Friday, June 23, 2017
No Future In Zainudin's Dreaming
Finally, the suits have confirmed what most of us have long known. There is no future, no future in Zainudin's dreaming. The AFC have declared the ASEAN Super League, driven by FAS officials in face of lukewarm support in the rest of the region, is over.
The people behind the ASL have written to the AFC to say they would no longer be seeking to build an ASEAN wide league. Good. Not before time,
The plan seems to have been driven by the old Football Association of Singapore hierarchy but now they are history I guess much of the momentum has gone and the new officials there seem more keen on sorting out their own domestic football rather than meddling in other more popular leagues.
With the Philippines starting their own league and impressing in both the AFC Cup and Singapore Cup and Indonesia working on ways to improve their own league, already the strongest in the region if not the best, it was difficult to see the proposals going anywhere especially as they were seen as the idea of a handful of officials incapable of improving their own league.
I have just been looking back through old ASEAN Super League posts and the first one I can find was when John Dykes mentioned it on TV back in 2007, back when Jakarta Casual was a mere 12 months old. I seemed then to be more intrigued than anything but as I got to understand more about the game here I turned resolutely against the madcap scheme.
In 2013 I recognised an ASL could have the potential to reach new local markets while highlighting the barriers in each local league, with the exception of Singapore. By the time people were suggesting a super league comprising under 23 teams and academies we all knew what we had long suspected. There was no will among ASEAN members for such a league.
Start dates have shifted from 2014 to 2016 to 2008 to the 12th of Never and in 2015 I asked who needed an ASEAN Super League? Now the answer seems clear enough. A couple of suits in Singapore looking to build an international legacy for themselves to mask the failures of their own league.
What we see in the region isn't perfect, far from it. But there are examples of excellence amid pools of mediocrity, lessons to be learnt from those willing to return to the classroom. The new Philippines league, Johor Darul Ta'zim, even the Indian Super League.