Sunday, June 14, 2015


Thailand's Open Doors, Open Minds Too Much For Insular Indonesia

Well, Indonesia got taught a football lesson sure enough by the Thais in their SEA Games semi final in Singapore although to be fair it was always on the cards. And the loss can in no way be blamed on the government, on BOPI or even KFC unless the players were overdosing on fried chicken in the lead up to the game.

New money has poured into Thai football in recent years. Admittedly you can question the motives of the regional mafia types who have discovered the game since it was invented in 2009 but what you can't question is where much of that money has gone. I strongly recommend someone from somewhere in Indonesian football get off their butts and fly to Bangkok and tour some of the clubs in the country. See the investment that is going on, investment in stadiums, investment in youth.

Investment it seems is forbidden in Indonesia. No one it seems is ready to put their hands in their pocket to develop a footballing infrastructure despite the lip service given to developing football. Phnom Penh Crown recently hosted a youth tournement...I won't bother insulting your intelligence by asking how many Indonesian clubs sent sides.

There are very few Indonesian football clubs. Most who enter the professional set up are built for a season on short term contracts. How the hell can you plan for the future like that? An agency story recently pointed out Persipura as in the football club had dismantled itself following the political mess engulfing the game. Nope, the team was broken up. The club will be back next time they put a team together!

Back in the early years of the 21st century several Thai players tried their luck overseas. We are talking A listers like Therdsak Chaiman, Datsakorn Thonglao and others headed to Vietnam, Singapore to earn better money of course but also to add to their  football experience. A couple even made it to Indonesia like Phaiboon Thiabma, Kosin and Suchin Nuchnao.

Their return to the land of smiles coincided with more money flowing into the game and these players were highly sought after...not just cos they were bloody good but because they brought experiences considered valuable for the domestic game.

Look how many foreign coaches there are in Thailand and there have been in recent years. Including the ones on gardening leave!

Indonesia? Yep, the odd player heads to Malaysia. A country with a similar language and culture. But that's about it. For many players it seems the prospect of missing bakso and teh botol trumps adding to their professional cv and becoming a better player. And it seems if they do finally take the plunge and go overseas they are not trusted by the national team selectors anyway because, umm, well I dunno why.

It's a shame. With no domestic football the best players, and I am thinking Evan Dimas, Ramdhani Lestalahu etc, should be on the phone to agents looking for clubs in the region and not wait for officials in their own country to get their act together. These are promising young players, the last thing they want is their careers ruined by knuckled heads with no interest in football which is what happened to earlier generations.

No one has shown they can run football for the sake of football. Yes there will always be nepotism and corruption but there also needs to be an element of football going on. The current Women's World Cup was heavily promoted by Sepp Blatter for example. But in Indonesia there is not even any pretense that anything is about football.

If my translating skills haven't grown rusty the biggest news for me is the marketing guy at Persib stepping down. He is just the sort of person football needs to grow. But nope, he has moved on to his own career. There aren't that many like him in the game, to lose just one ain't good.

Thai football looks and smells professional while lacking its own culture at the moment beyond girls in hot pants and selfies. Indonesia has its own football culture but looks and smells amateurish. Until a professional group of people can be bought in to run the game for the sake of football then nothing is going to change anytime soon. A win over Singapore will be celebrated with the gutso of a real trophy but a fall is never far away.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?