Friday, April 26, 2013


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 I'd suggest a form of feudal politics where the lance and mace have been replaced by intimidation and influence as the weapons of choice.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.

And the coach was sacked even before he got a single game..i think that is the first in the whole footballing world
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