Wednesday, January 31, 2007


This weekend's games

The big kick off this weekend and these are the fixtures in the Western Division

Banda Aceh v Bandung
Deli Serdang v Slemen

Medan v Tangerang City
Bireun v Bogor Town
Kediri v Sriwijaya
Malang v Jakarta North
Tangerang v Semarang
Pelita Jaya v Lamongan
Padang v Jakarta

Predictions for the season? Kediri will probably be favourites though Jakarta could give them a run for their money if they can start scoring goals, especially as they have now signed Bambang. Semarang, with new signing Julio Lopez, will also be in with a shout as will Medan. For an outsider, how about Tangerang?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Kick off 3rd February

Ok so a quick look at the early fixtures which kick off next Saturday. On 3rd February the most attractive looking fixture in the Western Division sees a possibly resurgent Tangerang hosting perennial bridesmaid Semerang at the Benteng Stadium. Meanwhile in the Eastern Division the highlight comes midweek when Arema Malang host Surabaya. With Surabaya’s notorious fans banned from away games the question is how serious will the enforcement be? Will police in Surabaya prevent fans boarding trains heading south or will a strongly worded letter in the local rag suffice?

Whatever, the season is back, let’s hope the quality of football continues to improve. I would like to see Indonesia develop its first ever homegrown superstar, someone who can attract the attention of local fans and sponsors. Christian Gonzalez is quality but after the dismal results Indonesia has suffered recently, and with the Asian Cup interrupting the season later, an indigenous ray of hope, and not bland quotes from officials about how they want to win things, would really unite the public behind the national XI

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Peter Withe

Has got the old heave ho from the Indoneisan football authoroties after their piss poor performance in the recent ASEAN Cup.

This comment about his successor comes from the Indonesian FA website and of you can follow it you're doing pretty well!

Ivan Venkov Kolev had taken over Peter Withe position as a National Team coach since last January 18, after Withe failed in last AFF Championship. PSSI president Nurdin Halid gave a comment, “PSSI have a right to terminate the contract if he can’t reach the target,” beside the AFF Championship, Withe also failed on last 2005 SEAG at Philipine. About kolev, Nurdin halid said that kolev has a target to bring his team to reach the gold medal of Sea Games. "We have a target to the team to be in the 2007 Olympic qualification round, but it is not for Kolev,” Halid explained while added that PSSI does not gave Kolev target for next Asian Cup. "However, he has to lead the team to the second round, at least if we loose, we loose with honour,” cited Halid. Kolev chose based on few considerations and had decided by National Team Committee (BTN). “We have met Kolev, he has a bright vision and an obsession to lead Indonesia in to big eight Asian team,” said Halid. Kolev was coaching Persipura team before he took a chance to be National Team coach. Persipura with sincerity let Kolev go; now the national team management have a responsibility to help Persipura found a new coach. Kolev first duty is to lead this Tuesday (23/1) training at Sanggraha Lebak Bulus stadium. Kolev admits that he has a hard task to do, but he is proud being a national coach. "We have a great challenge, than I had faced on last 2004 Asian Cup,” cited Kolev. In coaching senior team, Kolev will be support by Syamsuddin Umar and Alexander Kirilop, while he will fully support by Bambang Nurdiansyah, Widodo Cahyono Putro and Hermansyah in leading U-23 team. Kolev has two years contract with one year as probation. (Love that bit!!!)

Monday, January 22, 2007


Jakarta's Schools Football

I’ve touched once or twice upon kid’s football but I’ve never really looked at it any any great depth. I just assumed there was nothing going on out there without thinking about it too much. Luckily, bearing in mind recent disastrous results on the national stage, there is some work going on in schools to promote football and develop skills.

The other week the Jakarta Schools Football League kicked off, sponsored by Coca Cola and Greenfield Milk. This league brings together a number of schools in regular competition across a variety of age groups and is the kind of thing we regularly find in the west. Kids football on Saturday is a bit of a no brainer but it always takes someone to organize it so fair play to these guys for stepping up to the plate (© Paul Masefield).

By providing regular games among kids of their own age groups has so many obvious benefits they really don’t need retelling here. But apart from winning the various leagues and medals, what else can the children expect of football here in Indonesia?

A big problem with school’s football, certainly in England, is touchline parents telling little Willie to get stuck in, to welly it, to have a go. Judging from the game I saw on Saturday over enthusiastic parents isn’t going to be a problem here. There were none watching. Just a few girl students, the organizers and the coaches. Nothing from the parents. Maybe they’re not interested? They have no time? Or they think it’s pointless when little Ari has been earmarked for Medicine?

While looking at the website I found out about Asian Soccer Academy. Football academies are very popular in the west where kids entertain the dream of being signed up by watching scouts but what about here?

Obviously Indonesian football needs something and obviously it has to come from the private sector and that is what the Jakarta League and the ASA are doing and they deserve all the encouragement, and publicity, they get for their efforts. But I touched earlier on parents. Supposing a lad is good enough, here in Jakarta, to be taken on by a professional club, say Persija Jakarta. What kind of support could he expect from his parents? The League and Academy mentioned earlier are targeting the middle classes and most middle class parents have their sons’ lives mapped out while they (or their pembantu) are still breast feeding them.

How can ambitious parents with dreams of foreign universities and MBA’s reconcile their cherished hopes with their little darling playing in the cynical Indonesian League where the fans will get you if the opponents don’t. Domestically the reputation of the beautiful game sucks and there is no sign of it improving. Poor pitches, poor facilities, poor discipline, poor fan behaviour, it’s going to be a hard sell and it’s going to take very supportive parents indeed to allow their son to go through that on the off chance a big overseas club will come calling.

Still, maybe all it will take is for one to open the door, to get taken on by some European club and the band wagon will be ready. In the meantime I’ll be watching as many games as I can and I hope others do to.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Ariel Ortega

Not too long ago the media here was running hot that Ariel Ortega, flawed Argentine genius, was being lined up for a move to Jakarta. Being a rumour I didn't pay too much heed to it, it was after all the silly season. Anyway a lok at his track record with other clubs told me he was slightly unstable and not one to build a team around, especially in Jakarta where he could soon get the hump. Anyway, just came across this blog on the Guardian which i have copied and pasted but the link at the bottom will take you to the comments there

Ariel Ortega - just an ordinary genius
Despite the lurid headlines, the gifted Argentinian forward known as the little Donkey is not mad, merely imperfect.
Marcela Mora y Araujo
January 18, 2007 12:11 PM
"A scandal of violence, depression and madness" was the headline on one of the hundreds of articles about Ariel 'El Burrito' Ortega's latest fall from grace. Naturally, I read on. Another lead with: "Ortega will define his future in the next few hours". Wow! What a feat. How many can boast as much?
Earlier this week, Ortega looked fit and radiant. After a match in which he provided one assist and scored one goal from a penalty for River Plate, he was all grins on the beach, posing for photographs with children and signing autographs. He was feeling great, he told newspapers and TV stations. Manager Daniel Passarella echoed the sentiment, praising his game and adding that he had been "observing him psychologically". "He's on the right track," the manager known as The Kaiser told a press conference.
Less than 24 hours later, Ariel went on a bender with some team-mates, returning to the team hotel in a state of inebriation described by agencies as "violent" and "mad". The mood in the River camp went sombre as Ortega was escorted by the medical team away from the beach resort and back to Buenos Aires amid speculation that he would be institutionalised for a thorough detox.
Just a couple of months short of his 33rd birthday, El Burrito - 'the Little Donkey' - has been through everything imaginable in the professional footballers life. Born in extreme poverty in the northern province of
Jujuy, he has known World Cup controversies on a par with anything endured by David Beckham or Zinédine Zidane.
He was called to carry the heavy honour of wearing Argentina's No10 shirt in 1994, after Diego Maradona's ephedrine-induced retirement from the US World Cup. As Maradona's substitute throughout the qualifiers, the two became close. "Everyone thinks El Burrito is a little idiot but I think he is very intelligent," Maradona said of him years later. "We shared a room for a while but he was moved out because executives from his club, River, thought I would fill his head with ... whatever was in mine." Maradona was impressed by the way El Burrito "spoke to me like a man" - "He knew all about the drug problems in his province; he spoke to me about how professional he was and also about how unprofessional he could be just because he fucking felt like it."
One example to illustrate the latter point can be found in the 1998 World Cup. He had scored twice against Jamaica but the real test of endurance came in the quarter-final against Holland, when shortcomings in frustration management drove him to headbutt Edwin van de Sar. Ten-man Argentina went on to be eliminated. Ortega was neither blamed nor vilified after the incident, perhaps because
Dennis Bergkamp's Maradonic goal left no room for argument as to who deserved the victory, perhaps also because 'Orteguita' has a safe place in the nation's heart. People warm to him. He went on to play in Argentina's 2002 World Cup campaign, all three games of it.
At club level, he was recently identified by a Gazzetta dello Sport investigation as one of the worst investments in Serie A ever. He moved from Valencia to Sampdoria and then on to Parma before moving to Fenerbahce for $15m. He barely lasted 11 games in Turkey before making a swift exit on the grounds that he was finding it difficult to adapt. HIs integration was not helped a trick played by Besiktas fans: before one big game against Fener, the fans prepared a huge banner reading, in Turkish, "Brave Heart Ortega" - but below that in huge print was a Spanish phrase: "Cobarde Gallina Ortega" (Coward Hen Ortega). After masquerading as ticketless Fener fans, the cunning Besiktas loyalists asked a real group of Fener fans to bring the banner into the ground and display it prominently so that Ortega be made aware of the great affection they have for him. The Fener fans, who didn't speak a word of Spanish, agreed. If El Burrito looked up at his own supporters' terrace, he would have read the
vitriol. Soon, however, he was on his way out of Turkey, walking out on Fener, who later successfully called on Fifa to punish him for breach of contract. He was banned for 19 months.
He finally returned to the pitch with Newell's Old Boys and eventually moved back to River Plate, where he had begun his career in 1991, coincidentally also under manager Daniel Passarella. In the club's glorious 2000-01 season, he was hailed as one of the fantastic four little dribblers - along with Pablo Aimar, Juan Pablo Angel and Javier Saviola.
A typical Argentinian exponent of the art of the gambeta, Orteguita has delighted many with his
fancy footwork, and his pure love for the game is as contagious as it is evident. He is happy playing football. His critics accuse him of a certain degree of selfishness, but many more have expressed great sympathy with his current predicament.
El Burrito has seemingly always been sparring with his internal demons, and forever losing a battle against alcoholism. This week's incident is only the most recent entry on a long list of offences, ranging from sneaking off during hugely important international tours to crashing cars while under the influence.
Passarella, whose son died in a car crash, has always tended to Ortega with the concern of a father. This week, reporters claim he has been sitting on a ball during training and just gazing into the distance, a man disheartened by the failings of his protegé. Passarella took a gamble bringing Orteguita back to River last season, and he wanted to believe it would work. Now, club suits and medics are meeting with the player in the hope of resolving a situation that once again will involve issues of fees, contracts and rehab. Harangued by the press, the player insists he will take this one step at a time. Passarella's personal disappointment might well be hardest pain to bear for Orteguita.
Perhaps the most brutal aspect of this supposed tale of madness and depression is the fact that it is no such thing. It is simply a commonplace tale of addiction, something which afflicts professional sportsmen worldwide. "I recall the English idol Paul Gascoigne," says Argentinian sports psychologist Marcelo Roffe. "In his case I believe it was recommended that the best therapy would be to continue playing. In Ortega's case it's not so clear that to play on is advisable. Abstinence is hard to carry, and in his case it is possibly mixed up with the notion of retirement, something for which 90% of footballers are unprepared. Top-flight sport has a psycopathological aspect and among so much business and efficiency the demands are huge, as is the pressure to succeed. The question is, how long are River prepared to wait given what they paid?"

original here

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Indonesia U-23

The Indonesian football authroties last year spent a small fortune on having the cream of their youth training in Netherlands in advance of the Asian Games. They came home with their tales between their legs after a disasterous tournament.

They have now just lost 3-0 against the Thais at a cavernous, and empty looking, Bung Karno Stadium.

Sacking Peter Withe is all well and good, it's normal to blame the coach, but the problems are deeper and start at the very top of the game.

Given the transportation woes that hog the headlines here, as well as Playboy and other such important issues, investment in sport is low on the list of priorites. Live with it, there will be no change in the near future. Indonesia belongs in the second tier of ASEAN footbal, alongside Laos, Philippines and Cambodia. Meanwhile, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore with possibly Myanmar are streets ahead of them.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


After going out

Of the ASEAN Football Championship, Indonesia is in need of some good news. Well, how about this?

David Beckham, after telling the whole world and its dog that he and his family were content in Madrid, he ups and signs a million dollar a week deal with LA Galaxy. But he's not doing it for the money of course. Oh no, he'd willingly have signed for a burger flipper wages, such was his desire to kick start the game in the US. Don't be too excited though, they have been down this road before, bringing in aging old has beens counting the zeros on their pay cheque and it got them all the fun of the circus but once the clowns hung up their boots the audience went elsewhere.

But given Beckham's lack of interest in finances then why weren't the Indonesian authorities keen to tempt him Jakarta way. Let's face it, the Indonesian media and translators couldn't have found Peter Withe's scouse accent easy to comprehend, with Beckham all he'd have to do is smile and the grounds would be full for the season and who gives a rubber duck about the result?

But seriously, what can LA offer a multi millionaire who isn't too worried about money? Becks could afford to have a house in Bali and commute to Jakarta daily, how cool could that be? Wake up to the sound of waves crashing against your back garden, sit in the traffic on the jalan toll in Jakarta, kick a ball, smile a bit and be back home in time for tea. Cushty eh? And with those frequent flyer miles on Garuda they could have frequent breaks in Surabaya, Medan or even Palembang.

And for Vicky, well more more can she want? Plaza Senayan, Plaza Indonesia have everything that Rodeo Drive has plus...kaki lima and teh botol just outside. Jakarta is a world class shopping destination that has people from Tangerang, Bekasi and Depok flocking there every weekend.

Money needn't have been a problem, there's heaps of it in Indonesia. Admittedly with Singapore Airline flights to Singapore full most days much of the money ends up in Orchard Road, there is still enough swilling round the manufacturers of instant noodle to pay him a living wage. David Beckham, proudly sponsored by Indo Mie

If Master Becks was truly keen on kick starting football in a developing nation then he should have looked no further than Indonesia. Oh well, his loss...

Monday, January 15, 2007


Vietnam v Indonesia 1-1

Talk about getting out of jail! Against possibly the worst international keeper I've ever seen, Indonesia huffed and puffed but rarely troubled a slap happy keeper who wouldn't get in my school team.

Why weren't Atep and Bambang on from the start? In injury time with Indonesia planning their return to Jakarta and Peter Withe mentally signing up for Atep finally delievered a quality free kick and Satkiawan (sp?) nodded past the rooted keeper and somehow they are still in the tournament.

4 points out of 6 and Singapore on Wednesday.


The Yusuf Cup

Benny Dollo, former manager of Arema Malang, wasted no time in getting his new side off and running when surprisingly Tangerang went to Makassar and won this pre season tournament, beating the hosts in the Final 1-0. I wonder how Tangerang do when the league starts?

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Atep again

3-1 to Indonesia, I bet Peter Withe is breathing a bit easier!!



Nice goal by Satkiwan. Ran at the defence, his colleagues were offside so he drove into the box and wellied it past the Lao keeper...



Atep gets a second chance and equalises. This could be a busy second half for the Laos keeper but their pace on the break is causing Indonesia problems...


You call that shooting???

A sight of goal and they're whacking the ball, forgetting everything they've been told on the training pitch. Not just the Laos players who lack discipline...Bambang just had the ball 6 yards out with an open goal and he was beaten to the ball by determined defending. The rebound was skied by some twat seeking glory through a rocket...

Hendro hasn't done much in the Indonesia goal but then again nobody has done much in front of the Laos goal.

Half time, 1-0 Laos


Laos take the lead

Oh dear!!!

It took 30 minutes for Indonesia to work the Laos keeper. Their tactic is a never ending procession of aimless long balls looking for Bambang and Jayakesuma.

They're getting closer and you get the impression the Laos defence isn't the most disciplined but a goal before half time would be nice...


ASEAN Super League???

The other week on Football Focus John Dykes tantalizingly dangled the idea of an ASEAN super league under the viewers’ noses. While there has been no feedback it certainly got me thinking. Forget the 10 countries of ASEAN being involved, I can’t see the Philippines having the interest while Laos and Cambodia would probably lack the funds. Myanmar too, despite doing well recently on the international scene, may well be ostracized.

That would leave us wit Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. It’s not as far fetched as it sounds. Until a few years back Singapore and Brunei featured in the Malaysia Cup. Recently saw Chonburi from Thailand playing regularly in Singapore while the Indonesia Under 23 team has been toying with the idea of playing in the S League.

But what about expanding it to cover the 6 countries? Everything says no, indeed screams no. imagine Jayapura represented Indonesia? That’s a nightmare for clubs in the Eastern Islands of Indonesia, having Hanoi visit would take a good couple of days. Serious! They’d have to fly Hanoi – Singapore – Bali – Makassar – Jayapura and those connections aren’t the best. Of course Jayapura could play their games in Jakarta which would be attractive for everyone except, perhaps, their own supporters.

Football is about tradition and rivalries. When European competition started in Europe teams like Honved and Dynamo Moscow were acknowledged powers. Over time Real Madrid, Inter and Benfica acquired their own aura of invincibility Euro wide, a shield that already covered them domestically. But here Jakarta, Selangor and Tampines Rovers are big fish locally but on a bigger stage create about as much excitement as a trip to the dentist. Thailand lacks fish of any size with teams like Royal Police and Air Force pulling in tens of fans locally.

Maybe in the short term a 2 Conference League would be the go? In the South we’d have Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei while up north there’d be Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. Maybe some play off system at the end to determine the ASEAN champions. This could be run in tandem with domestic leagues or the teams could withdraw and concentrate purely on their Conference. This would allow the teams, notorious for struggling in Asian Club tournaments, a chance to improve themselves locally first instead of just being whipping boys for clubs from the Arab countries and North East Asia.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


AFF Kicks off

Tomorrow. Formelry known as the Tiger Cup, I guess Singapore's favourite beer sees its market supporting the Premiership and not the local stuff. Niot that I'll stop suppin it...

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