Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The secret world of Singaporean football

To the outsider finding information about Singapore can be frustrating at times. The local media hardly touch the game at all and when the majors cover it you can be sure the story bleeds negativity.

There are a couple of websites and message boards that do a good job of providing information and some clubs even have web sites of varying quality.

But imagine a foreign tourist arriving in Singapore for a few days. He likes his football and would love to take in a game or two. He checks the local paper, probably in vain given the tiny space devoted to the game.

Imagine then our tourist gets lucky and finds a fixture list. He also sees a game being played conveniently close to where he is staying. Checking the buses and MRT schedule our plucky tourist heads out to the stadium in good time for the game.

He’ll first spend some time walking round the stadium wondering whether there is even a top flight game going on. Plenty of joggers, plenty of commuters but no one he can confidently point to as being a football fan.

Convinced finally a game is going on his next problem is finding out where to buy tickets. Because stadiums here are public facilities and not owned by the clubs it can be difficult to know which window or office to approach as things aren’t always clearly marked.

Assuming he has purchased his match ticket he will next seek a place to buy club merchandise keen fan that he is. If he ends up at Jurong East for an Albirex Niigata game he could end up with a double sided scarf costing $25 which he may find a bit off putting. Who ever heard of a scarf costing four times the ticket price?

Giving up on the idea of a club souvenir he goes inside the stadium where somebody asks him if he is carrying any drinks because he shouldn’t carry them inside the ground. He isn’t so in he goes and finds a slab of concrete to sit on. He looks around and sees people drinking and wonders how they managed to bring their drinks into the stadium when he was strictly advised against doing so.

He looks around for a match programme. Not knowing anything about the teams or the players he thinks it would be nice to put some names to the players on the pitch. Find out who is the top scorer, what the crowds are like, who is leading the league at that point in time. That sort of basic stuff that will give him some context to the game he is about to watch. But there is nothing.

He sees some fans with flags and wearing replica shirts. Hmm, where did they get them then if there was no club shop anywhere?

The announcer runs through the line ups at supersonic speed and our hapless tourist, struggling with the unfamiliar names, gives up trying to listen.

So he sits there watching the game. He knows who is playing but he is not sure which team is wearing which shirt. He sees 22 players but doesn’t know any of their names. He has money to spend on merchandise but nowhere to spend it.

Rather than being caught up by the experience he finds himself very much on the outside, knowing nothing about how the game being played out in front of him fits into the bigger picture.

But it seems he’s not the only one. The singing and chanting he sees is choreographed but happens randomly. He sees a winger go on a mazy dribble down the flank, crosses and a striker heads just wide. Silence. No oohs and ahhs that you might expect from an exciting piece of skill. Moments later the drums and chants start up during a turgid bit of midfield play.

Our tourist leaves the stadium feeling somewhat nonplussed. Yes, he has seen some Singaporean football and it was a good game, but is it an experience he is going to want to repeat? Truth be told, as he makes his way back to his hotel, he is feeling like he has gate crashed a private party. A party where those in the know, know. And those who don’t, don’t belong.


Singapore Olympic Selection v Gold Coast United

A League newboys Gold Coast United will be arriving in Singapore to play a one off low key friendly against an Olympic Select side. The game takes place at Hougang Stadium on 1 July and kicks off at 7.30.

Please note this is a new date and venue.


Bambang gossip

An Indonesian website has linked Persija striker Bambang Pamungkas with Malaysian side Selangor. Even though the MSL has prohibited foreign players for this season. But does that ban apply also to the Malaysia Cup?

Bambang has a successful spell with the Red Giants a few years back scoring 40 goals in one season.


Super Reds v Sengkang Punggol 3-2

The Dolphins have been a club in turmoil in recent weeks with their coach quitting. Singapore defensive legend Adie Iskandar has taken over and after 45 minutes at Yishun he must have thought this coaching lark was a breeze as he saw his side race to a 2-0 lead.

Didn't last though as second half Super Reds responded immediately and soon clawed the deficit back, grabbing three points with a late penalty.

So there you have it. Must admit it was a last minute decision to go as I was expecting a stinker but it didn't turn out so bad.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Singapore v Thailand 1-4

Went to see Singapore take on Thailand in this Under 14 competition and the Thais wiped the floor with the hosts. Singapore went into the game on a bit of a high after losing 2-1 to Iran with Hanafi scoring the goal. Cue the headlines the next day calling him the new Indra.
Having seen Indra later on that evening I think I could be the new Indra!

The Thais were impressive especially going forward. And in their number 10 they look to have a real gem. Well, he could be in another 10 years time.

He could scored twice. His first was a sublime sidefoot volley from 25 yards out. A real quality finish. His second, after the break, was a straightforward freekick driven with power straight through the keeper.

The Thai number 9 was also a handful. Small but pacy, give him a few more pounds and he will be a lot harder to knock off the ball.

After the game I was interested in looking for som AYG souvenirs. I mean it makes sense dunnit. Sell some t shirts, that sort of stuff. But there was nothing available. Only at shopping malls which is useless to me 'cos I don't do malls!


Sriwijaya claim back to back Copas

Oh dear. Once again Indonesian football attracts the headlines for the wrong reasons.

In yesterdays Copa final the game was cancelled after 60 minutes after Persipura players ulked 'cos they weren't given a penalty when they felt they deserved one. Ernest Jeremiah was red carded, everyone blamed the ref and they walked off.

Yep, the Champions of Indonesia, the best team in the country by far, walked off the field 'cos a decision didn't go their way.

These guys could be representing Indonesia in the ACL next season. Are they going to walk off in places like Japan and Australia just 'cos they disagree with the ref? What great ambassadors they would be!

For two hours (!) they sulked in the dressing room before the game was finally awarded to Sriwijaya 4-0.

The final, along with the 3rd/4th place play off, was played in Palembang at Sriwijaya's home stadium. Not the best of ideas, not sure why a neutral venue wasn't selected.

Oh well...


Tampines Rovers v Geylang United 3-1

For the first time ever I had to queue to get into an Sleague game. Unfortunately the punters weren't here for the East Coast Derby. What pulled these people from valuable mall time was the prospect of seeing local legends Sheikh Hailkul and Glenn Ong in a charity kick around before the Sleague match.

Images of this charity game can be found here.

Once Fandi & co, for they were also playing, had done their bit most of the crowd buggered off.

Put it this way. The current generation arrived, seeing a packed crowd they looked forward to putting on a show. But when they took to the field most people had gone home. How did the players feel about that? Their own people would rather watch a bunch of has beens than the current crop.

And therein lies the dilemma of Singapore football. People are willing enough to pay 10 SGD to see players they are familiar with, the team of the 90's, keen enough to pay double the normal ticket price. But they're not interested in seeing the players of today with whom they are unfamiliar.

And why the unfamiliarity? Why do people still recognise Steven Tan yet don't know any of the current Geylang team? And what can be done to increase awareness?

Singaporeans love football. The 48,000 who turned up for the AFF Cup semi final against Vietnam last December prove that. The queues last night proved that. The 5,000 + at the recent League Cup final prove that.

The challenge facing the clubs and the governing body is to build on that interest. To turn that interest into bums on seats and cold hard cash. It's to make sure people know the players. It's to make sure the local game gets a decent coverage in the local media.

Last night's game between the two eastern sides proved the product is there.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


SAF v Young Lions 2-1

A rare double header last night in Singapore with SAF hosting Young Lions while Gombak United hosted Home United nearby.

Duric gave the Champions the lead half way through the first half and I sat back expecting a goal glut. I had chosen this game in expectation of seeing Young Lions capitulate but I was mistaken. Instead what I and the 1,600 other fans got was a battling, determined display from the Young Lions who have disappointed this season.

They couldn't score, it took a skied clearance from Razaleigh Khalik to loop over his own keeper to bring the Young Lions back into the game.

SAF seemed strangelyat sorts and you got the feeling that a stronger team than the Lions could have secured at least a point. As it was poor control, especially from Khairul Nizam up front, cost them dearly.

He battled hard up front, especially when he got injured, but too often passes went astray and his first touch...put it this way. He couldn't trap rabbits. But he never gave up, he never hid and as I said he was always available even when he was plainly struggling.

Hariss Harun looked good in the middle for the visitors, highlighting the qualities that have made him so highly rated. He's a big strong lad, comfy on the ball and always looking for space.

It was perhaps inevitable the home side would get a late winner. For some obscure reason Khairul was called up by the ref for taking on three SAF defenders in the centre circle. That allowed the Warriors to regain possession and they didn't lose it until Zulfadli Zainal Abidin drove home a late, late winner.

The Young Lions collapsed, dejected. They never deserved three points but after a poor season they put on a throughly credible performance against the champions and can feel dead chuffed with themselves.

Images here ...

With Gombak beating Home, also by 2-1, it's as you were at the top of the SLeague with Gombak a point in the lead but SAF a game in hand.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Bangkok's great derby

I mentioned earlier how I used to live near Tha Reua Stadium in the past. Not that I ever went there. I never realised this before but I also lived close to the Chulalongkorn Stadium as well. In fact my box in Thung Mahamek was midway between the two.

Meaning that the clashes between Thai Port and Chula United has all the makings of a classic derby. And not just 'cos I lived between the two.

Thai Port, Klong Toey, is the home of Bangkok port. Kinda like Wapping or Limehouse in London. A rough and ready reputation with a reputation among those 'genteel' Bangkokians who flit from mall to mall but just 'know' Klong Toey is dangerous.

Certainly it has a raifish charm to it. An old mate of mine, now sadly passed on, would often spend his free time down there drinking whisky at some open fronted shophouse and spouting shite. He was a North London boy and couldn't stand the fakeness of middle class society but loved the warmth and hospitality he always received down there.

Chula on the other hand is establishment Bangkok. It's where the elite, and wannabe elite, send their kids to university and school. It's Eton and Cambridge all within walking distance on prime real estate. Just over the road is the Royal Bangkok Sports club where the toffs go for a punt on the nags.

Klong Toey is home to petty thieves, drug dealers and people with hearts of gold geezer. Chula is where you park your Merc and parade your latest brands.

Thai Port v Chula United. Us against them. It's pretty obvious which side I would follow.

Anyway, Chula wear pink!


Chula United v Pattaya United 1-1

Dunno how best to describe this. The first half was yawnsville, second half caught fire and how. For the two bottom teams in the TPL both teams will probably be happy with the point and with all and sundry blaming the ref I guess everyone goes home feeling dead chuffed.

Chula took the lead second half when the Pattaya keeper failed to hold a well struck shot from outside the area by some geezer who may well have been Thai. Then Pattaya had a player sent off which upset them so much one of the drunken expat grizzlies jumped on the pitch for a moment or two.

One of the coaching staff packed up the balls and made a big deal of walking down the tunnel to applause from both sets of fans while his team walked off and stood on the touch line looking suitably aggrieved while various other officials berated anybody and everybody who would or wouldn't listen.

All very unedifying and I symbolically packed my camera away. It looked like the football had finished and I can't be arsed with dummy chuckers.

Pattaya eventually came back on the pitch having achieved nothing at all and then knock me down with a feather the 10 men from Sin City equalised. They played much better after the red and indeed the whole atmosphere had been lifted inside Chulalongkorn Stadium following the walk off.

A Chula player went down in the penalty area and pleaded for a spot kick. Instead he got a red from the ref perhaps anxious not to upset the whole of Pattaya and ruin his next holiday there.
There was even time for an 8 minute injury time and one more red card for another Pattaya player but this time no one cared. They'd got a point and had even scored a goal, their seventh on 15 games.

At the end, as is the Thai custom, both sets of players approached the opposing team's fans and gave them a jolly good wave as they stood their and milked the applause. The Chula players serenaded their fans, surprised they had the energy, before then being sang back at and the whole 'we love you all' tosh ended up with some kind of anthem which was sung by the fans while standing still. As in nobody from their side of stadium moved much.

Images here...



Every few months the Economist compares the prices of Big Macs round the world to see if currencies are over or under valued in relation to PPP, GDP and bar.

Now I'm no economist, I'm a very poor mathematician and I really do have way too much free time. But allow me to introduce scarf-onomics. How much do club scarves cost in relation to match day ticket prices in the region?

Comparing anything with England is a god awful task at the best of times considering the complexity they impose on any pricing mechanism. Ticket prices at the Arsenal vary depending on where you want to sit and who they're playing. So for ease of argument let's assume an average ticket of price of 45 GBP, or 67 USD.

An Arsenal scarf costs 7 GBP or 10.50 USD. So a ticket costs 6.4 times the price of a matchday ticket.
Indonesia – ticket is 4 USD and a scarf costs 1.50 USD. Therefore a ticket costs 2.66 times the scarf
Thailand – ticket is1.50 USD. A Thai Port scarf cost a whopping 9 USD. So in Bangkok the scarf was 6 times the cost of admission
Malaysia – ticket is 3 USD but the game I saw had no souvenirs on sale.
Singapore – ticket at Albirex Niigata was 4 USD and the scarf was a phenomenal 17 USD or 4 times the cost of admission.

From this we learn what? That Albirex Niigata live in cuckoo land with their scarf prices along with Thai Port. 70% more expensive than Arsenal scarves? Puh-leese.

Also it's probably fair to say that both Thai and Malaysian football is relatively under valued, certainly at the gate.

Note – while in Thailand and Malaysia admission prices are fixed, in Indonesia there is more leeway given to individual clubs and the price I have quoted in this article is at the higher end of the scale. Likewise in Singapore Albirex Niigate, in common with the other 'foreign' sides charge more than the local clubs who charge 5 SGD or 3.40 USD

UPDATE – on the Sunday I found the local Arsenal outlet had a BEC Tero scarf hidden away in the corner and they were asking just under 500 baht, a sum later matched by Muang Thong United in Star's Soccer, Pantip Plaza.


Thai-ing up the marketing

Thai Port aren't the biggest name in Thai football. Far from it. But from what I saw the other day they are a model clubs certainly in Singapore and Indonesia should look at.

Before the game we went to the club shop. As I type this I realise that this is the first club shop I have been t in my time covering football in the region. Persija's Jakmania have a club office that has a few bits and pieces that are on sale but nothing substantial. Thai Port's shop was bigger than anything Arsenal had in the 1980s!

I've discussed many atime with Persija people the benefits an official club shop can bring but they just look at me like I'm from a different planet. If only they'd been with me in Bangkok. Not only was there a steady stream of customers, they weren't all window shopping.

They were snapping up replica shirts, scarves, t shirts, polo shirts, t shirts etc etc. the tills were doing a roaring trade and who was benefiting? Why the club dummy!

Inside the stadium nearly everyone, from both sets of supporters, were wearing club colours. Unlike for example Singapore there was hardly a Liverpool or Manchester United shirt to be seen in a sea of blue and orange.

My Chonburi friends gave me some numbers. At a recent home game they estimated 250,000 baht had been taken in gate receipts. That approximates to 7500 USD based on absurdly low ticket prices of 1.50 USD. The next figure they gave blew me away. A further 225,000 baht was taken through merchandising sales from that attendance of about 5,000.

That works out at 45 baht or just 1.33 USD per person and brought the club another 6800 USD. That's 14,000 USD at one home game. Multiply that by 15 home games and you're looking at a revenue of about 210,000 USD. Through the gate.

No disrespect to Chonburi but compared to Indonesia's biggest clubs they are small fry. Consider Persija with 30,000 Jakmania members. Persib with perhaps 50,000 and likewise Arema with a similar number.

Admission to Indonesian games is more expensive than in Thailand. Persija tickets, when they were allowed to play at home, ranged from 2.50 – 10 USD. Taking say 4.00 USD as an average price let's multiply that by 22,000, a reasonable home attendance and you're looking at 88,000 USD through the gate alone.

Now if Persija had their own official club shop. And if each of those 22,000 fans spent on average, like their Chonburi counterparts, 1.50 USD then you're looking at another 33,000 USD filling the club offers every home game. Multiply by 17 home games and you're looking at something like 2,000,000 USD.

Persija's budget for this last season was something along the lines of 2.5 million USD, all of which they had to get from local government. There were a couple of small sponsorships but not a lot.
Potentially, and potential is a word often linked with the game in Indonesia, Persija could take in 80% of their seasonal budget through the gate on match days. Throw in catering and of course having official souvenir outlets strategically placed throughout Jakarta and you're sitting on a cash cow.

So what do we have now? A few guys sitting on mats selling t shirts and scarves outside the stadium and the club benefiting to the extent of 0 USD. No cash flow and salaries seemingly permanently in arrears. Last season no fan wore official replica shirts 'cos the kit manufacturer had none available. Persija Jakarta, potentially one of the biggest clubs in the region, are being blown out of the water by a marketing savvy Thai Port.

Note – the figures given in this article are unofficial and based upon informed comments and reasoned inferences.


Road Trip

So there I was at Ekamai Bus Station early Saturday morning. What kind of daft bastard gets a bus from Bangkok to Si Racha just to get another one straight back again?

I've been out of the Bangkok experience for a good few years but it all came back to me at the bus station. Silver topped coffin dodgers wheeling their luggage to the Pattaya bound buses, drooling at the prospect of frolics with Issarn farm girls.

Each to their own I suppose but I wondered how the missus was doing back in Jakarta fending off the usual 'where is your husband' questions?

'It's like this you see. He's gone to Bangkok,' queue many raised eyebrows, 'to catch a bus to Si Racha' these people never take buses, 'and when he gets to Si Racha he's going to get another bus straight back to Bangkok.'

You can imagine her coven retreating mob handed to the dunny and 'tut tutting and offering her their collective sympathy. I mean let's be honest. What type of daft bastard would do something like that anyway. Me, actually.

I planned on joining Dale from the Chonburi Supporter's Club, Si Racha branch, and the gang as they headed in to Bangkok. I thought I would get some good pictures out of it plus the opportunity of chewing the fat with the lad from Oldham.

Except it didn't work out that way did it? The Si Racha coach never turned up. The Pattaya one was full and the Chonburi ones left anyway. So we waited while a couple of mini buses were sent from Chonburi, headed there and jumped on a couple of extra coaches that had been laid on just for us. One coach was soon filled. One was empty. And we, of course, were on the empty one. All the atmosphere of Havisham's house in Great Expectations.

It was a sign. Later I got a great chat with former Persib keeper Kosin. Quality stuff filmed after the game. But some prick didn't press record did he? Not until the bloody interview was over...
dunno what Martin Tyler would do in the circumstances but I'm out to get wasted. Just like old times...


Thai Port v Chonburi 1-2

They say that even the greatest journeys start with just a single step. Well, on Saturday, mine started with a lot of sitting around and looking anxiously at my watch. The normally reliable supporter’s club coach had failed to show at the designated time of 1:00pm and by 2:45pm the hastily arranged alternatives still hadn’t materialised. I was just about to revert to PlanB, a couple of hours in the pub followed by SriRacha v Osotspa, when two mini-buses came screeching around the corner. With a great deal of relief we all scrambled aboard and were finally off on our travels. Next stop, the hitherto unexplored grandeur of the PAT Stadium, Klong Tuey.

Apart from being grilled by a visiting journo from Jakarta, and swapping horror stories of dismal away days, the trip was fairly un-eventful but rather pleasant. On arrival at our destination I had plenty of time to spare before kick off so headed for the Port Authority club shop and cafe. What a smashing little facility this is. A brand new building stocked to the rafters with good quality merchandise and staffed by very friendly and helpful people: one gripe, costing more than a replica shirt I thought the scarves were ridiculously over-priced. There was even the added attraction of a topless PAT fan standing in the corner. You can always expect the unexpected in Thailand but I was ill prepared for the bare torso of a pasty Scouser greeting me as I walked through the door! Once I’d recovered my composure and made my purchase (a TPA home shirt, since you ask) I felt it prudent to make my way to the ground as I could see that the stands were quickly filling up.

The throng outside the stadium was reminiscent of an old fashioned English crowd and childhood memories were further evoked when I took my place on the terraces. The Port Authority of Thailand Stadium is a tight little ground with the fans close to the pitch. Just the sort of environment I’d grown up watching football in. The famed “temporary” stand behind the goal to my left was already packed with home and away fans and the other two permanent stands were also pretty full. There was a real buzz about the place as everyone prepared for the match to start. Both sets of supporters were in good voice and a great roar greeted the two teams as they entered the field. So frantic was the opening that I completely missed the kick off and only realised that the match was under way when I heard the home support screaming for a free kick.

The pace was fairly unrelenting as the game swayed first one way and then the other with both teams having, and wasting, a few opportunities to score. The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when the diminutive Pipob rose unchallenged to nod home a trademark Arthit free kick. As “Mo” wheeled away to celebrate with the visiting fans gathered behind the goal the home defenders stood looking at each other in the same pose that they had adopted when the ball had been swung into the box.

With the home crowd momentarily silenced, Chonburi seized the initiative and went in search of a second ; Kone heading tamely straight at the keeper from about eight yards out. However, it wasn’t long before the Port players responded by launching a series of threatening attacks of their own – threatening, that is, until they caught sight of the goalposts. It seemed like a case of same old, same old as a lack of composure from the forwards continued to let them down after some pretty impressive approach play. Although, to be fair, they did hit the woodwork and force Kosin to claw away a speculative cross come shot during this spell. But, when the half time whistle blew, the visitors were still a goal to the good and l munched on my imaginery Wagon Wheel feeling fairly contented.

The second half picked up where the first had left off with both teams trying to pass the ball and get it forward quickly. Some of the flowing football that has been missing from Chonburi’s recent games had returned and Kone was having one of his better days. In midfield, Adul was his usual industrious self and revelling in the fact that he’d been allowed to start (Zico must read my reports). TPA were playing some pretty tidy stuff themselves and it came as no particular surprise when they equalised. A hopeful long ball sent panic through the Chonburi back line and, as the defenders dithered, a cross was whipped in from the right to be turned in by a the on rushing Pipat.

With just over thirty minutes left the game was now wide open and events on the field seemed to mirror themselves – Chonburi hit the post, TPA hit the post. Chonburi had a certain penalty appeal turned down, TPA had a certain penalty appeal turned down. Chonburi scored a second, TPA didn’t. And the visitors held out for a hard fought victory. In all honesty I couldn’t have complained if the match had ended level. TPA certainly gave as good as they got and if it hadn’t have been for some silliness at the end when their keeper tripped up the ref in the opposing penalty area they would have been able to claim the moral high ground as well because, once again (shakes head in embarrassment) we resorted to trotting out the stretcher at every possible opportunity. (If you’re still reading, Zico, please, please, please stop this irritating tactic now!!)

Overall it was a good day out. A rollicking good game. Two passionate groups of supporters getting behind their teams and (sorry, Marco) the right result. So, at the halfway stage The Sharks find themselves at the top of the pile. A big cup came on Tuesday and then a break from domestic duties but no rest for a lot of the players as they join up with the national squad for more training. We’ll have to find a bit more consistency in the second half of the season if we want to regain our title. We certainly have the personnel but do we have the bottle?

Stretcher Count
(Oh, if I must!) TPA 0 Chonburi 6 (Six)

Ref Watch
He seemed a bit card happy and, along with his assistants he failed to give two cast iron penalties. He must have got the shock of his life when the home goalkeeper tripped him up in the Chonburi area just before full time!

Cheers to Dale for this!


The 'Ginola-esque' Arthit

With his flowing locks and languid style Chonburi's midfield star Arthit certainly has a touch of the David Ginola about him. He also offers a mean free kick and a wicked cross.
But you can imagine the Thai being as popular with George Graham for example as the Frenchman was during his time at Tottenham.

He's not there to get stuck in. He's there to build a team around. Let the cloggers and donkeys do the equestrian work, let the artists express themselves on the canvas before them.


Klong Toey FC

If I still lived in Bangkok I would probably make Thai Port my local team. Not favourite mark but the one I would 'adopt'. I spent a long time, way too long, crawling the bars of Thung Mahamek in my younger days and as I just found out the Tha Reua Stadium ain't nowt but a short taxi ride from my old cells.

Of course following a team called Thai Port is all a bit daft anyway. Why not Tha Reua? Why the need to anglicise? Or why not even Klong Toey?

Friday, June 19, 2009


Persisam stuff again

Persisam are rapidly turning into the Manchester City of Indonesia. Flush with cash they are busy linking themselves with anyone and everyone.

This story links them with Thai pair Datsakorn and Teerasil even quoting one club official as suggesting paying Teerasil an unprecedented 500,000 USD a year.

They even talk about meeting the Thais next week when they play Iraq in a friendly.

Are Thailand playing Iraq? I know that PSMS are heading to Bangkok to take on Chonburi in the AFC Cup but Iraq playing the Thai national team?

Assistant coach Steve Darby is overseas at the moment as is manager Peter Reid. So I wonder where this friendly came from?


Who are ya?

Tomorrow sees Persijap Jepara take on holders Sriwijaya in the 1st leg of their Copa Indonesia semi final and it's probably fair to say Persijap, from the north coast of Central Java just a short drive from Semarang, are one of the ISL's unfashionable clubs.

They are rarely shown on TV despite drawing good home crowds. They lack any star names. The town of Jepara itself has a thriving furniture industry but their football team rate scarcely a mention outside the city limits.

Their coach is a geezer named Junaidi and he has put together a team that is obviously very difficult to break down but still one that is never goingto win any trophies any time soon.

The biggest name player is probably their 26 year old Argentinian striker Pablo Frances in his forst season in Indonesia. He came at the start of the season from Bolivia where he had been playing with that Andean powerhouse Oriente Petrolero and has settled in pretty well so far.

10 goals in his debut season, with six of them in the Copa, he looked sharp and lively in the 2nd leg of their quarter final against Persitara, adept at stretching the defence and with neat ball control in dangerous areas.

That Persijap's top scorers in the recently finished ISL managed only 13 goals between them tells all you need about their League failings where they finished comfortably, but unthreateningly 10th. 35 year old Brazilian Evaldo Silva came up with 7 goals while Arnaldo Villalba managed just half a dozen.

Given the imports failure to regularly bulge the net Indonesian striker Ilham Hasan chipped in with three goals towards to the tail end of the season. But he's hardly one for the future having just turned 29!

Persijap players rarely feature in any international gatherings whatever the level though one youngster has made a breakthrough recently. Johan Juansiyah is a 20 year old striker from West Java who has broken through to the Under 23s recently.

They are though one of just three clubs I believe in Indonesia who have Asians on their books. Premier League side Persikad featured a Japanese player, ?!, last season. Australian Robbie Gaspar has been with Persiba for a couple of seasons.

Thai Phaitoon Thiabma returned for his second spell with the club during the mid season break.

Nurul Huda, Dony Siregar, Danang Wihatmoko, Noor Hadi. The anonymous team of Indonesia take on Sriwijaya, possibly in Jepara, possibly in front of an empty stadium, on the verge of their first ever Copa final appearance.


Copa Indonesia Final

With the semi finals kicking off today the FA have announced Jakabaring Stadium in Palembang will be the venue of the Final to be held 28 June.

They must be hoping home town side Sriwijaya can overcome Persijap in the semi to guarantee a healthy crowd.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Jakarta Casual TV

And now for something completely different.

I've been writing about South East Asian football for 3 and a half years now. Since then I've added Asian Football Pictures to try and capture the passion and colour of the game in this part of the world.

It has always been my intention to add new ways of covering the game in this region. I have fiddled with podcasts but hey? Who listens to the radio these days anyway? I have contemplated Twitter but can't help thinking that particular platform is somewhat 'sad'.

Being at the stadium with half an eye on the game and the other half on a handphone doesn't do it for me. Once in a while I have provided regular updates on live games but it's not really my cup of tea.

So I have come up with Jakarta Casual TV.

Combining Blogger and You Tube, cheapskate that I am, I intend to bring bite size clips from the world of South East Asian football. Interviews, crowd scenes, football fan culture, I aim to try and cover things nobody else does.

Given the slow upload I get in my Jakartan based dingly dell clips will be kept to about two minutes or less so don't expect to find all the action from My Team v Kuala Muda or Persib v PSMS being uploaded.

So keep an eye out for Jakarta Casual TV...


SAF v DPMM League Cup Final Preview

Route to the Final

Group Stage
Beat Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Lost Brunei DPMM FC 0-3
3-0 Beat Albirex Niigata (S) 2-0
Quarter Final
Beat Geylang United 5-3 Beat Tampines Rovers 1-1 (aet)
(SAFFC won 4-3 on Penalties)
Semi Final

Beat Woodlands Wellington 2-1 Beat Home United 2-0

Suspension List

Team No. Player Match Affected

Brunei DPMM FC 6 Pg Sallehuddin Damit Final
Brunei DPMM FC 10 Abdelhamid Berguiga Final
Woodlands Wellington 2 Jalal Third Place Playoff
Woodlands Wellington 5 Daniel Hammond Third Place Playoff
Woodlands Wellington 6 Anaz Hadee Third Place Playoff
Woodlands Wellington 7 Ismadi Mukhtar Third Place Playoff
Woodlands Wellington 10 Luis Eduardo Hicks Third Place Playoff

Prize Money

Champion - $20,000.00
Runner-Up - $10,000.00
Third Place - $5,000.00

Previous Final and Third Place Playoff Results

Final Woodlands Wellington 4-0 Sengkang Punggol
3rd Place Playoff Gombak United 1-1 Home United
(9-8 on Penalties)

Final Gombak United 2-1 Super Reds
3rd Place Playoff Balestier Khalsa 3-2 Young Lions

Match Proceedings In The Event The Scores Are Tied After 90 Minutes of Regulation Time


In the event the scores are tied after 90 minutes of regulation time, 30 minutes of extra time (two halves of 15 minutes each) will be played.

In the event that the scores are still tied after 30 minutes of extra time, the winner shall be determined by kicks from the penalty mark.

Third Place Playoff

In the event the scores are tied after 90 minutes of regulation time, the winner shall be determined by kicks from the penalty mark.

Ticketing Details

Tickets priced at $5 for Adults and $1 for Students (up to ITE and JC level) and Senior Citizens (60 years and above) will be on sale on Friday 19 June at the South Gate of Jalan Besar Stadium from 4pm onwards.

Live Telecast

The League Cup Final will be shown ‘Live’ on Football Channel (Ch 27) as well as on StarHub’s Preview Channel (Ch01) starting with the Preview Show at 7.35pm.

Non-StarHub TV subscribers can tune their TV sets manually to UHF 527.25 Mhz to receive StarHub’s Preview Channel.

Selected Quotes from the Pre-Match Press Conference

Vjeran Simunic (Brunei DPMM FC Coach) – It’s not easy playing against the same opponents for the third time. Two of my players will be missed but I trust my guys from the bench. It should be an open game and I will like to congratulate my team and staff for reaching the final.

Richard Bok (SAFFC Coach) – It’s the first time for us that we have reached the League Cup Final and it’s not been easy for us to get here. We’ve not been playing all that well but neither have we been playing badly. I hope we have a good game tomorrow.

Aleksandar Duric (SAFFC Captain) – It’s no surprise to see DPMM in the final as they are probably playing some of the best football in the league. It’s great for my team to be in the final and I hope we get a good crowd in to catch what will certainly be a very good final.

Rosmin Kamis (Brunei DPMM FC stand-in Captain) – We hope that we will be the first foreign team to win a trophy in Singapore.

Bok – (When asked if his team will be under greater pressure as they will be ‘representing’ Singapore) Teams like us are constantly under pressure and with a team like ours, we are used to dealing with pressure.

Simunic – (When asked whether DPMM should be the favourites for tomorrow) You cannot really tell who are the real favourites. Up till now, we’ve lost only two games and in a mini-league of the Big 4, we are top of the table. However, I am not crazy (to say that we will definitely win tomorrow) but my team is hungry and we are ready and maybe they (SAFFC) are a little tired.

Duric – (When asked how important is this League Cup Final to them especially after being knocked out of both the AFC Champions League and RHB Singapore Cup) Every final is important. We want to win trophies and this trophy is the one that is missing from our trophy cabinet. That’s what we are in football for; to win trophies and medals. For tomorrow, it doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we end up on the winning side.

League Cup Final 2009 in numbers

2 Number of defeats Brunei DPMM FC have suffered so far in all competitions

2 Number of players in the teams playing in the final that have won a League Cup winners medal before (SAFFC’s Ahmed Latiff and Park Tae Won were part of Woodlands’ 2007 League Cup winning team, DPMM FC’s Oh Ddog Yi was playing for Super Reds who lost in last year’s final)

2 Number of matches that have gone into penalty kicks in this year’s tournament

4 Number of goals Ivan Jerkovic of DPMM FC have scored in the League Cup, making him the top scorer of this year’s competition so far

5 Number of trophies SAFFC have won in the last three years under Coach Richard Bok

5 Number of goals DPMM FC have scored past SAFFC in their two matches so far (2-1 win in the S.League and 3-0 win in the League Cup Group Stage)

7 Number of penalties saved or missed in SAFFC’s win over Tampines Rovers in the quarter-finals on penalties

8 Number of goals scored in DPMM FC’s 5-3 win over Geylang United in their quarter-final clash – the highest scoring match of this year’s competition

13 Number of League Cup 2009 matches shown ‘live’ and exclusive on the Football Channel (Ch 27)

24 Number of seconds for Ruhaizad Ismail to find the net for the fastest goal of the season in Gombak United’s 1-0 win over Balestier Khalsa in the first match of the 2009 League Cup

48 Number of goals scored so far in the 2009 League Cup

268 Aleksandar Duric’s injury time goal against Home United in the semi-final was his 268th in domestic club football since his first year in the S.League in 1999


Singapore held

Singapore U23 v Botswana U23 1-1 (Nazrul Ahmad Nazari ; Molgakolodi Ngele)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Persisam aim high

Persisam Samarinda won last season's Premier League and enter the ISL next season with big plans and an impressive new stadium.

They have already recruited for Persik coach Aji Santoso and are now busy recruiting a squad that will set them up not just for survival but a serious bid at the title.

Already added to the squad are former Arema pair Fandi Mochtar and Ahmad Sembiring.

Other names being banded about are former Persija and Persik duo Hamkah Hamza and M Roby as well as Sriwijaya defender Tsimi Jacques and Deltras Danilo Fernando. Possible goalkeepers include Achmad Kurniawan from Persik and PSM's Syamsidar.

More names being linked in the press are Greg Nwokolo and Firman Utina while even Christian Gonzales and Ronaldo Fagundez have also been mentioned.

Great fun this innit?

Their squad last season wasn't too bad featuring the likes of Ilham Jayakusuma, Patricio Jiminez, Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, Gustavo Hernan Ortiz, and Jardel Santana Da Silva.


New owners for PKT

PKT Bontang, previously one of the few privately owned clubs in the ISL, have been taken over by the local government and will be called Bontang FC from next season.

Meanwhile Persitara could well be put up for sale with the local government not keen on subsidising the club any more.

I do know someone wanted to invest in the club from North Jakarta last season but talks went nowhere.

Lacking a home stadium, their Tugas Stadium is little more than a field with a fence round it, Persitara spent much of last season on the road, playing their home games all over Java including a few at Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta.

A few years back another Jakarta club, Persijatim, were put up for sale. They were bought by the province of South Sumatra, renamed and rebranded. Now they are known as Sriwijaya.

UPDATE - or perhaps not! Perhaps Mitra Kukar may look at taking them over thus ensuring their place in the ISL next season having missed out in the play offs. Hmm, not so sure about this promotion by aquisition nonsense


Persikota look to youth

With Tangerang side Persikota surviving in the Premier League next season they have decided they will concentrate on youth to bring them success on the field.

Rather than looking to expensive imports they will scour the local football schools for talent hoping both to save costs as well as unearth young players with great promise.

It's a model adopted by My Team in Malaysia and Balestier Khalsa, to a lesser extent, in Singapore.


Stevenage youngster called up by Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: England-based youngster Haziq Zikri Elias is set to join the Harimau Muda (national Under-19) squad for two major international assignments this year.

The 18-year-old Haziq, who plays for Stevenage Borough FC in the Conference National League in Hertfordshire, will attend trials here tomorrow.

Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee said that Haziq was no stranger to him.

“He was with me in the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Under-16 team, who won the Youth Cup in 2007,” he said yesterday.

“Since he left for England, we have kept tabs on his progress. He now plays in the first 11 with the Stevenage Under-19 elite team.”

Kim Swee said that he hoped Haziq would fit into their plans for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 championship in August and also for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 qualifying rounds in November.

He added that besides Haziq, they would also put four other newcomers on trials.

They are D. Saarvindran (BJSS), Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor from (Felda United), Mohd Fakhurazi Musa (T-Team) and Mohd Khairul Izzuwan Rosli (Kelantan).


MSL Results

Pahang v Perlis 1-3 (Kartigesu; Azi Shahril Azmi, Nizaruddin Yusof 2)
Perak v Selangor 0-1 (Surenden)
Kedah v Negeri Sembilan 3-1 (Sabree Abu, Khyril Muhymeen, Azrul Ahmad; Zaquhan Adha)
Penang v Johor 0-5
Kelantan v My Team 3-0 (Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Badri Radzi)
Terengganu v KL Plus 0-2 (Rusdi Shamsuddin, Irwan Fadli Idrus)
PDRM v Kuala Muda 0-2

1.Selangor 18 14 1 2 39-15 43
2.Perlis 19 13 3 3 28-15 42
3.Kedah 19 11 2 6 30-21 35
4.Negeri Sembilan 18 10 3 5 34-16 33

Kelantan returned to Kota Bahru and winning ways but it's Selangor who remain top after a narrow victory in Perak.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


SAF reach SLC Final

Home United v SAF 0-2 (Park Tae Won, Aleksander Duric) 2,197

The final will be a load of old initials as SAFFC take on DPMM FC in the SLC at JBS.



DPMM in SLC Final

DPMM v Woodlands Wellington 2-1 (Ivan Jerkovic, Abdelhamid Berguiga; Mojtaba Tehranizadeh)


Singapore U23 squad v Botswana

1 Jasper Chan GK Young Lions
2 Izwan Mahbud GK Young Lions

3 Safuwan Baharudin DF NFA Under-18
4 Shakir Hamzah DF NFA Under-18
5 Shaiful Esah DF SAF FC
6 Madhu Mohana DF Woodlands Wellington
7 Eddie Chang DF Young Lions
8 Afiq Yunos DF Young Lions
9 Irwan Shah DF Young Lions

10 Fazli Ayob MF Geylang United
11 Yasir Hanapi MF Geylang United
12 Shahfiq Ghani MF NFA Under-17
13 Nazrul Nazari MF NFA Under-18
14 Raihan Rahman MF NFA Under-18
15 Zulfahmi Arifin MF NFA Under-18
16 Abdil Qaiyyim MF SAF FC
17 Firdaus Kasman MF Tampines Rovers
18 Hariss Harun MF Young Lions
19 Faritz Hameed MF Young Lions
20 Gabriel Quak MF Young Lions

21 Haniff Ja'ffar Sadique FW Gombak United
22 Eugene Luo FW NFA Under-18
23 Khairul Nizam FW NFA Under-18
24 Khalili D'cruz FW NFA Under-18
25 Fairoz Hasan FW Young Lions


Singapore Under 23s

17/06 - Botswana Under 23s Jalan Besar Stadium
21/06 - Indonesia Under 23s Jurong West Stadium


Copa Indonesia

Persibo v Sriwijaya 2-2 (Anoure Obiora 2; Varney Pas Boakay, Abel Quioh)
Persipura v PSMS 4-1 (Ricardo Salempessy, Boaz Solossa 2, Eduard Ivakdalam; Adnyana) 16,200

Semi final draw

19/06 - Persipura v Deltras
20/06 - Persijap v Sriwijaya
23/06 - Deltras v Persipura
24/06 - Sriwijaya v Persijap

Monday, June 15, 2009


Advantage Malaysia

Malaysia U23 v Indonesia U23 1-0 (Zaquan Adha)

That's consecutive wins against ASEAN opposition as Malaysia defeated Singapore earlier. For Indonesia three consecutive defeats after two losses in Tehran recently. Against Malaysia however they were without Jajang Maulyana, Egi Mardiansyah and Boaz Solossa

UPDATE - Thanks to John who points out that Jajang did in fact come on in the second half. Local reports said he would miss the game through injury...oh well


Chonburi v Thai Navy Rayong

It doesn't matter who you are, Brazil, Barcelona or Burton Albion, there are times when you just have to win ugly. And this victory was the illegitimate offspring of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Donatella Versace. Billed as "The East Coast Derby" the match had attracted a sizeable crowd to Srinthorn (officially 4,300) including a fair few from Rayong - that still didn't stop me from attempting to get the Scoreboard Enders to join me in a chorus of "You must have come in a dinghy". A variation on the usual "You must have come in a tuk-tuk"- and expectations were high with both teams needing a good result for very different reasons.

I'd wisely laid off the booze on Friday night so I didn't have any adverse affects when confronted by the Navy's psychedelic patterned shirts but I rather fear that the travelling fans had enjoyed a few flagons of rum on their shortish journey up the motorway. They were a boisterous lot!

The game itself was a scrappy, bad tempered affair which saw a lot of huffing and puffing from the Sailors and Chonburi still unable to find any kind of rhythm or fluency. I can't quite put my finger on why we are struggling so much at the moment. Although it is noticeable that things do pick up when Adul comes on - he was used as a late substitute again yesterday and I'm mystified as why he isn't included from the start.

The only real highlights of the first half were the two goals from Kone.

Two headers from two crosses, one from the port side and one from starboard, saw the striker go clear at the top of the goalscoring charts. Kone is a frustrating player. Sometimes he can be really impressive - he singlehandedly destroyed Tampines Rovers in a pre-season friendly - and at other times....Bambi on ice. And, as if to underline this aspect of his game, when he found himself with a clear run on goal midway through the second period, he delayed his shot too long before screwing hopelessly wide. That would have put us three up and sealed the points.

However, the defecit was soon reduced to one goal following the comical awarding of a free kick for a "back pass". A melee just ouside the Chonburi box resulted in a defender booting the ball so high into the air that, even this near to the equator, it came down with snow on it. Kosin gratefully collected the returning orb and prepared to launch a clearance. The referee hesitated for a moment before blowing his whistle and amazingly giving the visitors a golden opportunity to claw themselves back into the game. From the resultant (indirect) free kick it looked to me as if the ball had gone directly into the goal. But I was assured by someone with a better view that it had struck a Chonburi player on the way. I'd still like to see it again.

So, for the final quarter of the game the home fans were reduced to nervous wrecks as a team packed with internationals clung on against their relegation haunted opponents who had been playing with ten men since late in the first half.

Rather embarrassingly, our tactics were reduced to feigning injury and substituting the man furthest from the dug out. I hate this when other teams do it and I was cringeing when we were doing it yesterday. Please, Zico, no more of this. We are better than that.

Still, at the final whistle, the points were secured and our three match run without a win was over. News filtered through that Muang Thong had lost (time for Yamaha to dangle another 2 million baht carrot?) and that SriRacha had beaten PEA (maybe I've written their obituary a little prematurely) so, overall it had been a good day. It certainly wasn't a vintage performance by the Sharks but, being a football fan, I know that a win is a win and the Lloyd-Webber/Versace baby has been warmly welcomed into the busom of our family!!

Stretcher count : Chonburi (an embarrassing) 5 Navy Rayong 1

Ref watch : I'd rather not comment.

Equally bad for both teams but the players didn't really help the situation. Lots of niggle and one or two incidents of "handbags".Overall a match best forgotten but three points thankfully received.

Thanks to Sri Racha Shark for this match report

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Heartbreak for Persija

Deltras v Persija 3-3 (, Danilo Fernando, Kornelius; Ismed Sofyan, Greg Nwokolo, Fabio Lopes)

Deltras go through to the Copa Indonesia semi finals after beating Persija 4-3 on aggegate.


TPL Results

PEA v Sri Racha 0-2
Chonburi v Rayong Navy 2-1 (Kone Mohamed 2; Sutthinan)
Port v BEC Tero 0-1
Osotsapa v Muang Thong United 1-0 (Sarayuth)

Couple of surprises yesterday on a day that could have seen MuangThong United go clear. But they didn't. Instead, with Bangkok Glass playing today the unbeaten leaders were joined at the top by Osotsapa abd Chonburi who reverted to winning ways thanks to a brace by Kone.

Today the Glass Rabbit (!) take on the smokers in Samut Sakorn.


SAF win penalty shoot out

Tampines Rovers v SAF 1-1 (Seiji Kenenko; Shaiful Esah) 1,758

SAF win 4-3 on pens and will meet Home United in the semi final. In the other semi final Woodlands Wellington take on DPMM

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Copa Indonesia

With the ISL done and dusted focus in Indonesia turns to the 2nd leg of the Copa Indonesia quarter finals

13/06 Persijap v Persitara (o-1, 3-1) Persihap 3-2 on aggregate
14/06 Persibo v Sriwijaya (0-5)
15/06 Deltras v Persija (1-0)
15/06 Persipura v PSMS (2-0)


DPMM goal crazy

DPMM v Geylang United 5-3 (Abdelhamid Berguiga, Rene Komar, Ivan Jerkovic 2, Rosmin Kamis; Hafiz Rahim, Baihakki Khaizan, Yasir Hanagi) 1,310

DPMM play Woodlands in the semi final next week

Friday, June 12, 2009


They won the ISL

Persipura's title winning squad


Ferdiansyah 1 ( 2 minute substitute appearance)
Jendry Pitoy 34


Ricardo Salempessy 33 games/2 goals
Ardiles Rumbiak 1/0
Jack Komboy 33/0
Heru Nerli 9
Otizan Solossa 24/2
Victor Igbonefo 34/3
Paulin Bhio 33


David Da Rocha 30/1
Stevie Bonasapia 10
Eduard Ivakdalam 33/4
Immanuel Wanggai 25
Ian Louis Kabes 33/2
Gerald Pangkali 23
Paulo Rumere 17


Alberto Goncalves 30/23
Ernest Jeremiah 30/16
Yustinus Pae 7
Boaz Solossa 31/28
Kornelius Kaimu 2

The team almost picks itself with 11 players having appeared in more than 30 games!


ISL 2008/2009 Facts 'n' Stats

Most wins - Persipura 25
Most draws - PSMS 13
Most defeats - PSIS 22

Most goals scored - Persipura 81
Most goals conceded - Persita & PSIS 65

Most home wins - Persiwa 17 (100% record)
Most home draws - Deltras & PKT 6
Most home defeats - Persita 7
Most home goals scored - Persipura 48
Most home goals conceded - PSMS 24

Most away wins - Persipura 9
Most away draws - PSM 8
Most away defeats - Deltras 15
Most away goals scored - Persipura 33
Most away goals conceded - PSIS 45

Worst home record - PSIS 17 4 5 8 10-20 17
Worst away record - Deltras 17 0 2 15 8-37 2

Least goals conceded - Persipura 25
Least home goals scored - PSIS 10
Least away goals scored - PSIS 7
Least home goals conceded - Persipura 5
Least away goals conceded - Persipura 20


PSMS busy accumulating air miles

It's been a while since PSMS players haven't lived out of a suitcase. Recent weeks have seen them take on Sriwijaya somewhere in East Java then head east to Persipura then south to Persiwa.

Next they head north again to Jayapura where they take on newly crowned champions Persipura in their Copa Indonesia quarter final 2nd leg which they trail 2-0.

Then it's back west to Jakarta then north to Bangkok for the AFC Cup tie with Chonburi and perhaps some shopping at the near by MBK.

Back to Jakarta then a four hour drive south to Soreang where they will take on Persebaya in the one off play off to decide which team shall compete in next season's ISL.

Then, and only then, will the players get a chance for some family time...but of course should they defeat Chonburi they could be looking forward to trips to the middle east!


Edging Home

Home United v Gombak United 3-2 (Valery Hiek, Azhar Sairudin, Naruphol; Agu Casmir, Kingsley Njoku) 2,356

Sivaji's Home United may be struggling to find consistency in the SLeague but in the Cups they're on fire having reached the Singapore League Cup semi finals thanks to this narrow victory over the Bulls. They will now play the winner of Tampines Rovers v SAF in the semi

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Woodlands penalty triumph

Super Reds v Woodlands Wellington 0-0 (Woodlands triumph 4-3 on penalties)


Indonesia Under 23 Internationals

13/06 v Malaysia U23 - KL Football Stadium, Cheras
21/06 v Singapore U23 (date and venue to be confirmed)


ISL Results 10/06

Persipura v Sriwijaya 4-1 (Alberto Goncalves, Ernest Jeremiah, Boas Solossa 2; Budi Sudarsono) 17,500
PKT v Pelita Jaya 5-1 (Josiah Seton 2, James Debbah 2, Titus Bonai; Cristiano Lopes) 2,500
Persela v Persitara 2-1 (Alex Robinson, Dicky Firasat; Rahmat Rivai) 12,000
Persiba v PSIS 5-0 (Trinidad 2, Musafry 3) 5,000
Persik v Persita 3-1 (Hamkah Hamza, Ronald Fagundez, Fadil; Nicholas Djone) 10,000
Persija v Persib 1-2 (Fabio Lopes; Airlangga, Christian Gonzales) 10,550
Persiwa v PSMS 5-0 (Rumaropen, Boakay,Barkaoui, Mamgbrasar, Weeks) 7,000
Arema v Persijap 3-1 (Buston Brown, Ahmad Sambing, Udo Fortune; Evaldo Silva) 15,000
Deltras v PSM 5-3 (Danilo Fernando, Firduas Nyong, Junior 2, Kornelius Kaimu; Syamsul 3) 597

1 - Persipura 34 25 5 4 81-25 80
2 - Persiwa 34 21 3 10 57-32 66
3 - Persib 34 20 6 8 63-40
4 - Persik 16 7 11 53-46 55

28 - Boas Solossa (Persipura), Christian Gonzales (Persik 14/Persib 14)
23 - Alberto Goncalves (Persipura)
22 - Claude Ngon A Djam (Sriwijaya)
18 - Bambang Pamungkas (Persija)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Persipura v Sriwijaya 4-1

That's why they're champions. Effortlessy is a good word but you don't effortlessly destroy a team like Sriwijaya. The reigning champions did their bit by showing the world just why they fared so poorly in the Asian Champions League this season. Their midfield, where Zah rahan and Wijay are normally so imperious were just brushed aside by a rampant Black Pearls side.

Boas Solossa hit the post with a pen but Goncalves tucked away the rebound. Jeremiah finished off a sweeping move down the left and it was 2-0 at half time.

Second half Boas took advantage of some statuesque Sriwijaya defending to make it three then four nil.

Eduard Ivakdalam had his own personal tribute when he was replaced by David Da Rocha. The whole stadium stood as one to cheer him off and even the visitors queued to shake his hand.

Sriwijaya also missed a penalty, Jendri Pitoy saving a feeble Ngon A Djam effort and late substitute Budi Sudarsono did pull back a consolation but this was Persipura's day.


Final round of ISL fixtures

Persipura are champions of course and deservedly so. Some celebration is planned today at their Mandala tadium in Jayapura when they host last season's champions Sriwijaya, coached by Rahmad Darmawan who of course guided the Black Pearls to their 2005 title.

Second place is up for grabs with just goal difference seperating Persib and Persiwa. Today sees Persib take on Persija in Malang while Persiwa host PSMS who have their own reasons for avoiding defeat on a day of many sub plots.

Persiwa of course have a 100% home record while PSMS are desperate to claw themselves away from the relegation play off spot that could see either them or PKT Bontang face off against Persebaya for the right to take part in next season's ISL.

Last season PSMS were coached by Fredy Muli who guided them to second place in the ISL and a place in this season's AFC Cup. With the club facing money woes before the season started Muli moved to IPL side Persebaya who he guided to the top of the eastern division in the first half of the season. But then they run out of cash and Fredy was gone again.

PKT are one of the few private clubs in the ISL and only joined up at the last minute after a number of teams withdrew before the season even began. They have struggled this season despite having Debbah and Setton up front who had been pretty useful last season. Today they host Pelita Jaya knowing they must win to stand a chance of avoiding that dreaded play off place.

Some good if slighly bizarre news though for PKT with reports today suggesting they had signed Aldo Baretto for next season. The Paraguayan had been a useful scorer for PSM before moving to IPL Persisam where his goals helped the Samarinda side secure the second tier title. A surprising move if true especially when you consider the salary being suggested. PKT aren't known as big payers and Baretto's supposed salary puts him in the Bambang Pamungkas/Christian Gonzales bracket.

Persitara play Persela in Lamongan which has become home from home for the North Jakartan side in recent weeks. But while they have been rattling the goals in recently both in Lamongan and elsewhere will their landlords be so generous when they're the home team?

Other games see Persik play Persita, Arema take on Persijap and PSIS travel to Balikpapan to take on Persiba. Deltras host PSM in their final ISL game for a while. Indeed it could be their final game of the season unless they can find a stadium for their upcoiming Copa Indonesia 2nd leg tie against persija. Both Sidoarjo and Lamongan have said the game can't be played in their cities during the campaigning for the presedential election.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Singapore League Cup

Albirex Niigata v SAF 0-2 (John Wilkinson, Shaiful Esah) 1,906
Young Lions v Tampines Rovers 1-0 ((Erwan Gunawan) 874

Quarter Final Draw

Super Reds v Woodlands Wellington
Home United v Gombak United
DPMM v Geylang United
Tampines Rovers v SAF


Sunday's TPL

Navy Rayong v Bangkok United 0-1
Thai Port v Pattaya United 1-0
Muang Thong United v TTM Samut Sakhon 0-0
Sri Racha v Nakhon Prathom 2-0

Bit of a set back for Muang Thong United being held by the Smokers and ending an unbeaten winning sequence.


The race for 2nd

So it goes down to the wire. Persib and Persiwa are neck and neck for second spot in the ISL with Persib having the slightly better goal difference. Wednesday sees the final round of fixtures and Persiwa are at home to PSMS as they seek to maintain their 100% home record. Sixteen games, 16 wins.

PSMS on the other hand need the points to crawl away from that dreaded relegation play off spot. Finish15th and they would play against Persebaya in a one off for the right to play in the ISL next season. Add to that they are still in the Copa and on 23 June they travel to Thailand to take on Chonburi in the AFC Cup.

Persib however look back on successive defeats on the road. First there was the 4-1 thumping at the hands of rampant Persitara then there was the 2-0 reverse at Persela last weekend where Persib old boy Dicky Firasat did the damage with two first half goals.

On Wednesday they will face their bitterest rivals, Persija, in Malang knowing they have to win and score some goals in the process. The Kemayoran Tigers are wounded at the moment, that defeat against Persitara will still be hurting, and you know what good cliches wounded tigers make.

They won't want Persib to finish second, that's all the motivation they should need. But then recent performances in both Copa and ISL with bigger prizes at stake have seen Persija produce under par performances.

It may only be second place but Persib want it badly having been serial underperformers in recent seasons. Will Persija be up for it?


SLC :latest

Balestier Khalsa v Super Reds 1-1 (Bryan Soane; Park Kang Jin) 648
Woodlands Wellington Home United 1-2 (Jamil Ali; Norikazu Murakami 2) 1,210

In the q/f Super Reds take on Woodlands while Home United will play holders Gombak United.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Chula United v Chonburi 1-1

If the residents of central Bangkok were troubled by a bad smell around late afternoon on Saturday, it must have been the stink created by the first half of this match. It was a shocker!!

Chula are a poor, poor team and, on this occasion, Chonburi were worse. The visitors started nervously, suggesting that the 5 goal battering they suffered last week had done more than just damage their goal difference. Confidence looked in short supply as passes went astray, players were constantly caught in possession and nobody could control the ball.

This, coupled with an incompetent home team, produced the worst 45 minutes I've seen in 12 years of watching Thai football. It was so bad that a girl on the row in front of me spent most of her time reading a book and I was wishing that I hadn't left my copy of The Kenneth Williams Diaries on the bus (a great read, by the way).

The only thing that really held my interest was the chubbiness of the home team's number 16. Now, I admit that I'm carrying a few extra pounds but this lad looked more like a darts player than a professional footballer.

I don't know if Zico is in the habit of throwing tea cups or has perfected the hairdryer treatment but Chonburi came out for the second period looking a lot more purposeful. The players were on the pitch lined up a good five minutes before their hosts appeared for the re-start.

With Adul, a late first half substitute, pulling the strings (why wasn't he on from the start?!!) Chonburi took a grip of the game. Even though they were still far from their best they dominated the second period. I haven't been able to turn my neck to the right for the last 18 hours as it was permanently locked to the left between 5:00pm and 6:00pm yesterday.

The Sharks thought they had the equaliser when the ball was nodded in from a right wing corner but the linesman's flag was up and the effort was ruled out for either a Chonburi player's sock being rolled down or the official was merely waving at a friend on the far side. In spite of this set back the Sharks kept pressing and deservedly scored the goal which brought them level. Kone netting from close range.

It looked certain that Chonburi would go on and win it from here, with the coach throwing on strikers Anderson and debut boy Da Silva, but Chula held out for a valuable point. They even managed to have a shot!! When the final whistle blew I comforted myself by reflecting that Chonburi can't play any worse than this and that Chula probably can't play any better. A small crumb of comfort.

Thanks to Sri Racha Shark for this match report


Indonesian strikers to the fore

With some clubs having to forsake the highly paid foreign strikers it has been refreshing to see local forwards getting among the goals. Primarily of course Persipura's Boaz Solossa. The lightning quick wide man can play anywhere along the front and has long been considered a Papuan prodigy and this season, despite missing much of the start, has shown what he can do with 26 goals so far, second only behind some geezer called Cristian Gonazales.

Talking Gonzales, the fact that his old side Persik haven't disappeared without trace in the second half of the season is because the side has managed to regroup and have looked to Saktiawan Sinaga for leadership up top. And the former PSMS and Indonesian international has responded with several crucial goals keeping Persik in the top half of the table.

One striker in a rich vein of form is Rahmat Rivai at Persitara. He has really blossomed alongside the more traditional centre forward Prince Kabir Bello and the former Persiter man has hit 11 ISL goals plus four in the Copa. Rahmat forced his way into the national squad a couple of years back and while he may be the wrong side of 30, in footballing terms, his pace is always going to unhinge defenders.

Persela may be one of the more unsung clubs in the League and the last couple of seasons may have relied too much on the goals for Brazilian import Marcio Souza but now, with rumours he fancies his chances in Europe, they have seen Dicky Firasat push his way forward. Despite not being a regular he still has chipped in with 11 goals in all competitions and could well flourish next season if Persela decide not to replace Souza.

Two strikers who will always trouble the keeper are Persija's Bambang Pamungkas and Persiba's Mushafry. Bambang had a prolific first half to the season but, rather like his team, has struggled in the second half but still has managed 19 goals. Musafry, who started the season on fire, forced his way into the national team where his terrier like performances made him such a difficult opponent in the AFF Cup. 14 goals ain't a bad return in an average Persiba side and there has been gossip Sriwijaya are interested in him. But then the side from Palembang are linked with everyone these days.

Then , finally Esther, we have Syamsul Arief. So impressive in the Copa with his Premier League side Persibo he has grabbed all the headlines as his goals have overturned so called bigger fish. Yet his performances in the IPL have been more sedate and less prolific. Certainly he has grabbed the headlines but will he be on the move pre season? And if so, where?

There are other names as well. Rahmat Affandi at PSMS and Yongky Ari Wibowo at Persik. The game ain't nothing without goals and one pleasing factor about the soon to end ISL has been the presence of so many Indonesian strikers. And with just one own goal in their last five internationals boy they need someone up top!

Saturday, June 06, 2009


ISL 06/06

Arema v Persita 4-1 (Fortune Udo 2, Ahmad Sembiring, Patricio Morales; Ade Mustari)
Persik v Persijap 1-1 (Khusnul Yuli; Norhadi)
Persija v Persitara 2-4
Persela v Persib 2-0 (Dicky Firasat)

Persipura v PSMS 1-0 (Boaz Solossa)

Two straight defeats for Persib as they chase down 2nd place in the ISL. Now Persiwa have the advantage with two home games while Persib must defeat Persija in their final game.

13 - Persitara 33 9 9 15 40-48 36
14 - PKT Bontang 33 8 10 15 38-53 34
15 - PSMS Medan 32 6 13 13 41-48 31
16 - Deltras 33 6 8 19 25-52 26

17 - Persita 33 6 7 20 25-62 25
18 - PSIS 33 4 9 20 17-57 21

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