Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Malaysian Charity Shield

Ok, it's not called that and I have no idea where the money goes but this weekend sees Kedah and Selangor kick off the 2009 Malaysian Super League season at Stadium Darulaman, Alor Setar.

2008 Perlis
2007 Perlis
2006 Perak
2005 Perak
2004 Selangor MPPJ
2003 Penang

There is also a full round of fixtures in Malaysia this weekend despite the fact that Sarawak, relegated last season, are hoping to pinch DPMM's place at the last minute.


Kedah v Selangor
PDRM v My Team
Kelantan v KL Plus
Terengganu v Perlis
Pahang v Johor
Penang v Negeri Sembilan
Perak v Kuala Muda

All fixtures kick off at 8.45 pm


Questions about PSM coach

The people who run the national team are asking questions about PSM coach Raja Isa's training methods.

Benny Dollo recently added Rahmat Latif and Jayusman Triasdi o the squad currently training for the Asian Cup qualifiers that begin next month but was disturbed to find out that their fitness levels were below the standard of the rest of the squad.

And this despite the fact that PSM have been in a training camp near Makassar recently.

Much was made when Dollo added the dup to the squad as they were seen as young and fresh but now questions are being directed at Raja Isa. How can older players like Ponaryo, Firman and Bambang be graded as much fitter than a couple of youngsters?

Slow news day I guess. Reporting of this story doesn't feature any input from the Malaysian Isa.


Few fans fear

THE Malaysian Super League (MSL) season kicks-off this Saturday with a pall of gloom hanging over many states, who will have to make do without foreign players, and a possible low gate collection.

The stadia, without foreign players to inject excitement, are expected to remain empty, and this spells trouble as states will again struggle to meet their monthly expenses.But Kedah, who won back-to-back trebles, can still afford to smile, thanks to their solid grassroots development.

Kedah, the treble masters of 2007 and 2008, played to capacity 40,000 fans and banked in at least RM7 million for the two seasons.

"We have had a good run for two years and the new team, without foreigners, also delivered and we hope we can maintain the good run," said Kedah coach Azraai Khor.

Azraai was named Coach of The Year for the past two seasons, thanks to his blooding of youth. For this season alone Azraai has promoted seven new faces into the senior ranks.

The youth have been together for the last three years, and judging by the number already exposed, Kedah will start with an age edge over the rest. Azraai has also signed Perak's Shahrul Nizam Mustapa and Farizal Rozali and Penang's Azrul Ahmad to beef-up the squad.

"There is a good combination of juniors and seniors, who are committed in training and looking forward to the new season," said Azraai who was recently appointed as a member of the national team management committee.


King's Cup, Thailand

According to the Bangkok Post the King's Cup could well be held in Phuket. As well as the hosts it will feature North Korea, Lebanon and Denmark...though what type of Denmark I don't know.


Phuket will host the 38th King's Cup next month, with Thailand, Lebanon, Denmark and North Korea set to fight for the trophy on the southern island.

The competition takes place January 21-23 and Thailand will open against Lebanon.
Phuket governor Dr Preecha Ruanchan said the island will be happy to be hold the competition.
"Phuket is ready to be the host," he said.

"We hosted AFF Suzuki Cup games three weeks ago so there won't be any problems with the stadium. "We want to use the King's Cup to help boost confidence in the tourism sector of the country.

"In the past, the country has faced many problems - especially political - and this has affected Phuket a lot.

"Hopefully this tournament will help the province attract tourists to Phuket."
Channel 7 will televise Thailand's matches and will also broadcast the final.


January 21: Denmark v North Korea (4.30pm); Thailand v Lebanon (7pm).
January 23: 3rd place play-off (4.30pm); Final (7pm).


A striking lack of goals

With just four goals each Agu Casmir, Budi Sudarsono and Teerasil Dangda shared the top scorer award in the recent AFF Cup highlighting the lack of quality strikers in the region.

In fact Budi and Agu only scored against whipping boys Cambodia and Myanmar in their first two games. Once the competition hardened they failed to hit the net.

And Thailand's great hope, Teerathep Winothai, maybe lined up for Belgium in the new year but he hit the net just once in the competition while the TPL's leading scorer last season Anon Sangsanoi scored twice in ten minutes against Laos.

Against Indonesia in the group stage the Lions managed to score twice but both came from deadball situations while in the semi finals, with Aleksander Duric missing through injury, the only time they breached the Vietnam rearguard was through an own goal and that was disallowed.

The Thais managed an early goal against Indonesia in Jakarta when Teerasil was given heaps of space while in the second leg they scored twice in the last 20 minutes when the Indonesians were visably wilting.

After scoring seven against the likes of Myanmar and Cambodia the Indonesians went three games and only managed one goal...and that an own goal from a corner. With Bambang barely fit and Budi well schackled there is little goal threat from the rest of the team unless Firman Utina is able to get up in support.

Even the winning goal in the final from the highly thought of Le Cong Vinh came from a free kick.

Last season's domestic top scorers:

TPL - Anon (Thai)
SLeague - Aleksander Duric (Naturalised foreigner)
ISL - Christian Gonzales
MSL - Marlon Alex James

Ironically perhaps the most prolific scorers were the Malaysians. Indra Putra Mahayuddin scored three times in their three group games while Safee Salee hit two.

Singapore were badly hit by injuries both before and during the competition. Before they lost Khairul Amri while Duric was injured in the first game. Add Noh Alam Shah who missed pretty much most of 2008 and they were always going to struggle to score with a heavy reliance on Agu Casmir.

Perhaps the Thais have the most to feel pleased about. There's only one thing worse than missing chances and that's not creating them but they had no problems in that department. They have a young side and players like Ronnachai, Teerasil, Anon and Teeratheo can only get better in the future.

With Asian Cup qualifiers on the near horizon you can be sure coaches like Raddy, Reidy and Benny will be working on their player's finishing.


Some transfer gossip

Singapore national team captain Indra Sahdan is currently in Vietnam having trials with a V League side. The striker who recently earned his 100th cap previously had a spell in the US but it didn't work out.

He plays for Home United in the SLeague but his contract expires tomorrow and he has yet to put pen to paper on a new one.

PSIS Semerang have added former players Marthen Tao and Esiah Benson to their squad for the second half of the ISL which begins in February. Maybe.

Home United FC has signed National defender Ismail Yunos for its 2009 season. Ismail Yunos was recently part of Singapore's participation in the AFF Suzuki Cup. He will add further strength to our solid backline.

Persebaya have found a new coach. Just days after Fredy Muli announced he would not be renewing his contract with the IPL pacesetters Arcan Iurie has been announced as his replacement.

Iurie has formerly coached Persik, Persib and Persija and left Persik last month because he was asked to take a pay cut

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Congratulations Vietnam

You had to feel for Datsakorn Thonglao, pain was etched on his face as he collected his runner's up medal but football is all about winners and Vietnam have sprung a surprise by breaking the duopoly of Singapore and Thailand and winning the AFF Cup for the first time.

I think I said in a couple of posts that the team that does the business on the road stands the best chance of glory and the Vietnamese have done that by going to both Singapore and Bangkok and getting the result. Oddly they were held both times at home but that's football lah.

Winning it was the easy bit. Now they have to defend it in 2010, and expect them and Malaysia to share hosting duties then, and you can be sure that the Thais and Singaporeans will be wanting that trophy back.

Can Indonesia rise to the challenge by mounting a serious bid in two years time or they destined to be ever the bridesmaids? Or can Malaysia, buoyed by successive seasons of foreigner free football, do better?

Exciting times in South East Asia football. Vietnam have raised the bar and it's up to the others to keep pace with them.


Vietnam v Thailand AFF Cup Final 2nd Leg

20' - Teerasil levels the score with a header from a free kick.
28' - funny old game so far. Cagey is the best word to describe it with the Thais content to let the Vietnamese play in safe areas
30' - Peter Reid has stuck with Kosin in goal
31' - Le Cong Vinh cuts in from the left and drives just wide
32' - game held up for a few seconds as the pitch is invaded by a giant prophylactic
38' - Vietnam's final ball has been poor so far
42' - Nattaporn beats the offside trap but his header is weak
44' - Thanh (16) charges through the Thai defence but his finish goes harmlessly wide

HALF TIME - Vietnam v Thailand 0-1

48' - corner from Sutee clears everybody and threatens only an advertising hoarding
50' - nice passing and moving by Vietnam but, not for the first time, the last ball goes awry
51' - Vietnam's keeper is not have a good night with his clearances
54' - good overlap down the right flank and a good cross but Kosin comes out and collects well
56' - it's kicking off just outside the Thai penalty box! Free kick given for home team but Kosin collects
59' - can the players keep their discipline as we enter the last 30'?
61' - tackles are flying in with gay abandon!
65' - shot from 20 yards by Tai takes a deflection. Corner is cleared
66' - Vinh stretches and volleys just wide
66' - Arronachai replaces Teerathep for the Thais
68' - plenty of possession for the Vietnamese but too often it's that final ball
70' - Thais have everyone except Teerasil behind the ball
70' - Aronachai dances through the Vietnamese defence but one defender too many
72' - Sutee shoots straight at the home team's keeper. It's the last thing he does and Arthit replaces him
73' - sweeping Vietnamese break down the right but cleared by the Thai defence
80' - a bit quiet on the pitch so the camera shows some well fed miserable looking party cadres. Surely in the name of comradely fraternal nonsense then should have shipped in some farmers?!
83' - Aronachai sees his header cleared off the line
90 + 3' - Suree fouls Le Cong Vinh on the edge of the box. It's in off Le Cong Vinh!!!

Full Time Vietnam v Thailand 1-1 (3-2 on aggregate)

Vietnam AFF Cup winners 2009


Vietnam eye first title

Vietnam stand just 90 minutes away from winning their first ever AFF Cup and in the process breaking Singapore and Thailand's hold on the trophy they have each won three times.

For a tournemant that pretty much followed the form book in the group stages everything is now up in the air and for this we have the Vietnamese to thank.

They have been the perennial slow starters as they struggled in the group stages to overcome an indifferent Malaysia and indeed only qualified thanks to some glaring goalkeeping errors while their own keeper Duong looking decidely dodgy in Phuket.

But everything changed in their semi final first leg in Hanoi when they went at Singapore in a first half that was as scintillating as it was frustrating for the home side.

Their forwards defended high up the field and with the midfield pressing and the full backs bombing down the flanks with gay abandon it was a joy to watch. Swift passing football across the whole width of the field, all that was missing was goals and you sensed that the longer the game without the Vietnamese scoring, the more the advantage switched to a shell shocked Singapore.

Vietnam had 15 chances on goals compared to Singapore's miserable three and although Noh Alam Shah did force a defender to put through his own goal it was disallowed and Vietnam could breathe again.

The second leg in Singapore saw the Lions take the game to Vietnam, jealously guarding their six year unbeaten run in the competition. But, just like the home side in Hanoi, Singapore did everything but score.

Vietnam broke down the left after some uncertain defending and meeting a cross from the left Nguyen Quang Hai made it 1-0 with his side's only shot on target and sent the Vietnamese fans into Ho Chi Minch heaven.

This team bore no comparison to what had laboured through three group games in Phuket.

The first leg of the final in Bangkok was pretty much settled in three first half minutes when first Nguyen Vu Phong 39', and then Le Cong Vinh 42' really picked up the form book, chewed it up, stuck chewing gum on the wreckage then threw it out the window.

Indeed but for poor decision making in the second half the Vietnamese would be looking at a three goal cushion.

Absorbing the expected Thai onslaught the Vietnamese dropped deep and sprung lightning fast breaks which time and again had the home side on the back foot. Ronnachai's goal 15 minutes from time could either be a consolation or the way back for the Thais.

Moments after the substitute struck the Thais had the ball in the back of the net again but, like the NAS incident in Hanoi days earlier, the linesman gave offside without really seeing the whole move. That has been a problem this competition with the flag quick to rise even though the benefit of the doubt should go with the striker but the words of the head of the Thai FA saying that the Thais may not compete in the next AFF Cup in protest at the poor officiating is nothing more than sour som tam. Didin't hear him whinge too much in Jakarta when the Indonesians had two goals disallowed.

In football a team has to lose but it seems some of the people who run the game in this part of the world haven't quite understood that part of the equation yet.

So, what can we expect from Vietnam today? The pressing, attacking game that had Singapore chasing shadows in Hanoi or the more cautious approach that was adopted in Bangkok?

Whatever, let's hope we remember the football and not other controversies which have marred this and other AFF Cups.


Thais tempted by Indonesia

Not only is Kosin Hatairatanakool considering a return to Indonesia but so are some of Thailand's other start names after the AFF Cup has finished.

So says Hasan Saputra, owner of Saint Prima and the man who helped bring Kosin to Persib back in 2006.

And if Persib are unwilling to take back the Thai goalkeeper then he would be willing to consider other clubs in the ISL.

Hasan says that other big Thai names are looking at Indonesia including national team captain Nataporn Phanrit and , perhaps fancifully, Teerethep Winothai who moves to Belgium in the New Year.

We shall see eh?


Malaysian schedules revised!

With DPMM being kicked out of the MSL the whole damned schedule has been redrafted! The latest listing can be found here.

The second tier of Malaysian football, the MPL, can be found here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Vietnamese rush for final tickets

Fans face AFF Suzuki Cup final ticket crunch

Thousands of fans have run into difficulty trying to buy tickets for tomorrow’s Vietnam-Thailand clash in the second leg of the 2008 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup final in Hanoi.

The ticket prices have been increasing every hour and it is very likely they will be sold out before the match.

On Wednesday, Vietnam Football Development Joint Stock Company (VFD) sold 15,000 tickets at My Dinh Stadium to fans who had been queuing in Hanoi’s chilly weather. The next day, ticket scalpers were out in force at My Dinh and Hang Day stadiums as well as on websites and internet forums.

Friday, the ticket office at Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) headquarters at 18 Le Van Phuc Street in Hanoi – the last official ticket outlet – opened.

During the day, the VFF sold tickets to agencies and fans who had booked the tickets through

Though there were barriers and security guards, fans fought their way to the fifth floor of VFF headquarters to buy tickets.

“When I was climbing up with the crowd, I felt the staircase shaking. I was afraid it would collapse, so I came back down,” said Phuc Thinh Company employee Tran Quoc Viet, who was still breathing hard.

“I think VFF should check and let those fans with letters come up to the office to buy tickets in an orderly fashion,” Viet said. “It would be safe and save a lot of time.”

However, few fans were able buy tickets when they reached the ticket office.

NCS Company software expert Pham Thi Anh Ngoc said she had a hard time accessing and was only able to book two tickets.

She said she could access the website at 6:30 a.m. and four minutes later it announced the tickets had sold out.

An estimated 30,000 tickets have been sold so far, with fans getting about half of the tickets.
The remaining tickets have been snapped up by scalpers.

At My Dinh Stadium, tickets were being offered at around VND2-3 million (US$115-172) for two tickets, depending on seating. The face value of the most expensive ticket is VND300,000 ($17.2).

A ticket tout said, “These tickets are complimentaries as well as tickets booked via agencies and over the internet. Today, I am selling them at a bargain because I need to get some cash.”

He said the tickets would be much more expensive today and tomorrow.

Some people who secured tickets are reselling them at cheaper rates than scalpers, but finding these people is difficult. Tickets are also available on websites such as, and
Reported by Hong Minh-Le Tung-Phan Hau


Persitara sign a Prince

Persitara have signed Nigerian Prince Kabir Bello. The 25 year old previously played his football in Iran with Sepahan and had been looking for a club in Indonesia for several months.


Copa Indonesia 2nd Round


PSP v Persih/PSSB
Persik v Persib
Persibo v PPSM Magelang
Persiwa v Persebaya


Persib v Persires


PSIS v Persitara


Persijap v Persikab


Persikabo v Persikad
Persiba Bantul v Persik
PPSM v Persibo


Persih/PSSB v PSP
Persires v Persib
Persela v Persema
Mitra Kukar v Persiba
Persebaya v Persiwa


Persitara v PSIS


Persikab v Persijap


Persikad v Persikabo


Persema v Persela
Persiba v Mitra Kukar

Friday, December 26, 2008


Malaysian pre season friendlies

24/12 MBJB FC 0-1 Negeri Sembilan, Perlis 2-1 Kelantan, Selangor 1-2 Proton FC
23/12 Selangor 5-1 Perak
22/12 Pahang 3-1 Shahzan Muda
21/12 Johor FC 0-0 Negeri Sembilan
20/12 Selangor 1-1 Johor
19/12 Perak 1-0 Perlis
16/12 Kuala Lumpur 0-1 Selangor
13/12 Perak 1-1 Kuala Muda Naza, Selangor 3-1 UPB-MyTeam
12/12 T-Team 0-0 KL Plus
06/12 Selangor 2-1 Terengganu
05/12 Kedah 4-0 Felda United, Pahang 1-1 Terengganu
03/12 MBJB 1-1 Johor FC, Perak 3-0 PKNS, UPB/MyTeam 5-3 Kelantan
02/12 Selangor 8-0 ATM
01/12 Melaka 0-1 Kelantan

29/11 PKNS FC 1-1 Johor FC, Pahang 1-1 Terengganu, Harimau Muda 0-3 Selangor,
Negeri Sembilan 2-3 Kelantan
27/11 PKNS 0-1 Kelantan
13/11 Kelantan 1-0 Harimau Muda, Negeri Sembilan 2-0 T-Team, MBJBT 0-6 Johor FC

Terengganu Chief Minister's Cup

14/12 Kelantan 0-1 Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu 4-1 KL Plus
15/12 Negeri Sembilan 2-0 KL Plus, Terengganu 2-1 Kelantan
16/12 Kelantan 3-0 KL Plus FC, Terengganu 0-0 Negeri Sembilan

WINNERS - Terengganu

Datuk M. Saravanan Challenge Trophy (Labuan)

12/12 Sabah v DPMM 1-0
13/12 Sabah v Pahang 0-1
14/12 DPMM FC 2-1


Empat Penjuru Jemputan Masum (Nov 22-26 2008 - Kompleks Sukan UPM, Serdang)

22/11 Negeri Sembilan 1-3 KL Plus, Masum 1-1 Kuala Lumpur
24/11 Masum 2-0 KL Plus, Negeri Sembilan 4-1 Kuala L umpur
26/11 KL Plus - Kuala Lumpur, Masum 0-2 Negeri Sembilan

WINNERS - Negeri Sembilan

Kejohanan Pramusim 2008/09 (hosted by Felda United/Kuala Lumpur FA)

15/11 Selangor 0-0 Proton FC, Felda United 3-0 CIMB FC, KL Plus 2-0 Kuala Lumpur, T-Team 2-1 Ban Hoe Leong
17/11 Selangor 4-0 CIMB FC , Proton FC 1-0 Felda United, T-Team 2-2 Kuala Lumpur, KL Plus 3-0 Ban Hoe Leong
19/11 Selangor 0-1 Felda United, Proton FC - CIMB FC, KL Plus - 1-4 T-Team, Kuala Lumpur 3-1 Ban Hoe Leong
21/11 Felda United 0-1 KL Plus, T-Team 2-0 Proton FC
23/11 T-Team 1-0 KL Plus


With thanks to Malaysian Football


Raja Isa profile

PSM Makassar's coach Raja Isa is one of a few foreign coaches working here in Indonesia. The 42 years old Malaysian started his coaching career in 1995 with Selangor U14 where he spent seven years before moving to the Maldives where he was a consultant to the league there.

By 2004 he was back in Malaysia with MP Selayang for a year before joining TM Melaka in 2005.

In 2007 he moved to Indonesia when he was appointed coach of Persipura and remained there until a couple of games into the current season when he moved to PSM.


Persib to host Malaysian side in friendly?

With the ISL likely to be further delayed Persib Bandung are considering a friendly match against Malaysian opposition, something they have done before of course.

But while the report cites Trengganu FC as the likely opponents I think who they have in mind are in fact Terengganu PBDKT/T-Team who, despite being a bit of a mouthful, will this year compete in the Malaysian Premier League (the second tier) having won the FAM Cup in 2008.

There is also Terengganu who play in the Malaysian Super League but their season starts on the same day as the proposed friendly with a game against Pahang.


Ahmad Latiff

There haven't been that many Singaporeans who have moved from their own country to play in the rough and tumble Indonesian leagues but Ahmad Latiff is one of that rare breed.

The 29 year old started his career with Geylang United back in 1997 and a year later he was impressing on the international stage as he was part of the Singapore side that won their first ever AFF Cup (then known as Tiger Cup)

He moved to Indonesia where he spent some time with Persikabo before heading north to Hong Kong and Happy Valley. He scored on his debut for the Bogor side, hitting the net twice as they cruised to a 5-2 win over PSBL.

Persikabo may have seemed a strange choice for such a promising player but Latiff had played in Jakarta in the 1997 SEA Games and been impressed by the atmosphere and passion on the Indoneisan terraces.

But his arrival was not all plain sailing. he told the local Singapore media he was off to Holland to try his luck with Roda JC Kerkrade but the next thing was an Indonesian tabloid breaking the news that he hda signed for Persikabo despite the fact the coach knew nothing about it!

His career was to follow a similar path as he moved from club to club. In 2002 he was back in Singapore with SAF before joining Woodlands Wellington two years later.

In 2005 he had a loan spell with Tampines before crossing the causeway to play for Johore in Malaysia.

He rejoined Woodlands Wellington in 2007 and helped them win the Singapore Cup for the first time in their history before heading to Malaysia again with PDRM.

He ended 2008 with SAF again but who knows where he'll be for 2009?

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Ho Chi Minh City Cup 2001

It's amazing what you can find on RSSSF!

Ho Chi Minh City Cup 2001
(in Thong Ngat stadium, Ho Chi Minh City)

Group A

10- 8-2001

Ho Chi Minh XI 6-1 Kyun Hee University (S.Korea)
[Huỳnh Hồng Sơn 2, 40, David Serene 32, 66,
Nguyễn Văn Tuấn 70, 88; Lee Yoon-sup 75]

12- 8-2001

Kyun Hee Univ. (S.K.) 1-2 Malaysia U-23
[?; Hairudin Omar (2)]

14- 8-2001

Ho Chi Minh XI 2-0 Malaysia U-23

1.Ho Chi Minh XI 2 2 0 0 8- 1 6
2.Malaysia U-23 2 1 0 1 2- 3 3
3.Kyun Hee Univ. 2 0 0 2 2- 8 0

Group B

10- 8-2001
PSM (Indonesia) 2-0 Melbourne Knights (Australia)
[Mirobaldo Bento 18, Eduard Ivakdalam 46]

12- 8-2001

PSM (Indonesia) 1-0 SLNA (Vietnam)
[Aples Tecuari 75]

14- 8-2001

SLNA (Vietnam) 0-1 Melbourne Knights (Australia)
[Jasko Sehic 86]

1.PSM 2 2 0 0 3- 0 6
2.Melbourne Kn. 2 1 0 1 1- 2 3
3.SLNA 2 0 0 2 0- 2 0


16- 8-2001
Ho Chi Minh XI 1-1 Melbourne Knights [5-4 pen]
[Võ Hoàng Bưu; Tota Da Costa 10]

16- 8-2001

PSM (Indonesia) 3-1 Malaysia U-23
[Eduard Ivakdalam 26, Suwandi Hadi 43, Mirobaldo Bento 66;
Ahmal Rizal 65pen]

18- 9-2001

PSM (Indonesia) 1-0 Ho Chi Minh XI
[Eduard Ivakdalam 21]


Indonesia puts country before club

The ISL is to be rescheduled. Again.

Because the national team will be in training for the two Asian Cup qualifiers next month Indonesia's premier domestic league will not start until February, one month after it's original start date of 3 January.

Quite why nobody thought of this when they first drew up the fixtures is no longer beyond me.

It also means that clubs, already starved of funds, will have gone three months without any cash through the turnstiles after the league stopped aty the beginning of November so the national team could prepare for the AFF Cup.

So the national team started training back in March 08 and had friendlies through April, May and June. In August they hosted the Merdeka Cup, and the ISL took a month's sabbatical having only begun in July.

Yet again we have a stop start season in Indonesia because some people seem to lack the capacity to look ahead. And you know the irony here? Under the old calender the season ran from February to November and all this nonsense would have been avoided!

Oh well...


Brunei may start new FA

Brunei Football Has Come To A Standstill - DPMM FC Manager


Football activists in Brunei are contemplating the setting up of a new national football association after the Brunei Amateur Football Association (BAFA) was deregistered by the Brunei Registrar of Societies (ROS).

Brunei DPMM FC manager Pengiran Waslimin Pengiran Momin said BAFA's deregistration has brought football activities in the country to a standstill, especially the Brunei League, that was scheduled to start in January.

"Everything will now depend on the Home Ministry to decide on BAFA's status but at the same time we do not want the situation to hamper football as a whole, in Brunei," he told Bernama when contacted in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei here Tuesday.

Brunei's representative in the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) organised M-League - Brunei DPMM FC or Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota Football Club, affiliated to BAFA - started playing in the M-League since 2005 but the latest development dealt them a big blow to their aspiration of playing in the Super League next season.

DPMM FC who immediately made an impact by clinching the Premier League title in 2005 gained promotion to the Super League and were supposed to feature in the league and FA Cup competition.

He added that BAFA's deregistration had dealt the team and players a big blow when the FAM competitions committee decided to drop Brunei from the list of 15 teams in the Super League on Monday.FAM had said that the decision was made in line with FIFA rules that forbid any national association from including a non-registered or deregistered team from competing in any competitions organised by them.

"If there is no choice then we may have to register a new national football body," said Waslimin who felt the decision to deregister BAFA could have been due to failure in submitting annual reports.

Letters pertaining to the status of BAFA had been issued two months ago by ROS but to date, there is no clear indication of its final status, he said.He added that the future of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, scheduled to be hosted in April next year, involving teams from Asean countries was also uncertain.

"The bi-annual competition inaugurated last year would now be postponed indefinitely while DPMM FC would hold an emergency meeting to determine the future of the players," he said.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Thailand v Vietnam AFF Cup Final 1st Leg

Looks like a reasonable crowd in the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok including a large group of Vietnamese supporters. Kosin is back for Thailand.

I wonder if there'll be lots of rolling round like we witnessed from the Vietnamese in Singapore and the Thais in Jakarta.

Listening to the commentary I wish I'd gone to the game...

3' - first booking for a Vietnamese player
7' - Sutee free kick hits the wall and goes out for a corner
8' - Nattaporn works the keeper from the corner but it's straight at him
12' - Vietnamese keeper saves point blank from Sutee's header. He started the campaign looking nervy but has improved in the later stages
18' - Nattaporn sends Teerathep wide right but his pull back is poor
20' - plenty of long balls from the Thais as the Vietnamese press in the middle. Still 0-0
22' - Vietnam defending with something like 8 men behind the ball frustrating the Thais
24' - saw this banner earlier but it seems to have gone now
27' - Thais appeal for a pen but not given and the keeper collects from the corner
33' - Thai handball in their box but it's accidental and nothing given.
38' - 1-0 Vietnam! Thang with a free header after a penalty appeal was turned down. The ball swung in from the left and Thang gets in front of two defenders
40' - 2-0 Vietnam! Le Cong Vinh gets his first after Vietnam break. Unselfish owrk and Le Cong gets a simple tap in
44' - Peter Reid could have a busy half time as the Thais seem to lost concentration at the back
45' - Teerathep drives low from 20 yards but the keeper makes a save

Half time Thailand v Vietnam 0-2

46' - Thais come out firing and Sutee sees his header cleared at the far post
49' - a volley by 21 goes just wide from Vietnam
52' - another counter attack with Vietnam two against one. The tie could have been over but the finish was poor
54' - Datsakorn goes down in the box but the ref plays on
56' - there's a lot less diving and timewasting this time round. Both sides are, at the moment, sticking to the football
63' - another good save from the Vietnamese keeper after a 25' yard shot
72' - while the Thais are dominating possession the Vietnamese have the pace to exploit their defence.
73' - Teerathep goes off to be replaced by Ronachai.
75' - 1-2 Thailand score first touch and Ronachai gets a free header and heads home via the post
and the keeper
76' - Teerasil has the ball in the net but linesman has his flag up. We've been seeing decisions like this all tournament where the flag goes up whenever there is daylight between striker and defender irrespective of whether he was onside when the ball was played
80' - Vietnam being harried now and making basic errors with passes going astray and poor touches
81' - Vietnamese keeper makes great save from a Thai free kick. Nervy at the back
82' - like a custard tsunami it's all yellow shirts pushing forward looking for an equaliser
87' - Datsakorn just wide from a 25 yard free kick
90' - 4 minutes injury time

Full time Thailand v Vietnam 1-2


Budi moves closer to Persik exit

Budi Sudarsono, who top scored in both the Merdeka Cup and the AFF Cup in the last few months, is edging closer to a move to Sriwijaya.

The striker has also attracted interest from Pelita Jaya and Arema but the double winners from 2007 can offer him Asian Champions League football next March.


Young Indonesian talent plays in Brazil

It is normal to turn on the tv here in Indonesia and catch a local game featuring Brazilian imports. Now fans in Brazil will be able to see one of Indonesia's brightest young talents playing samba football.

Pelita Jaya youngster Jajang Mulyana impressed as he helped his side reach the Copa Indonesia semi finals earlier in January 2008 but from January 2009 he will be lining up for Boavista's first team in Brazil's Seri C.

The 20 year old Persib fan is back in Indonesia for a short break along with two other Pelita Jaya youngsters, Riyandi and Rizki Novriansyah before returning in January. While the latter two continue to learn their trade in the Boavista Jajang will be mixing it in the first team.


ISL top scorers

14 Goals: Cristian Gonzales (Persik)
12 Goals: Marcio Souza (Persela)
10 Goals: Greg Nwokolo, Bambang Pamungkas (Persija), Ngon A Djam (Sriwijaya FC), Cristiano Lopes (Pelita)
9 Goals: Rafael Bastos (Persib), Boaz Salossa (Persipura), Julio Lopez (PSM)
8 Goals: Ernest Jeremiah, Beto Goncalves (Persipura), Aldo Baretto (PSM), Keith Kayamba, Zah Rahan (Sriwijaya FC)
7 Goals: Pieter Romaropen (Persiwa), T.A. Musafry (Persiba)
6 Goals: Rahmad Rivai (Persitara), Aliyudin (Persija), Leonardo Zada (PSMS), Evaldo Silva (Persijap)

The names in italics are Indonesian and they are all, with the exception of Rahmat Rivai, have been called up for the Asian Cup qualifiers next month.


Malaysian crowd trouble

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) would beef up security for matches played by teams that have a track record of crowd trouble.

FAM secretary general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said additional security would be deployed for matches involving clubs or state teams known for the violent conduct of their fans.

"We have informed the police of the problems faced by teams and they have agreed to increase the number of their officers during matches, according to the needs of the respective match," he said when contacted by Bernama.

He said police would assess the security level inside and outside the stadium to ensure law and order.

Azzuddin added that the presence of very few enforcement personnel at stadiums would not be able to prevent incidents that involve fans who throw objects or when a scuffle broke out among fans.

Meanwhile, Azzuddin also said that the amended fixtures for the Super League that starts on Jan 3, would be ready in three days as changes were required after Brunei was dropped from the competition when the Brunei Amateur Football Association was deregistered by the Brunei Registrar of Societies.


ASEAN hooliganism

No one could have expected that serious crowd trouble would break out in Singapore but this is what can happen when you have away fans celebrating a famous win.

This was the first game which saw a large, vociferous following for the visiting team but the great majority of them were living locally. Students, expats.

It doesn't matter who started what. It takes two to dance. Vietnamese are a proud people and would not have been pleased to hear their national anthem being booed but that is something they must get used to if they are going to travel away.

At the same time Singaporean fans would not have enoyed seeing their proud unbeaten run come to an end in a home game against a Vietnamese side who enjoyed the odd roll in the grass. Seeing the away fans celebrate would only have inflamed passions further.

Not condoning it, just saying how it is. Football at its best is a passionate affair, just ask yourself what makes Noh Alam Shah so appreciated by the home support.

Other games are likely to be considered high risk. Malaysia v Indonesia could be one as could Singapore v Indonesia when you consider the large numbers of migrant workers and students in KL and Singapore. Likewise Myanmar in those cities?

Can anything be done to stop further outbreaks? The thing is with the absence of organised supporters clubs travelling to away games it's difficult to see what can be done. How do you stop thousands of people buying tickets when they live in the same city?

No doubt the footballing authorities will pass this little matter on to the security officials. But it will need collective action to nip it in the bud from all parties or things will get worse before they get better.

There's no doubt the Vietnamese fans added to the atmosphere on Sunday night. Several thousand of them sang and danced the whole game and it would be a shame to have that missing in future games.

Potential high risk games need to be identified early on and preparations need to be made accordingly to minimise trouble and to protect the vast majority of fans.

Alternatively play every game in Indonesia. No wannabe thug will try it on there! Not even Singapore's You Tube heroes!


Markus Horison (PSMS & Indonesia)

It may have been an indifferent AFF Cup for Indonesia but at least one player has come out of it with a reputation burnished.

The 27 year old goalie started his footballing career with PSL Langkat in 2000 before moving to Batam and PSKB Binjai. There must be some kind of scouting network in place throughout the islands because by 2003 he was picked up by PSMS from North Sumatra.

He spent five seasons with the team nicknamed the 'Fighting Chickens' before moving to Persik Kediri at the start of the current 2008/2009 season. He moved on because there was confusion as to whether PSMS would be playing in the ISL as they were plagued by money problems.

Six months later he returned to Medan as, ironically, it was Persik who were mired in financial difficulties and Horison sought the security of a regular pay packet.

It was only 18 months ago that Horison made his international debut in the friendly against Hong Kong when a comfortable 3-0 victory saw him with little to do.

He made one appearance during the Asian Cup last year against South Korea but it has been 2008 when he has finally made the number one shirt his own, replacing the older Hendro Kartiko and Jendri Pitoy.

He was impressive in Myanmar during the Grand Royal Challenge Cup where he proved to be an able shot stopper and fully in command of his area, always willing to attack high balls. One possible weakness is when shots are fired in hard directly at him and he elects to punch the ball.

But while the jersey looks in safe hands for now you can be sure Horison won't get complacent. Not with the likes of Fery Rotinsulu and Dian Agus Prasetyo waiting for his high standards to slip.

But for now is Markus Horison the best keeper in ASEAN?



Copa Indonesia 2nd Round

No dates have yet been announced for these ties but expect some time in January.

PSMS Medan v PSPS Pekanbaru
PSP Padang v Persih
Persib v Persires
PSIS v Persitara
Persijap v Persikab
Persikabo v Persikad
Persela v Persema
Persik v Persiba Bantul
Persibo v PPSM Magelang
Persiwa v Persebaya
Mitra Kukar v Persiba
Deltras v Persidafon 3-0 3-0 (Deltras go through to 3rd round 6-0 on aggregate)

Teams in italics are ISL. Four more ISL teams have byes through to the third round. They are Sriwijaya, Persipura, Persija and Pelita Jaya.


DPMM kicked out of MSL


The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have decided to omit Brunei from all M-League competitions next season, including the Super League, following the deregistration of their national football association because of technicalities.

The FAM vice-president, Datuk Che Mohd Jusoh, said that the FAM had no choice but to drop Brunei to avoid breaching any FIFA rules after being informed of the Brunei FA’s deregistration by their country’s Registrar of Societies.

“FIFA rules forbid any football organisation from including an unregistered or deregistered team in any competition,” he said after a special competition committee meeting here on Monday.

He added that with Brunei’s exit, the Super League would now feature 14 teams while Kuala Muda Naza had been given a walkover over Brunei in the first round of the FA Cup competition.

He added that the fixtures for the Super League competition would also be amended accordingly before the season kicks off on Jan 3.


More woes for Malaysian FA

FOOTBALL: Trio turn to Fifa over unpaid wages

By : Christopher Raj

TIRED with the lack of action from the FA of Malaysia (FAM), three foreign players who claim to have not been paid their salaries have sought help from Fifa's players status committee.

Chileans Carlos Caceres, Jorge Nunoz and Mario Bario, who featured for Perak in the 2007-2008 season, have written to Fifa requesting for a combined total of US$54,000 (RM186,000). The players claimed they were owed four months wages and had written to FAM's players status committee which recommended that the amount be deducted from the national body's annual grant to its affiliates.

However, it was learnt that the finance committee overruled the recommendation and, to make matters worse, former coach Steve Darby is also set to seek Fifa's help. With no help forthcoming from FAM, Darby feels he has no choice but to seek Fifa's assistance in reclaiming the RM115,000 he is owed in wages.

Perak are not the only team in this situation as Penang have also not fulfilled payments and four players are anxiously waiting to see what action FAM will take.

"I have written to FAM several times as we are owed four months wages. "However, nothing has been forthcoming from FAM," said a player who declined to be identified. "I was made to understand that there is no more money in the kitty for them (Penang FA) to pay us.

"The way we are being treated is as though we owe them and I wonder how FAM is going to resolve this."

FAM's players status committee is only expected to meet sometime next month and it won't come as a surprise if several more cases emerge before that.


Asian Cup Qualifiers Squad Announced

Benny Dollo has announced the squad that will begin training for the Asian Cup qualifiers this Saturday. Out go two fringe players from the AFF Cup, Usep Munandar and Fandi Mochtar, while in come seven new names but, tellingly, no new strikers.

Assuming Boaz Solossa plays wide midfield the coach is limited in the striking options available to him. Pelita Jaya's Rudi Widowo might have been an option but one goal in the first half of the season tells its own story.

The names in italics are the new additions

Goalkeeper: Markus Harison (PSMS), Fery Rotinsulu (Sriwijaya), Dian Agus Prasetyo (Pelita Jaya)

Defenders: Ismed Sofyan (Persija), Ricardo Salampessy (Persipura), Nova Arianto, Maman Abdurahman (Persib), M Robby (Persik), CharisYulianto (Sriwijaya), Rahmat Latif, Djayusman (PSM), Isnan Ali (Sriwijaya), Erol Iba (Pelita Jaya)

Midfield: Arif Suyono (Arema), Ellie Aiboy (PSMS), Irsyad Aras (PSM), Ponaryo Astaman (Persija), Hariono (Persib), Syamsul Chaerudin (PSM), Firman Utina (Pelita Jaya), Pieter Rumaropen (Persiwa), M Ilham (Persija), Boaz Solossa (Persipura)

Forwards: Bambang Pamungkas (Persija), Budi Sudarsono (Persik), TA Mushafry (Persiba), Aliyudin (Persija)

Indonesia's first game is away to Oman 18/01/09 and then they are at home to Australia on 28/01/09. To help prepare in Oman where it is likely to be chilly Indonesia are hoping to arrange a friendly for the 15th against a local side.

With Singapore coach Raddy's experience in the middle east I wonder whether Benny picked his brain while they were sharing the same hotel in Jakarta recently?

Football is becoming a 12 month a year career for some of these players. Last January the likes of Bambang were still competing in the Copa Indonesia and Liga play offs followed by national team training in March.


Singapore to play on water?

As I was enjoying my last roti canai yesterday I was reading through the local media surprised that they still were covering some local football.

One story featured was that the FA had booked the floating pitch down at the marina for 11 February and they were in discussions with Paraguay to have them come over for a friendly.

Of course if the Indonesians were on the ball they would also be in touch with the Paraguay bods and see about them heading south for an extra game. It is rare that a top ranked nation comes this way and it makes absolute sense to try and bring them to Jakarta.

Oh yes. apologies!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Vietnamese fans attacked

This story has been overlooked by the mainstream media here as far as I can tell but Red Sports has run with it.

After the AFF Cup semi final defeat by Vietnam some Singaporeans weren't so enamoured by defeat and took to attacking the visiting fans, leaving burnt flags and bloodied faces.

Before the game I jokingly pointed out to a local friend that Indonesia had had something like 2,000 security personnel on duty during the semi final with Thailand but there was nothing around the National Stadium.

During the game plastic bottles were thrown at a group of Veitnamese fans at the front of the grandstand while at least one 'security' melted away. It took a few moments for the part time police to settle it down.

After the game, perhaps an hour later, there was still a group of Vietnamese sitting on the steps of the western entrance being watched over by the hobby cops...obviously worried about moving to far from the stadium after what had happened earlier.

Who'd have thought it eh? Singaporean hooligans! Next up, the Lions take it to Bung Karno...

Monday, December 22, 2008


SAFFC to visit Indonesia?

I bumped into SAF coach Richard Bok last night after the Vietnam win and he tells me his club are looking at a pre season tour of Indonesia. No dates, no opponents lined up, it's just at the logistics stage at the moment and I guess much will depend on the costs.

I could probably have a few of the players crash at my place if they bring sleeping bags and don't mind the smell of rabbit shit and piss!


Post Vietnam thoughts

Football fans demand just one thing. They expect their team to be fully committed. 100%. Anything less than that is not acceptable. Give the maximum and defeat is acceptable. It's the beauty and simplicity of the game where someone has to lose.

Singapore fans should not be too distraught after losing to Vietnam yesterday. They played well in front of a decent crowd of 48,000. Vietnam hardly had a look in but they scored. It happens. There is no logic to explain because the game of football defies logic.

Possession maybe 90% of the law but in football it counts for shit. No medals for keepball.

As ever following a defeat fans and media look for scapegoats but Raddy knows that his Lions didn't lose 'cos of one player or one error. They lost because over 180' minutes they failed to score.

Deprived of Khairul Amri before the competition and Aleksander Duric during it Raddy also had a Noh Alam Shah short of game time. Options up top were limited.

NAS showed all the passion and guts we have come to expect from this supremely gifted talent. He closed down, he challenged, he flew into tackles, he threw himself at the ball, he was was always in the Vietnamese players faces and of course every melee saw the straw haired striker involved somewhere.

Bullying Cambodia or Myanmar is one thing but when it cames to the 'better' nations Singapore did struggle at times. Two goals in three games against Indonesia and Vietnam tells its own story and perhaps Raddy will be looking at the fact that neither goal came from open play.

Now he will be analysing the games before turning his attention to the Asian Cup qualifiers. He knows the score, the fine line between glory and ignomy. He won't be worrying too much about some of the more hysterical responses in the media.

After the game it was great to see a few fans hanging round waiting for the players to leave. What was even better was to see NAS at the back of the bus taking pictures of the fans. It was also good to see Aleksander Duric hobbling round and posing for pictures after the game with supporters.

Talking of the fans, was it me or did the volume, never particulary high, disappear after Vietnam score. Certainly gaps soon started appearing around the satdium and you could say that at the time when the Lions needed the support from the terraces the terraces responded by turning their backs and heading for the exit.

48,000 turned up for the game expecting a win. Most would countenance anything else. How many of the were at the friendly against Vietnam back in November? How many of them will be attracted to the SLeague next year? Or does defeat mean they are no longer interested?


Where's your famous Kallang Roar?

OK so I wasn't expecting Bung Karno replicated in twee Singapore but I was looking for a bit more than we got yesterday from the fans. 55,000 were inside the National Stadium, including perhaps a couple of thousand Vietnamese but the best we got from the home fans were a few Mexican waves and the odd chant of Sin-Ga-Pore.

After the goal went in there were some scuffles in front of the main stand and one twat in front of me jumping up and down and trying very hard to look tough withouth actually threatening to hurt anyone beyond his friend who was lightly holding his t shirt. I can imagine him at school toady - ' if he hadn't of held me back I would have got straight in there.'

Just like Bung Karno though some plastic bottles were thrown in the direction of the celebrating Vietnamese fans while on the pitch after the final whistle visiting photographers were told to keep off the grass where the players were celebrating in front of their delierious fans and refused to do so. This spectacle then saw some silver haired gent involved in pushing them away which was great entertainment for a while.

Anyway you can catch all the excitement of the game with images from Ho Chi Minh's Barmy Army here and the muted Kallang Roar here.


Singapore ruin my holiday

Had it all planned I did.

After taking in the semi last night at the National Stadium I was going back to Jakarta for a few days before returning here for the final next Sunday against. It was all sorted and I even had permission from the wife.

But it seems I forgot to tell Singapore of their role in my holiday plans and they only go and lose to Vietnam!

So now I'm stuck with the prospect of Christmas in bangkok or going back and staying back. I mean what the hell can I do in Bangkok at Christmas time eh?

Bloody Lions...grrr!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Thailand v Indonesia 2-1

For a few heady moments at the Rajamangala Indonesia believed. It didn't last, it never does for Indonesian football fans.

Benny Dollo sprang a couple of surprises with his starting line up that saw Musafri in for Bambang and Syamsul coming into the centre of midfield alongside Firman Utina.

Despite the early goal and impressive start where Musafri buzzed and annoyed the Thai defence you had to believe the Thais had enough about them to come out on top. And they did.

Still, Markus Horison was again impressive.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


AFF Cup semi finals, second leg

What did we learn from the first legs earlier this week? That Thailand are a good team, Indonesia are limited, Vietnam worked hard and Singapore got lucky.

I hope that Benny Dollo has watched replays of both semi finals.

The way Vietnam tore into the Singaporeans in the first half was impressive. The forwards were the cliched first line of defense while the midfielders hastled and harried and the full backs showed what can happen when you use the whole pitch.

An artist uses all of the canvas available to him and it always puzzles me why coaches don't do the same on the football pitch. The field is, what, 80 yards wide? Two guys bombing down each flank, delivering crosses into the box will always cause panic at the back. Why get bogged down going for slide rule passes in congested midfields?

Last week I asked NAS about comments made by the Thai and Indonesian coaches pre tournament and what he said was most interesting. He said that Raddy encourages his men to slow the game down, play at their pace once in a while. Keep ball.

Obviously didn't work against Vietnam but the ability to slow down, think a bit on the field does no one any harm.

Perhaps Indonesia need to try that. Knock the harem, scarem stuff on the head and get cute. How many times have we seen 40 yard passes from Ismed or Ponaryo looking for a knock down from Bambang. And no one gets up in support.

I saw one example against Thailand which still has me seething in frustration. I think it was Ismed out towards the touch line perhaps 35 yards out. Bambang and Budi were at the back stick and so was the Thai defence. No one seemed to want to go short into the space, use their experience and upset the applecart. Or durian cart in this part of the world.

If I'm noticing this then you can be sure the professionals are as well.

The Thais, Singaporeans, Vietnamese are just that bit smarter. They're not so rigid on the pitch and they have the freedom to move around a bit.

Having Budi try and hold the ball up and wait for support in crowded middle third of the field isn't, again in my feeble opinion, getting the best from his talent. At full flow, running against defenders, going wide, the pull backs. There is a lot in his cupboard but, despite the four goals (!), I don't think we're seeing the best of him.

Peter Reid was disappointed with Thailand's finishing. Maybe I'm easily pleased, I'm used to Arsenal having a low goal per effort ratio, but I was still impressed by Teerathep. It was the type of forward play we rarely get to see in Indonesia.

A big lad, comfortable on the ground, effective down the flanks. Indonesian football is full of lightweight David Speedies. Nowhere have I seen a striker with Teerathep's phsique. Maybe it's the diet. Nobody ever got big eating shit like bakso and indo mie.

The last time Indonesia beat Thailand in Bangkok was in 1985. I was still regular at Arsenal home and away games (we had Mariner and Woodcock up front!), Bambang Pamungkas was about five years old and one of Indonesia's strikers that day was Bambang Nurdiansyah. Now he coaches PSIS and I'm just a geezer with a lap top sitting in Singapore waiting for happy hour somewhere!

Raddy Avramovic has different concerns.

There is no way that Vietnam can play the same way against his Singapore side as they did in Hanoi. Is there? The relentless pressure, especially first half, was, for this neutral, a joy to behold but as I said in my notes at the time they needed a goal. They didn't get it.

Has the baton transfered to Singapore? With home advantage they should be favourites but there will be healthy following of Vietnamese in the stadium tomorrow (wonder if the hookers from Joo Chiat will be there?!) and if they work as hard as they did in Hanoi they could cause an upset.

Singapore perked up after NAS came on. His 'fuck you' attitude could be just what the Lions need to kick start the game and give themselves the advantage.

It should be a lot of fun and for the first time I will be getting to experience the famous Kallang Roar. Images and match report will follow after the game...and beers...and the Arsenal game...ok, maybe on Monday when the hangover has gone!

Friday, December 19, 2008


DPMM threatened

Taken from FAM website

Sultan Ahmad Shah said that he hopes the Brunei Amateur Football Association (BAFA) will be able to resolve its problems quickly. BAFA was de-registered by the Register of Societies (ROS) for falling to submit its annual general meeting report as requested by the ROS.

"I hope they will be able to resolve their problems as soon as possible as we hope to see them in the league which kicks off on Jan 3." said Sultan Ahmad Shah.

The FAM secretariat has written to BAFA requesting confirmation and expects a reply by tomorrow, failing which the Malaysian Super League (MSL) will have 14 teams instead of the original 15.

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