Saturday, July 21, 2012


No Change Yet

There has been much talk of change in Indonesian football over the last 18 months but, to be brutal, there has been no action. The sins of the previous set up are being continued by the new regieme willingingly or not. For all their fine words nothing is being translated on to the pitch and that, ultimately, is how they will be judged. Talk is cheap and easy, we know that.

Everyone knows the way football is being run in Indonesia, and indeed round the region, needs to change but no one wants to be the first to actually do anything constructive that could, after all, see them lose a lot of power and influence not to mention status.

 When the IPL started last year there was much optimism among those who frankly should know better. The league, adopting a patronizing holier than thou attitude, promised to do nothing less than change the game and woe betide anyone who doubted they would do it.

 However after years of mismanagement and high handedness they were the recipients of a large of amount of goodwill which they soon allowed to slip through their fingers as their notion of the changing the game was really more a case of changing the names of those at the top while leaving the game to meander along in its own festering swamp.

 The announcement of major sponsors of the league was astonishingly accepted locally even though Microsoft have no history of sponsoring any kind of sport anywhere. Of course little detail was released so we are left to assume someone once went to Ratu Plaza and bought a knock off Windows Vista software CD and thought was good enough. More humourous is these multi nationals rushed to sponsor a league that was recognized by no one, FIFA ignored it, yet when the IPL became the official body these sponsors went ‘missing’!

 They then sacked Alfred Riedl after Indonesia had reached the AFF Cup Final only to be beaten by an excellent, and well developed, Malaysia team, claiming they couldn’t find his contract. Soon after, under their own man, they lost 10-0 to tiny Bahrain in a World Cup qualifier.

Changing a rotten system doesn’t happen overnight. But the way leaders operate leaves much to be questioned. In an hierarchical system what the boss says, goes. A word from the boss becomes a canonical law and the boss knows it. The thing is because the boss knows it he doesn’t always follow hup on his instructions. He assumes that because he is the boss and because he has given an instruction he assumes reams of worker ants are rushing to obey. The thing is his minions know he won’t check up on their work. To do that would make them lose face and make the boss lose face. So nothing gets done, no one loses face and us westerners get pissed off because it don’t make any bloody sense!

Since the late 1990s Indonesia has been a by word for disaster, both natural and man made. At the same time it is coming to terms with new fangled ideas like openness and democracy. Generations had grown up in an independent country that was 50 years old yet had only really had two leaders and the last one ran the place for the benefit of his family.

People growing up in those times knew what they had to do to survive. They had to cozy up to political elites and men in uniform. That bought protection and offered the best route to power, status and wealth and that’s what they worked towards. Politicians bought votes. Businessmen bought territories where they basically operated a monopoly.

To further increase their wealth/power/status these people branched out into other areas’ for example they would become active in sports for example. Anything that kept their name out there and afford them opportunities to make a bit of money as well as placing their own people in key positions.

What has this got to do with football I hear the odd person yawn? Simple. These are the of people who run the game be it at the highest level or the lowest level. People who have never known the meaning of fair or transparent or competitive or defeat in their lives. Now, suddenly, we expect them to change? With the best will in the world it ain’t gonna happen.

Not without the strong leader a fragile democracy is unlikely to elect. Yes, we blame them for everything but to them all they are doing is what they have been trained to do. it’s what they have seen surrounding them all their lives. It’s now they turn at the trough and they have waited a long time.

They have, if you like, served their apprenticeship. So we sit back and do nothing? Accept it is what it is and won’t change anytime soon? Of course not.

Someone said that all that is needed for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing. Yes, the system is a stinking, fetid behemoth devoid of humanity but it won’t last for ever. The people who can should keep chipping away. To give up is to condemn future generations to more of the same. Eventually the light will break through and shine on Indonesian football. Just don’t hold your breath!

great article,,

the main problem in Indonesia (not only in football) is that the old regimes are reluctant to step down, while most of the younger ones are being hesitant..

It is not a sin if I'm being optimistic that things are going to change positively, soon.. isn't it?
maybe not soon!
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