Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Jakarta Casual Awards 2011

Time now for the 3rd annual Jakarta Casual Awards. A little late this time so if your hols have been ruined by their non appearance you have my sincerest apologies.

It's been another mental year with mental goings on. One thing is for sure. The people who run football in this part of the world do not do it for football. Decision making is not about the beautiful game we love so much. Understand that and everything becomes so much simpler to accept.

OK, dim the lights, roll the drum, sip some water and away we go.


Last year's winners, the Pasoepati, were in with a shout again if only for being the only fans to fully embrace the short lived Liga Primer Indonesia along with Persebaya's bonek. Bangkok Glass support also came into consideration purely because of the bunnies with floppy ears who walk round the pitch and have their picture taken alot. But instead the award goes, for the second time in three years surprisingly, to Singapore. They got an honourary mention last year and they have built on that good work, giving up new years day to walk around Singapore promoting the SLeague, something the FA don't bother doing. So, for battling an apathetic public, an uninterested media and an FA too busy elsewhere the supporters of the year 2011 are Lions All The Way.


The usual suspects feature prominently again this year. Simamaung, Pasoepati, Ongisnade, Pusam and Balikpapaners continue to do a great job covering their team in difficult circumstances. Blogs aren't covered in this section so Singapore clubs are poorly represented as are Thais for the simple fact that the fan sites there tend to be in Thai! Understandable of course but no help to me; I can just about handle menus in restaurants! Anyway perhaps a dozen nutters following a foreign league in a foreign land where a foreign language is the default medium and what you have is Thai Football; a message board that manages to stay current with the flux in the kingdom with healthy amounts of banter and bitterness thrown in. The first message board to win the unofficial website of the year award!


Lee Hendrie came and went but the real story, the only story of the year can be the short lived Liga Primer Indonesia that ushered in a new level of Alice in Wonderland to football in the country with them now the official FA and managing to confuse everybody with their decisions and actions. You couldn't make it up and I'm not.


Buriram PEA have so dominated the Thai football landscape it seems daft to look beyond them. Yes, they have been dogged by controversy and some of the allegations surrounding what goes on behind the scenes leave a bad taste in the mouth. But in football terms they have proved near unbeatable. Next up is Asian club competition.


Another good year for Persipura coach Jacksen F Tiago, leading the Black Pearls to the Indonesia Super League in 2010/2011 but the winner of this year's coach of the year is Ong Kim Swee who led Malaysia to a second consecutive SEA Games title in the cauldron like atmosphere of a capacity Bung Karno Stadium. I dunno what he said ahead of the penalty shoot out but it worked. Malaysia approached them calmly and professionally while the hosts were shitting bricks.


Khairul Fahmie (Kelantan & Malaysia)
M Ridwan (Sriwijaya & Indonesia), Paul Cunningham (Balastier Khalsa), Nattaporn Pannarit (Muang Thong United & Thailand) Diego Michels (Pelita Jaya & Indonesia)
Greg Nwokolo (Persija/Pelita Jaya), Ahmad Bustomi (Arema/Mitra Kukar & Indonesia), Ahmad Latiff (Tampines Rovers), S Kunalan (Negeri Sembilan & Malaysia)
Aleksander Duric (Tampines Rovers & Singapore), Keith Kayamba (Sriwijaya)


Megia Kurnia (Arema & Indonesia), M Nusaha (Persija/Persib & Indonesia), Safuwan Baharudin (Young Lions & Singapore), Safiq Rahim (Selangor & Malaysia), Safee Sali (Pelita Jaya & Malaysia)


He was a close second last year but this year Khairul Fahmie picks up the young player of the year. Such a consistent keeper with a bright future ahead of him. Goalies, so we are told, don't mature till their 30s!


There must come a time when your body says enough is enough. Three players lead the race for the player of the year award this year and neither are spring chickens. One was runner up in 2009 and featured in both teams of the year so far. The other is also frighteningly consistent. Both are very fit and both are excellent role models. The winner, by the narrowest of margins is the timeless Aleksander Duric!

There you have it. Another exciting year in south east Asia behind us and more thrills and spills ahead in 2012 with, among other things, Thailand and Malaysia hosting the ASEAN Cup in December. As ever Jakarta Casual will be providing the latest new, opinion and even occasional match report.

Jakarta Casual Awards 2009
Jakarta Casual Awards 2010

Coach of the year.. Malaysia retain the title.. so does KFC.. our best goalkeeper.. and so on..
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