Saturday, December 27, 2014


Jakarta Casual Awards 2014

It's that time of the year again when we look back at the best of South East Asian football in 2014. Well, when I say the best, it's only from what I have seen so there! Maybe next year we can look at getting people to make nominations from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand but for now this is what it is so sit back, enjoy the complementary finger buffet and enjoy the show...Minus the pole dancers!

In the absence of any flash photography or 24/7 media coverage or indeed any inane speeches let us get a bloody move on.


For a long while it looked like Persib fans would regain the title they shared last season with their enemy in Jakarta but they were well and truly usurped at the last by some supporters from another country.

Anyone can turn up and cheer on their heroes when they are winning. Look at Manchester City and their 'new' fans for evidence of that. A replica shirt, a scarf and a bit of face painting and away you go. The world recognises you for what you are.

This year has seen support cranked up a notch. Witness several hundred Arema fans at the AFC Cup tie with Selangor for example or the one man band who lives somewhere out in West Africa yet goes to as many Arema games as possible. And the several thousands who travelled from all across Indonesia to see Persib win the Indonesia Super League in Palembang.

But for me the best stories came during the recent AFF Cup. What about the hardy few who drove from Malaysia to Bangkok for the first leg of the final against Thailand? Worthy of a story in itself but mostly ignored by local English language who can't wait to print tired agency waffle from the Premier League but have no idea about the stories in their own backyard.

The winners though are the Ultras Malaya. Watch this video...if you are not stirred by the noise and the sheer vibrancy then perhaps you don't have a heart but a stone.

2014 Ultras Malaya
2013 Persib/Persija
2012 Pasoepati
2011 Lions All The Way
2010 Pasoepati
2009 Woodlands Wellington


For too long football websites have been designed by spotty nerds who love flashing lights and rolling text but have no real idea about the experience for the visitor. That is slowly changing and Indonesia is leading the way with some excellent, thoughtful websites. It is also good to see some fans doing their best to launch English language accounts to spread the word about Indonesia's own version of the beautiful game.

 The history and culture of football has long fascinated me so for that reason and that reason alone I have decided the unofficial website of 2015 goes to a labour of love from fan(s) of PSIM and Bawah Skor ... an excellent resource of photographs and stories mostly revolving around their beloved team. Looking forward to the book lads!

2014 Bawah Skor
2013 Axross The Line
2012 Twitter
2011 Thai Football Message Board
2010 Pusam FC
2009 Ongisnade


There are a 1,001 stories a year coming out of Indonesia that deserve a wider, albeit disbelieving audience and 2014 has been no different.  The farcical game of five own goals with two scored by a lad named Komedi for example would win it every bloody year. And what about Persis refusing to play Pusamania and heading home? Persiwa refusing to travel, playing a player despite him being suspended and getting promotion for their efforts?

What about a good news story though? Like, for example, Thailand and especially Kiatisuk Senamaung? An absolute gent guiding his team to success in the AFF Cup by playing football the way it should be played. And he has been involved in every Thai triumph in the cup having won it three times as a player and now once as a coach.

In ordinary circumstances he would be a shoo in for the coach of the year but not 2014. Instead, the Thai Zico has to make do with being a gooey, cuddly, fluffy story of the year!

2014 Kiatisuk Senamaung
2013 Indonesia U19
2012 FIFA
2011 Liga Primer Indonesia
2010 Buriram PEA
2009 Noh Alam Shah signing for Arema


Where to begin on this one? Buriram United win the Thai Premier League again...but where would they be without their owner? A great year for Persib, ending their 20 year title drought and in such style. Johor Darul Tazim doing the right things on and off the pitch?

Part of me, the footballing romantic, is leaning towards Pelita Bandung Raya who had a sensational season, reaching the play offs and proving a tough nit to crack but in the end I am going to plump for a Thai team with the potential to make a real impression in the Premier League next season, either on or off it. Nakorn Ratchasima!

2014 Nakorn Ratchasima
2013 Tampines Rovers
2012 Sriwijaya
2011 Buriram PEA
2010 Etoile
2009 Selangor


Apologies have already been offered to Zico but there can only be one winner of this. Honourable mentions also to Alex Weaver (Warriors), Bojan Hodak (Johor Darul Tazim), Dejan Antonic (Pelita Bandung Raya) but there can be only one winner in 2014.

After reaching the Divisi Utama play offs, Persiwa picked up one point from their first three games. They refused to travel to their fourth game so it was awarded to the home team. They then got beat 5-0 and only managed to win their last game because the other team failed to travel! From four play off ties, they drew one and lost three!

Yet they reached the Divisi Utama final and despite losing 3-1 to Pusamania still earned promotion to the Indonesia Super League! Who needs to bother with training sessions and coaching badges eh?!

2014 Mahmudiana (Persiwa)
2013Jacksen F Tiago (Persipura)
2012 Raddy Avramovic (Singapore)
2011 Ong Kim Swee (Malaysia Under 23)
2010 Rajagobal (Malaysia)
2009 Richard Bok (SAFFC)


Kawin Thammasatchan (Muang Thong United) - Alfin Tuasalamony (Persebaya), Safuwan Baharudin (LionsX11), Arif Amiruddin (PDRM), Vladimir Vujovic (Persib) - Ramdhani Lestalahu (Persija), Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Takzim), Chanathip Songkrasin (BEC Tero), Makan Konate (Persib), M Ridwan (Persib) - Jorge Diaz (Johor Darul Tazim), Ferdinand Sinaga (Persib)

Substitutes - Andritany Ardhiyasa (Persija), Mahali Jasuli (Johor Darul Tazim), Kim Jeffrey Kurniawan (Pelita Bandung Raya), Sahril Suhami (Young Lions), Evan Dimas (Indonesia U19), Charyl Chappuis (Suphanbur), Ilija Spasojevic (Pusam)


When a football pitch becomes one man's canvas. Slight of foot, a joy to behold, Chanathip may not be around much longer so when you get the chance, watch him!

2014 Chanathip Songkrasin (BEC Tero)
2013 Hariss Harun (LionsX11)
2012 Izwan Mahbud (LionsX11)
2011 Khairul Fahmie (Kelantan)
2010 Frederic Mendy (Etoile)
2009 Kawin Thammasatchan (Muang Thong United)


He is one of football's archtypal journeymen having played in more than 10 countries. Yet he came to Persib as a defender and it was his goals that helped the West Java side clinch their first ever Indonesia Super League title. Ironically he was sent off in the final! When it came to signing a new contract the saga took over the back pages as rumours flowed he would be leaving.

2014 Vladimir Vujovic 9Persib)
2013 Baihakki Khaizan (LionsX11)
2012 Keith Kayamba (Sriwijaya)
2011 Aleksander Duric (Tampines Rovers)
2010 Pierre Njanka (Arema)
2009 Greg Nwokolo (Persija)

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