Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Fit to drop

The last Indonesian season finally finished in February this year. In March the national players were called into a training camp and by April they played their first friendly, a 1-0 victory over Yemen. The ISL started in July, stopped in August, kicked off at 9 pm in September and stopped again early November.

The Singapore season started in March, or was it February, and just finished last week. The Thais finished in October, the Malaysians earlier having started last December but then they had the Merdeka Cp in October.

After the AFF Cup, the new Malaysian Super League starts again in January, the ISL restarts in January, The Thais are planning a King's Cup in the same month. January sees the first Asian Cup qualifying fixtures.

The SLeague will start again in Feb/Mar, again after international players have taken part in the AFF Cup and the Asian Cup qualifiers.

It's a chaotic schedule, and I'm knackered just writing about it, but that's the way it is. Top class players and coaches get used to it.

Both Peter Reid and Benny Dollo have recently complained about their player's stamina, I don't recall Raddy saying anything though. I know that Peter has been working on this with the Thais, it was an issue he noticed when he arrived in Bangkok and it's one that he started dealing with immediately.

One foreign coach in Indonesia told me that he was concerned about his players' fitness levels but when he tried to do something about it they looked at him like he was a martian. I mean, the fact that anyone could question their fitness levels seemed preposterous to them.

But it was low fitness levels uring the Asian Cup last year that cost Indonesia. For 65-70' against Saudi Arabia and South Korea the players ran through brick walls. Then, visibally, they wilted. I still remember the pain of watching Elie Aiboy walk slowly back to the half way line after an attack fizzled out. His tank was empty.

For teams and nations in this region to compete with the likes of Japan and Iran they're going to have to step it up a level. Playing Myanmar or Malaysia ad nauseum is just game time, it's not adding anything to the player's CV.

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