Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Kelantan Turn To Bojan
Reports suggesting Kelantan have moved swiftly to replace Peter Butler with Bojan Hodak. The Croatian is no stranger to Malaysia having worked with the short lived and daftly named MyTeam who were apparently part of a reality TV show.
Last year he worked with Phnom Penh Crown, building the foundations of a title winning team before moving on to Shandong Leung in China.
Butler Reprises Persiba Role
Finally. After leaving Kelantan, Peter Butler has returned to another former club, Persiba Balikpapan. It had been rumoured for a few days, once Butler had gone public over concerns that the Kelantan management had over ruled him on team selection matters.
It was Butler's second spell with Kelantan, who he left top of the Malaysia Super League, and this will be his second spell with Persiba. Coaches at Yangon United, SAFFC and BEC Tero are now reportedly looking over their shoulders in case he turns up their, toothbrush in hand, hoping for second chances there!
Muang Thong Have (Another) New Coach
Muang Thong United have appointed Slavisa Jokanovic to replace Robbie Fowler as their coach for the new season. Fowler was tempted by the dollars on offer in a dodgy Indian league that has yet to get off the ground.
Jokanovic played for Chelsea, but then who hasn't these days, as was last coaching Partizan, a gig that finished in 2009. He is quoted on ASEAN Football
as saying he didn't hesitate when he recieved the offer. He's been out of work three years, hardly surprising, is it?!
Given Muang Thong's revolving door policy to coaches, will he be gone by June?
Monday, February 27, 2012
Steve Darby Rates Andik Vermansyah
When Steve Darby says a player is worth watching then you can be sure he is worth watching. Darby has been involved in football in this part of the world bloody ages; he was working in Australia the same time I was there and has had an intimate knowledge of the game far beyond many.
In this interview
, which the website bill as exclusive, Steve praises Persebaya's exciting young winger Andik Vermansyah and so he should. The guy does look to have something about him.
Now far be it for little old me to put myself on a par with Steve for footballing knowledge, when I say Mind The Gap Tottenham fans will understand what I mean, I first wrote about Vermansyah's ability in November 2008
so I do feel chuffed when a real football person backs up my opinion.
Indonesia seems to have spells when it falls in love with wide men. Elie Aiboy springs to mind as does Okta Maniani who grabbed the headlines during the AFF Cup heroics back in 2010. Back then a few people got all excited suggesting Okta could play abroad...but for me he is not in the same class as Andik.
Persija Coach Quit Shock
Following Persija's 0-0 draw at home to Persisam their coach, Iwan Setiawan, sensationally stepped down as coach. Persija have struggled to score goals this season but their defence has been tight.
UPDATE - he's sticking around!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Tangerang Teams Need New Home
With Benteng Stadium closed to both Persita and Persikota till further notice both teams are scooting round trying to find a new venue for their home games.
Reports today suggest Persita (fans pictured left) will use Krakatau Steel Stadium in Cilegon which is about an hpur and a half west of Tangerang.
Meanwhile Persikota are considering a number of options including Cilegon, Padeglang and Serang. Persitara's Tugu Stadium is also being considered while Pajajaran Stadium in Bogor is thought to be another option.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Thailand's New Teams
While I still think no one comes close to Indonesian football for cack handedness Thailand is running it a pretty close second.
Notionally the Thais have three up, three down between the Thai Premier League and Division One. So have a look at the new names in the upcoming season that begins next month.
TTM Chiang Mai
From that three up, three down we have a whopping 33% new names in the TPL next season. TTM have moved from Phichit to Chiang Mai. Sisaket have become Isarn United. BB-CU United and Chainat got promoted the old fashioned way, by promotion. Buriram United may be something to do with Buriram who won Division One last season and Buriram PEA who won the TPL while Wuachon United are just a vanity project by some knucklehead who wanna impress people.
Rumours that Chainat would not be promoted because they don't have the word United in the name are not confirmed; eight teams are United in name if nothing else.
In more news from la la land, apparently BB CU, who used to be called Chula United who used to be called Chula Sinthana who used to be called ad nauseum, will use the cavernous Rajamangala Stadium. That's like, I dunno, say Wembley from England's non league playing at Wembley Stadium.
Indonesia's High Profile Friendly
The new leadership at the Indonesian Football Association, PSSI, promised they would change the game when they took over. They promised a new era of openness and professionalism and they would do their best to improve Indonesia's standing in the world game.
Gone are the days of tedious months long preparations for international tournaments interspersed with promises of friendlies against Argentina and Ivory Coast, delivering friendlies against Pelita Jaya Under 23s or the Army team.
Those days are gone. Indonesia is now preparing for not very much by playing a better quality opposition. Tonight, for example, they are being hosted by Persebaya at the new Bung Tomo Stadium in Surabaya.
A rosy future surely lies ahead for the national team...
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Akiyoshi The Bulgar
For me last year, or was it the year before, Taisuke Akiyoshi (pictured left scoring for SAFFC against Sengkang Punggol in 2010) was one of the most exciting players in the SLeague playing for SAFFC. Unfortunately he couldn't keep his early season form going all year and faded.
But other noted his potential and after being released by SAFFC he has now signed for Bulgarian side Slavia Sofia.
His chance came because, no doubt, he showed a good, positive attitude and even when things were not going so well continued to give 100%.
This news comes days after a former Arsenal trainee, Oliver Nicholas, was released by Geylang United before he had kicked a ball in anger.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Ex Arsenal Trainee Sent Home
News from Singapore
that one of the ex Arsenal trainees who joined Geylang United has been dropped before he could kick a ball in anger.
Oliver Nicholas came over to Singapore to take part in trials conducted by the Singapore Football Association along with several other hopefuls and Geylang must have seen enough because they signed him up.
And now they have released him!
Reports from Singapore suggest the chairman was at training one night and didn't like Nicholas' attitude, instructing the coach to drop him immediately.
Before I go off on a tangent here there are a couple of factors at play here. Culturally it is deemed to be ok for a coach to accept interference from those who pay his wages. Not all coaches of course accept this, Peter Butler at Kelantan was complaining about this issue just last week, but many, especially the local coaches, think it's not in their interests to rock the boat and start upsetting the man who pays their wages.
From the owner/manager/chairman's viewpoint he is doing his job. If his advise is not followed or if it is followed and things still go wrong he can still point the finger at the unlucky coach, saying it's his job.
The other factor is that foreign players, and foreign employees in general, are usually held to a higher standard than the locals. They are in my day job, for example. With the bigger bucks and the better benefits come responsibilities; implicit as far as the club is concerned, unknown as far as the player is concerned.
OK, now to go off on one!
There is a tendency in this part of the world to think that if something or someone is European then automatically they are better than any local. Now that thinking is a crock of shite. Yes, Nicholas may have been an Arsenal trainee. But he was let go. Just as he was let from other clubs.
If he was that good then what the hell was he doing in Singapore trying out for a club who haven't won a trophy in yonks? This is not to slate Singapore of course or Nicholas. But clubs in this region need to get smart and need to do their homework better. Grant Holt had a spell in Singapore years back, came over, was hungry and got himself back on the radar back home; now doing the business with Norwich City.
French striker Frederic Mendy was brought to Singapore by the short lived Etoile, impressed in his debut season, earned a move to Home United and continued to impress. He didn't act the billy big bollocks, he worked hard, annoyed the hell out of people and is developing into a very respected player.
Hopefully that is what the other ex Arsenal trainee, Rhema Obed, will do. He is no longer with the Arsenal just as I am no longer travelling to see the Arsenal week in, week out. It's a different environment and while the attendances may be crap, while the club owner may over rule the coach and while no one will recognise him on the MRT there are people who still take the game very seriously.
I don't know what happened with Nicholas and the Geylang president but I would love to see a player like Obed knuckle down, do the business and, if that's what he wants, earn a move back to England. Then Singapore football can rightly say they had a hand in his upturn in fortunes.
UPDATE - club saying the chairman had nothing to do with Nicholas leaving the club.
Unfamiliar Faces At SLeague Summit
If anyone had said that Woodlands Wellington would have been top of the SLeague at any time during the 2012 I would have asked them politely to lie down and stop taking drugs. The Rams are bottom of the table fodder and have been since I have been following the game there.
But after two games they are second in the table only 'cos Albirex Niigata have a better goal difference.
Woodlands scored three goals last time out against a Geylang United team boasting two former Arsenal trainees.
Singapore's big three, SAFFC, Home United and champions Tampines Rovers have yet to win a game yet this season!
For now the rankings are as follows;
1 - Albirex Niigata 2 2 0 0 7-3 6
2 - Woodlands 2 2 0 0 4-1 6
3 - Hougang United 2 1 1 0 4-1 4
4 - DPMM Brunei 2 1 1 0 4-3 4
5 - Balestier Khalsa 2 1 1 0 1-0 4
Keep your TPL, ISL, IPL, MSL and KFC, the SLeague is gonna be the most exciting in South East Asia yet again...
Second Chance For Persipura
ASIAN soccer officials are tonight expected to deliver a verdict on whether Adelaide United was in breach of the regulations after fielding Cassio last week.
Asian Football Confederation officials tonight told AdelaideNow a decision will handed down tonight .
The Brazilian featured in the club's AFC Champions League qualifier against Indonesia's Persipura last Thursday but there was a question mark hanging over his appearance.
Cassio was red carded in the club's final 2010 AFC Champions League appearance which usually means a player is suspended for the next match in the same competition.
If Cassio is deemed an ineligible player, Persipura could be handed a 3-0 win and lay claim to participating in the Champions League Group E alongside Uzebekistan's Bunyodkor, Japan's Gamba Osaka and Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers.
But Persipura would need to win the Court of Arbitration for Sport's hearing next month - on whether its standing in the Indonesian ``rebel'' league qualifies it for the AFC Champions League.
COMMENT - so we're waiting for some suits to decide whether or not Persipura or Adelaide United are breaking or have broken any rules before making a decision. Both teams could be kicked out which would be hilarious. If that happens I would love to see how people run around trying to save their precious face.
It's nonsense that Persipura were even allowed back in the competition; it's nonsense that the play off was arranged at such short notice and it's nonsense that we still see such unseemly goings on in what is supposed to be Asia's premier club competition. The AFC needs to show leadership, not ponse about with this namby pamby all things to all people.
Just a couple of days after I wrote about Persisam's less than stellar start to the season comes news coach Daniel Roekito has been replacd by Hendri Susilo
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Indonesia Super League
Persiba v Deltras 4-1 (Kenji Adichihara, Shohei Matsunaga, Supriyadi, Sultan Samma;) 3,108
Gresik United v Persidafon 3-2 (Gaston Castano 3; Pahabol 2) 22,200
Funny game, Indonesian football. Persidafon lost two away games conceding 10 goals then managed to win at Persiba, something that happens very rarely. Then lose again, reverting to form. Deltras now in bottom three, eight defeats so far this season.
Indonesia Premier League
Bontang v PSMS 2-0
Divisi Utama (LI)
PSGL v Persih 2-2 (Syahputra, Fitra Ridwan; Christian Bekatel 2) 8,300
Persepam v Persekam 1-1 (Evandro; Bakori) 10,000
Barito Putra v PSBK 2-0 (Sackie Doe, Nur Ichsan) 15,000
Divisi Utama (LPIS)
PSBL v PS Padang 2-0
PSLS v PS Bengkulu 2-0
Persikabo v Persikota 1-0
PSIR v PSCS 1-0
Persis v Persipasi 3-0
PSS v Persikab 2-1
Persik v PPSM 5-0
Persires v Persibul 3-0
Malaysia FA Cup
Terenganu v PDRM 4-0
UiTM v LionsXII 0-3
NS Betaria v Melaka 4-0
Pos Malaysia v PP USM 1-2
Negeri Sembilan v Johor FC 1-2
Kuantan Port v Selangor 0-4
Kelantan v Sarawak 2-1
KL v MP Muar 3-0
Preach Khan Reach v Penang 2-1
SPA v MBJB 3-0
Kedah v PKNS 1-1 (4-2 after pens)
Perlis v PP SDM 3-0
Johor v T Team 0-2
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Persisam's Poor Home Form
When Persisam Samarinda signed Christian Gonzales and Yongki Aribowo ahead of the current Indonesia Super League you could not help but think the club from East Kalimantan were sending out a big message. They wanted to be in the mix when it came to dishing out the trophies and with the aging Gonzales combing with the youthful Aribowo there was no reason for Persisam fans not to be optimistic.
Coach Daniel Roekito must have been history would repeat itself. Gonzales, now an Indonesian international, had been an integral part of the Persik Kediri team that had won the Liga Indonesia as it was then known back in 2006. Prompted by the intelligent probing of Ronald Fagundez they had been all but unplayable that season going forward. Defense was a concern but with the attacking talent Persik boasted who cared about that?
History however is not repeating itself. Gonzales is a shadow of the player he was once and Aribowo has yet to fully make his mark in the. The midfield, boasting the likes of Eka Ramdhani and Fandy Mochtar alongside Fagundez has yet to provide the ammunition for the strikers on a regular basis and the Borneo Eagles return of 17 goals, a total matched by bottom team Persiram, in 17 games is a poor return on that investment.
The Segiri Stadium, Persisam’s home stadium, has not been the fortress it once was. A fine start to the season with wins over Papuan duo Persipura and Persiwa has been followed by a fallow spell of two wins and three defeats and their 2-1 reverse against local rivals Mitra Kukar was their third consecutive defeat at home.
The fans are still behind the team though. The attendance against Mitra Kukar, 14,680, was their largest of the season, helped by a smattering of away fans, and their average remains a healthy 13,500.
Things aren’t going to get any easier though; after a near two week break their next game is away to a Sriwijaya team who are desperate to win the ISL and are rampant.
Hey Big Spender
Another political dynasty is splashing the cash in Thailand’s provinces. This time it is the Silpa Archas’ of Suphanburi fame. The patriarch will go down in history as one of the country’s funniest prime ministers, at least until his replacement came along, but back home they love him as all the road and building names will testify. (We call this sarcasm).
Emulating his one time sparring partner newin Chidchob in the north east at Buriram, the Silpa Archas’ see football as a way to show off their power, status and wealth; all inextricably linked in Thailand’s puu yai culture.
The Division One team have been busy recruiting players including former Thai international striker Pipat Thonkanya and Worawut Wongsawad.
Now comes news they have raided Thai Port again with their central defender Moise Swa (pictured top left flat out) joining the revolution going on in the wild west.
As with the Chidchobs, the family don’t accept failure easily. Will they follow the path of Buriram FC and canter to the TPL?
Friday, February 17, 2012
Disgusting Scenes Mar East Kalimantan Derby
A firey encounter in Samarinda saw the home team miss a penalty right at the death and flares effectively end the game early as Mitra Kukar defeated Persisam 2-1 in the Mahakam Derby.
After the game Mitra Kukar coach Simon McMenemy, posting on Twitter, said that Persisam fans applauded the victors as they left for home.
Can it be? What the hell was going on? You lose 2-1, miss a late pen, their goalkeeper is called Joice and the fans cheer the winners, wishing them safe journey and probably asking them to send a postcard.
In any normal Indonesian derby or grudge match the visiting team would leave the stadium in an armoured personnel carrier win, draw or lose with a symphony of rocks and sticks bouncing off the metal frame.
Clapped away? Next they'll be handing out flowers...bless my soul, whatever next?
Home Is Usually Far Away
A rare event for fans of Persija this weekend. They get to see a play in the proper stadium. Sunday sees them away to Arema, struggling this season, and normally, given the love in between both sets of supporters, a large crowd would be expected.
But Arema ain't doing too well and are second bottom of the table. Their win against PSPS attracted just over 5,000 and that was one of their larger attendances.
But check out Persija's last few games;
A Persela played in Madiun
H Persipura played in Yogya
H Persiwa played in Yogya
A Persib played in Bandung but no Persija fans travelled (Covertly!)
A Pelita Jaya played in Solo
Persija have played just two home games in front of their normal crowd this season and they were back in December! At least, after Arema away, they have three consecutive home games which, rumour has it, could well be played in Jakarta!
Picture comes from Persidafon at home played in December. It was the last time Persija played in Jakarta
Malaysian Clubs Accused Of Match Fixing
Here we go again. Just when the national team was doing so well, back home in Malaysia the ugly spectre of match fixing is rearing its ugly head again with a number of teams in the Malaysian Premier league being investigated.
Pos Malaysia, MP Muar and NS Betaria, interesting name (!), are being looked at according to this report
Two of the clubs seem to be having their arms outstretched as if to say what have I done.
I had planned on covering a lot more Malaysian football but now wondering if it's worth it.
I'm not naive. I know games are fixed in this part of the world be it through intimidation of match officials or plain simple fixing the result in advance. I've seen 14 minutes of injury time just so the home game can get a point from a game they deserved to lose.
Intimidating officials is quite an easy one to see through. For serial offenders just look at those teams who don't lose at home or manage to score a large number of goals in the final moments. Or just read through the lines of league tables.
Players and clubs know it happens of course but players, for fear of upsetting the folk who pay them, say nothing. The clubs of course have their own reasons to keep quiet.
Cement Company Jump Club
Last year they sponsored Samut Songkram, a team from Bangkok's dormitory suburbs. This year they are gonna sponsor Muang Thong United, an ambitious team from Bangkok's dormitory suburbs.
It should be a nice little earner for MTU as they won nothing last season, a barrenness their fans are not used to.
Part of the deal is that the sponsors will help build a new stadium for MTU. They will also have their initials added to the club name, not here they won't, and they will also have the presnet stadium named after them.
I suggest that when Muang Thong's new stadium is ready, anyone seen any plans yet, an Indonesian team buys the current stadium and brings it brick by brick over here...including the club shop and executive boxes.
Closing The Fort
Tangerang police have announced they will no longer give security clearance for Persikota or Persita games at the Benteng Stadium.
The teams haven't met in top flight football for many years but their fans continue having a pop at each other as well as the people who live near the stadium. The clubs have done nothing to stop the disturbances, in echos of English football in the 1970s they don't feel they are responsible, while the police recently got involved in checking the lengths of skirts worn on match day by girls.
It has taken a local religious organisation to issue a fatwa, or instruction, saying that games should be made haram, forbidden, at the stadium before the police decided to take any action. Even when there have been fatalities nothing was done.
Incidents have not been confined to the stadium vicinty. Brawls have spilled over to the near by expressway while villages and towns have also been affected.
Both fan groups, Laskar Benteng Viola (Persita) and Benteng Mania have said they won't peace but if the rock throwing youths aren't members of their organisations there is little they can do.
Tangerang is an industrial overspill from Jakarta with a population of around a million. Jakarta's international airport lies within the city limits, or the district limits, one of the two.
AFC Champions League Qualifier
Adelaide United v Persipura 3-0
Game arranged at last minute after Persipura's expulsion from competition overruled they were never really in the game. Did ok but that was never gonna be good enough.
Indonesia Super League
Arema v PSPS 2-0 (Dicky Firasat, Arif Ariyanto) 5,021
PSAP v Sriwijaya 1-1 (Sayuti; Thierry Gathussi) 6,567
PSMS v Persiram 1-0 (Zulkarnain) 7,521
Divisi Utama (LI)
Persitara v Persitema 4-2 (Suhariyanto, Muhamed, Adlofo Souza 2; Andriyanto, Sumaryanto) 3,271
PS Bengkulu v Persip 1-0 (Abdu Rahman Aziz) 2,314
Persid v Persigo 1-2 (Iswanto; Yus Abay, Iksan Abubakar) 4,963 (LI)
Home United v Gombak United 1-1 (Mustaquim Munzar; Franklin Anzite) 1,304
Balestier Khalsa v Tampines Rovers 1-0 (Ruhaizad Ismail) 1,309
Unlikely leaders at this early stage with Balestier Khalsa blocking out title favourites for the second successive game. Should we be surprised? New caoch Darren Stewart put together a well drilled defence during his time at Gombak.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Never Looked Like Scoring
Continental club football is great. It shows a club where they really stand. Being a big fish in a small pond is one thing but what about against your peers? That's what it comes down to. The hype of the domestic league where you can brush aside fair to middling teams means shit if you can't mix it against the boys from your continent.
Out there in the unfamiliar. Where the pitch isn't what you're used to, the match officials use a different rule book and the partisan home crowd you're used to is missing.
It's when players get caught out. The lazy habits that bring success domestically count for nothing on foreign soil. You gotta stand up and be counted or roll over and die. And if you roll over and die then perhaps you're at the wrong club.
Or you just ain't as good as you think you are.
But am I talking about Arsenal or Persipura?
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Indonesia Super League
Persiba v Persidafon 1-2 (Kenji Adichihara; Pahabol, Rasmoyo) 2,314
Gresik United v Deltras 2-1 (Warwan Sayedh, David Faristian; M Fakhrudin) 18,880
Divisi Utama (LI)
PSGL v Persita 1-2 (Junarto; Luis Edmundo Riquelme, Christian Carrasco) 8,200
Malaysia Super League
Selangor v Kelantan 2-1 (Safiq Rahim, Basko Balaban; Sunbraniam)
Negeri Sembilan v PKNS 1-1 (Owona; Paulo Ferriera)
Perak v LionsX11 1-2 (Michal Kubala; Shahril Ishak, Saiful Esah)
Felda United v T Team 0-3 (Faiz Subri 2, Zailani)
Sabah v KL 2-0 (Rahman, Baird)
Terengganu v Kedah 1-1 (Samsuddin; Muhymeen)
Johor FC v Sarawak 1-2 (Arthur Henrique; Guy Bwele, Azizan Baba)
News dominated in Malaysia yesterday with stories that Kelantan coach Peter Butler could reconsider his position at the club citing interference by the club president. Kelantan slipped to their first defeat of the season away to Selangor. LionsX11 moved up to fourth with a useful win at Perak.
Jakarta Globe Column
My latest one looks at how hard it is for teams to get anything from a trip to Papua. Check it out in the Jakarta Globe
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The Butler Did It. Again.
It started with Persiba Balikpapan. Former West Ham midfielder Peter Butler was their coach and I thought yeah, would be good to meet him and have a chat. But he went and quit the club or was sacked just ahead of their game against Persija in Jakarta. No one had the decency to consider me and my plans.
So he moved to Kelantan. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for that state and its capital, Kota Bahru from my days in Thailand when I would have to do frequent visa runs to keep myself quasi legal. OK, me thinks, take in a Kelantan game and meet the guy.
What does he do but only leaves there!
Then he was off to Yangon United. OK, I never really considered travelling there for a game, not yet anyway, but it wasn't off the agenda. It was all academic 'cos he was soon gone from there, this time to Thailand and BEC Tero.
If anyone does read this blog regularly they'll know I try to get to Thailand as often as I can. But Butler's reign at BEC Tero was short and he was soon back in the UK. I'm not a stalker and there was no way I was gonna travel all that way to meet a guy who played for Maidstone United as well as West Ham. I do have a life...
Anyway he came back to Malaysia and Kelantan and I thought cool...maybe it will happen now.
Will it? Will it bollocks! Earlier today it was reported
that Butler was considering leaving the club a second time, concerned that club management was interfering in team selections; a common enough occurance in this part of the world where a son owning Football Manager is enough for someone to think they know about the game.
The club President is also the vice president of the Football Association of Malaysia so no doubt these twin positions give him a feeling of power in the circles he moves.
Malaysia Premier League
Johor v ATM 1-4 (Hamzani Omar; Hairuddin Omar 3, Bruno Marteloto)
PP USM v Pahang 0-1 (Kockin Boris)
MP Muar v Sime Darby 0-0
Pos Malaysia v Harimau Muda 2-1
PDRM v MBJB 3-5
NS Betaria v Perlis 2-1
ATM continued their fine start to the season beating Johor now coached by Singaporean legend Fandi Ahmad. MBJB earned their first win of the season while Perlis can't seen to buy a win. Defeat to Betaria was their fifth of the season.
1 - ATM 7 6 0 1 22-5 18
2- Pahang 7 5 1 1 14-6 16
3 - Sime Darby 7 4 1 2 12-8 13
AFC Cup Under 22
Group A: UAE, Iraq, Oman, India, Turkmenistan, Lebanon
Group B: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka
Group C: Bahrain, Iran, Tajikistan, Qatar, Kuwait, Maldives
Group D: Uzbekistan, Jordan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Nepal
Group E: Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Macau, Timor Leste
Group F: DPR Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia
Group G: Korea Republic, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Philippines
Qualifiers to be played end of June at centres to be announced.
Under 20, Under 21, Under 22, Under 23...isn't this getting a bit out of hand? The SEA Games, Under 23, were last December while later this month Brunei will host an Under 21 event.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Match Reports I Never Wrote
Since I started this here blog just over six years ago I've seen almost 200 games across the region. I've been to a lot more but for some reason I never quite get to the stadium.
Persipura hosted East Bengal last year in the AFC Cup at Bung Karno so I headed off nice and early to catch the game. Then it pissed down, big time. The traffic was stuck, nothing moving anywhere so I decided to hit a pub instead and take advantage of some rare afternoon necking time.
Then there was the time I was in Singapore for the Cup Final between Tampines Rovers and Bangkok Glass. I went out lunch time to do some shopping, the kind of things we don't get in Jakarta, and picked up some toys for my little Gooner.
I had a lunch appointment in a pub so we sit there watching the golf from Sentosa, the heavy black clouds convincing us to have one more. Then one more. I ended up being dragged round the four floors with my shopping still intact and eventually crawled home abut 4 am. I had to wait till I got back home before I could find out the score of the game I'd flown all that way to see.
To cap it all I got a phone call on the Monday morning reporting plenty of suspicious activity in Singapore over the weekend. Yep, 'fraid that was me as well.
Then there was Bangkok last year. Bangkok Glass v Chonburi; a rare chance to catch up with the Bunnies plus of course see a game. I prepared in usual style at a pub then started getting all melancholy over my younger days in the city and spent the rest of the afternoon, and evening, boring the pants off people of my old drinking haunts. And I missed the bunnies...
This year has been a shocker and it's only six weeks old. First I went to see Persiram and Persiba. I actually made it to the stadium, got inside the stadium and waited for the game to kick off. Twenty minutes after it was supposed to have kicked off there was an announcement; the game was off. Large demonstrations meant the police and other security were tied up elsewhere and they couldn't play without them.
Then there was last weekend. I set off to go to Persikabo, stopped off at a bookshop to buy a magazine, took one look at the clouds, considered the fact that Persikabo had only scored two goals all season and headed to the pub.
There was one more game I never made it to. Tottenham away in 1985. We got as far as the pub, thought we'd have a quicky before the next train and ended up staying till kicking out time. Another time there was an England World Cup qualifier against Hungary. Win that and we were on our way. I had my ticket bought in advance for a sell out and dutifully travelled up to Wembley. Got outside the stadium and flogged the bloody thing for a tenner, caught the next train home and listened to it on the radio.
And finally. I was living in Germany and Munchen was hosting the European Cup Final between Marseille and AC Milan. Got to the stadium, found a scouser flogging tickets, I kid you not, and thought yeap, reasonable enough. Then I thought sod it, better spend the money on a few beers, got a night train to Prague to catch...
Indonesia Super League
PSAP v PSMS 2-1 (You Wook Jin, Camera Sekou; Osas Marvelous) 4,763
Indonesia Premier League
Persijap v Persiba Bantul 1-0
Arema v Bontang
The Arema game was called off when two (2) Arema teams took to the field. What a farce. These guys promised to change the game and they sure are doing that!
Divisi Utama (LI)
PSIM v Persitara 3-1 (Emile Linkers, Lorenzo Rimkus, Eko Budi Santoso; Adolfo Souza) 9,764
Persebaya v PS Bengkulu 2-0 (Basuli 2) 2,027
Divisi Utama (LPIS)
PSP v PSLS 0-3
PSBL v Persikota 2-0
Persikabo v PSSB 2-2
Madiun Putra v Gresik United 1-1
Persewangi v Persbul 2-1
Perseman v PSBI 5-1
Tracking down scorers and attendances for the 'official' leagues is so damned difficult that I don't bother.
Malaysia Super League
Sarawak v Felda United 2-1
T Team v Perak 2-0
LionsXII v Negeri Sembilan 3-1
PKNS v Selangor 2-0
Kelantan v Terengganu 2-1
Kedah v Sabah 2-2
KL v Johor FC 0-2
1 - Kelantan 7 5 2 0 13-4 17
2 - Perak 7 5 0 2 8-6 15
3 - Terengganu 7 4 1 2 9-5 13
Not many goals on the MSLthis season with only three managing double figures so far. Kelantan won the north east derby to preserve their unbeaten start to the season while Shahril Ishak showed that playing in Indonesia's short lived LPI hasn't harmed his career by scoring twice against Negeri Sembilan to move LionsXII to 4th spot. Selangor's poor start to the season continued with defeat against PKNS being their second defeat putting them 7th in the table. Anyone got any sympathy for hapless KL? Bottom of the table, winless, playing in Melaka, they have just one point and have managed just two goals.
Malaysia Premier League
Harimau Muda v MP Muar 2-2
Sime Darby v PPUSM 4-1
NS Betaria v PDRM 1-1
MBJB v Malaysia Pos 0-3
Perlis v ATM 0-4
The ATM roadshow continues even without Marlon Alex James getting among the goals. Hairuddin Omar netted a hat trick as Perlis took yet another thumping. The team from the north west have conceded 22 goals in six games.
Albirex Niigata v SAFFC 3-2 (Okuyama, Soya 2; Mislav Karoglan, Shukor Zailan) 1,614
Home United v Balestier Khalsa 0-0 1,354
So it's Harimau Muda and Albirex Niigata ensuring the top two places in the SLeague are taken up by foreign teams! Shoddy writing in one of the papers when they slammed the game at Bishan Stadium. Not every game can be exciting, there ain't no magic formula. Not even Manchester United can be excellent every week but it seems to be the perception there in some quarters that football has to be excellent at all times. It ain't and never has been. New coach Darren Stewart will have been chuffed at result against a title favourite while do you think, if Home had lost 1-0 in an exciting game, their supporters would have been happy? Course they bloody wouldn't. Football is unpredictable; it's the nature of the beast. If you don'tget that then perhaps you should follow computer games or tiddlywinks.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Persidafon's Experience Not Showing
Newly promoted Persidafon have become the ISL's whipping boys. Back to back thumpings, 5-0 at Sriwijaya, 5-2 at Persiram, have left them 15th in the 18 team league with nine points from their opening 11 games. Of concern to Sergei Dubrovin will be a defence that has leaked 30 goals in that time; an ignominy they share with fellow Papuans Persiram.
Three times in their last four games have they let in five goals; the other being a 5-4 home defeat by Persela.
Moldovan Dubrovin is no stranger to Indonesian football having coached Petrokimia to the title at the start of the century but he is finding things much harder this time round despite having a number of experienced pros at his disposal.
Argentine defender Marcello Cirelli has been around a few years now including Persebaya while Christian Waroboy is an old warhorse who has been upsetting opposing fans for yonks and includes Sriwijaya and the national team on his resume.
Then we have one time Singapore international Itimi Dickson. He played for teams like Jurong, Young Lions and Woodlands Wellington before first moving to Indonesia with Persitara in 2007. He never settled and was back with Home United and Geylang before switching to Persidafon.
Upfront there is the wonderfully named Claude Parfait Ngon A Djam. The Cameroonian international, check out his Jakarta Casual TV
interview, was part of the national team that earned a runners up place at the 2003 Confederation Cup alongside Pierre Njanka and Samuel E'to but has been in Indonesia since 2008.
A successful first season with Sriwijaya was followed by an injury stricken time with Persebaya and against Persiram there were times when he seemed off the pace and it was no surprise he was substituted.
On the bench is the evergreen Eduard Ivakdalam. The former international and Persipura midfielder is one of the most respected players in the country but age is catching up even with him now.
With all that experience and the youthful exuberance of striker Patirck Wanggai, coach Dubrovin would feel entitled to expect more from his team than a succession of heavy defeats.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Adelaide United To Rue Forward Planning
The Australians are still feeling their way round Asian football and how it operates; or often doesn't. Take Adelaide United. There they were happily looking forward to playing in the Asian Champions League when all of a sudden they are being told that they now have to play a play off against Indonesian champions Persipura.
Persipura won the Indonesia Super League last year but because they elected to play in the now outlawed ISL this year the PSSI removed their backing for the Black Pearls to compete, leaving Indonesia without a team in Asia's top club competition.
Persipura appealed to some arbitration mob who have upheld their appeal and it looks like the Asian Football Confederation will allow Jacksen Tiago's men to play in the competition even though FIFA regulations state the competition is only open to clubs who are members of official leagues.
It's a major embarrassment for the PSSI.
Adelaide though, like silly moo moos, only went and booked flights and hotels for their presumed away game in Tashkent, costing $100,000, on the assumption that a fixture list was set in gold. Down Under it may be but in this part of the world fixture lists are just another bargaining chip in the never ending game of oneupmanship.
The sun rises, it falls and the rich don't pay tax. they are about the only certainties in Asia.
And there is no guarantee
they will get their money back.
Now I know the world out there goes into forward planning in a big way. There are big savings to be had on flights and hotels by booking in advance. But this little pocket of the world hasn't cottoned on to this notion yet despite the fact there are budget airlines winging round the region all hours of the day.
There was a case a few years back when Persitara were really short of money and had to play in Papua. I forget the details now but I think they flew to Makassar then waited 18 hours for another flight then transited elsewhere before arriving at their destination a couple of hours before kick off! They bought tickets as they went along and the local media would cheerily post updates of this professional football club milling round airports while their manager tried to scrape enough money together to pay for the next flight.
While I am happy to see an Indonesian team in the ACL I am not clear as to why they were allowed to compete and why FIFA are reluctant to get involved. But then they never do when Indonesia is involved beyond sending a few strongly worded letters and having a few days in Bali.
If Adelaide must play a play off you can be sure they 're gonna be well pissed off and you can just imagine the whining that will emanate from Hindmarsh Stadium (pictured top left in 1991). And if they lose the play off and enter the AFC Cup...oh boy!
Malaysian Team Top SLeague
After the usual pre season controversy and dilly dallying the SLeague finally got under way last night with a couple of games. Hougang United drew 1-1 with Tanjong Pagar at Hougang Stadium. Jordan Webb gave the home team the lead but Takaya Kawanabe pulled the Jaguars level a few minutes later. Just over 400 fans bothered turning up for the season opener.
In the other game Malaysian side Harimau Muda kicked off their debut season with a 2-0 win at Gombak United in front of just under 1,500. Thamil Arasu scored first on 15' and Wan Zaharulnizam made it 2-0 with nine mins left.
So that means Harimau Muda are top of the SLeague and to celebrate I've attached a picture of their striker Gary Robbat playing for Malaysia Under 16s!
Persiram v Persidafon 5-2
It was a Papuan derby in South Jakarta. Persiram Raja Ampat don’t have a stadium that meets ISL standards so they have become a bit nomadic this season; this was their third home game at Lebak Bulus while they have also used Surajaya Stadium in Lamongan.
At the weekend the ‘hosts’ earned their first win of the season, defeating Deltras 3-1, a result that had Deltras coach Jorg Steinbrunner fuming over what he saw as poor refereeing decisions that cost him the match while Persidafon, up in Palembang, were trounced 5-0 by Sriwijaya.
The form book, such as it was, was ripped up as Persidafon raced into an early 2-0 lead. They were dominating the home team who hardly had a look in. but then, inexplicably, they stopped. Persidafon stopped closing down; they stopped harrying, they stopped talking. They became very passive and as a consequence allowed Persiram back in to the game. The passion and fire had gone and they were little more than empty shells going through the motion.
I’d seen Persidafon earlier in the season when they’d played Persija in Jakarta and they had been very well disciplined and tough to break down. That game ended 0-0, probably leaving the coaching duo of Sergei Dubrovin and Isman Jasulmai with wry smiles on their faces; they had previously worked together at Persija back in 2007.
As a team they are not without experience or flair. Former international Christian Worabay captains the side while up front they boast former Cameroonian international Claude Parfait Ngon Djam and the exciting young Patrich.
First Jean Paul Boumsong scored just before half time. Like he did with his second against Deltras, Boumsong really did his best to miss the opportunity as he stabbed from in front of the goal but the ball did make its mark on the net and Persiram were back in the game.
Second half they were the only team in the game. Two quick goals shortly after the break put them in the lead as the visitors meekly rolled over and asked for their belly to be tickled. Two late goals gave the score an emphatic sheen but then it could have been a whole lot more.
A cynic, and luckily I’m not one, might smell fish.
Images on Asian Football Pictures
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Crowd Trouble In Yogyakarta
Persija finally recorded a victory against their nemesis but not for the first time a game between the two teams was marred by crowd trouble.
In 2007 during a Copa Indonesia semi final Persipura fans invaded the pitch through a single gate that was left open, ostensibly to escape from a tiny number of Persija fans who were attacking them. They milled around on he pitch until they were assured of a safe departure from the stadium.
The two sets of fans clashed a couple of days later, this time Persipura fans picking off Persija fans with one supporter fatally wounded.
The most recent incident took place in Yogyakarta which was used because Persija's usual stadium the Bung Karno is being renovated. Despite the neutral venue there were still over 14,500 at thegame and towards the end of the second half you could plainly see on TV youths pitch side throwing rocks at the fans on the terraces.
The game carried on regardless, to be fair the players didn't seem to take too much notice though the ballboys and media folk I guess had it away pretty sharpish!
Outlawed In Tangerang
There have been incidents of crowd disorder at the Benteng Stadium in Tangerang over the last few years despite the fact that the two tenents, Persita and Persikota, haven't met for a good while.
When one team plays the other boys come over to lob bricks and vice versa and no one seems able to stop it despite the police clamping down
on girls wearing short skirts to games.
Into this vacuum have stepped one of several mass religious organisations who have decided to declare football in the city to be haram, or forbidden and will ask the police to refuse permission for games to be held at the stadium in the future.
Corruption, smoking and throwing your trash on the street are all fine as are the numerous shops that sell 'blue pills' but fighting football fans seems to be a misdeamenor too far.
Police have in the past threatened to not allow games to be held at the stadium because incidents keep being repeated but little actually seems to be done about stopping it.
There have also been incidents between the two sets of supporters away from the stadium, Karawaci for example, so just banning games will not necessarily stop the trouble.
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Some Local Gossip
With the transfer window about to open plenty of gossip will be doing the rounds. As ever I will only post news that appears in other media.
The biggest news is of course Noh Alam Shah becoming a free agent after leaving Arema IPL. Tampines Rovers have said they will take him back in the blink of an eye; it's no secret NAS and the chairman of the Stags are very close.
Whether the Singapore striker will fancy a return to Singapore is another matter. Persib have been linked with him in Indonesia and the thought of playing in front of a large passionate support is every player's dream.
Persiba Bantul in the IPL have said they are not really interested in NAS and the only foreign striker they would recruit would be Fortune Udo who scored 34 goals in their promotion winning season and now plays in Vietnam. Certainly they have found scoring much harder without Fortune; just seven in seven games but that's enough to keep them joint second.
With the threat of internationals not being allowed to play for the national team if they play in the ISL there is a feeling some may jump ship to the IPL. Oktavianus Maniani surprisingly moved to Presiram from Sriwijaya mid season and is thought to be keen on a move to the IPL with Persiraja, Semen Padang and Persija IPL among those who maybe interested.
Patrick Wanggai, Persidafon's striker is also being linked with IPL clubs; Persema and Persebaya.
On the coaching front former Arema man Milomir Seslija, recently out from Arema, is being linked with Persija IPL if the incumbent there moves to the national team set up.
Doncha just love this stuff!
Indonesia Super League
Persisam v Persela 0-1 (Gustavo Lopez) 12,726
PSAP v Gresik United 1-0 (Sayuti) 4,500
PSMS v Persiba 4-1 (Alamsyah, Luis Pena, Osas Marvelous, Ostanika; Kenji Adichihara) 9,851
Choirul Huda had one of those games goalkeepers usually reserve for a trip to play the Arsenal. It was a blinder that helped Persela pick up a surprise three points. PSAP followed Persiram at the weekend by recording their first win of the season.
Indonesia Premier League
Persijap v Persebaya 0-1 (Taufik)
Divisi Utama (LI)
Persita v Persis 2-0 (Ade Lukmana, Rishadi Fauzi) 8,723
Monday, February 06, 2012
Bahrain v Malaysia 2-1 (;Hazwan Bakri) 2,000
Malaysia managed a late equaliser in Bahrain but the hosts, coached by former England manager Peter Taylor, scored a couple of minutes later to earn the win. Heaps happening in the last few moments with two yellows for the home team and a Malaysian seeing red in the 5th minute of injury time. The ref was from Qatar so 'nuff said.
Indonesia Super League
Persiram v Deltras 3-1 (JP Boumsong 2, Elthon Maran; M Fakhrudin) 215
Mitra Kukar v Arema 2-2 (Obric, Anidhito; Seme Patrick, Marcio Souza)
Sriwijaya v Persidafon 5-0 (Kayamba 2, Firman Utina, Siswanto, Ponaryo Astaman)
Pelita Jaya v Persib 1-3 (Safee Sali; Moses 2, Jajang)
Persiram's first win of the season left Deltras fuming at the Lebak Bulus. Pelita Jaya's biggest crowd in yonks, shame there weren't many of their fans though! Sriwijaya back in the groove after consecutive defeats in Papua.
1 - Persipura 11 7 3 1 22-14 24
2 - Persiwa 11 7 2 2 19-13 23
3 - Sriwijaya 11 7 1 3 27-10 22
4 - Persib 11 6 3 2 17-13 21
Indonesia Premier League
Bontang v PSM 1-1 (Fassawa; Fadly)
Arema v Persiba 0-1 (Ezequiel Gonzales)
Persiraja v Semen Padang 2-2 (Defri, Irwanto; Ferdinand Sinaga, Edward Wilson Junior)
1 - Semen Padang 8 4 4 0 15-6 16
2 - Persibo 7 4 1 2 11-6 13
3 - Persiba 7 4 1 2 7-5 13
Divisi Utama (LI)
Persebaya v Persitara 2-0 (Richard Obiora, Charles Parker)
PSIM v PS Bengkulu 2-1 (Linkers 2; Nova Hermawan)
Divisi Utama (LPIS)
Persikabo v PSBL 1-0
Persitara v PS Bengkulu 0-0
PSCS v PSS 1-0
Persis v PSIR 2-2
Persipasi v Persepar 3-1
PSCS Cilacap narrow victory over PSS takes them to the top of Group 2 one point clear of Persipasi who recorded back to back home wins. Persikabo moved up to third in Group 1 but two goals in five games won't have fans queuing round the block to get in. Pro Duta, owned by a senior PSSI official, are top of the table. 'Nuff said. Again.
Thai League Cup Final
Thai Port v Buriram PEA 0-2
No surprise. Clubs in Thailand have already started pre season training for next season meaning no real break for them. And with the ASEAN Cup in December it's gonna be another long year. Luckily trophies are not decided on the field eh?!
Singapore Charity Shield
Home United v Tampines Rovers 0-2 (Gligor Gligorov 2) 4,146
Champions Rovers started the new season as they ended the old. By winning a trophy. To be honest, not sure if Gligor is really Gligor or should be Gregor!
NAS Is Out
Singaporean striker Noh Alam Shah has left Arema, the IPL version for reasons given as personal and there is a feeling he may not be the last to leave.
NAS arrived in Indonesia in 2009 and helped guide Arema to the title that year and though he has been frustrated there many times, not least because the club was often late paying players he has usually made up.
Not this time though. Obviously when a player of his ability comes along there will be a queue of clubs interested, one of them apparently Persib
Raja King No More
PSMS have sacked coach Raja Isa. It follows tales of dressing room unrest and unhappiness with the Malaysian coach’s training methods. Now far be it for me to go round making assumptions but cast your mind back to Arema’s title winning season and also the constant musical chairs in the Persib hot seat last season.
Among the candidates for the job are former Indonesian and Sriwijaya coach Ivan Kolev and Australian Gary Philips who last season worked with Sabah in the Malaysian Super League.
Not As Planned For Pelita Jaya
Pelita Jaya’s biggest home crowd for many a year saw them beaten 3-1 by Persib. Ok, the game was played at Jalak Harupat which is Persib’s home stadium but it used to be Pelita Jaya’s though when they played there they struggled to attract fans in what is staunch Persib territory.
The game was moved from Pelita Jaya’s usual home stadium of Singaperbangsa in Karawang probably because that stadium would not have been able to handle the travelling support and that makes two consecutive home games played ‘away’ from home; they hosted Persija in Solo for the same reason.
With Rahmad Darmawan now coaching the team big things are expected of Pelita Jaya. Owned by the Bakrie family they have been better known for their accent on youth in recent years but all that changed 12 months ago when they surprised everyone by signing Malaysian striker Safee Sali from Selangor in the wake of his goal scoring exploits during the ASEAN Cup in 2010. A signing on a par with Arsenal snapping up Lionel Messi.
More big names were attracted to Karawang, an industrial city east of Jakarta best known for its expansive cemeteries promptly advertised on billboards along the toll road, as they tore up their very own project youth that had seen players like Egi Melgiansyah, Dian Agusts Prasetyo, Jajang Maulyana and Yohan Ibo get their break under former coach Fandi Ahmad.
During the pre season along came more big names. Greg Nwokolo (pictured in red) came fromPersija, Victor Igbenefo after several years of success with Persipura, playmaker John Tarkpor while Egi was made club captain.
But the season has not gone as planned and club management will be hoping Darmawan, a title winner with Persipura and Sriwijaya, can work his magic for a third time.
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Papuan Duo Do Business Away From Home
I think it's so ironic how a team that is famous for giving nothing away at home gets upset when decisions don't go their way in away games. When a nailed on pen isn't given to their opponents. Yet when the same happens to them in an away game they spit the dummy. The word shame doesn't seem to exist.
Persiwa defeated Persija 2-1 in Yoghakarta, nominally a Persija home game, yet their fans got peeved cos the ref gave a penalty to Persija and invaded the pitch.
Healthy crowd mind. Over 12,000 which is more than the team that usually uses the stadium, PSIM, get. And back to back defeats for Persija.
In the other ISL game Persipura were held 2-2 awayto PSPS. It was your typical ding dong affair, Titus John giving the champions the lead, Nguenheu equalising, then giving the home team the lead then Titus pulling level. All goals in 30 first half minutes in front of nearly 15,000.
Results leave the Papua teams in the top two positions, Persipura a point clear.
Friday, February 03, 2012
Home Games Relocated
One of the great bane's of Indonesian football is that some teams face big problems find a place to play their home games. Persija are a case in point. They will play Persiwa and Persipura in Yogyakarta while their normal home base, the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, is being renovated.
Meanwhile the West Java Derby between Pelita Jaya and Persib will be played at the Jalak Harapat Stadium in Soreang making it in effect a Persib home game. West Java is basically a Persib fortress and while Pelita Jaya have managed to get some support for their games in Karawang should Persib come to town their support would over run the stadium.
The picture shows Persija support at a 'home' game played in Solo in 2010.
Embarrassment For PSSI
Lausanne, 1 February 2012 The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided to grant the provisional measures requested by the Indonesian Football Club Persipura Jayapura and to order the reinstatement of the club in the AFC Champions League 2012.
Persipura was supposed to play the 2012 AFC Champions League Playoffs (East-Zone) on 11 February 2012 against Adelaïde United FC (Australia). At the end of November 2011, the Indonesian FA (PSSI) decided to remove Persipura from the AFC Champions League for disciplinary reasons and requested the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to replace the club with Persija Jakarta. The AFC noted the removal of Persipura but did not accept the participation of Persija Jakarta. As a consequence, Adelaïde United FC was exempted from the playoff match and was granted direct access to the group stage of the competition (first match to be played on 6 March 2012).
On the basis of the CAS decision on request for provisional measures, Persipura Jayapura will be entitled to play the playoff match versus Adelaïde United FC. In case of qualification, the status of Persipura would have to be determined by the CAS after examination of the arguments of the parties (i.e. Persipura, PSSI, AFC and Adelaïde United FC) on the merits of this case.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
A Chiang Rai Hitter
Chiang Rai United have signed for Persema and Mitra Kukar striker Franco Hita. I'm sure he has played for more clubs in Indonesia...
Cellar Dwellers Lose Ground
Arema's torrid start to the season continued when they were beaten 2-0 by Persisam yesterday. Goals from Christian Gonzales and ex Arema man Yongki Aribowo. Arema, ISL champions in 2009/2010, have just one win all season and sit 16th in the table.
One place below Arema are newly promoted PSAP who have yet to win this season. They look the lead at home to Persiba through Camara Sekou just before half time only for Aldo Baretto to equalise on the hour mark. Each team had a player red carded in the last minute so they ended with 10 men and one goal each in front of 4,375.
Two second half goals for Mitra Kukar earned them the points against Persela. The win moves them up to fourth place, behind Sriwijaya on goal difference.
Will The Last To Leave Thai Port Please Turn Out The Lights
I do have a soft sport for Thai Port but as they go into their third final appearance in three years next week against Buriram PEA they don't look to have much of a squad left for next season.
The exodus started during the mid season break when their coach Sasom Pobprasert moved to First Division side Buriram, taking three players with him including Sompong Soleb. Thai Port struggled in the second half of the season, culminating in a lifeless performance at home to relegated Sri Racha when they lost 3-1.
Since the Thai Premier League season ended other departures have been announced at the cash strapped club. Worawut Wongsawud has moved to Suphanburi while Todsapol Lated and Mongkol Namnuad have moved to Muang Thong United.
Two of their foreign contingent have also been released, namely Ulrich Munze and Swa Moise.
hardly the best build up for an important cup final.
Another Thai Political Dynasty
Are we witnessing another revolution in Thai football involving a notorious political family dynasty?
Following on from the Buriram soap opera we now have Suphanburi spending big money in an effort to bring football glory to their town in the boonies.
Currently in Division One they have set about improving their squad for the new campaign and among their signings is Pipat Thonkanya, the former Persisam and Thai Port striker who spent last season with Osotspa after a short spell with Buriram PEA.
Another Thai Port player, Worawut Wongsawad has also head to the Silpa-Archa stronghold.
It is being reported from Singapore that two teams in the SLeague are going to move to different stadiums for the new season that begins this weekend. Champions Tampines Rovers are going to play their home games at Clementi Stadium while Tanjong Pagar will use Queenstown for the upcoming campaign.
Tough titty for any Tampines fans; they are based in the east of the island, their new home is on the other side of the country!
Safee's Get Out Of Jail Free Card
Safee Sali has extended his deal with Pelita Jaya, reportedly making him the highest paid player in ASEAN in the process. There had been a feeling that Safee, under pressure from the Malaysian FA to play for a club in a recognised league, would return to Malaysia or even sign for a Thai team but I understand Muang Thong United baulked at his wage demands.
There is a clause in his contract that will allow him to move to another club owned by the Bakrie group if FIFA or the PSSI flick a switch and ban all players in the Indonesia Super League from playing for their country. The group own Brisbane Roar and CS Vise in Belgium.
Quite what the club managers will feel about owners dictating who to sign and who not has not been made clear. In Indonesia it is normal; elsewhere?
Average TPL Attendances
14,474 Buriram PEA11,208 Muangthong7,395 Sisaket5,733 Bangkok Glass5,728 Army Utd 5,369 Chonburi3,557 Chiang Rai Utd3,657 Osotspa Saraburi3,638 Police Utd3,171 Khon Kaen 2,875 Samut Songkhram2,840 BEC Tero 2,832 Thai Port2,285 Siam Navy2,243 TTM Phichit2,075 Sriracha1,710 Pattaya 1,431 TOT
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Gooners In Geylang
Geylang is perhaps the most down to earth place in Singapore. It's where people cross the road before the light turns red, cyclists brush pedestrians aside on the footpath and the hookers brazenly display their ways along the lorongs and in the coffee shops.
Into this world have come two former Arsenal trainees, Oliver Nicholas and Rhema Obed who have hit the east after failing to make the grade in England.
Just because they're moving to Singapore doesn't mean they are falling off the football map. Just take a look at Norwich City's free scoring striker Grant Holt who had a short spell in the SLeague before rising through the divisions back home.
Jakarta Globe Columns
A Cameroonian legend living in Jakarta reminisces about the African Cup of Nations in this post
while in another what are the chances of any ASEAN nation hosting the World Cup
when they don't sell beer in the stadiums? Apart from Thailand!
Teerathep Winothai was supposed to be the latest in a long line of talented Thais to make an impression on the game beyond their own borders. But his highly publicised move to Lierse SK in Belgium never really worked out and he returned to Thailand with Muang Thong United who farmed him out to BEC Tero.
Now he has gone and signed for Bangkok Glass.
If ever there was a player crying out for a chance to play overseas it's the man they call Leesaw. I dunno if he has had any offers, I dunno if he is interested but the feeling among men is that for all his talent he is destined to become a nearly man.