Monday, April 29, 2013


Results 28/4

Indonesia Super League

Persepam v Persib 1-3 (Kristian Adelmund; Naser Al Sabei, Herman Dzumafo, Atep) 16,000
Persiba v Persija 0-1 (Rudi Setiawan) 4,215
Persiram v Pelita Bandung Raya 2-1 (Elthon Maran, Lee Soung Yong; Imam Pathuroman) 1,173
Persiwa v Arema 2-2 (Vali Kenari, Camera Sekou; Alberto Goncalves, Greg Nwokolo) 4,873
Persidafon v Sriwijaya 1-3 (Alan Aronggear; Eddy Foday Boakay, Lestaluhu, Tantan) 9,500
Persipura v Gresik United 4-1 (Boas Solossa 2, Gerald Pangkali, Lukas Mandowen; Aldo Baretto) 17,465

Pretty full set of games yesterday as we approach the mid season break. Persib finally translating their fine home form into points on the road though Sergio Van Dijk went 90 minutes without scoring a goal. Persiwa did something they rarely do, concede points at home though Arema are one of two teams to have won there in the last five seasons. Don't think there is any connection between this rare event and Pieter Rumaropen, do you?

Divisi Utama

Persitara v PSCS 1-1 (Kamdem Martial; Arif Sarifudin) Played behind closed doors

Indonesia Premier League

Persebaya v PSLS 4-2 (Fernando Soler 2, Aris Alfiansyah, Mario Karlovic; Carlo Raul, Muchlis Rashyid)
Persiba v PSIR 7-1 (Made Wirahadi 3, Robert Kwateh 2, Puspito, Ezequial Gonzales ;Christian Lenglolo
Bontang v Persiraja 1-1 (Nurcholis; Ramanda)

Divisi Utama

PSS v PPSM 2-0 (Fajar Listiantoro, Noh Alam Shah)
Persibangga v Persewon 4-0 (Inggit, Gunaryo 2, Galih Tri Handoko)
Persis v Persemalra 4-1 (Ferryanto 3, Bayu Andra; Antonius Rumangun)
Persires v Persifa 2-2 (Yoga Wickasana, Santo Pramudi; Andre Kurniawan, Agus Rianto)
Persipasi v Persitara 1-2 (Wallace Rodrigues; Brima Pepito, Firman Septian)
Persika v Lampung FC 1-2 (Baihaki; KG Ray 2)

The other Divisi Utama seems to be starting in earnest though if you are looking for a complete fixture list good luck. PSS continued their fine start to the season with former Singapore striker Noh Alam Shah getting his first for his latest club in front of another healthy crowd.  Persipasi were forced to play their 'home' game against Persitara in East Jakarta at Bea Cukai Stadium because Persika had first dibs on the stadium they share

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Jakarta Hates Football

There isn't a whole lot to do in Jakarta. Yes, there are shopping malls going up all over the place with little attention to need or access but sod all else.

Take football. As best as I can make out these are the football grounds for a city of something like 12 million.

Bung Karno 88,000
Lebak Bulus 12,500 (to be demolished)
Tugu 10,000 (?)
Soemantri Brojonegoro 7,500
Bea Cukai 5,000 (?)
Ciracas 5,000 (?)

Is that it?

Today there are potentially three games in Jakarta. Persitara host PSCS at Kamal Muara which I guess officially is in Tangerang. Persipasi host the other Persitara at Bea Cukai. Persija Under 21 play Persepam Under 21 at a training field in Cijantung. I get so envious when people in places like Bangkok, London or Sydney get so many choices!

Anyway the game at Kamal Muara is being played without fans as security officials wouldn't allow Persitara fans to attend. Apparently they made problems on the road out to the airport.

Persija's last two home games have been played without fans because no one wants to do security.

You can be sure someone can find the security when the likes of Netherlands, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea come here. But local football can go take a run and jump it seems.

Talk of two new stadiums to be constructed but what's the point of the authorities don't want to allow fans to watch the games?

As ever the majority are punished for the actions of the minority. No one seems to have the capacity to think about how fans can attend a game safely, all ticket, membership schemes for example or better organised travel.

Nope, far easier to kick out the football and keep building fucking malls for the moneyed elite to preen about showing off their handbags and handphones.


Results 26-27/04

Indonesia Super League

Barito Putra v PSPS 5-2 (Djibril Coulibaly 4, Dedy Hartono; Jacques Joel Tsimi, Pape Latyr) 6,175
Persela v Persita 3-1 (Oh Inkyu, Samsul Arif 2; Sirvi Arfani) 11,160

Divisi Utama

Persiku v PSIS 0-1 (I Gede Jeno Wilyantara) 7,982
Persebo v Perseba 2-3 (Blandi, Totto; De Almeida 2, Achmad) 2,500
PS Bengkulu v Persih 0-2 (Manyira, Solehan) 2,003
Persik v Madiun Putra 3-0 (Faris Aditam 2, Yayan) 14,341
Persis v PSIM 1-1 (Windu Wibowo; Agung Suprayogi) 5,654
Persigo v Perssin 1-0 (Iksan Abubakar) 300
Persip v Persipur 2-1 (Rozikin, Muslimin; Mustofa) 7,681
PS Bangka v Persisko 5-1 (Jackson Hans Osok 4, Nanang Asripin; Rifai Arsyad) 4,847

Two time champions Persik may have hit hard times but the fans remain behind them with a near capacity crowd for their win over Madiun Putra. Persis needed a late penalty to share the points in the Kraton Derby. Disappointing crowd there but I think most of the Pasoepati follow the 'other' Persis who play today in the 'other' Divisi Utama.


Tampines Rovers v Woodlands Wellington 3-1 (Imran Sahib, Saed Habzidulic, Aleksander Duric; Farkhan)

Malaysia Super League

Terengganu v Negeri Sembilan 1-0
ATM v PKNS 2-0
Pahang v Felda United 2-0
Kelantan v T Team 3-1
Perak v Johor Darul Takzim 3-0
Selangor v LionsX11 0-0

1 - Lions X11 14 8 4 2 17-8 28
2 - Johor DT 14 7 4 3 20-19 25
3 - ATM 14 7 3 4 27-17 24

Malaysia Premier League

Sabah v Sime Darby 1-5
Pos Malaysia v Kedah 1-5
Perlis v SPA 1-1
Johor v NS Betaria 5-0
PDRM v KL 4-1
UiTM v Sarawak 3-5

1 - Sime Darby 14 11 3 0 34-8 36
2 - Sarawak 14 10 4 0 25-8 34
3 - Johor 14 9 1 4 37-14 28

Friday, April 26, 2013


Giuard Of Honour Debate Shows How Far Arsenal Have Fallen

My column in Jakarta Globe 26/4

Manchester United have claimed their record 20th title with Dutch striker Robin Van Persie netting a first half hat trick and while United’s legions of fans around the world have been celebrating others have been more sanguine.

Take Arsenal fans for example. For a decade they were United’s sole sparring partner. They had a duopoly on the trophies that counted, they were equals. Not anymore. Now Arsenal are a spent force, seemingly incapable of mounting any kind of title bid of their own when United’s team is arguably less of a force than their turn of the century pomp but are still able to snatch trophies out of the ether with monotony.
Now Arsenal are just one of a handful of clubs who are neither good enough to challenge for the title and too good for mid table oblivion.

It is a role the club have brought upon themselves. The move to the Emirates, a soulless bowl sandwiched between a couple of railway lines, was meant to be the springboard to even greater success, an opportunity to build upon that great team built around the dashing Henry, Pires and Veiria and keep challenging for England and Europe’s top honours.

Except of course that hasn’t happened. Fans have become increasingly disillusioned at selling the crown jewels, the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie, to be replaced by Barbie & Ken jewelry.

Last pre season it was the turn of Van Persie to leave with Manchester United, smarting from that final day drama that saw Manchester City snatch the Premier League thanks to Sergio Aguero’s last minute winner over Queens’ Park Rangers.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson swore never again and determined to do something about it. He wanted the best and for sure the best last season was Van Persie. Putting the needs of his club ahead of his one-time rivalry with Arsene Wenger, Ferguson picked up the phone and asked for what would have been impossible perhaps even five years ago.

He asked Wenger how much he wanted for his talismanic striker who single handedly dragged the club into the Champions League after a dreadful start to the campaign.

Wenger had no choice; he had to parley. Van Persie had made it clear he wanted out implicitly suggesting Arsenal were a club who weren’t going places. Fergie knew what he wanted and splashed the cash to bring in the man whose goals he saw as crucial to any title bid.

Arsenal were impotent. Van Persie had said no to Manchester City and there weren’t many clubs willing to spend big on a 29 year old striker with a long record of injury. They had to take the money no matter where it came from and fans can only admire Fergie’s swift identification and purchase of a target, given Arsenal’s own dithering in the transfer market to save a few pounds .

It is that feeling of impotence that hurts most in North London. The trimutive that rules the club, absent owner Stan Kroenke, CEO Ivan Gazidis and Wenger have convinced themselves, and much of the support, trophies are no longer the be all and end all in football. In their eyes a healthy set of accounts and regular Champions League football are the benchmark of a successful modern football club, as if loyal fans will rush to get the 2011/2012 accounts tattooed on their biceps..

With diluted targets so the players being brought in were of a lesser quality than the Arsenal faithful have been used to. Chamakh, Park and Squillaci regularly appear in fans lists of the worst ever to wear the shirt while the likes of Andrei Arsharvin were frequently played out of position before being all but frozen out of North London.

Arsenal are now left with chasing a Champions League place, a trophy most fans realize they are a long way short of lifting, and finishing above North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. They are no longer setting the agenda, they are being left in the slipstream of others whose boldness make the Gunners look like a doddering Etonian wondering whether he needs to install a new carpet in the boardroom.

They are left with the prospect of seeing Manchester United, with Robin Van Persie, being given a celebratory guard of honour next weekend at the Emirates, a sign of respect to the champions, and they don’t know how to react. Do they boo, do they turn their backs, do they heap vitriol on the one man who saved them the previous season?

That dilemma shows how far the club have fallen. The fans see Arsenal as a big club but a look at the utterances from the board room suggests the club think otherwise. The club are waving the white flag and the supporters are left with debating how to react to United’s success when they take to the Emirates billiard table smooth surface next weekend. 


Arema's Centurion Strikeforce

I recently did a piece about Arema's three foreign strikers for a local paper called Jakarta Expat.


Results 25/4

Divisi Utama

Perseta Tulungagung v Deltras 0-0 9,687

Indonesia Premier League

Arema v PSIR 2-2 (Mulyana 2; Lenglolo 2)
Persiba v Persema 5-0 (Ezequiel, Bizarro, Oktavianus, Kwateh 2)

PSIR moved to fourth place after their point in Malang despite having the fourth worst defence in the league. Persiba Bantul's thrashing of Persema sees them in 6th place but they have the second best goal difference!

Divisi Utama

Persis v Persifa 1-0 (Ferryanto)


Young Lions v Home United 0-2 (Lee Kwan Woo, Hafiz Rahim)

I hope Young Lions don't take offense but it has been a bloody awful start to the season for them. This was their 10th defeat in their opening 10 games, a woeful run that has seen them score just two goals. As for Home they move up to fourth, five points off the leaders Tampines.


Indonesian Football & Coaches

Football needs coaches. Indonesian football doesn't need coaches therefore there is no football in Indonesia!

There is something that looks like football yes, I'll grant you that. There are two teams who kick a ball around on a piece of grass. But that's as far as it goes. Most people round the world will recognise the game at its most basic here but what happens beyond defies logic.

Which is why I keep my logic locked up nice and safe in a left luggage locker at Heathrow Airport.I hate being parted from it for long periods of time but really when it comes to football here it is best for all concerned. Logic, like laws, has no place.

So if it's not football then what is it. Good question. I'd suggest a form of feudal politics where the lance and mace have been replaced by intimidation and influence as the weapons of choice.

Certainly, politics lies at the heart of the game here. You didn't really think the bitch fest between PSSI and KPSI was about football did you?

Let's look at the names of coaches who have been forsaken on the alter of 'football' in this country. Alfred Riedl who took Indonesia to the ASEAN Cup Final in 2010 only to be beaten by a strong Malaysian team and then sacked because the new people at the FA couldn't find his contract.

Wim van Rijsbergen, former Dutch international. A suitably high profile coach for an ambitious Football Association you might think. So explain why he was left kicking his heels in Jakarta doing nothing for so long.

Jorg Steinbrunner, Simon McMenemy and Timo Scheuneumann. Three young, positive, passionate coaches, eager to do a job in Indonesia for Indonesian football. Steinbrunner tried his ideas and luck with Medan Chiefs and Deltras. McMenemy who led Philippines to ASEAN Cup semi finals in 2010 for the first time ever had spells with Mitra Kukar and Pelita Bandung Raya. And Timo, practically Indonesian himself, who showed such promise with Persema before doing some work for the FA at age group level.

Three coaches, six jobs, nothing to show for it.

Their problem possibly was they had ideas. They saw youth development as key. No one else does, not in Indonesia. Arema break the bank to sign three strikers who between them are 110 years old! The big clubs don't want youth. They don't think about tomorrow. Better the guarantee of rice today than the hope of fish tomorrow.

Take Tanjong Pagar in the SLeague. Their first season back it was all about youth and what a learning curve that was. Plenty of thumpings...but also promise. The teams they fared best against were the big teams, they gave them a game. After a couple of patient years treading water this season they have recruited Patrick Vallee as coach and brought in Ahmad Latieff and the patience has worn off with the Jaguars top three.

That would never happen in Indonesia. No club has that kind of mindset. Most are more concerned about how they are going to pay the wages, or maybe not concerned, at the end of the month, let alone planning a youth policy.

Promising players like Yongki Aribowo and Samsul Arif approach their peak in terms of age yet they have still not managed the big breakthrough that would really show how good they are. They are forever pushed down the pecking order by aging, bulky foreign strikers.

Yet despite the constricting, poisonous atmosphere how many Indonesian players actually pack their indo mie and try their luck overseas? Umm, Irfan Bachdim! Just one. You could say Arthur Irawan but he has never been part of the domestic set up, developing overseas. Others like Syamsul Alam and Yericho Christiantoko are overseas but are signed by clubs with substantial Indonesian shareholding.

Clubs here see coaches as an expense. Clubs should have a coach who possesses an A license. Some club owners really begrudge that and prefer to have some tame coach who won't go and do silly things like ask to pick the team or insist on more discipline on and off the pitch.

These owners like to have their pictures displayed prominently round the stadium or have A boards with their picture or allow journalists to seek their opinion or generally be seen as the most important man at the football club.They have their agenda, which requires them being seen in the best light possible and relying on a coach to grind out victories isn't good enough.

We will never know how good the likes of Rahmad Darmawan or Jacksen F Tiago are because the chances are they won't take their skills overseas and challenge themselves in another league. At the same time it would prove very difficult for a highly regarded coach from overseas to come here and impose themselves on a club over a short period of time. Look at Persib a couple of years back when they were going through coaches like kids go through nappies.

It seems that to have a career as a coach here you need to play the game and that game ain't necessarily football.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Results 24/4


Warriors v Semen Padang 0-2 (Edward Wilson Junior 2)
Churchill Brothers v Kitchee 0-4

1 - Semen Padang 5 4 1 0 12-5 13
2 - Kitchee 5 3 0 2 13-7

Sun Hei v New Radiant 0-3
Persibo v Yangon United 1-7 (Han Jiho;)

3 - Sun Hei 5 1 1 3 12-10 4
4 - Persibo 5 0 1 4 4-28 1

Indonesia Super League

Barito Putra v Persija 2-1 (Yongki Aribowo 2; Robertinho) 7,599

Persija stay rooted to the bottom of the table after their 11th defeat of the season while Barito Putra climb into the top half of the table.

Divisi Utama

Persikabo v Persikad 0-0

Blankety blank in the West Java derby with people complaining about the ref.

Indonesia Premier League

Bontang v PSLS 3-2
Persebaya v Persiraja 0-0

Divisi Utama

Persika v Persitara 1-1 (Ardian Adi; Husein)
PSS v Persewon 3-2 (Anag Hadi, Moneiga Bagus, Fajar Listyantara; Ruben Fakdawar, Menema Korwa)
Persibangga v PPSM 1-0 (Kosim)
PSSB v PSMS 1-1 (Royani; Jecky Pasarella)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Ref Slapper Banned For Life

In a total break with precedence Pieter Rumaropen, the Persiwa player sent off at the weekend for slapping the referee, has been banned from football for life! The ref's shirt was covered in claret and he needed stitches following the assault.

Pelita Bandung Raya defender Nova Arianto had steamed into the penalty area only to be felled by a two footed challenge. The ref gave a penalty, Persiwa protested and Rumaropen lamped the official from behind.

What remains unanswered is what the hell Arianto was doing on the overlap anyway!

Fair play to the ISL for acting swiftly but Rumaropen still has two weeks to appeal.

The incident can be seen here.


Persiwa's Home Record

Persiwa have been in the news since their player Pieter Rumaropen slapped a ref who had the gall to give a penalty against his team. Persiwa lost that game 2-1 thanks to a late penalty. They also lost their previous away game 1-0 thanks to a penalty.Out of nine away games this season they have won one and lost seven. Compare that with their home record in recent seasons.

2013 6 6 0 0 12-1
2011/12 17 16 0 1 45-12
2010/11 14 9 5 0 27-9
2009/10 17 14 2 1 40-7
2008/09 17 17 0 0 42-6

At their Pendidikan Stadium they are unbeatable! The two home defeats? One in 09/10 came against champions to be Arema after their coach Robert Alberts came out on TV and said if there was anything dodgy there he would go ballistic (or words to that effect) while last season they lost at home to Persipura...their nearest rivals

Persiwa 71 62 7 2 166-35


Results 23/4


Ayeyawady United v SHB Da Nang 2-3
Maziya Sports v Kelantan 6-1

Kelantan's first reverse in the group stage means three teams are in with a shout of qualifying, Maizya's five goal winning margin giving them a similar goal difference to the Malaysian team. This is the second time a Maldives side has handed out a thrashing to South East Asian sides after New Radiant earlier beat Persibo 7-0.

Saigon Xuan Thanh v Tampines Rovers 2-2 (:Khairul Amri, Saed Hadzibulic) 2,000
Selangor v East Bengal 2-2 1,000

Selangor came from 2-0 down to secure a point deep in injury time but check out the crowd. 1,000 in the caverous Shah Alam Stadium! Guess people stayed home to watch the Barcelona game later! Great result by Tampines though but they remain bottom of the group with the Indian and Vietnamese in pole position.

Indonesia Super League

Persiba v PSPS 4-1 (El Kassa, Patrice Nzekou, Syakir Sulaiman 2; Pape Latyr) 3,725


Balestier Khalsa v Albirex Niigata 0-1 (Shingo Suzuki)
Geylang International v Tanjong Pagar 2-1 (Josef Kaplan, Yasir Hanapi; Kamel Ramdani)

Tanjong Pagar missed out on moving into second place after they failed to secure the points at Bedok Stadium. Instead it was Albirex who moved within two points of leaders Tampines but they have played two games more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Malaysian PM Suggests Malaysian Players Could Play For Cardiff

CHINI: Datuk Seri Najib Razak today spoke of the possibility of Malaysian footballers playing for the Malaysian-owned Cardiff City FC team of Wales which has secured promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) next season. 

The prime minister said Malaysian footballers could be allowed to play for the Welsh team to gain experience playing top-level football. 
Children of Felda settlers had been sent to Cardiff City for training and we could send them again to Cardiff to enable them play at a higher level, he said when opening the Felda Industrial and Recreational Complex near here.    
In November last year, 50 children of Felda settlers were sent to the Cardiff City Football Academy in Wales for exposure, and they trained with youths of the academy and participated in friendly matches with local teams. 
The club, the jersey of which sports the word "Malaysia", is owned by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, and has ended a 51-year wait to play in the top league. 
Najib also said that footballers earned lucrative salaries nowadays. 
The prime minister said he hoped that Felda United, which played in the local Super League, would be able to win a title in the Malaysia League this season. 
In a lighter vein, he said: "Felda has progressed much but not Felda United." 
Felda United is second from the bottom in a list of 12 teams playing in the Super League. It has secured only 11 points from 13 matches.

COMMENT - wonder what the Cardiff manager, players and fans think of this? He may be Prime Minister of Malaysia and he may have some power there but he does not have the right to dictate who the club signs or not. But then again this is an election year...

Meanwhile I look forward to the day when an English company buys a Malaysian club that plays in the Malaysian league with England on their shirts! What, you think that won't happen? Oooh, you cynics.


Persisam Win East Kalimantan Derby

Indonesia Super League

Persisam v Mitra Kukar 2-1 (Siswanto, Bayu Gatra; Zulham Zamrun) 12,436


Slave In Indonesia

Slave Radowski is not the most famous name in world football but his tale is an increasingly common one in Indonesian football where contracts aren't worth the paper they are written on and despite the duelism mess coming to an end nothing has really improved on the ground.

In an interview with local tabloid Top Skor Slave highlighted the difficulties he has been facing since leaving Persema last month.

He says the club promised to pay his salary and give him a ticket home for 7th April but nothing  has happened leaving him 'confused and stressed (bingung dan pusing).

Someone from the club said 'we understand Radovski's difficulties but the internal finances are not not' which rather begs the question why offer contracts if you have no money?

Short of cash Radovski is getting by on 'bread and noodles' while he waits for some money to get home, just waiting for someone from the club to do something.

He is though being patient despite not having received all his money from last season. He says he doesn't want to go to FIFA because he 'loves this country and its football talent' preferring instead to be patient.

It's an old, old story and one we hear all too often. But no one does a thing about it and when I say no one I mean FIFA down.

COMMENT - this piece is translated from today's edition of Top Skor.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Still No Replacement For Raddy

We are near the end of April. Singapore won the ASEAN Cup last December, then Raddy Avramovic stepped down. Four months on and the Singapore authorities still have no replacement despite hiring some no doubt expensive head hunter to scour the field of great and good.

This story suggests we are still some three weeks away from knowing who the new man will be which suggests a new face in time for a double header friendly against Malaysia in June.

Singapore opened their AFC Cup Qualifiers with a 4-0 defeat in Amman, Jordan but it does seem the Singapore FA are in no hurry for whatever reason. Probably related to their strategic plan though you have to wonder whether their Key Performance Indicators are being met with the tardiness to appoint.

The same story goes on to say among the candidates are two Britons, a Dutchman, an Irishman and a German. One name that has being linked a few times is David O'Leary but he lacks experience coaching a national team. (He did spend 9 months with Al Alhy in UAE)


Results 20-21/4

Indonesia Super League

Persib v Arema 1-0 (Sergio Van Dijk) 26,857
Sriwijaya v Persipura 0-2 (Boaz Solossa, Nelson Alom) 32,200
Pelita Bandung Raya v Persiwa (M Arsyid, Gaston Castano; Camara Sekou) 1,127
Persepam v Persita 1-1 (Busari; OG) 12,389

How about we give a big round of applause to Persiwa’s ‘experienced Pieter Rumaropen? As if Indonesian football hasn’t had enough to deal with in recent years with, takes a deep breath, the LPI, two leagues, two national teams in training, being humiliated 10-0 by miniscule Bahrain (there are larger unnamed rocks in Indonesia than Bahrain), the tragic death of Diego Mendieta, Persibo’s embarrassing performances in the AFC Cup plus general all around shoddy incompetence we now have this gentleman running up behind the referee and lamping him, from behind note, he hasn’t got the guts to go full frontal, leaving the ref’s shirt full of claret.

Nothing much will happen. Persiwa are allowed to win every single home game they play, I think it’s just one defeat in six years at home?, so to have them complaining because a decision goes against the home team is nothing short of farcical and hence totally appropriate in this country. Match officials are often the target of irate away teams who are only too happy when they are the hosts getting all the decisions.

Indonesia’s players’ union are only too happy to let everyone know how much players are owed and they are quite right to do so. If they don’t one else will but they also need to take action in an incident like this that happens all too often. If the player is a member then take some bloody action against him. Don’t do a Gordon Taylor and blindly support the player. The actions of this former international have brought the game into disrepute and we have seen over the years the governing body are too soft or just don’t care to do anything.

There is also a need for the club to take action but they won’t. Because nothing that happens here is about football. People who ru(i)n the game here are not into football. They have their own agenda and that banner that players follow on to the field, that FIFA fair Play one means jack shit in their world view.

But FIFA recognizes things here are hunky dory so let’s just carry on as normal. There is no shame, there is no embarrassment, just more vitriol bouncing off a thick skinned, batik wearing, kretek puffing, BlackBerry punching Neanderthal.

Rumours that Persiwa are interested in signing Liverpool’s Luis Suarez?

1 – Persipura 15 11 4 0 33-4 37
2 – Arema 15 11 0 4 31-13 33
3 – Mitra Kukar 16 10 2 4 31-24 32
4 – Persib 15 9 3 3 34-20 30

Divisi Utama

PSBK v Deltras 3-1 (George Mitchell, Basori, Dembele Siaka; Djamel Leeflang) 7,750


Harimau Muda v Home United 0-1 (Lee Kwan Woo)
Warriors v Hougang United 4-2 (Shi Jiayi, Miislav Karolgan 2, Erwin Gunawan; Mamadou Diallo, Azhar Sairudi)

Singapore football is changing. At Choa Chu Kang yesterday Warriors needed three late goals to overcome plucky Hougang. Once upon a time it would have been SAFFC v Sengkang Punggol. Another example of the changing football scene. Neither Home nor Warriors are challenging for the title at the moment; instead tonight sees 3rd place Albirex Niigata take on Balestier Khalsa and 2nd place Tanjong Pagar hosted by Geylang International.

Malaysia Super League

Felda United v Terengganu 1-2
T Team v Perak 2-0
LionsX11 v ATM 3-1

1 – LionsX11 13 8 3 2 17-8 27
2 – Johor Darul Takzim 13 7 4 2 20-16 24
3 – Selangor 13 6 5 2 16-10 23

9 – Marlon Alex James (ATM)
6 – Fauzi Roslan (Pahang)
4 – Daniel Guiza (Johor DT), Amri Yahyah (Selangor), Patrick Ronaldhino Wleh (PKNS)

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Big Game Preview

Today sees Arema host Persib and Sriwijaya play Persipura.
Four of the top five in action.
Goncalves and Gonzales against Solossa.
The two most successful teams in recent years meet in Palembang.
The teams with the largest average gate meet in Soreang.
Arema boast the biggest crowd of the season so far, 40,000 against Sriwijaya.
Persipura unbeaten this season.
Persib and Sriwijaya unbeaten at home.
Persib have scored more goals than any other team this season.
Persipura have conceded four goals in 14 games.
Sergio Van Dijk averaging a goal a game since he arrived in Indonesia.
Sriwijaya: Champions 2007/08, 2011/12. Cup: 07/08, 08/09, 09/10. Community Shield: 2010. Inter Island Cup 2010, 2012
Persipura: Champions 2005, 08/09, 10/11, Community Shield 09: Inter Island Cup: 2011
Only three teams have won the ISL: 08/09: Persipura, 09/10: Arema, 10/11: Persipura, 11/12: Sriwijaya
Persipura have only lost 15 games in the ISL

Appetite whetted? Check out my preview in the Jakarta Globe!


Results 18-19/4

Indonesia Super League

Persisam v Persiba 2-2 (Anoure Obiora, Bayu Gatra; Yudi Khoeruddin, Syakir Sulaiman) 13,462

The previous three meetings between these East Kalimantan rivals in Samarinda had seen the home team triumph each time but they were left chasing the game this time round needing Bayu's late equaliser to snag a point.

Divisi Utama

PSCS v Persip 2-0 (Wahyu Triharjanto, Taryono) 8,115


Woodlands Wellington v Geylang International 0-0
Balestier Khalsa v DPMM 0-1 (Joao Vitor)
Albirex Niigata v Tampines Rovers 1-2 (Bruno Castenheira; Sead Hadzibulic, Khairul Amri)

Big game last night in Jurong, I forget whether they play at East or West and i know that in the time it has taken to type my ignorance I could have found out but didn't so there, with the champions taking the points. Wonderful picture somewhere of Alex Duric and team mates flattening poor old Amri. And him with his injury record!

Tampines are top with a four point lead over Tanjong Pagar. And they have played a game more.

Malaysia Super League

Negeri Sembilan v Selangor 0-0
Johor Darul Takzim v Pahang 1-0 (Leonel Nunez)
PKNS v Kelantan 2-1

Malaysia Premier League

Kedah v UiTM 1-1
KL v Malaysia Pos 0-3
NS Betaria v PDRM 1-3
Sime Darby v Johor 1-0
SPA Putrajaya v Sabah 2-4

1 - Sime Darby 13 10 3 0 29-7 33
2 - Sarawak 12 8 4 0 18-5 27
3 - Johor 13 8 1 4 32-14 25

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Jacksen's The Man

So Jacksen F Tiago apparently is the latest man to be given the chance to coach the hots potato that is Indonesia.

He follows in a long line of recent incumbents; Nil Maizer, Blanco. Wim van Rijsbergen, Alfred Riedl plus no doubt a few others.

The Brazilian was a prolific scorer for Persebaya before becoming the most successful foreign coach guiding Persebaya and Persipura to titles.

It remains to be seen whether he stays on with Persipura or not.

However he will be seen as a popular choice by many fans in the country given his success and his understanding of how things (don't) get done here will be invaluable in the battles that lie ahead, mostly off the field.

Good luck to the tooth pick chewing one!


Results 17/4

Indonesia Super League

Persegres v Persepam 0-0 2,300

Indonesia Premier League

PSLS v PSM 1-0 (Carlos Sciucatti)
PSIR v Persijap 3-1 (Suyono, Lenglol, Benson; Supriyanto)
Persiraja v Perseman 0-0
Persema v Persija 5-2 (Syaiful Indra, Ariyanto 2, Prayoga, Kurniawan; Rinto Ali 2)

1 - Perseman 7 5 1 1 12-4 16
2 - Semen Padang 5 4 1 0 10-1 13
3 - Pro Duta 6 4 1 0 10-2 13
4 - PSIR 7 4 1 2 13-14 13

Divisi Utama 

Persika v Persipasi 0-1 (Roderique Wallace)
PSSB v PSBL 1-0 (Zikri)
Persekap v PSBI 1-0 (Mustain)
Persis v Persires 2-1 (Feriyanto, Onana; Lubis)

Usual chaos surrounding this league with some of the scheduled games being called off including, apparently, Persikota's against Persipon because they decided not to enter the league after all! Persika lost at home to Persipasi at the stadium both teams use, Singaperbangsa in Karawang though it is Persika's home base. Persis needed a late winner at home to Persires who this season base themselves in Banjarnegara which is, um, somewhere. Last season of course they were in Bali


Young Lions v Tanjong Pagar 0-4 (Benahmed Ismail 3, Zerka Monsef)

After this convincing win Tanjong Pagar moved second just a point behind Tampines Rove though the leaders have played two games less.Young Lions remain rooted to the bottom with nine defeats from their nine games and just two goals to celebrate

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Results 16/4

Indonesia Super League

Sriwijaya v Persiwa 1-0 (Hilton Moreiera) 15,355


Tampines Rovers v DPMM Brunei 1-1 (Khairul Amri; Joao Moreira)

The SLeague champions needed a late, late goal by Amri, a second half sub, to preserve their unbeaten record at home to the team from Brunei

Malaysia FA Cup

Sarawak v Kelantan 0-2 (Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Nor Fahan) Kelantan win 4-1 on aggregate
Terengganu v Negeri Sembilan 3-0 (Ashaari Samsuddin, Jean Effa Owona 2) Terengganu win 6-1 on agg
Selangor v Johor Darul Takzim (Mahali Jasuli; Leonel Nunez 2) JDT win on penalties
Sime Darby v Pahang 0-2 (Matias Conti 2) Pahang win 2-0 on aggregate

Semi Finals 25/5 and 28/8

Kelantan v Terengganu
Johor Darul Takzim v Pahang

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


One Thing PSSI Are Good At - You're Fired

JAKARTA (14 April 2013) – It is not quite a fire sale but the FA of Indonesia (PSSI) have decided on a clear out of all their coaching staff by ending their existing contracts – from the senior squad all the way down to the national Under-19 team.
Those coaches affected are senior national team coach Nil Maizar, national assistant coach Fabio Oliveira, national goalkeeper coach Hariyanto, national Under-23 coach Aji Santoso, national U23 assistant coaches Widodo Cahyono Putro and Listiadi as well as national U19 coach Indra Syafri.
“We have come to a mutual agreement to end this partnership,” said Hadiyandra, the general secretary of the PSSI. “We will fulfil all our responsibilities under the agreed contracts, by 19 April 2013 at the latest.”
Hadiyandra revealed that the responsibility to choose new coaches for Indonesia will be left under the jurisdiction of the National Team Management (BTN), under La Nyalla Mattalitti, who is also an Exco member of the PSSI.
“If BTN wishes to take these coaches back, they are welcome to it. But whatever the case may be, we are now starting from zero as far as the coaching staff is concerned,” added Hadiyandra.
“Blanco’s (Luis Manuel) position will also be decided by the BTN. They will decide whether they want to use him or otherwise.”


Results 15/4

Indonesia Super League

Persib v Persita 5-1 (M Ridwan, Tony Sucipto 2, Airlangga, Sergio van Dijk; Cristian Carrasco) 15,587


Home United v Warriors 1-1 (Masrezwan Masturi; Ruzaini Zainal)

The one time Uniform Derby now just another Singapore game!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Foreigners Provide SLeague Goals

Hougang United v Balestier Khalsa 1-3 (Liam Shotton; Park Kang Jin 2, Gabriel Obadin)
Tanjong Pagar v Woodlands Wellington 1-1 (Zerka Monsef; Jo Yoon Chang)
Geylang International v Albirex Niigata 2-2 (Kawakami Norihiro 2; Kazuki Sakamoto, OG)
Harimau Muda v Young Lions 2-1
Tampines Rovers v Hougang United Called off, it was pissing down

Late goals it seems have been the order of the day in the most exciting league in South East Asia. Geylang were trailing 1-0 at home to Albirex before Norihiro hit twice in the last three minutes. The Eagles must have thought they were home and dry before an own goal by Jumat gave the White Swans an unequal share of the points. Typical. The time I saw these two it was as dull as old dishwater and to compound it the guy at ESPN told me my services were no longer needed! Albirex will rue those points as they cost them top place in the SLeague.

Any Singaporeans score in those games apart from the OG?

1 - Tampines Rovers 6 0 0 14-2 18
2 - Albirex Niigata 8 5 2 1 11-7 17
3 - Tanjong Pagar 8 4 3 1 16-10 15

7 - Monsef Zerka (Tanjong Pagar)
5 - Kazuki Akamoto (Albirex Niigata), Jozef Kaplan (Geylang International)


Singapore Cup 2013 Draw

The Singapore Cup has a slight change this season. Now a draw will be made ahead of each round. Before the draw for the whole comp was done in advance and a team would know its path to Jalan Besar and the final.

Again there are four invited foreign teams and while there is a Cambodian entrant again it isn't Phnom Penh Crown. Instead we have Boung Ket Rubber Field, cue chants of "Come on you Rubbers', the Lao Police Club who come from, um, Laos and two representatives from the Philippines Loyola Meralco Sparks and Global.

They join Singapore's resident foreign teams, Albirex Niigata, DPMM Brunei and Harimau Muda and the other nine domestic clubs in a mini ASEAN League!

We have the draw that was made yesterday but no dates yet!

Woodlands Wellington v Geylang International
Hougang United v Tampines Rovers
Albirex Niigata v Home United
Young Lions v Balestier Khalsa
Loyola Meralco Sparks v Harimau Muda
Tanjong Pagar v Buong Ket
Lao Police Club v DPMM
Warriors v Global

I would still like to see NFL clubs added but that doesn't seem to be part of the strategic plan at the moment. Two Philippines clubs because last season the local community came out in numbers to support their compatriots. Following that logic surely an Indonesian team? Imagine if a Persebaya, Persib, Arema or Persija entering?!


The No Shows

After six rounds of fixtures in the Indonesia Premier League so far seven games saw one of the teams lose 3-0 as they never bothered turning up (WO) and five games cancelled in advance because one of the teams either had no money or were not ready (PP).

So who are the guilty ones?

Arema 1 (WO) 1 (PP)
Persija 2 (WO) 1 (PP)
Persepar 1 (WO) 2 (PP)
Persema 1 (WO)
Persibo 1 (WO) 2 (PP)
Persebaya 1 (WO) 2 (PP)

So out of six possible games the likes of Persebaya, Persibo and Persija have missed half!


Indonesian Football Weekend

Indonesia Super League

PSPS v Persiram 1-1 (Konate Makan; James Koko Lomell) 3,451
Persisam v Barito Putera 0-0 14,235
Persija v Persidafon 1-1 (Robertinho; OG)
Pelita Bandung Raya v Persipura 0-2 (Boaz Solossa 2) 2,333
Arema v Persela 2-0 (Alberto Goncalves; Dendi Santoso) 32,811

No real surprise with Persipura cruising to a 2-0 win away to Pelita Bandung Raya with Boaz making it 12 for this season. The Papuan giants are one point clear at the top ahead of Arema who overcame Persela in an East Java by a similar score; unusually for the Singo Edan a player other than Kayamba (4 goals), Cristian Gonzales (10) and Goncalves (also 10) scored!

Persija's abject season continued, needing a late equaliser to share the points at home to struggling Persidafon. They have just two wins from their opening 15 games and new coach Benny Dollo seems to be struggling to get a team low on confidence, and money if the rumours are true, firing on any cylinders at all.

1 - Persipura 14 10 4 0 31-4 34
2 - Arema 14 11 0 3 31-12 33
3 - Mitra Kukar 16 10 2 4 31-24 32

12 - Boaz Solossa (Persipura)
11 - Alberto Goncalves (Arema)

Indonesia Premier League

Persiraja v PSM Makassar 0-1 (Rasyid Aras)
PSIR v Persija IPL 3-1 (Benson, Chainal, Arief; Sansan)
Persema v Persijap 0-5 (Bahtiar, Brizuela, Agung Supriyanto 3)
PSLS v Perseman 2-0
Pro Duta v Bontang 3-0 (Karlsons 2, Rahmat Hidayat)
Semen Padang v Persebaya 3-0 (Persebaya didn't travel, game awarded 3-0 to Semen Padang)
Persepar v Arema IPL 1-0 (Bayun Pradana)

This league just gets more and more irrelevant. The clubs aren't playing for their future; just the top four will join the IPL but the likes of Persebaya, Persija and Arema will be wound up at the end of the season or rebranded.

Surprise that Persija IPL got their shit together long enough to make it to a game. Little news from them recently, is there ever, and rumours suggesting they had given up were out there.

Persebaya are another team whose future is uncertain. They have last to meet their last three fixtures, they didn't want to travel to Padang because they apparently weren't ready! Professional league ha bloody ha, still, FIFA recognise it and we all know how good they are at their bloody jobs.

Defeat for Perseman was their first of the season allowing Semen Padang the opportunity to go top while playing with their Play Stations. Which about sums this league up.

Divisi Utama (LPIS)

PSS v Persibangga 2-0 (Anang Hadi, Wahyu Gunawan)
Lampung v Persitara 2-1 (Anton Irawan, Nova Hermawan; Firman Septia)
Persewon v PPSM 3-0 (Keli Rumfabe, Wenand Korwa, Ruben Fakda)

This is the Divisi Utama under the IPL and seems to be as well organised as that one. There is no mention anywhere of a fixture list and there is confusion as to who has actually entered following reports 11 clubs wanted to move to the 'other' Divisi Utama. These were the opening games and PSS attracted a good crowd judging by the pictures but info about the games is sketchy. Who is playing next? Dunno. You now know as much as I do!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


The Painful Logistics Of Watching Football In ASEAN

It's the weekend and I wanna see some football but that isn't as easy as it sounds in this region that is so fanatical about the game English clubs are falling over each other to spend the rainy season here.

But try and catch a local game and things aren't so easy. Take Java, the most populated island in Indonesia. Tomorrow there is a game in Jakarta but no fans allowed to enter the 88,000 seater stadium because the security won't give the game a permit; this was decided yesterday afternoon for a game featuring a team from Papua, a minimum seven hour flight away in case any fans wanted to travel (they wouldn't of course).

Places like London and Bangkok have websites devoted to games you can catch in the area; something similar about Jakarta would be lucky to get updated once a week.

Today sees two Indonesia Super League games; PSPS host Persiram and Persisam play Barito Putra. Neither game is on Java. I have no idea where PSPS (Pekanbaru) play their games this season, is it Kuantan or Bangkinang, while Persisam are at least a couple of hours from the nearest airport.

Tomorrow has Pelita Bandung Raya at home to Persipura. An attractive fixture indeed but getting to Soreang by public transport is an absolute nightmare...I think. Never tried it. How to get there from Bandung? Driving would be an option but would entail hitting the Jakarta day trippers on the way home packed to the rafters with their brownies and purchases from factory outlets. A five hour drive back cannot be discounted.

Arema are at home but they play in Kanjuruhan and the airport in Malang is fairly lightweight, no flights convenient for travelling back after an evening game!

We also have the Premier League this weekend but their fixture list isn't worth the cyber space it takes up. They have Persema down to play Persijap this afternoon but they appear confused as to what time the kick off is; two different times are mentioned!

Persema are probably the easiest team to get to, at least once you are in town, as their Gajayana Stadium is fairly central.

The official IPL website has PSIR hosting Persija IPL but again PSIR are not well placed for airports and Persija have a habit of cancelling games. Persiraja are at home but most flights to Banda Aceh involve a change in Medan and you can imagine the joys of transiting in this part of the world with their approach to time keeping!

Another game in the province of Aceh sees PSLS play leaders Perseman but again you are faced with the vagaries of changing in Medan then face a road trip to a place I can't even spell!

There are some IPL games tomorrow but one of them, Persiba v Persibo, is already off, thank Twitter for that knowledge, not the IPL website, while last time I checked Persebaya's visit to Semen Padang was also unclear.

The other Divisi Utama kicks off tomorrow but the official website doesn't even have a fixture list for that and most of those clubs don't bother with awkward obstacles like websites preferring to speak to the converted via sms. I have seen stories that Persipasi have a game tomorrow but also have seen stories they may withdraw from the league! Check their official Twitter and they added nothing since February while one of the supporters' accounts is busy trying to sell replica shirts!

Persiwon play PPSM tomorrow. Persiwon are based in Papua but will play their home games in Boyolali making it a local derby of sorts for the PPSM fans likely to travel. It's a possibility but I have never been to Boyolali and have no idea how far it is from either Yogya or Solo airports and the day job dictates returning straight after the match. The train, however is a possibility but then what?!

So, Indonesia doesn't look too promising. For a change. What about further afield? Singapore? Just one game tonight with champions Tampines taking on Hougang United and we know that game will take place but at this late juncture the best price I can get is about 200 USD!

Malaysia? Penang play Melaka in the FAM League, their third division, and that appeals, not least for the opportunity for some awesome Indian food and the stadium is a doable walk from the centre of town. But. 276 USD has even me pulling the reins a bit!

Negeri Sembilan are at home against LionsX11 but they play in Paroi where ever that may be and they persist in the 8.45 kick off nonsense while Kelantan would be attractive but again transit at the KL budget terminal is as appealing as being sat next to a Totts fan for 16 hours telling me how his lot beat my lot 2-1 and how Carzola is a diver. Oh, the irony.

But seriously the best, the easiest and perhaps most reliable option sits in the FAM League with ATM playing Melayu Kedah. Flights to KL for tomorrow are available even now at just over 100 USD, the ground, field whatever is close to a railway station and I can be in and out in the same time it would take me to get to and back from Soreang!

Alternatively I can stay home and watch the English football on TV!

Friday, April 12, 2013


Pahang Sign Jamaican International

Former Queens Park Rangers defender Damion Stewart has forsaken the earthy delights of post industrial Nottingham and landed on Malaysia's east coast after signing for newly promoted Pahang during the transfer window.

Pahang are currently 5th in the 12 team league and boast, along with big spending Darul Takzim the worst defence so they will be hoping the 6.2 inch 32 year old defender can tighten things at the back.

Stewart also had a spell with Bradford City and joins a long list of people who have flirted with this part of the world and have the Bantams on their CV; Zesh Rehma, Bryan Robson, some guy who played for BEC Tero and I once had a curry there


Persipasi Plan Karawang Home

Persipasi Bekasi will continue their nomadic ways this coming season. The first time I saw them play was against Persires (now there's another story) at their one time traditional Patriot Stadium in downtown sunny Bekasi.

Last season they upped sticks to Ciracas Stadium in South Jakarta.

This season? This report suggests they will use Singaperbangsa Stadium in Karawang for their home games. To be fair not a bad choice; Karawang isn't that far from Bekasi and the facilities there are better than Tambun Stadium which was also considered.

Persipasi's chopping and changing will end soon they hope as they are having a brand spanking new stadium built closer to their home in West Java. The new ground is predicted to hold 30,000 spectators when finally finished.

It's a funny thing but West Java does seem to be going in to stadium construction in a big way. Persib will have a new ground soon while a sports complex at Hambalang has been causing much controversy.

Perspasi's choice of Karawang means that two clubs in Divisi Utama (LPIS) will use that ground as Persika Karawang will also use it in the same division!


ASEAN Super League

The recent ASEAN Football Federation meeting cleared the way for the long mooted ASEAN Super League to begin in 2014.

The proposed league would see 16 teams from eight countries, (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines) competing for the right to be called ASEAN’s best and early indications are that the clubs would be ‘franchised’ similar to the model used in the United States and Australia.

It may not please purists who would prefer football clubs to be steeped in tradition and history but given the deep seated problems that plague the domestic leagues in this part of the world the best thing ASEAN can do is keep the respective football associations at arms length.

Indonesia’s problems have been well publicized in recent years but they are not alone when it comes to inconsistent leadership.

A couple of years ago many felt the Thai Premier League (TPL) was on course to be one of the best in Asia let alone South East Asia but the hype overlooked some simple, basic structural flaws.

Undoubtedly the TPL boasts some of the best football clubs in the region. Buriram United maybe a relatively new entity but they have been performing creditably in the Asian Champions League while Muang Thong United have proven to be even more successfully in recent years and boast two of the best players in the region; Kawin Thammatchan and Teerasil Dangda.

The league has moved on from the days when the teams were a bunch of three lettered initials, BBC, TFB, SET, TTM based around state owned enterprises in Bangkok. Now the league is truly nationwide with all points of the compass covered yet the recent charge by politicians and businessmen, eying the glory and glamour identified with a successful football team as being good for their ego, has skewered the competition so it resembles Russia pre Communist Revolution with a handful of clubs able to compete thanks to the deep pockets, and influence, of their backers, and the rest.

Buriram United for example are owned by a controversial politician named Newin Chidchob whose family have been the first family of the province as long as anyone can remember. Back in the 1990s Chidchob was alleged to have engaged in vote buying during a general election although now he is banned from serving as a politician the contacts, and loyalty, he and his family have acquired over the years will always come in handy.
No one is suggesting of course Chidchob’s motives for football are less than pure. He has invested serious sums into building the football club and their newly built stadium is an arena Indonesian clubs can only dream of.

But there is a very strong sense in Thailand that the Football Association, led by Worawi Makudi, very much plays second fiddle to the clubs domestically while punching above their weight overseas.

Since the TPL started getting more popular, and stronger, the national team at all levels have struggled prompting coach Winnie Schaefer to take the unprecendated step of writing an open letter to the FA asking for some friendlies to be arranged ahead of the AFF Cup last December. The FA, unhappy at being so publicly exposed, responded with some games arranged but the Thais still lost in the final to Singapore extending a barren run in a competition they felt was theirs by right.

Malaysia have enjoyed phenomenal success over recent years with one AFF Cup and two SEA Games titles in quick succession but the signs are there that trail of glory maybe reaching a brick wall.

As hosts in the AFF Cup they disappointed supporters especially with a 1-0 reverse at home to eventual winners and biggest rivals Singapore.

Undoubtedly the Malaysians have done most in recent years to improve the standing of their national team and it has showed signs of paying off. As a measure of their mind set when Indonesia hosted Saudi Arabia in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier recently the Saudis stopped off in Malaysia for a game; the young Malaysian team, known as Harimau Muda, are currently playing games in Slovakia while a second Harimau Muda compete in Singapore’s SLeague.

However the gentlemen at the Football Association of Malaysia are a prickly bunch, taking offense at any slight perceived or otherwise. Indeed their constitution explicity prohibits club officials, coaches or players speaking critically of the governing body with the result that several coaches are currently serving be threatened with suspensions for trivial offenses like having a go at the match officials or speaking out of turn.
Suffice to say Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene wenger would never be welcome in Malaysia coaching a local team.

A few years back Vietnam’s V League was the most popular in the region, average attendances of more than 11,000 exceeded even Indonesia.

Not anymore. Fans are staying away with last season’s average down by about a third and some clubs have been forced to fold due to financial problems that show no sign of fading away any time soon. The glory days of 2008 when Le Cong Vinh won their first ever AFF Cup in Hanoi against the Thais are very distant and Cong Vinh, at one stage the most expensive player in the region, is finding it hard enough to find any club willing to pay his wages.

Where once a generation of Thai internationals like Pipat Thonkanya and Datsakorn Thonglao saw playing in the V League a necessary part of their football CV, and bank balance, today they are staying at home attracted by the higher salaries and better quality on their own doorstep.

While there is much to be said for franchising any ASEAN Super League then there are difficulties for any new clubs ensuring a toe hold especially in countries with more mature footballing roots

The Thai Premier League has seen relatively new clubs like Bangkok Glass, Muang Thong United and Buriram United recently carve a niche for themselves thanks to savvy marketing but the game lacks the deep roots that are present in other countries.

Starting from scratch in Indonesia for example will be much harder as the backers of the Indonesia Premier League have found. The football hotbeds are undoubtedly cities like Bandung, Surabaya, Malang and possibly Jakarta and recent experiences suggest establishing second clubs in those cities, against well established clubs with history and tradition won’t be an easy task. The good folk of Bandung, for example, bleed Persib blue and have not taken to newcomers like Bandung FC or Pelita Bandung Raya in recent years.

Despite all the obstacles there is no doubt an ASEAN Super League is an opportunity for football to reach out to new markets much like the Thais have managed to do. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are home to millions of football fans who love the game but ignore what they have on their own doorstep. They are quite happy to stay up all hours watching their favourite European team, or teams, quite happy to buy the latest replica shirt but don’t have a clue who their local team is or how they are faring.

If a new ASEAN Super League is able to reach out to this new market by engaging with them and enticing them through the turnstiles they will also be able to tap into a relatively well off supporter who has money to spend and is keen to be associated with the trappings of success and glamour that comes with a local football club but with the exception of a handful of Thai clubs that is something the rest of the region has spectacularly failed to manage.

SOURCE - This appeared in today's Jakarta Globe but not on the website


Mitra Kukar Go Top

Mitra Kukar's 2-0 win over East Kalimantan neighbours Persiba Balikpapan saw them take over top spot in the Indonesia Super League but they have played three games more than second placed Persipura with a narrow one point lead.

Earlier in the week PSPS poor start to the season continued with their third home defeat of the season against Persidafon; it was their first away win this campaign.

Arema are in third place after defeating Persepam 2-0 with both coming from Alberto Goncalves.

Persipura play Pelita Bandung Raya on Sunday knowing a draw will put them back on top of the table.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Two New Faces

The much depleted Divisi Utama, the official one, has two new clubs with just days before the season is due to begin.

Persebul and PS Siak withdrew earlier, Persebul joining the other Divisi Utama, and have been replaced by Persika Karawang and PS Padang.

With the season scheduled to begin this weekend perhaps they can finally get round to announcing the fixtures?


The Wizard Of FAM

THE FA of Malaysia (FAM) are now taking on a new role — as an editor.

In what could be a unprecedented departure for Malaysian sports, FAM have issued an advisory to the media to be cautious in their reports regarding a third party.

Such a ridiculous statement, when received by authentic media editors from FAM yesterday, drew sniggers and contempt.

What took the cake was FAM’s willingness to issue this statement to the Press following instructions from a third party.

Such “interference” would certainly not sit well with Fifa, which upholds the philosophy that national associations should be independent of any influence, particularly by the government.

The Guatemala FA, Tanzania Football Federation and the South African FA were the latest to receive letters from the world body reminding them about government interference.

FAM, apparently, were “instructed” by the Johor palace to issue a statement urging members of the Press to “be careful” when writing about former Johor FA president Tunku Ismail Ibrahim and that “reports concerning the Johor prince should be referred to the palace first”.

The statement, sent via email yesterday, read: “FAM noticed many reports by the media recently are based on speculations and have no basis concerning certain issues in the domestic scene.

“Certain papers have been continuously writing speculation pieces. These reports only lead to an unhealthy environment in Malaysian football.

“FAM would like to notify the media to be careful when reporting about Johor FA president Tunku Ismail Ibrahim whereby all reports about the prince have to be referred to the Johor palace first.

“FAM received this instruction from the Johor palace today (yesterday).” Mind-blowing indeed.

For the record, FAM had referred to Tunku Ismail as Johor FA president as the national body have not been notified in writing about the Johor prince’s decision to quit the hot seat.

Tunku Ismail, had in a statement circulated to members of the Press on April 3, relinquished his position with state secretary Datuk Obet Tawil named as president with immediate effect.

However, Tunku Ismail will continue as Johor FA patron.
Sports journalists and observers didn’t mince their words when commenting about the statement on social media. Some poked fun while others viewed it as a serious interference which FAM condoned.

Would FAM issue a similar statement if the Sports Ministry or a Cabinet minister had demanded a similar request?

Can members of the media “instruct” FAM to provide us with real time results of the M-League, updates on the national team enjoying stints abroad and demand for the abolishment of Article 88 so that coaches, officials and players will be able to talk to us without fear?
SOURCE Malay Mail
COMMENT Ha ha ha bloody ha. Viva FAM, Long Live FAM Presidente, all bow down to FAM. The Mighty FAM. 


Persibo's Humiliation

Persibo Bojonegoro and Indonesian football would have been better served had they rejected the opportunity to compete in the 2013 AFC Cup. They are playing in Asia’s second tier club competition by dint of winning the Indonesia Cup last season but they do have the feel of a professional football club this season.

They lost their first game in the AFC Cup 3-0 away to Yangon United. OK fair enough, away games are always tough but more so in this part of the world where a two or three hour flight can take you to a completely different culture and players here are not the most widely travelled people.

Next up was New Radiant at Solo’s Manahan Stadium. They couldn’t play the game in Bojonegoro because their own ground isn’t up to AFC standards. New Radiant come from the Maldives, an island nation, like Indonesia, that boasts a population less than the district of the home team but that amounted to zilch as they returned home with a 7-0 win!

Another home game saw Persibo take on Hong Kong side Sunray Cave and despite leading at one stage had to make do with a 3-3 draw giving them their first point.

Then to Hong Kong. The media there were reporting the Indonesian team as missing as they had not turned up for a training session at the appointed time amid rumours they had no money and wanted to withdraw.
They eventually turned up. On the day of the match. After flying from Surabaya to Hong Kong, no doubt on the cheapest airline possible.

They handed in their team sheet, which boasted a single substitute, and were set to play.

Everything of course went swimmingly for the home team and with the Indonesian players dropping like flies after their less than perfect preparation and  were 8-0 up after 65 minutes when the ref cancelled the game as Persibo had less than the required number of players to continue the game.

In a damning judgment of Indonesian football delivered after the game Sunray coach Chiu Chung Man said "We didn't expect this situation from Persibo; they don't have any sporting spirit. We have heard many times about the lack of sportsmanship of Indonesian teams but did not expect it to happen with us."

It would have been cheaper, and easier on their goal difference and bank balance, had they stayed at home and taken an automatic 3-0 loss. As it is they now face the threat of disciplinary action from the Asian Football Confederation.

Things are no better in the Indonesia Premier League where the glory days of lifting the Cup last season are already tinged with sepia.

Their first game of the season against Persepar Palangkarya was postponed. They did manage to overcome PSM Makassar 2-0 in their ‘next’ game at home but any hopes of building momentum were dashed four days later when current IPL leaders Perseman Manokwari won 1-0.

The IPL then hibernated for three weeks before Persibo were next scheduled to play neighbours Persebaya Surabaya but that game was postponed with the Surabayan hosts having difficulties arranging security clearance for their home games.

A game away to Bontang, never the easiest place to get to, was next and this time Persibo never bothered travelling seeing the game awarded to Bontang 3-0. Little surprise then they sit 13th in the 16 team league that is surrounded by confusion with some teams contemplating withdrawing and doubts the season will be completed.

Under those circumstances the last thing Persibo need is the distraction of intercontinental football. They have enough problems in their own backyard without the added complication of trying to find places like Maldives and Myanmar on a map and booking flights to those exotic destinations.

So why are Persibo still in the AFC Cup? Rumours in the Hong Kong media suggest the Indonesia Football Association (known as PSSI) were keen for them to continue and the club themselves would rather not bother. To paraphrase the twisted Khmer Rouge who held sway in Cambodia during the 1970s there is no benefit if Persibo stay in the AFC Cup and there is no loss if they withdraw.

The threat of sanction from FIFA may have receded following the peace talks that recently united the rival Football Associations but the same basic incompetence remains and there is no sign that will come to an end anytime soon.


A Fine Vietnamese Mess

    Last season’s title race could not have been scripted better and, although not in the same ballpark as the two Manchester clubs going head-to-head in England, it was arguably just as exciting. 
    The nation’s three biggest cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang all went into the final day knowing they could win the championship. Hanoi was top and only needed a draw against the Ho Chi Minh City team, Saigon, who had to win and have Danang lose — but if the central side did win and there was a stalemate in Saigon, they would be crowned winners. 
    The latter happened, and Danang won their second title in four years. 
    Turn the clock forward six months, and the never-ending economic slowdown resulted in local officials deciding to postpone the nation’s championship until Mar. 2 — with the number of teams going from 14 to 12 due to clubs suffering from financial uncertainty. 
    This season’s line-up consists of Danang, Kien Giang, Long An, Thanh Hoa, Song Lam Nghe An, Hai Phong (who have taken the franchise of Khataco Khanh Hoa from Nha Trang), Hanoi T&T, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Saigon XT, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Ninh Binh. With one team being relegated and three being promoted from the First Division, there will be a 14-team league in 2014. In 2015, the league is expected to expand to 16. 
    Word tracked down local sports reporter, Thanh Nguyen, to clarify the goings-on over the last few months. 
    “The V-League has been through uncertain times for a number of months now and instead of kicking off in January, the league has been delayed,” he says of the recent turbulence. “Two football teams (ACB Hanoi and Hanoi FC) owned by disgraced mogul Nguyen Duc Kien, have officially withdrawn from the V-League and First Division Tournament 2013, meaning a lot of players will have to find new teams. Navibank Saigon has also folded.”
     Officials from Vietnam Professional Football Company (VPF), the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), football donors and local officials have been frantically trying to help local teams out. There are also new regulations on the number of foreign players and the age limit of domestic players with regards to transfers. With 30 players in a team on average, the V-League and First Division Tournament have more than 200 players who are now jobless. 
    A Great Migration
    This cull of players in nothing new to football, but this time it has not only affected the little-known and young players. Stars who are members of the national team who are currently unemployed include top striker Le Cong Vinh of Hanoi T&T and Doan Viet Cuong of Saigon Xuan Thanh. 
    Song Lam Nghe An FC was close to dissolving but has survived, a relief to their huge and loyal fan base. After some haggling, national midfielders Nguyen Trong Hoang, Nguyen Dinh Dong and Au Van Hoan reached an agreement with the team. 
    This turmoil has been bad for the players, but good for sports reporters. 
    “The most outstanding story is the case of national striker Le Cong Vinh, who is the glamour boy of Vietnamese football,” Thanh says. “He admits his chances of playing in the V-League this season are very slim. No club will be able to afford a transfer fee of hundreds of thousands of US dollars to buy him, despite being without a club. He will almost certainly go to a sports college while trying to maintain his form to look for opportunities in the next season.” 
    But Thanh also describes with some sadness the absurdity of another case. 
    “The most tragic story is of national striker Quang Hai who has a real dilemma because his team, Navibank Saigon, was disbanded. If he wants to join a new team, he or his new club will have to pay VND3.5 billion in compensation as he is in debt to the team. Quang Hai said he has had to sell his motorbike to pay debts and support his family.” 
    Saigon XT have also had enough with national defender Viet Cuong, who has been put up for sale after suffering from the ‘Primadona disease’, an affliction we associate with the likes of Carlos Tevez. In this case, the lazy star used an alleged illness as an excuse for not training with the city side. 
    Saigon has only been in existence for two years but it’s been a terrific 24 months for the city club. They ran away with the First Division title last season and only lost out on the league title on the last day. But they unexpectedly won the National Cup — beating Hanoi T&T, one of the country’s most successful sides in recent years, 4-1 in the final at Thong Nhat Stadium a week later. However, they might suffer this season, as they have lost some of their highly-paid foreign stars.
    Striker Van Quyen has been let go from Song Lam Nghe An due to a dip in form, but minnows Ninh Binh FC seem keen to give him a helping hand. That would result in a huge drop in club and wages for the former Vietnam star. 
    Thanh Luong, another player from Vietnam’s national squad, is fortunate in that Hanoi T&T paid VND3 billion (about US$144,000) to take him from the recently disbanded Hanoi FC. 
    The Long Road Back
    Hanoi T&T striker Thach Bao Khanh, 33, insists Vietnam’s top clubs need to get their houses in order to ensure the survival of the V-League. But providing the VFF can improve quality and professionalism both on and off the pitch, he remains optimistic about the future of the game. 
    “Reform is needed in our game but I think it will be gradual,” he says. “It’s the Vietnamese way. The individual teams have to put in a great effort to ensure the finance is there to continue for the long-term. Since we introduced the V-League ten years [ago] it has definitely helped improve the quality of [football in Vietnam].” 
    Khanh is convinced the reduction in the number of teams this season will mean it will be more competitive, with every game becoming a mini ‘cup final’. He is hoping Hanoi T&T can add to their only title win in 2010, as one of the newest clubs in the V-League. They have also been runners-up in the last two seasons. 
    “The number of teams being reduced is not necessarily synonymous with reducing quality and after being runners-up with the last two years, we are hoping to go one better this season,” he says. 
    VFF has made a bold decision to invite Kazuyoshi Tanabe to be their deputy director in the 2013 season. The Japanese official will take responsibility for the organisation of the national football leagues, and is expected to heighten the quality and competitiveness of tournaments and matches, attracting spectators back to stadiums. 
    Meanwhile, this season Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) will sponsor the National Football Championship, V-League, the First Division football and National Football Cup, after the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and Eximbank signed an agreement in Ho Chi Minh City. 
    Under the contract, Eximbank becomes the first-ever sponsor of the three big tournaments and this is the third consecutive year of V-League sponsorship by the firm. 
    Building the Future
    Based in Pleiku in the Central Highlands, Hoang Anh Gia Lai-Arsenal JMG Academy is the only operational football academy in Vietnam at this moment. The academy is a cooperation between Premiership giants Arsenal and privately-owned Vietnamese corporation Hoang Anh Gia Lai, and it will hopefully help produce Vietnamese stars of the future. 
    To help bring through young players, a new V-League regulation states that each team must have at least three Vietnamese players aged 23 and under registered in matchday squads of 20 for every league game. Under new rules of the Vietnam Professional Football JSC (VPF), the 2013 season will restrict the number of foreign players in the V-League to three per team squad. 
    Thanh sees the current uncertainty as a good thing for these future stars. 
    “One thing which will also help the young players come through is the fact that due to a cut in wages this season, a lot of foreign players have left Vietnam to seek opportunities elsewhere,” he says. “Those who stay have to accept a significant reduction of salary. Over the years wage cuts have led to foreign players moving to other countries in the region such as Thailand and Malaysia.”
    Stat Attack
    The Leagues
    Vietnamese football has two divisions, the V-League and the First Division. The current V-League deal is worth VND100 billion (US$4.8 million) from 2011 to 2013. Sponsor Eximbank plans to spend some VND47.3 billion this season. 
    V-League 2013 begins on Mar. 2 and concludes on Aug. 25. Teams will play each other home and away for 22 matches in total. 
    The Cup
    The National Football Cup qualifying round will begin on Mar. 16 and the final will be played on Aug. 31. The winners will receive VND1 billion. VPF will award VND4 billion to the winners, with second and third receiving VND2 billion and VND1 billion. 
    The First Division tournament starts on Mar. 9 and concludes on Jul. 6. The VPF said only eight teams will compete this season for a championship bounty of VND1 billion. First Division teams will also play each other home-and-away over 14 rounds. 
    The Stadiums
    Sai Gon FC plays at Thong Nhat Stadium (138 Dao Duy Tu, Q10), while Hanoi T & T plats at Hang Day Stadium (Trinh Hoai Duc, Dong Da). Both have a capacity of over 20,000. 
    The Fans
    The V-League in 2009 attracted a record 1.8 million fans, an average of 11,143 fans per game, according to VFF. However, the V-League attracted just 697,500 fans — an average of 7,837 fans at each game — in the 2012 season. 
    The Salaries
    Despite the economic crisis, 14 V-League teams spent a total of VND300 billion in 2009 on players. Vietnamese footballers were being paid on average between VND10 million and VND20 million a month. The minimal salary for players in the V-League 2013 is set at VND10 million per month. It is VND6 million for First Division stars.
    SOURCE The Word Ho Chi Minh

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