Thursday, September 05, 2013


IPL Continues As It Ended

Traditionally comedy in this country has been of the slapstick variety...and to an outsider like me of a very unfunny sort.

In recent years there has seen the rise of the stand up comedian, risking all in front of a live audience.

But without doubt the funniest show in town these days is the Indonesia Premier League and its accompanying Divis Utama.

After a two month break the league is back and ready to entertain us with new depths to be plunged.

The first game in the IPL after the break was to be Persiba Bantul v Persebaya. The visitors duly rocked up on the train, as they gleefully told us on twitter, and got ready to play football.

Both teams get on the pitch and everyone waits expectantly. And nothing happens. Security officials had not given permission for the game to go ahead so the players trooped back down the tunnel to the dressing room and a game of cards.

Then we got the news the IPL would be kicking three teams out of the league. Persibo won the Indonesia Cup last year but have been little more than an embarrassment this campaign. The record shows they have played 16 games but they never bothered turning up for 10 of them! They were too tired after their AFC Cup adventures or they had no money or some such other nonsense.

Oh yes, the AFC Cup. Persibo represented Indonesia in Asia's second biggest club competition and played six games. To their credit they did draw one game, 3-3 at home to Hong Kong side Sunray Cave JC Sun Hei.

In the rest they were humiliated. 7-1 and 7-0 in their other two home games plus a spectacular 8-0 in Hong Kong. A 6-1 loss in the Maldives seems almost respectable in that high scoring company.

One of the other teams being kicked out are Persija. By rights they shouldn't even have been allowed in the league, Indonesia already having one Persija but this is, to coin a cliche, Indonesia and anything goes in the whacky world of Indonesian football.

So Persija IPL used the Persija club crest and even boasted, optimistically, they would be using the 88,000 seater Bung Karno Stadium in the heart of Jakarta.

The truth was less glamourous. With no support in their supposed home town, Persija fans had long made it clear they had no interest in the upstarts with the stolen name, they were forced to look elsewhere. 2012 saw them play home games in Madiun, East Java while this season has seen them play on a field in Yogyakarta.

While thousands of real Persija fans have travelled the island of Java following their team, no one bothered with the IPL version.

Not surprisingly they are bottom of the IPL with four points from 15 games and they will not be long lamented by fans in the capital city, Madiun or Yogyakarta.

And finally Esther, we come to Persema. Their story I have often typed up. They are third bottom, often miss games and supposedly are gone.

Bontang must be wondering what they need to do...they actually want to leave the league!

Anyway, coming up to date yesterday saw some more games due to be played.

One wasn't! Arema were scheduled to play Pro Duta, fresh from their European tour. Now, this Arema are not the Arema who regularly draw crowds of 30,000 plus. This lot play at the smaller Gajayana Stadium in front of small crowds, probably a bit more than Persija but you won't need an extra pair of hands. (Incidentally I was promised the attendances for 2012 but never received them. A metaphor for the league taht failed to live up to their own hype of Change The Game.)

Anyway back to the game. It never happened! The ref went on strike because he hadn't been paid for ages! Like I said, who needs slapstick or stand up when you have these clowns?

So, from the opening four IPL games of the second round of fixtures, two were played and two were called off with the players on the pitch!

Now, let's move on to Divisi Utama.

Yesterday Persis hosted PSS Sleman. No love lost between these two rivals. With the game 0-0 at half time PSS didn't bother coming out for the second half so intimidating and febrile was the atmosphere inside the stadium.

Rumours flashed round that up to three fans were killed during the brawls; fortunately there seems to be no truth in that rumour but certainly things seemed to get pretty hairy down there for a while and the trouble spilled over into Sleman itself with reports people there were attacking cars with Yogyakarta number plates.

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