Sunday, January 29, 2006


Away To Tangerang

A frequent complaint on the few message boards I use is how football just ain't the game we grew up with. Well, that's the gripe on one of them. The other football casual site mostly talks about the price of local free papers and do people really wear naff adidas trainer to the game.

It's kind of difficult to pinpoint the demise of English football to a precise date though the beginning of the Premier League is a convenient scapegoat. This coincided with horrors like all seater stadiums and of course Euro 96 and slaphead Hornby and football pull outs in the broadsheets. The game was changing and it was happy to leave behind the heart n soul as it chased the corporate prawn sandwich eater and his bulging credit cards and expense account. Forking out 30 to 40 quid for a game of football these days just ain't on my radar any more, imagine living in London and having kids who along with the latest computer games and club shirt also demand their presence at the stadium. You don't need a bean counter to tell you it's an expensive hobby.

So, for me, Indonesian football is a breath of fresh air. Young supporters fill the terraces adorned in their club colours and dance and sing their way through dire kick arounds on pitches more like pizza. The game is affordable to the masses whose blind faith to their team is repaid by shit on the pitch but hey? English football in the 70's was the same. Anyone my age, early 40's, will recall the Baseball Ground and Anfield, more like playing football in the Everglades than todays billiard smooth surfaces. Vendors push their through the crowds selling drinks and snacks, a wider choice than the old shed at the back of the North Bank ever had. Standing out on rainswept terraces with your mates mocking the away fans and laughing at the pish on the pitch was a rite of passage as much as your first snog or the first time you peeked at some porn.

And like those distant days in England, people's reactions here are the same when you tell someone you went to the football. Hooligans! And like England there seems in a perverse way to be some kind of reverence when their actions are spoken about. It's as if these lads running round kicking people are living out the fantasies of those mortgage bound types who have just too much to lose. Tell someone from the Indonesian middle classes you were at the football and they look at you and say wow! Fighting...

Persija on Saturday were at near neighbours Persita Tangerang and if any game was guaranteed to be action packed it was this little beauty. The Jakmania were sure to travel in numbers and in the shadow of the large mosque it was odds on the Viola of Tangerang wouldn't lay out the red carpet at Stadion Benteng. And of course it kicked off. TV pictures showed with delight images of lads in club colours with their school bags over their shoulders waving big sticks at each other, one lad had his nose rearranged while Tangerang fans gestured at the visiting fans in the curved away terrace. Jakmania responed in kind, lobbed rocks and anything they could find as well as mixing it for a while. Just like the old days!

Persija won the game 1-0. The pitch was dreadful. Seriously it was fit for 4wd only and the respective penalty areas were bald but again credit to the players. They kept the ball low and tried to pass. That there was no bounce, control was difficult were just extra problems, this was probably the most exciting game I'd seen so far. It was ened to end and plenty of chances were being created both ends.

The second half was delayed as the home fans in garish Fiorentina style purple spilled over the terraces and on to the track round the pitch. This was more a response I think to overcrowding and not an attempt to get at the Jakarta hordes. It took a long time to get started again and while there was plenty of gesturing the fans seemed uninterested in having a pop.

As Jakarta wound the clock down they had a throw in in front of some of the home support. Obviously it was in the interest of the home support to have play get a move on, after all they were losing but instead the simians lobbed rocks at any Jakarta player attempting to get on with the game. The ref decided sod this for a game of tic tac toe and blew the whistle, denying Tangerang any more attempts to equalise.

In the other game of the day North Jakarta lost 1-0 to Tangerang City in a game played out in Cilegong. Tuesday sees Persija making the same journey for the Jakarta derby but why in Cilegon eh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


From me armchair

The beer was flowing Saturday night as Cazbar had it's official opening night, so much beer in fact that the pain of a 1 0 away defeat, again, wasn't even felt. Well, till the next day when the highlights, or lowloghts came on. Bunch of pussies...

The highlight Sunday, domestically, was PSIS Semerang entertaining Arema Malang. Apparently the top 2 teams in the Western Division they served up a turgid game but to be fair it wasn't just because the players are crap. They do at least try to knock the ball around on the ground but that's the problem. The pitches are as bumpy and pot holed as Jalan Felatehan. The bounce is irregular, the grass often too long, playing football on those surfaces ain't easy so fair play for them trying but it did mean at least for this fixture, chances were few and far betwee. You felt that the only way someone would score would be from a dead ball or a corker of an og. The only goal came from a free kick about 25 yards out. 1-0 Semerang leaving them with a 100 % record. Big bloody crowd mind, the terraces looked full and a crowd control fence had been erected round the running track. Lots of uniforms there as well, police, soldiers and security goons with walking sticks. Didn't bother with the Englsih football n the evening. Liverpool v Manchester United really doesn't have the pull, not after Semerang v Malang. Oddly enough, about the town of Malang which is a pleasant hilly town a couple of hours south of Surabaya, not far from Batu where one of those Malaysian terror bombers departed his mortal coil, it supports 2 teams, Arema in the Western Division and Persema in the Eastern.

Today I'm home early and watching Deltras Sidoarjo playing host to Persemin Minahasa. Sidoarjo is a suburb of Surabaya pretty much while Minhasa refers to North Sulawesi though I ain't got a scooby where they play their home games! This is my first game from the Eastern Division and it's pissing down! Sooner them than me lah. At least by half time 2 goals had been scored in open play but I am a bit confused as to why Sidoarjo should be playing in toothpaste green and white stripes while their fans seem to be decked out n red and blue. Like the other games I've seen so far the terrace opposite the main stand is pretty full and most of the fans are wearing colours. Thing is when they sing it sounds like Wembley for a Schoolboy's International!

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Sidoarjo or Liverpool???

So Saturday I buy Soccer another local tabloid hoping to catch up with local football gossip and what do I find? Pages and pages about the upcoming Champions League and one solitary page about the local leagues!

Saturday saw Jakarta play at Medan while Friday night on First Edition Richard Keys told me that the world wants to see the best teams play in the FA Cup Final and the best teams are Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool or those moneyed wide boys up the King’s Road. Basically he said it was a shame that the scousers and the mancs, were meeting so early in the cup. What a load of old toilet paper. The FA Cup is about romance and tradition. It’s about Jim Montgomery and Paul Allen. I for one would like to see a different name on the trophy this year. West Ham, Bolton, Manchester City, anybody but the usual suspects…and this is not sour grapes…(much).

So in protest at the North West pish on TV Jakarta Casual trawled himself off to the Blok and a long awaited rendezvous with the Bard of Blok M, the man who swallowed a thesaurus and launched a web site about squeeze n sleaze with many long words. The Sportsmans still does a mean nachoseris), Mario del Monaco (Radamès) & Gabriella Tucci (Aida)
conducted by Franco Capuana
Tokyo, 13.X.1961

Friday, January 20, 2006


The League

Not a full programme this weekend but the big fixture is on Sunday when PSIS play Arema. If you're looking on a map then Semarang are at home to one of the teams from Malang.

Indonesia is a bloody big country, 17000 + islands spread over 3 time zones stretching from the tip of Sumatra, home to Medan, which reaches up to the Andaman Islands in the west to the western half of the island of New Guinea, home to Persapura Jayapura, just north of Queensland. The logistics of getting betwen these 2 cities are a nightmare without direct flights but to give you some idea a flight from Medan to Jakarta is 2 hours. On to Jayapura is about 5 or 6 with a few stops thrown in as it goes round the houses! And Wenger complains about trips to Kiev!

So it makes sense to have regional leagues and this is what Indonesia has. Effectively West and East and given my location in Jakarta it makes sense for me and this blog to concentrate on the West. There are 2 Divisions of 14 clubs vying for the championship. There is a home and away league then the top 4 in each division meet up in the Super 8 which last season was played in Jakarta.

These are the teams who are challenging for the Western Division. First I'll give the name they are known by then there far as I'm aware of it!

PSMS - Medan *
Arema - Malang
Persekabpas - Madiun
Persija - Jakarta
PSIS - Semarang
Semen Padang - Padang *
Persikota - Tangerang
Persijap - Jepara
PSIM - Yogyakarta
Persib - Bandung
Siriwijaya - Palembang *
PSDS - Deli/Medan??? *
Persita - Tangerang
Persitara - Jakarta North

Teams with an * are from Sumatra
People who know there Indonesian geography will notic that the Division lacks a team from Indonesia's second largest city, Surabaya. Persabaya as they are known were kicked out for a while after they refused to play a game in the Super 8. Given the large hooligan following they attract nobody I think is overly upset about this.
So without a game to go to Jakarta Casual will be putting his drinking head on, not an onerous task by any means and trawling the bars as well as supporting his own team on Saturday night. He's also talking to a local punk band about doing a website for this space!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Padang At Home

First up the scorers from the home victory against Siriwijaya. Tupamahu scored just before half time with a header and after 78' Agus Indra Kurniawan extended the lead. Emeka Obidiah Okoye has a wonderful name that you can just imagine rolling round the terraces and he pulled one back on 78' which had the small band of Palembang fans jumping for joy. Actually, they spent most of the game jumping for joy I wonder how many of them knew the score.

Tuesday afternoon kick saw the most unfortunately named Semen Padang visiting Lebak Bulus but hey! Some of us have to work for a living but I managed to sneak home early to catch the first half on TV. Yeah I know, nothing like watching it live, at least in the stadium the fans provide the entertainment, the first half against Padang was petering out into a bore scoreless draw when I had to head into Jakarta. We drove past the stadium I guess towards the end of the game but all that was visible were the empty seats in the stand. I hate being outside grounds when the game is on but the pub beckoned, what could I do?

A 1-0 home defeat is never a good result and the Jakarta governor, who last week was quoted as saying the Championship is the minimum for this season can't have been a happy chappy. Wonder if he goes to many games? Anyway, 3 points out of 6 with 2 goals scored and 2 conceded ain't gonna get the fans buzzing but the next game is away to Persita Tangerang which could be interesting. I live midway between the two grounds so you could call it a tasty local derby. It's live on TV but I hope to wangle some tickets for it.

No games this weekend but hopefully on Friday I'll post a breakdown of the league and which teams are in it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Siriwijaya At Home

First home game of the 2006 season sees Persija playing Sriwijaya from Palembang up on Sumatra. As with any good football day out we started in the pub where pasty n chips and some crap shots on the pool table set us up nicely
We ordered a taxi from the pub and just as it turned up the heavens opened and we got deluged. We had half a mind of knocking the game on the head but as we neared the stadium all the old feelings returned. Public transport heading to the ground was crowded with people hanging on the sides of buses and angkots and sod the bloody rain while others walked through the drizzle. Sod it, we had to go. Luckily the skies cleared and by the time we were dropped off outside the main, the only, stand it was nothing but a fine drizzle.
Just like games in Europe vendors had claimed the pavements to sell shirts, scarves, bobble hats in the garish orange and white colours of the home side Persija Jakarta. we didn't have time to do a reccy, we needed to source the tickets and finally were directed to the office. 'Cos it was raining we got seats under cover for 30,000 Rupiah, about 3 dollars and headed up the stairs.

There's always a buzz the first time you see a stadium and this was no difference especially as it was my first game in about 8 years. We walked through the entrance and looked out on an open terrace that was alive. It was crowded over there and the humanity was swaying first to the left, then to the right in a wonderfully choreographed display. They weren't put off by the rain and to be fair back in the day neither was I. Behind each goal were other smaller terraces, one end had a scoreboard. We were in the stand as I said before, the only part of the ground undercover. I'll get the stats later but the crowd made some noise, aided and abetted by bloody drums that rattled and banged during most of the 90 minutes.
The away fans had a small part of the main stand and I clocked the Persija fans behind the goal nearest them but they weren't interested. I'd heard much about the famous 'bonek' or hooligans but certainly they weren't too interested in the visiting supporters, all 100 of them!

There was a tinny loudspeaker announcing the teams but it was indelible to us in the stand. All round the ground attached to the high fences were banners declaring the fans devotion to their team and the mighty
Jakmania , such as Cempaka Putih Jakmania. Football eh? What else inspires such devotion? I couldn't help but compare this pumping atmosphere where the fans themselves were the pre match entertainment, and during the game they were most of the entertainment as well, with games in Thailand where supporters for some reason find it hard to get excited by Siam Commercial Bank playing against Provincial Electricity Authority. Football is about identifying with your team. Persija with their massive fan base are sitting on a marketing bonanza if they can only tap into it.
The game itself wasn't the most exciting we've ever seen. The pitch didn't help being bumpy and cutting up easily but what can you expect when you start the season in the rainy season. It would be interesting to see what the groundsman of the billiard smooth surface at Highbury would do this this one! Siriwijaya started brightly but failed to make their possession count, not really threatening the keeper and slowly Persija got more involved. A goal from a corner for the home team divided the teams at half time. Second half and Persija took control and scored a second, also from a header and looked to be cruising. Somehow the visitors got their act together and they too scored a header to make the closing stages quite exciting but in truth a draw would have been unfair on the lads in orange who got off to a 3 point start under their new manager.
It was good to see the Siriwijaya players made their way to salute their fans and it would be interesting to know how many of them had made their way by bus and ferry down from Palembang or how many were exiles in Jakarta. They kept singing and dancing throughout the whole game and while a few Persija fans were by the dividing fence there were no signs of trouble. We had to get to the pub after the game so didn't stick around so cannot say if anything happened but I did have a quick glance at their exit and there didn't seem to be any lads looking to send them on their way as it were.
Next up, Padang at home on Tuesday which is a bummer, some of us work for a living but it's live on TV. Never as good as being there no matter what country you're in but it's the best I can do. I'll get the stats and other results up as soon as I get them!

For pictures from the first game please go to

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Pre Season Article

I really should learn a bit more Indonesian but while I do I have to get my news from the local Jakarta Post. It seems Persija have appointed a new coach, pinching the guy who won the league with Perspura Jayapura last season. They have certainly got a bucket load of cash to spend as the Governor of Jakarta does an Abramovich and throws money at the club. Of course how the tax payer feels is unknown about having their money used to subsidise a football club. I mean it's not as if Jakarta is bereft of problems but then again a successful team does wonders for a town's image.

The Jakarta soccer club Persija is aiming to reclaim the Indonesia Djarum League title it last won five years ago, relying on better preparation, foreign players and improvements in management.
"Winning the league this year is non-negotiable after repeated losses in recent years," Persija's patron, Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso, said on Wednesday.
The "reforms" at the club, he said, included the hiring of foreign players and appointing a new coach and manager.
"We have selected foreign players more carefully this year by directly hiring them from their clubs instead of relying on unscrupulous brokers as we did in the past," he added.
Despite high transfer fees, Sutiyoso criticized Persija's foreign players' unsportsmanlike conduct during past matches.
"We won't tolerate such unprofessional behavior. We will recommend that the Indonesian Soccer Association blacklist those players," he said.
Currently, Persija has five foreign players on its 23-strong team, including Abanda Herman of Cameroon, Ronal Daian Fagundez Olivera of Uruguay and Javier Leopold Roca Sepulveda of Chile.
"We also have a new coach, Rachmad Darmawan, to train our players," Sutiyoso said.
Darmawan successfully brought Persipura of Jayapura in Papua, to victory last year, defeating Persija in the final.
"We will do our utmost to reclaim the title," he promised.
Persija's new manager, Darmawan Eddie, shared the optimism.
"I believe a winning team is made and not born. That's the reason why we have to continue the reforms in our organization in the future."
The Jakarta administration also introduced its North Jakarta municipality club, Persitara, which recently managed to enter the main division.
"Hopefully, Persitara will serve as a training ground for young talented players so they can make the national team in the future," Sutiyoso said.
The administration has allocated Rp 25 billion (US$2.63 million) in its 2006 budget to help finance all soccer teams under its patronage, with the lion's share of about Rp 17 billion going to Persija.
Persitara will enjoy more money this year, between Rp 3 billion and Rp 5 billion, as incentives for the team, much higher than other municipal teams, which each enjoy Rp 450 million every three months, or Rp 1.8 billion a year.
So there is an all Jakarta derby with Persitara, or Jakarta North, which could be a laugh. Also there are a couple of teams in Tangerang which like I said before is Jakartan overspill. Tangerang and Tangerang City, known as Persita and Persikota, share a stadium and someone told me Tangerang are Persija's big rivals. Other local derbies would be Bandung, Persib, which is a 2 or 3 hour train journey south. I ain't done an away game by train for decades! Wonder if the Bandung fans will be waiting at the station wearing pringles and lacoste?

The last issue of Bola, a sports paper that comes out a couple of times a week had something about the start of the season...I gotta learn this language. Certainly they have a good TV coverage of the Indonesian League as well as all the foreign stuff, hell, they even show the Carling Cup semi finals which is more than ESPN do.

That's it now, see you after the game!

Sunday, January 08, 2006


A Bit of History

Found this on the net the other day which probably shows how much time I have on my hands. It relates to a tour of Australia made by Persija back when I were a lad...

Persija Jakarta proved that they had settled in well since their shaky tour opening at Woonona, and Pan Hellenic confirmed they have plenty of hard yakka ahead when the teams met at Wentworth Park last Sunday. The 1-1 result was fair enough but of the pair it was the Indonesians who should have settled the issue. They threw away half a dozen chances at the end by miscuing with only the keen Tony Maglis to beat. Risdianto and Iswadi are a determined pair of forwards, and the pity is that their iron resolve fails to rub off on to their goal-shy team-mates. Sundays match heralded the return of Gary Manuel, who has recuperated well after a severe thigh operation. Manuel picked up his team's goal, and generally did enough to prove that he will be well to the fore again. For highly-rated Ivo Rudic, his debut for Pan Hellenic, was less auspicious. Risdianto eluded him to record Persija's goal but there are better things to come from this gifted player. After Manuel had guided the first chance of the match past Yudo Hadianto's goal, Risdianto broke through to put Persija ahead. Then in the 19th minute it was Risdianto to the fore again. He went crab-wise across the box, but just as a goal appeared imminent Jimmy Izatt arrived with a last ditch tackle. Hadianto was intercepting well and nuggetty Oyong Lisa was tackling away to his hearts content. Sutan Harhara went off with an unlucky head injury. Then in the 30th minute Pan Hellenic were on even terms as Manuel poked the ball into the net. Like many a good header, Widodo was excelling by rising above the bunch at the right split second. Agenor Muniz often threatened to break through, but he was not quite able to cap off his moves. He was quick enough to recognise the chance when he pounced in the 57th minute, but the ball was a few centimetres off line and struck the outside of the post. Ibrahim had every chance but he muffed it after Iswadi had swung wide to retrieve and then press the attack. Little Iswadi again came into action and he all but won the game with a snap shot that caught the inside edge of the post before somehow glancing back into play. Pan Hellenic proceeded to give Persija even more room in which to exercise their skills, but finishing by Arwijanto, Ibrahim and Suhanta lacked punch. For Western Suburbs, sponsors of the tour in return for their Indonesian trip last October, it was a day of being thankful for small mercies. The crowd of 4,121 made a reasonable contribution to the not inconsiderable return required from the tour, and the Wentworth Park pitch was a joy to behold. Had the torrents of the last week continued to Sunday the position financially would have been more grim.

I guess Pan Hellenic went on to become Sydney Olympic, a team I saw many times when I lived in Sydney. I also went to a couple of games at Wentworth Park to see a tem called APIA. One time Alan Brazil, formerly of Ipswich and Man Utd was playing and it was pissing down. Think the stadium was a greyhound track?

A slow Sunday...Sriwijaya on Saturday!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Pre Season

I've been meaning to get to some games here since I arrived but like so many things just never got round to it. Even the Tiger Cup was witnessed from Crossroads Bar instead of the cavernous Galero Bung Karno. And as for the recent final between Persija and Arema I was safely ensconsed in Mad Dogs having Cornish Pasty while we watched the fun and games evolve on the big screen TV. After the game which Persija lost we tried contacting the office boy but it seems he turned off the phone...maybe he didn't want the boss disturbing him while he was getting stuck in! Not suggesting of course he is in anyway 'bonek' or hooligan.

Whenever I mentioned I was interested in taking in a game in Indonesia people, usually pooh poohed the idea. They told me the football was shite! I grew up with Terry Neill and Don Howe producing turgid Arsenal displays where we'd go 1 nil up and play for a draw. I can handle shite football. My Sunday pub team wore a brown shirt and, well, you can guess our nickname.

The next argument was 'oh have many bonek.' I wonder how many of the people who told me that have followed England to Poland or gone to Millwall and got off at the wrong station? Crap football and hooliganism ain't a deterrent believe me, ask anyone who grew up in England in the 70's and 80's. So I've finally convinced people I'm serious and this coming season I'm going to make a real effort to take in some games, the question is which team?

The area I live is a satellite of Jakarta and strictly speaking the local team is Persita, Tangerang, kind of like Watford or Unterhaching, but it is probably easier to jump on the expressway and get to Lebak Belus in South Jakarta and see Persija. This has the added bonus of being near the pub, an essesntial part of the football experience!

Persija, more accurately Persatuan Sepak bola Jakarta, have probably the largest support in Indonesia and a pretty garish orange kit. They lost in the finals twice last season against Arema and Persapura (Malang and Jayapura) respectively. Big team, big support, no trophies, bad shirt, they sound like Sunderland!

Tracking down English language info about the Indonesian Liga is difficult so it may even improve my language skills. I have no idea what the terrace experience will be like so I'll be digging out my old Lacoste and Timberlands and queuing up for the first home game of the season. Not having been to a game since Arsenal's game at Wimbledon was cancelled because no one had 10 p for the floodlights I'm up for this...

Well I just found out the season starts next weekend and Persija have a home game against Sriwajaya who come from Palembang. So 14 January we'll be there!

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