Friday, February 07, 2014


Jakarta Globe Column

We are still a couple of weeks away from the start of Singapore’s SLeague but this has already been a bad month for fans of the game in the city state.

Last Sunday saw champions Tampines Rovers host Hong Kong’s South China in an AFC Champions League Qualifier at Jalan Besar Stadium and it was the visitors who took the spoils with two goals from former Arema and Persebaya 1927 striker Andrew Barisic giving them a 2-1 win. To make matters worse for the home side, they ended the game with nine men after Imran Sahib and Miljan Mrdakovic were red carded.

Coach Salim Moin was naturally disappointed with the result but praised his team’s fighting performance, saying ‘I’m very proud of my team. Despite the two red cards we showed great fighting spirit.’
Days later the national team were in action in an AFC Asian Cup Qualifier against Jordan at the same stadium.

Singapore’s chances of going through to the Asian Cup in Australia were next to zero before the game and coach Bernd Stange recognized this, saying he preferred to use the game as a gauge as to how far the team had progressed since their last qualifier, a 4-0 loss away to Syria.

‘We have had a short time to prepare for this match but it’s a good opportunity against a good side to see if we are improving or not,’ said the former East German international.

Jordan took the lead through Thaer Bawab just before half time. More bad news for the Lions when defender Baihakki Khaizan, plying his trade with Johor Darul Takzim in Malaysia, received a second yellow meaning they faced a second half with just 10 men.

Jordan’s skipper, Ahmad Hayel, seemed to have put the game beyond the reach of the home team when he made it 2-0 on 58 minutes but the Lions roared back with former Tampines Rovers and Persiba Balikpapan striker scoring from the penalty spot with just six minutes on the clock.

Jordan finally put the game to bed in injury time when substitute Youseff Rawshdeh made it 3-1.
There was some bad news for Hougang United’s Guinea winger  Mamadou Diallo. The 23 year old has had his application for a work permit rejected and must leave the country. This despite having played in Singapore since 2008.

Fans of the club have responded by organizing an online petition calling for the decision to be revoked, suggesting the decision not to allow him to stay ‘could be due to his country of origin is African (sic)’ and there is a limit on the number of permits issued to Africans.

In Indonesia, the Super League got under way last Saturday and so far there have been few surprises which is a surprise in itself in a league where anything that can go wrong, and often things that can’t go wrong, often do go wrong!

Pre season favourites Arema, Persebaya Surabaya and Persipura Jayapura all recorded home wins, against Persijap Jepara, Mitra Kukar and Persela Lamongan respectively.

Some of the attendances may cause authorities concern though. PSM Makassar are being forced to play their home games in Surabaya and they could only attract a few hundred for their first home game of the season while Pelita Bandung also had a three figure attendance. Persiram Raja Ampat are another team whose attendances fall way short of the league’s average; they attracted just 200 for the game with Persiba Balikpapan, played in Sleman.

At least events in Singapore and Indonesia have mostly revolved around events on the field. In Malaysia the news, in what should have been an exciting week of FA Cup action, has most definitely centered on events and activities off the pitch.

The cup tie between Johor Darul Takzim and T Team ended at half time when the visitors refused to come out for the second half.

With the home team leading 2-1, some T Team players have claimed they were abused and assaulted by JDT officials in the tunnel.

The following day, a number of reports were filed with the police in T Team’s home town of Terengganu, claiming assault and accusing the head of the Johor Football Association, who just happens to be the Crown Prince of the state of Johor.

It was reported one of T Team’s players was verbally abused by the Crown Prince while another was punched in the face and the team’s fitness coach was kicked in the groin by one of the Crown Prince’s bodyguards.

The alleged involvement of the Crown Prince makes this case a potential tinderbox and already the Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, has said the ministry would not get involved. It was an ‘incident for the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia and other relevant bodies’ he said.

The JDT coach, Cesar Jimines, was next to complain to the police, saying he had been assaulted as well in the tunnel while, in yet another twist, one of the T Team players has come out and said nothing happened in the tunnel and the assistant coach Azlan Johar ordered the players to get on the bus.

This incident is putting the FAM in a very tricky situation, coming as it announces a further 17 players of Kuala Lumpur had been fined for the involvement in match fixing. Earlier, five players and three officials had received lifetime bans.

The head of the FAM disciplinary committee, Taufek Abdul Razak, said some of the players had been threatened by the match fixers while others had been beaten up for not following instructions.

The FAM were due to meet with officials from JDT and T Team on Thursday to decide what action should be taken.

SOURCE - this is not yet on the Jakarta Globe website which is normal despite their avowed policy of putting stories straight on the web...

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