lined Up. Maybe.

Indonesia have maybe lined up two friendlies against Hong Kong ahead of their Olympic Qualifier against Turkmenistan in February. The games will, may, could, take place on 9 and 12 February but the schedule may or may not change.


Foreign Refs For ISL

After an initial initiative from the breakaway Liga Primer Indonesia comes news that the Indonesia Super League are considering foreign refs for the second half of the season.

Under the plans not all games would be officiated by foreign refs but selected taking into account the attendance, any previous between the teams, clubs' position in the table and TV coverage.

Might I suggest new criteria?
  • Home teams who have benefited from an inordinately large number of late winners or goals or penalties.
  • Home teams with near perfect records who can't get anything when they play away from home.
  • Middling games with nothing at stake not being shown on TV.
  • Persiwa home games.
In the article the PSSI are claiming Singapore have offered to send 10 refs. Won't that leave them a little short?!


Young Lions Press Release

Singapore, 27 January 2011 – In what can only be described as a major development in Singapore football, regional retailing giant Courts announced today that it has signed on to become the official title sponsor of Young Lions Football Club, a team currently featuring in the S.League. With immediate effect, the team will be known as the Courts Young Lions. The landmark sponsorship deal signifies a major shot in the arm for the S.League and at the same time, a major change in the face of investment in local football.

Courts, Singapore’s largest electrical, IT and furniture retailer, will commit S$1 million in cash and activation over a period of two years. Under the deal, Courts will acquire naming rights to the team. In addition, its logo will be emblazoned across the front of the team jerseys and throughout Jalan Besar Stadium on match days for the next two years.

Courts Young Lions are an under-23 side comprising mostly national players and is the world’s only age-restricted football team competing in a professional league. With Jalan Besar Stadium as its home ground, the team was set up in 2003 by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to expose young players to top-level competition and to help prepare the team for international tournaments.

Describing the deal as one that is aligned with Courts’ history of supporting football, Terry O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, Courts, said, “Our partnership with the Courts Young Lions is truly unprecedented in local football. The deal represents forward thinking on the part of the S.League, and that is aligned with our own philosophy of innovation at Courts. Being highly passionate about football ourselves, we are committed towards using our resources, networks and expertise to add value to the team and the S.League. This partnership shows that brands and the league can work hand-in-hand to create a win-win situation. We hope that this will give other potential sponsors the impetus to show their support for the local sports scene as well.”

Courts’ involvement with the Courts Young Lions is the culmination of its sustained support of football in Singapore. Over the last 10 years, Courts has continually engaged the local football loving community through initiatives such as its title sponsorship of Manchester United’s Asia Tour in 2001 and a two-year partnership with Liverpool FC which involved amongst other activities, bringing Liverpool players to Singapore and sending fans to Anfield to catch Liverpool matches from 2008-2009.

Courts will work closely with Vanda Sports Group (VSG) to ensure that the support goes beyond monetary benefits for the Courts Young Lions. The main objective is to produce a sustainable fan base and to generate attendance at matches by creating an unrivalled match day experience. Activities are also being planned to engage the community at a deeper level and to promote youth development in local football.

Zainudin Nordin, President of FAS, said, “The FAS is delighted that Courts will support local football and the S.League through the inception of Courts Young Lions with this significant sponsorship deal over the next two years. The S.League needs as much support as possible from Singapore’s private sector to continue development and will ultimately benefit from more corporate involvement.”

Ian Mullane, Chief Executive Officer, VSG, added, “Appointing a committed and dynamic sponsor for our club was a priority for us and represents a major milestone for Project Tribe. Courts will offer tremendous value as the driver for Courts Young Lions and we are pleased to have them on board. We also want football fans in Singapore to know that watching the Courts Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium will be a wonderful experience. We are committed to building a community, encouraging fan club membership, keeping fans up to date with all the latest news and engaging with them on various fronts.”

The Courts Young Lions will make their first appearance of the season against eight-time champions Singapore Armed Forces FC on 12 February at 5pm. The match timing has been brought forward from the usual 7.30pm kick-off time for the first time with the intent of attracting more fans to watch the games on weekends. All of the Courts Young Lions’ six Saturday home fixtures will be played at that time this season.

For more information, please visit which launches today.

You can also follow the Courts Young Lions on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Walking The Talk Part One

Ever since it was announced that an outside company would be getting involved in the Young Lions, trying to redefine the Singapore football experience many have sat back and waited. And waited. Followers of the game there are used to grandiose but meaningless statements. Whatever happened to the Strategic Plan for example?

Anyway the people behind the Young Lions have obviously been quietly busy behind the scenes and the first fruit of their labours comes in the form of a new website with a new name for the club. Now say what you like about corporate names for football clubs, I lose track in Vietnam, if it helps ignite interest in the game in Singapore then do it!

Both are a good start and a big improvement on most teams' websites of indeed sponsors. What is convergence anyway, I never did find out!

The acid test comes 12 February when they host SAFFC. Can they put the bums on seats and keep them there?


Australian Memories

Australian Memories

One of the rewards I’ve enjoyed since beginning Jakarta Casual has been the opportunity to run into familiar names and faces from my time down under following St George in the now defunct National Soccer League. Steve Darby, Abbas Saad, Darren Stewart, Scott O’Donell, Scott Ollerenshaw, Les Murray, Francis Awartefe etc were known to me, though I wasn’t to them, through the NSL.

I arrived in Sydney in July 1987 after a month or so backpacking through South East Asia. I was looking at 12 months or so before returning to England, mortgages and following the Arsenal over land and sea. Not surprisingly I have never made any plans since then!

Just about the first thing I did on landing was check out a newsagent. There had to be some football stuff! And there was. Australian Soccer Weekly was a, umm, weekly, about Soccer. In Australia! Perfect for me! I had access to fixtures, I was set. Thing is no-one had a Scooby what I was on about or where I wanted to go. They is couldn’t figure out why this Pom (Pride of Mother England) seemed so keen to watch a game no-one else did.

I had a couple of choices that opening weekend, well my opening weekend, and my options were limited when the staff at the Sydney tourist office had no idea where Edensor Park was. Shame really ‘cos in that Sydney derby between Sydney Croatia and Sydney Olympic John Kosmina was playing and he was the only name I knew after a spell with Arsenal 10 years earlier and an appearance with the Socceroos against Arsenal at Highbury.

In no way dispirited by the tourist office’s singular lack of knowledge, I managed to find out that St George were playing Marconi at the St George Stadium which didn’t look too far away. I went, I found the stadium, an anchor’s throw from where Captain Cook had landed 199 years earlier, and hey presto, my first game.

One name stood out that afternoon among all the unfamiliar Greek and Balkan names and that was Frank Farina and the boy done good in later years I think.

I moved to Brisbane where I took to following the unimaginately named Easts, they were my local team, and the biggest news there seemed to be a teenager named Scott Playle moving to Rangers. I took a taxi one night to see Rochedale Rovers because they had aging Scotsman Danny McGrain playing and I took in the XXXX final at Perry Park between Olympic United and, umm, someone else.

I was back in Sydney in time for the NSL play off final which St George won 4-0 against APIA after beating Preston Makedonia in one of the play offs, a system that left me bewildered.

My first impressions of Australian football was that apathy ruled, there was little info available and there was always a good chance of a row breaking out. I was hooked.

I spent the next few years following a St George who could never repeat that Grand Final triumph of 1987. Who cared? We had Zoran Ilic and we had Don Parkes. The rest could go rot. We had Brighton Le Sands Fishing Club before kick off, we had the police chase us back to Banksia after the game and we had away days in Wollongong. Life was pretty good for a transplanted Anglo with an unkickable football habit.

Memories from them days are legion. Getting drenched watching St George lose 2-0 to APIA with a 40 yard screamer from pint pot Joe Watson. Police refusing to let us use trains back from an away game and John Filan giving me a lift home. Lambert Park hedge burning down. Pele doing a lap of honour at St George and the massed ranks of the Saints Sunday Service yelling ‘You’ll Never Play For St George’ and ‘We All Agree, Ilic Is Better Than Pele.’

You had to be there and I was there. In many ways my experiences down under changed the way I viewed football. in England there was guaranteed anonymity among the thousands but in NSL Australia you were quickly identified as being part of the scene and we all like to belong, don’t we? Players became more accessible and the whole thing was much more of a laff.

More memories. Giving John Kosmina stick at Sutherland during a NSW State League game and him giving it back. Australia beating Hajduk Split 1-0 at Parramatta in front of about 10,200 and the 200 were Aussie fans. Tony Krslovic getting a hat trick in State League. Andy Harper giving me his shirt. Frank Arok arranging lifts back to Sydney with the players after police banned us from the trains. MM methodically removing chairs from the upper deck while I was chatting up a sole passenger. Thousands of Swedish backpackers heading west when 1FK Gothenburg came for a friendly.

Western Samoa playing Chinese Taipei in an Olympic Qualifier. Seeing Arsenal in a 6 a side in Brisbane. Reading about players like Abbas Saad make the move to Singapore, then a football magnet for Aussies attracted by higher salaries and bigger wages I guess. Seeing Zvonomir Boban for the first time as a teenager with Partizan. Watching England win 1-0 at the SFS and losing my voice. Seeing South Melbourne Hellas beat Wollongong Macedonia 7-3 at Middle park. Heidleburg Alexander v Preston Makedonia with a police presence to match Millwall v West Ham.

It had to come to an end of course. All good things do. i finally left in July 1991 just a few days after seeing Adelaide City play Blackwood in the South Australia State League at Hindmarsh Stadium and I’ve never been back.

Football down under has changed beyond recognition. No more games against Fiji and New Zealand for the national team, the Socceroos have an Asian Cup Final date this weekend and the biggest and brightest no longer gravitate to Singapore or Malaysia. Instead the likes of Tim Cahill have become established names in England while Indonesia has seen promising young players like David Micevski try their luck.

My Australian experiences have also shaped many of my attitudes to football in the region I know cover with Jakarta Casual. Apathy in the SLeague? Seen if before. Crowd trouble and awful pitches in Indonesia? Show me something new!

Football is the world’s game because it is so bloody simple. And because it so bloody simple someone somewhere will soon put it right. Football belongs to everyone. The guys who run it for now, they won’t be around forever.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It's Official. Hendrie Signs For Two Years

Lee Hendrie, former England international, has signed a two year deal with Bandung FC in the breakaway Liga Primer Indonesia. His debut for the club could well be this weekend as the team travel to Solo. If it is they're doing bloody well. I never had my work papers processed so quickly before.

The LPI is not recognised by the Indonesian FA and they have in the past threatened to deport foreign players who do sign up and play in it but till now their bluster has been all puff and wind.


Witch Hunt

All the hullaballoo in England over Andy Gray and Richard Keys reminds me so much of this scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail.

Everybody's rushing to condemn and being seen to condemn. It's almost as if they are burnishing their own anti sexist credentials while at the same time frantically hoping nobody has evidence of them muttering similar sentiments.

That's the UK today though. A sad, grey, depressing place where scandal is welcomed with open arms and a silent prayer of thanks for anonymity.


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.


Standards Eh?

Commentator Andy Gray gets the sack for making sexist comments. Meanwhile them lubberly jubbly folk in FIFA shrug off allegations of corruption and ignore the political manuverings of member associations.

Funny world, innit?


PSSI Deny Cheating Allegations

The Ugly Face of Indonesian Soccer
Monday, 24 January, 2011 | 15:47 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Chief of the All Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) Nurdin Halid has denied cheating is rife within the PSSI. While opening the PSSI Congress in Pan Pacific, Bali Nirwana Resort, Tabanan, last Friday, he claimed the quality of the soccer league had improved.

This, he said, was proven by the high interest of the audience, sponsor trust and the birth of new idol players. However, an investigation by Tempo magazine found otherwise. The report said PSSI competitions were tainted by match fixing and bribery.

During the 2009-2010 Indonesian Soccer League, the host team women 196 out of 250 games, detailed the article. Proof of the host’s power could be seen from its performance at the Persisam Putra Samarinda when it won the Indonesian League Main Division during the 2008//2009 season. Most of the wins were achieved through penalty goals. Out of 15 matches, Persisam got 20 penalty kicks.

The club manager rejected the assumption that “non-technical factors” contributed to the team’s victories. “We had the drive to win. All clubs want to win their homes games.

Penalty kicks are just part of soccer,” said Aspian Noor, Persisam’s manager.

A dirty play usually involves 3 to 5 players, which are bribed through a scalper. The rate ranges from Rp5 to Rp25 million per player in division I and II matches. The players on this level are easier to be influenced because their paychecks are often late. In the Main Division and Super League, a player can cost at least Rp25 million.

A player bought by the opponent’s team normally pretends to be emotional, ending up with a red card. Another method is to bribe a player to play rough in a penalty area. A club can also fix a result that benefits his club by requesting a certain referee. The rate for this is between Rp20 and Rp50 million, depending on the bargain and the importance of the match.

PSSI deputy chairman Nirwan Dermawan Bakrie stressed the PSSI already had a Discipline Commission to supervise such practices. “But it is difficult to manage bribes because they are hard to prove,” he said.

Another malpractice uncovered Tempo’s investigation is the obligation for clubs to pay PSSI managers if they want to go up a higher level. The report also claimed the Super League’s financial reports did not meet accountancy standards.

Out of 16 clubs participating in the 2009/2010 competitions, only four are legal bodies. Out of the four, only Arema Malang and Persebaya have Tax Payer Identification Numbers (NPW)

COMMENT - Tempo is a highly respected news magazine in Indonesia that was frequently closed down during the Suharto era.


Jakarta Globe Column

The Liga Primer Indonesia match experience! Pictures from the game can be found on Asian Football Pictures.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Funds Available In ISL & TPL

Indonesia Super League

Persija 2.3 million USD
Persiba 1.87 million USD
Sriwijaya 1.65 million USD
Persipura 1.65 million USD
PSPS 1.37 million USD
Persisam 1.32 million USD
Persela 1.21 million USD
Deltras 715,000 USD
Persijap 660,000 USD
Bontang 660,000 USD
Persiwa 660,000 USD

Pelita Jaya, Arema, Persib and Semen Padang rely on raising money on their own while the above clubs have to go cap in hand to the local government for their funding and that will soon be withdrawn from them. (Source; Top Skor)

Thai Premier League

Buriram PEA 3.63 million USD
Muang Thong United 2.63 million USD
TTM Phichit 2.72 million USD
BEC Tero 2.42 million USD
Chiang Rai 2.42 million USD
Police 2.12 million USD
Thai Port 1.96 million USD
Chonburi 1.66 million USD
Osotspa 1.81 million USD
Bangkok Glass 1.81 million USD
Army 1.66 million USD
Pattaya United 1.51 million USD
Siracha 1.51 million USD
Samut Songkram 1.51 million USD
Sisaket 1.21 million USD
Khon Kaen 905,000 USD
Siam Navy 560,000 USD

I think most Thai teams are privately funded, some by sponsors, some by wealthy owners and some by politicians who have suddenly discovered football as a way of courting popularity...I'm sorry, as a way of giving back to the electorate. (Source; Siam Sport and translated by Vinnie 'cos I've spent enough time on the lappie today)


Good Old FAM

Some things you can rely on. Like taxes, deaths, the arrogance of Malaysian taxi drivers, the ST whining.

After Malaysia won the plaudits for winning the AFF Cup, hot on the heels of the SEA Games, it seemed for a while the stuffed shirts at the Football Association had pushed off the back pages as the nation could luxuriate in success on the field.

But, ever in search of some bad PR, you can never keep them good Datuks and Tan Sris out the headlines for long.

Take for example this here tale of a coach who said the wrong thing.

You know how many corporates like to put inspirational quotes around their head office to gee up the work force. Like Liverpool with that This Is Anfield nonsense in the players' tunnel.

They have something similar at the Malaysian FA only theirs is on the front door and strikes fear and loathing in all that see it.

Abandon All Logic
Ye Who Enter


SLeague Restructuring

With the SLeague due to start in a couple of weeks fans in Singapore expecting great changes following a disappointing 2010 are likely to be disappointed. Tanjong Pagar have returned to replace Beijing Guan but that’s about it. Weekend games aren’t being scheduled because they clash with English premier League, talk about an insecurity complex emanating from FAS headquarters!

With a usual 12 team league, games spread across the week plus the Singapore Cup and the League Cup there will be plenty of football to keep us occupied in the city state. But for just 12 teams it’s a long old season, starting in February and only ending in November. Throw in internationals and the SEA Games in November and it’s gonna be a strain.

Time for me to return to one of my favourite bugbears. The 12 team league with each team playing each other three times is too cumbersome and too familiar. SAFFC and Home United maybe undertaking foreign tours ahead of the season but most teams will be playing friendlies against each other before the season kicks off. Throw in the possibility of Singapore Cup and League Cup clashes and these guys are gonna be heartily sick of each other.

With Tanjong Pagar returning to the SLeague it seems everypne has forgotten last years’ golden boys, the team that never was. Yishun Super Reds. Originally known as the Korean Super Reds the team had gone local and applied to join the 2010 SLeague. There was much gnashing of teeth and thumping of keyboards when their bid was rejected for that of Beijing Guoan.

If someone is willing to pump money into Yishun Super Reds then let them and let them enter the league. Expand the SLeague to a 14 team league and welcome back DPMM Brunei once the FIFA ban is lifted. Their short spell in 2009 was colourful and controversial. And every football competition needs a bit of that to keep the interest flowing.

With a 14 team playing just home and away that would reduce the number of league games for each team from 33 to 26 and free up some space so the Singapore Cup can be revamped and the league Cup consigned to the history books where it belongs. If you wanna blindly copy the English then sell beer at the stadiums and have clubs shops selling merchandise to them what wants it.

With 14 SLeague teams in the Singapore Cup they can be joined by four foreign teams and six National Football League teams. Instead of Balestier Khalsa playing Geylang United in friendlies, league and cup games have them mix it with the likes of SCC and Eunos Crescent. Give the smaller teams a chance to take on the big boys in a cup and we all know what a great leveler the Cup can be don’t we? Say it all the time in England they do.

That’s it. Another one of my Singapore rants over and done with. Gotta say though i’m really looking forward to this season there. Interesting signings at SAFFC, Home looking to add to last year’s progress and will Etoile suffer from the second year syndrome? Fascinating year ahead!


Persib's Dilemma

Persib Bandung are considering their options after disturbances marred their game against Arema at the weekend. Fans, incensed by what they perceived as a string of refereeing decisions going against them rioted and chanted LPI, a reference to the breakaway Indonesian league. If I was Persib fan I would be just as furious at a couple of missed chances when the goal was at the striker’s mercy but that’s just me.

As Persib consider whether they should join the LPI or not there will be one factor that looms large in their discussions. Where would such a move leave their internationals? The PSSI have already dropped Irfan Bachdim from the Olympic Qualifiers because he plays for Persema in the non sanctioned LPI.

Persib are filled with internationals. Markus Horison, Maman Abdurahman, Nova Arianto, Eka Ramdani, Atep and Christian Gonzalez have all appeared on the national team radar over recent months. And of course where would a move leave Singaporean internationals Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak? Given their youth and status would they be willing to risk FIFA opprobrium by playing in the LPI?


Big Names Provide Headlines But Little Else

Supposing former Lee Hendrie does decide to come and play for Bandung in the Liga Primer Indonesia. How would Indonesian football benefit from his presence? It won’t of course beyond an aroma of glamour through having a fairly recognizable face linked with the unofficial league.

Given Indonesian fans’ devotion to Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea it’s highly probable that Hendrie would have long slipped from the public consciousness and it is highly inlikely there are a significant number of Villa fans in Bandung who would make him feel welcome in the city of factory outlets and Brownies.

The Australians used to try attract big name players down under back in the 1970s and 1980s when all we knew about football there was what we read on the pools coupon during the European summer. Players like Kevin Keegan and Charlie George both had spells down under where their presence added a few thousand to the gate for their guest spell but they were soon gone and the fans never returned.

I got to see former Ipswich Town and Scotland striker Alan Brazil play for Woollongong Wolves in the old National Soccer League back in 1988. He guested for the Wolves for a couple of games including one away to APIA Leichhardt at a greyhound stadium. Having seen him play in England I was probably the only daft bastard who made the trip out for the game as in those days, despite relative success APIA always struggled for support and the Italian fan base would not have been interested in a ginger haired Sweaty.

Brazil, like Keegan and George, came and went and left no lasting legacy for Australian football except perhaps a hole in the clubs’ bank balances and it’s difficult to see players like Hendrie, if they come, having a greater impact.

It’s always going to be difficult to attract players to the LPI given the lack of official recognition by the game’s governing bodies both here in Indonesia and at FIFA but one path open to the clubs has been a steady source of young Australian talent filtering north to try their luck including David Micevski and Alex Vrtevski at Solo Ksatria. (Check their interviews on Jakarta Casual TV)

The local FA, known as PSSI, has huffed and puffed about deporting foreign players in the league but even if they do take drastic action it is highly unlikely the stuffed shirts at FIFA would apply the bans worldwide. To do so would be to risk upsetting the players’ union and could open a whole tin of beans most would like kept well and truly sealed.

UPDATE - LPI Twitter reporting Hendrie arrives Jakarta tonight.


Hendrie To Bandung?

Former Aston Villa and England striker Lee Hendrie could well be on his way to the breakaway Liga Primer Indonesia. Well, Bandung say they want him. Hendrie recently turned down a move to Mansfield Town.

If he does make the switch to Indonesia he would be the first former England international to play his trade in Indonesia since, umm, Peter Withe!

Hendrie also spent time with Bradford City and of course they also lost one of their players to this region when Zesh Rahman signed for Muang Thong United.


Behind Closed Doors

Following on from the crowd disturbances that stopped Persib's game with Arema on Sunday night there is a strong chance their next home game, the West Java derby against Pelita Jaya, will be held behind closed doors with the police refusing to give security clearance for fans to be allowed to watch.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Indonesian Standings

Indonesia Super League

1 - Persipura 9 8 1 0 30-5 25
2 - Semen Padang 10 6 3 1 15-6 21
3 - Arema 11 5 4 2 19-8 19

13 - Boaz Solossa (Persipura)
8 - Edward Wilson Junior (Semen Padang)
5 - Herman Dzumafo (PSPS)

Divisi Utama

1 - Persiraja 10 7 2 1 21-12 23
2 - PSAP 10 5 4 1 16-8 19
3 - Persih 10 6 1 3 15-12 19

1 - PSIM 10 6 3 1 13-4 21
2 - Mitra Kukar 10 6 1 3 16-6 19
3 - Persik 10 6 0 4 11-9 18

1 - Persidafon 9 7 1 1 19-5 22
2 - Persiba 9 5 2 2 14-4 17

9 - Marvelous (PSAP), Fortune Udo (Persiba), Adrian Trinidad (Persik)

Liga Primer Indonesia

1 - Persema 2 2 0 0 7-2 6
2 - Persebaya 2 2 0 0 6-1 6
3 - Medan Bintang 2 2 0 0 3-0 6
4 - Bali Devata 2 2 0 0 2-0 6

4 - Irfan Bachdim (Persema)
3 - Andik Virmansyah (Persebaya)


Bandung's Stadium Shortage

Persib's Siliwangi Stadium is well past it's sell by date. As if high fences aren't enough many of the terraces seem to be below the level of the pitch effecting the spectators' view even more.

Ahead of last night's game with Arema, scenes can be seen on Jakarta Casual TV, I understand security officials were reluctant to grant permission for the game to go ahead. But what were the alternatives? First choice Jalak Harupat has a 50% bigger capacity but is currently being renovated.

The city of bandung and it's environs play host to three top flight professional football clubs. Persib of course who are more than just a team for their Bobotoh, play at Jalak Harupat. Persikab used to play at the Jalak Harupat but they have moved to the Bima Stadium in Cirebon, perhaps a three hour drive north.

LPI new boys Bandung were forced to play their opening game of the season in Kuningan, on the road north from Bandung because Persib were already using Siliwangi. The plan is for Bandung to use Siliwangi in the future but their next home game, against Persema, clashes on the same weekend with Persib playing Pelita Jaya.

Bandung is looking forward to a new, oft delayed stadium which was scheduled to open later this year but perhaps 2012 is more reasonable. The Gedebage Stadium will have a capacity of 60,000 which should be enough for the Persib fanatics leaving Persikab to use the way too large Jalak Harupat and Bandung in the Siliwangi.


Persib v Arema 1-1

Sorry, no match report.

Everything kicked off for an hour after a foul by M Ridhuan left a Persib player on the deck. For some reason Noh Alam Shah got involved. To be fair NAS gets involved in everything. If he saw two cats arguing in the street he'd get involved. Cue haraunguing of the ref and then the fans got involved.

A few climbed the fences next to the main stand and hurled abuse. Feeling brave other brave individuals at the back of the terraces and stand threw plastic water bottles.

With nobody trying to stop this nonsense the action spread round the ground and within moments an incident that should have been easily contained with prompt action had led to a near riot. Players stood on the pitch suddenly all best mates, perhaps contemplating how much their actions had been responsible for the sudden departure of young children from the stadium in fear of their safety.

Behind one goal a handful of youths climbed over the fences, unhindered, and started throwing rocks etc at the retreating security forces, attacking the advertising hoardings. Flares were set off and fires lit on two sides of the terraces.

Did the players feel any guilt? Did the PSSI consider this the legacy of years of inactivity?

Chants of LPI (Liga Primer Indonesia) rang down from the terraces as hundreds stood around the field wondering what to do next. A voice came over the PA asking the fans to stop. Please, please, please. Crowd control Indonesian style...beseeching rioters to quit, please.

Then suddenly. Charge! It was like the 7th Cavalry as hundreds of yellow clad security officials charged to one end to stop the dozen or so rock throwers. They of course had it on their toes back behind the fences where they continued their lobbing and taunting.

And boos echoed round the stadium while players and officials stood on the field bewildered.

The game was held up for an hour before calm was restored and, rather predictably, Persib equalised through Atep. But thousands had long gone, filling the quiet Bandung streets of Angin, Angin directed at Arema, PSSI, the referee and, of course, Jakarta.

Another proud day in Indonesian football but who will take the blame?

Scenes of the disturbances can be seen on Jakarta Casual TV

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