Sunday, January 31, 2010


Persitara v Persik 1-0

There was a guy walking round dressed as a three metre kitchen knife and that, dear reader, was about the only highlight of the game that was settled by Tantan's first half free kick.

I was told not to go but ever the optimist I disregarded that advise. I could have stayed in the pub. I don't. I went to see this game and it wasn't very good.

Persitara are I believe looking for a new coach. They should also be looking for new players. Gone are the days, last season, of fearless attacking football inspired by John Tarkpor and Esiah Benson. Tarkpor of course is now with Persebaya while Benson went missing from his new club Persiraja a few weeks back.


Persija v Persijap 0-0

Put it this way. Persijap celebrated at the final whistle like they had won 5-0. They hadn't. They got away with a 0-0 against a home team that wasn't just lack lustre. They lacked most things and you could imagine coach Benny Dollo having to have his team carried on to the bus after 'cos for many this was their seventh game in three weeks.

Still n all, eight games unbeaten, just two goals conceded, Dollo won't be that upset though he may have had a bit of a growl in the dressing room after.

They next play Persela on Wednesday.

Healthy turn out from Persijap fans who had their buses attacked in Semarang on the way.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Sriwijaya won't be alone

Sriwijaya expect to have some support tonight in the hostile atmosphere of Jalan Besar Stadium as they take on SAFFC in that ACL qualifier.

They are expecting fans from Palembang, Batam and Jakarta to converge on the city state as Rahmad Darmawan's men look to enter the ACL proper for the second consecutive year.

SAF of course have their own passionate support who dress up in funny costumes and sing rah rah rah pretty often.


Persija return to Lebak Bulus

Persija's game with Persijap this evening will be played at Lebak Bulus Stadium. This is because there is some kind of even taking place at the Bung Karno Stadium and officials are scared that fans may riot.


Transfer gossip

The window opens next week I believe and already the rumours are flying with Koreans featuring prominently. Persisam have their eye on striker Choi Dong Su and he had a run out last week before the Borneo Eagles took on Persija.

Persipura have been looking at Kim Jong Kyu while Persiwa are close to securing Yoon tae and Persiba have been looking at Jun Jin.

PSM have dropped their original foreigners, indeed two were sacked a few weeks back I believe. In come Oscar Areveno, Osvalso Moreno, Lusi Pena, Jon Ki Hwan and Shin Hyun.

Pelita Jaya have been starved of goals all season and they are thought to be close to securing Redouane Barkaoui, a name resplendant with vowels, and formerly with Persib and Persiwa before trying his hand in France.

Persija will be dropping one of their foreigners, Richard Caceres, meaning they have two slots they can fill with imports. Priority is a tall striker, funnily enough a priority recognised last season by former coach Danurwindo who went out and signed Fabio Lopes.

Talking Danurwindo there could be some changes at his Persebaya with question marks hanging over the heads of central defenders Takatoshi Uchiba and Wanderson da Silva while striker Claude Ngon Djam is another with reason to be concerned though to be fair he spent a while out injured.

All this gossip comes from local sports media.


Pesita take to the road

Persita Tangerang start their second round of fixtures in the Indonesia Premier League with a home game against PSSB Bireuen tomorrow afternoon. But the game that sees 2nd top, Persita, take on 2nd bottom, will not be played at the usual Persita home of Benteng Stadium.

With security clearance not been given after several incidents in recent months around the Benteng Stadium, Persita's supporters, known as Laskar Benteng Viola (Purple Fort Army) will be forced to trek westwards to the Krakatau Stadium in Cilegon.

Victory could see Persita overtake Semen Padang to claim the leadership of the IPL for a while at least.



Tonight's Malaysia Super League game between Johor and Negeri Sembilan has been postponed. The reason is because of the recent death of the Sultan of the state.


Persis appoint new coach

Persis Solo, in the Indonesia Premier League Group 2, have appointed Isman Jasulmei as their new coach. Previously Isman had spent many years working as Assistant Coach with Persija, most recently under Danurwindo and Sergei Dubrovin, but has always expressed an interest in being his own man. Now's his chance.

Another familiar face has rolled in at the Manahan Stadium in Solo. He is Charles Uchenna, a Nigerian centre back/sweeper who I interviewed for my (not quite) best selling book 2007 - A Year in Indonesian Football.

Funny thing yesterday as I was watching the game. The commentators kept describing the Persis centre forward as Chena, Chena and I was thinking they meant Gustavo Chena, formerly of PSMS and Deltras. but they were actually saying Uchenna! Doh! And the guy they were referring to as Unchenna was most certainly not Nigerian!

Tickled me anyway...

Friday, January 29, 2010


Pro Duta v Persis Solo 3-2

Good game this. End to end stuff and had Persis' strikers proved a bit cannier on the last defender they could have taken the points. Instead, nothing.

They took the lead through the experienced Nova Zaenal from about 30 yards but Tarik El Jalaby, the most influential player on the field, equalised right on half time.

Ferry put the visitors back in the lead but then Morris Power, um, powered home a header from six yards, to draw Pro Duta level.

Eka Sartiko secured the three points with a tap home from a few inches after the Persis defence decided clearing the ball was too much trouble.

Calling this a local derby is like saying MK Dons v Northampton is a local derby. In this case Pro Duta are the club on the move, playing in Sleman, just outside Yogyakarta, after moving from Bandung.

Persis Solo, from Central Java, are one of the oldest teams in the country but have been out of the top flight for a while now. But small details like that haven't stopped them pulling the crowds with one game in December getting something like 25,000 and this afternoon perhaps 1,500 followed their team.

Their fans are known as Pasoepati and their well designed website, all Indonesian, can be found here.

There is a quiet boom going on in Indonesian football these days and now the Premier League not only has its own sponsor; games are being shown live. What, you think I went all that way just for a game? In this weather?


A look at Sriwijaya

With tomorrow's game between SAF and Sriwijaya in mind I have done a piece for looking at the Indonesian side's players and who is likely to pose a threat to Richard Bok's men. Find it here...


Hey Bokkie, can you spare us a dime?

Tomorrow sees Sriwijaya take on SAF in the AFC Champions League qualifier in Singapore. I reported the other day how the team from Palembang in South Sumatra were having financial worries but I didn't realise things were this humiliating.

The AFC expects clubs at the qualifying stage to provide their own expenses. That's fine for Muang Thong United as the Thai team only have to take a bus to Da Nang in Vietnam. But Sriwijaya need to fly. And they can't. 'Cos they're skint.

So SAF are paying their expenses.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


How about them imports?

With just a couple of games left in the first round of fixtures in the Indonesia Super League how about a mid term report? Every player I have spoken to tells me they are having a blast both on and off the field with more than a couple saying they should have made the move a few years earlier.

Noh Alam Shah (Arema)

Top of the table, scoring goals, the odd booking and red card, you could be forgiven for thinking same old NAS. Except, on the times I have seen him play, he has not been wound up like he used to be in Singapore. His team are nicknamed the Crazy Lions but Alam Shah is more like a Purring Puddy Cat this season.

M. Ridhuan (Arema)

Ever present for his team, plenty of assists a la Cesc Fabregas, the Arema fans have taken this guy to their hearts. One Singaporean told me that it is Riduan who has been the most consistent performer of the ones who arrived in October.

Mustafic Fahruddin (Persija)

Missed a lot of games through injury but has performed solidly every game he has played, plodding along in midfeild. Managed a shot against Bontang!

Baihakki Kaizan (Persija)

Struggled at first to form a partnership alongside Abanda Herman but recent games have shown signs that the understanding is developing. Even played the odd game in central midfield.

Pipat Thonkaya (Persisam)

Consistent peformer for his team. Very tidy, intelligent player who will usually work the keeper. He has had a number of partners up front as his team pays for not signing strikers pre season.

Suchao Nutnum (Persib)

Tears in Bandung as the impressive Suchao returns to Thailand after his short spell here declaring his love for Persib. The best of the bunch.

Shinthaweechai Hathairatanakul (Persib)

Familiar face to Persib fans now in his second spell with the club. Had a few shaky moments early in the season but played his part in Persib's recent rise up the table.

Precious Emuejeraye (Sriwijaya)

Partners Indonesian captain Charis Yulianto, Sriwijaya have the second leakiest defence in the league.


Going up!

The play off stages from Division One, the 3rd tier of Indonesian football, will take place during the first week of February in Karawang and Jakarta.

Eight teams, who have fought their way from god knows how many groups stages out in the boonies will battle it out for the right to take part in the Premier League.

Singaperbangsa Stadium, Karawang

PS Bengkulu
PSCS Cilicap
PSLS Lhokseumawe
Persekam Metro Malang


Persemalra Tual
Perserui Serui
Barito Putra Banjarmasin
Persikubar Kutai Barat

Indonesian football is a great way to learn geography!


Less than rosy Sriwijaya

Ahead of Saturday's AFC Champions League qualifier against SAF in Singapore, Sriwijaya yesterday held a meeting to 'Save our SFC.'

Back to back Copa Indonesia winners, Indonesian champions in 2008, Sriwijaya have struggled to find any consistency this season amid rumours that players haven't been paid on time.

Poor form on the pitch has seen attendances fall. With a stadium that holds between 30,000 and 40,000, the Jakabaring Stadium has been about half full for most games this season seriously impacting cash flow.

You have to wonder though about holding this chin wag yesterday, just days ahead of this crucial game at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Coach Rahmad Darmawan has also intimated he is prepared to be sacked should the team fail to win the title this year. Again you wonder about the timing of all this. Or is he declaring his interest in the Indonesian national team job that falls vacant at the end of this month?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Indonesia Super League 27/1

Persija v Bontang 3-0 (Aliyudin, Bambang Pamungkas, M Ilham)
Persitara v Persipura 0-3 (Alberto Goncalves 2, Boaz Solossa)
Arema v PSM 3-0 (Roman Chmelo, Noh Alam Shah, M Fakruddin)
Persema v Persiba 2-1 (M Kamri, Warsito(?); Robertinho)
PSPS v Persisam 2-0 (Epandi, Hadi)

1 - Arema 17 11 3 3 21-8 36
2 - Persiba 19 9 3 5 24-14 30
3 - Persib 17 8 3 6 25-18 27


Midfield fires Persib

It was a slow start but finally Persib Bandung have been finding some form and much of that is down to their talented midfield finally gelling.

Just two defeats in their last 10 games have seen the club from West Java rise to 3rd and those grims days at the start of the season when they hovered around the relegation places seem far behind them.

I have written much about Suchao Nutnum, who placed his final game yesterday in the 6-1 home win against Persik before returning to Thailand on Friday but the Indonesians in the middle have more than played their part.

Atep for example has been a revelation. Back in 2007 he scored a couple of goals for Indonesia at the AFF Cup in a disappointing campaign but has been pretty much ignored at the national level since then.

A spell with Persija didn't work out and now back in his native Sunda he has excelled out wide, especially in the last couple of games when hos side have fired 10 goals past their hapless East Javanese visitors., causing havoc down the flanks and cutting in.

Eka Ramdhani is another local hero doing the business on the field. And another being ignored at international level. More a playmaker than Atep with an awarenss of what is happening all round him the 26 year old surely would be a fixture in many international line ups. Except here.

Hariono does all the hard work in the middle and tries to protect the defence. Tough tackling, the former Deltras midfielder looks menacing with his long black hair splayed across his face and his determination in the tackle.

With these guys in the middle it is hardly surprising the team have been so prolific recently. The only question is whay has it taken so long?


Indonesia want Riedl

Alfred Riedl is no stranger to South East Asia. The Austrian coach has spent much of the last 10/12 years coaching the Vietnam national squad and helped lay the groundwork for their 2008 AFF Cup success.

Last December he guided hosts Lao to respectablity in the SEA Games and now he has spend the last couple of days in Jakarta being interviewd by the FA about the vacant position of Under 23 coach.

If he is appointed he will be kept busy. Coming up later this year, possibly are the Asian Games in China (no guarantee Indonesia will send a team) while Indonesia will host the SEA Games in 2011 and 2012 Olympic Games qualification.

Then full team will also be coachless when Benny Dollo's contract ends at the end of this month though there has been talk he may still take charge of the final, irrelevant, Asian Cup qualifier against Australia in Brisbane.


Missing! - Two football clubs and respect

The SLeague starts next Monday and most of the teams have been busy this last few weeks training and playing friendlies, usually against each other.

But two teams have failed to arrive. The new teams, controversially selected to replace DPMM and Super Reds were due to arrive over the last few days. But haven't.

Ou est les Frenchies?

Etoile are a bunch of Frenchies who fancy a kick around in the sun and according to Today they were due to fly in last Sunday. Now they hope to arrive next Monday, the day the league starts. Meanwhile the Chinese side Beijing Guoan should have arrived last Friday. But they haven't.

This amounts to a massive smack in the face for Singapore football. What kind of team isn't in place before a season begins? What kind of football club doesn't even have a squad list available before the season begins?

The selection of these two teams wasn't well recieved by Singapore's dwindling football community; their late arrival, and disrespect, will do more to damage their hopes.

There is going to be a lot of pressure on the players in both clubs when, if, they do arrive. OK, pressure in Singapore is a relative term. One player caught in Orchard Towers or Joo Chiat at 4 in the morning will see an increased volume in the abuse currently being aimed at Singapore football authorities through the forums and blogs.

Which is a shame because those clubs that have prepared and have done things the right way promise alot. New look Singapore Armed Forces and Tampines Rovers promise to be there and there abouts while Home United, Gombak United and Geylang United hope to build on promising foundations from last season.


Supporter apathy threatens PSSB

PSSB Bireuen is not the easiest place to get to. Up on the Aceh coast the nearest airport is about a six hour drive away in Medan. If you're lucky. Fandi Ahmad, the Pelita Jaya coach, described going there a true Indonesian football experience.

Now in the second tier Premier League with little liklihood of promotion anytime soon their small support is dwindling even further and unfortunately Indonesia doesn't have much in the way of ground hoppers to purchase little badges and match day programmes to supplement gate receipts.

I can't do maths but these figures are based on average ticket prices of $2 and an exchange rate of $1 - 10,000 Indonesian rupiah

v PSDS Deli Serdang 650
v Persiraja Banda Aceh 2,400
v Persipasi Bekasi 800
v Persikao 650
v Persita 350

The club estimate they need 1,000 paying fans to break even.


Rahmat seals narrow win

Sriwijaya v Persebaya 2-1 (Keith Kayamba Gumbs, Rahmat Rivai; Korineus Finkreuw)

It took a last minute goal from Rahmat Rivai to earn Sriwijaya three points and their first win in five against Persebaya yesterday after the Surabaya club had taken the lead.

On Saturday the Copa Indonesia winners play Singapore Armed Forces at Jalan Besar in Singapore in an AFC Champions League Qualifier and you have to say the Warriors will be favourites given the Palembang's poor results recently.



Pipat's tired legs

Met up with Persisam striker Pipat Thonkaya after the recent loss against Persija and had a bit of a jaw.

This has been his schedule this year.

06/01 - Thailand v Jordan
09/01 - Persisam v Persipura
12/01 - Persisam v Persiwa
16/01 - Persisam v Sriwijaya
19/01 - Persisam v Persib
24/01 - Persija v Persisam

Tonight his team play PSPS Pekanbaru.

Given the circumstances I didn't bother sticking a camera in his face for a snap interview.


Selangor back to winning ways

Selangor v Johor 6-0
Negeri Sembilan v Terangganu 2-1
KL v Pahang 1-1
Perak v Kelantan 0-0
Penang v Kedah 0-3
T Team v Perlis 1-0

1 - Selangor 6 5 0 1 17-6 15
2 - Terengganu 6 3 2 1 13-4 11

Champions Selangor put their 0-4 drubbing last time out behind them as they crushed cellar dwellers Johor at the Shah Alam. Terngganu missed out on keeping within a point of the leaders after losing to Negeri Sembilan.

This weekend sees Selangor travel to 4th place Perlis while Terangganu host KL. Kelantan, already six points behind the leaders. face Penang hoping to make up for their slow start.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Terima Kasih, Suchao

No disrespect to PEA Buriram but Suchao Nutnum is most definitely taking a step backwards football wise as he returns to Thailand after a highly impressive loan spell in Indonesia with Persib Bandung.

He splished and splashed on a rain sodden pitch today against Persik doing his best to say goodbye to the fans with a goal and he finally got his wish, direct from a corner.

There have been many foreigners come and go in Indonesia but Suchao has been one of the best and I'm not the only one. After the game he walked across to a section of the support and received an adulation normally reserved for pop stars and people who's only claim to fame is fame. He soon diappeared under a sea of drenched fans bearing flowers and scarves giving him a well deserved send off.

Did I say flowers? Yep, 'fraid so. One story you won't read in the Jakarta Post.

Persib v Persik 6-1 (Hilton Moreira, Nova Arianto, Cristian Gonzales, Suchao Nutnum, Budi Sudarsono 2; Amarildo Souza) 29,955

Persik played well but today was all about Suchao.

Monday, January 25, 2010


New sponsorship for Binh Duong

With the VLeague kicking off this weekend Binh Duong are reported to have signed an $800,000 sponsorship deal with a bank, allowing them a budget of $4 million for the coming season. Compare that with Persisam Samarinda in Indonesia whose budget I believe was about $3.5 million and Balestier Khalsa in the SLeague who get by on $25, free passes on the MRT and Happy Meal vouchers.

Given some of Muang Thong United's recent signings it would be interesting to know what their budget is. I'm guessing it is VERY BIG.


Persib confirm new signing

Thai international Suchao Nutnum will be leaving Persib Bandung, probably after their game this week at home to Persik, to return home to play for the leccy company, PEA Buriram out in the boonies, leaving Persib with a bloody great hole to fill.

They believe they have their man after they confirmed signing Japanese Satoshi Otomo.

Sinthaweechai Hathairatnakool is also returning to Thailand, possibly a little later, and I understand the Bandung side are targetting a Malaysian keeper. Wonder how that will work what with the MSL having already begun.


More about Persebaya

The Jakarta Post rarely covers Indonesian football and when it does 99.9% of the time youcan be sure it will be in a negative light. So yep, they are really going to town over the events of the weekend when Persebaya fans did their thang going to Bandung for the game against Persib.

Headlines like Public Enemies brought the Bonek to the attention of a readership who may well have lived in total ignorance of Indonesian football let alone fans travelling to games.

Odd, innit, that when dark skinned, poor people go to a football game they are called public enemies while murderers, corrupters and kiddy fiddlers attract less graphic headlines. Something perhaps to do with the fact that the little folk cannot sue?

At work today the great and the good of middle class society gnarled their teeth and puffed their chests out with self righteous indignation at these Dickensian scamps having the temerity to crawl out from under their stones and blight their precious conciousness for a few hours.

The rail company bore the brunt of the damage with costs running into thousands of dollars caused by the Bonek adventures though the mayor of Surabaya makes the small but crucial point that it actually takes two to dance and there were plenty of other scamps along the way more than willing to attack the Bandung bound train.

Just to point out that inside the stadium there was no trouble. Persebaya fans were kept behind for a few hours after the game, probably singing a few anti Persija songs with their hosts the Viking, before returning home 12 hours later on a special train that was eagerly followed along the way by irate folk wanting one last chance for some rock chucking.

The FA blame the club of course. Which takes us to the old argument we had in England back in the 70s. Who is responsible for the behaviour of football fans? In England we love to blame someone, it's part of our christian heritage to be so forgiving doncha know.

Persebaya fans were already banned from travelling to away games following an incident last year. So how come nobody noticed several hundred green clad fans turning up at the station in Surabaya and boarding a train for Bandung. Did they expect they all fancied a weekend in Lembang gorging themselves on Rabbit Sate?

It does seem from the Bandung end things were handled pretty well by the police. Ticketless fans were admitted in to the stadium but when you consider the disturbances outside the 10 November Stadium recently when 7,000 tickt/less fans were locked outside this was probably no bad move. The damage had been done letting them get to Bandung. Everything else was damage control.

Indonesia's usual response to games with potential for trouble is to ban away fans, like Persebaya v Arema recently, or just play the game behind closed doors, like Persib v Persija.

But neither solution addresses the real problem of crowd control. Unfortunately Indonesia is far from ready to implement all ticket games or membership schemes, god what am I suggesting here, because of the scope for abuse and money making on the side.

Stopping hundreds of ticketless fans travelling is the easiest option but that requires coordination between the club, supporter's club and the security forces. Rather than me having to put up with offended sensibilities of the precious, god fearing folk in my office, better just to prevent these things happening again with a bit of forward planning.

Oh, yes, I see...well, emm...forward planning. There in lies another post!


Persisam target striker

Despite heavy investment pre season Persisam Samarinda have struggled to make an impact in the ISL and are looking for a new striker. Thai international Pipat Thonkaya has come in and done a reasonable job but has lacked a reliable partner.

Zaenal Arief, last season with Persib, has not performed while while Danilo Fernando looks like his best days are behind me. Defender Hamka Hamza has been pushed up front and scored a few but that is never going to be a long term solution.

Thai striker Sompong Soleb was I understand a target but his team Thai Port demanded a transfer fee for their new signing and that is a road Persisam don't want to go down.

The Borneo Eagles may have better league with a Korean. With Super Reds not being allowed to kick a ball in Singapore, some of their players are trying their luck in Indonesia with one guy trying out for Persisam a couple of days back.

Options in the immediate region are obviously limited with players in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam preparing for new seasons.


Champions receive a hiding

KL Plus v KL 0-0
Terengganu v Selangor 4-0
Perlis v Penang 2-0
Kedah v Perak 1-1
Kelantan v Johor FC 4-1

Two games postponed


Indonesia Super League 24/1

Pelita Jaya v Persipura 2-2 (Jajang, Ridwan; Pae, Ortizan) 5,675
Arema v Persiba 1-2 (Santoso; Ariwan 2) 35,000

Clash between the top two in malang saw Persiba come away with a surprise three points. Or was it? Arema were missing a few players including key defenders and at least one person, hi Robbie Gaspar, predicted the Balikpapan side could get a result.

PSPS v Bontang 3-0 (Isnaini 2, Tchana) 18,000
Persijap v Persela 3-1 (Siregar, Juansyah, Pablo Frances; Pas Boakay) 17,000
Persija v Persisam 1-0 (M Ilham) 24,563

Dull old game to be fair as Persija made it six unbeaten on their slow, but inexorable climb up the table.

1 - Arema 16 10 3 3 18-8 33
2 - Persiba 16 9 3 4 23-12 30

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Sorry, but nothing happened

After last night's game between Persib and Persebaya, and much to the chagrin of the media, nothing happened. The visiting bonek, the mere mention has people boarding up their houses and putting garlic on the doors, were kept behind for a few hours after the game before being trucked to a nearby station and sent back to Surabaya on a special train.

Nothing happened during the game. Persebaya fans mingled with Persib fans on one corner terrace with everyone content to watch the game. Testament perhaps to the fact that many of these guys aren't hooligans as we understand it. More a bunch of kids enjoying a bit of acrack in a society where they have little outlets for fun.

They don't drink, they can't afford holidays, middle class 'enertainment' like movies and malls are denied them. One thing they have is their football and the fact that it gives people the willies is a bonus. For the bonek who travelled to Bandung it was their 15 minutes of fame.

After they get back home it's back to their own lives in the shadows.

They are the 'little people' and throughout history in Java they have been ignored. Even today society does its best to brush them under the carpet and pretending they don't exist. Different worlds for different folk. Only these last few days the 'wong cilik' spent a few moments in the headlines and in those headlines we saw 'mainstream society' collectively shat its pants.

Society everywhere has always feared what it doesn't understand.


Football on TV

Ever since Top Corner ended we have been denied the opportunity to watch South East Asian football on TV in the region.

I would like to have at least had the option to see the King's Cup. People in Singapore would perhaps like the option of seeing Ridhuan wowing the Arema fans and Thais perhaps would like to see how Suchao has been getting on.


Or perhaps there is no market.

But seriously, is there a market in the region to watch America's Greatest freaking Dog? Or watching fat people trying to lose weight so they can be called a loser? Or Randy Jackson going 'yeah, dude, check it out, bizarre season, check it out, hear this dude' without a teleprompter.

But then what we see isn't dictated by what we want. It's by what sponsors want. So the fact that we don't get to see any regional football is because accountants and marketing people at the multi nationals don't see the point.

Imagine. People in Jakarta watching the V League. Or in Singapore watching the ISL. Or in Malaysia watching the TPL.

Budget airlines...Japanese or Korean car phone service providers...

But oh no. Better we watch fatties huffing and puffing 'cos it's what the companies want.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Persib v Persebaya 4-2

Another cracking advert for Indonesian, this time in the white hot atmosphere of Jalak Harupat with a large away following competing with a passionate home support on the terraces for bragging rights.

Persebaya were always playing catch up after Christian Gonzales gave the home team the lead, reacting to Suchao's neat flick before the visitor's defence.

Static defending at a corner saw Nova Arianto's scuffed shot trickle over the line before Taufik pulled one back for Persebaya.

Following on from Ari Suyono's super show this afternoon for Sriwijaya it was refreshing to see more Indonesian players dominating in midfield. Atep did play some AFF Cup games back in 2007 but has since fallen under the national team radar but all season he has been one of Persib's more consistent performers.

Eka Ramdhani has been highly rated for a while now but today he put in a mature performance full of guile and skill.

Gonzales scored his second, lobbing the Persebaya keeper in the second half before Andi Odang pulled one back yet again for the determined Surabaya team.

I like Odang. He reminds me a lot of Michael Owen. Fast, instinct in front of goal. I understand he's the wrong side of 30 but I'm still wondering where he has been over the years. Some of his finishes this season have been pure class. He's not one to blast, rather he bides his time, picks his spot.

Hilton Moreira made it 4-2 at the end for a three points Persib deserved. Bit as has happened so many times this season, Persebaya go away empty handed and coach Danurwindo will again be fearing for his future. Which just proves that while exciting, attacking football will always keep soppy buggers like me happy, it's wins that count.

Claude Ngon A Djam came on three minutes before half time, why do coaches do that, but offered little while John Tarkpor again turned in a good shift in the middle.

The big question now is will the Persebaya fans, who left a trail of destruction on their way to Bandung, go home quietly? The game seemed to pass off without incident on the terraces, despite a slightly delayed kick off, but you can be sure the media will be following these young scallywags all the way home.

A word about the ref and players. It would have only taken a spark to see things kick off eitther on the field or terraces. The ISL appointed one of their most experienced referees and he did a good job. But so to did the players who did their job and did it well, keeping a lid on their emotions.

One player did let things get to him and he was quickly subbed, smart work by the coach in the circumstances but it would have been better for all concerned had the player in question did the same as everyone else.

Two quality games in one day with four teams who wanted to play football.


Persebaya fans invade Bandung

A local TV channel has just been reporting on Persebaya fans trail of destruction ahead of tonight's game with Persib.

Trains heading east to west have been trashed as what appears to be thousands of fans have been making a beeline for tonight's game at the Jalak Harupat Stadium and it appears that police have allowed visiting supporters to enter the stadium without tickets. The alternative is they riot outside the stadium.

Dozens of fans, known as Bonek, sat on carriage roofs as they rattled through the night to support their team and they recieved a warm welcome in many towns as locals let them know how they felt with a barrage of rocks and bottles aimed at the overflowing trains.

Be sure tonight's game is going to have some atmosphere and there is a high risk of something kicking off. The stadium is reached by one road out of Bandung; an accident waiting to happen.

Catch videos on Metro TV News as this story will unfold over the next few hours with the game kicking off in an hour's time.

All the things going on in the world and the media is in thrall to a bunch of football fans following their team!


Sriwijaya v Persik

Great first half with Arif Suyono, showing the kind of form that had him called up by Indonesia a couple of years back, impressive down the right for Sriwijaya, combining well with the full back Christian Worabay.

End to end stuff with Sriwijaya having plenty of chances but Persik, with Yongky Aribowo looking sharp, not out of it by any means and even Precious Emuerjeraye having a shot. Which still hasn't come down.

Big man Keith Kayamba Gumbs has been pushed wide and has been dropping deep often enough but has been effective throughout. Indeed it was his pull back from the deadball line that was turned home by the impressive Rahmat Rivai to give the home team the lead.

Patricio Morales equalised for Persik with a penalty about five minutes before half time.

Second half was more of the same but in one direction as Sriwijaya laid seige to the Persik goal. Chance followed chance with Obiora the biggest culprit. Perhaps it was over confidence, perhaps it was too much time but the Nigerian chose wrong each time.

Arif Suyono was replaced by Mostapha Aji for the last 8 minutes which was a surprise considering Suyono was the best player on the field.

If this game was a movie the lead would be played by Errol Flynn.

Finally a word about Herman Batak in the Persik goal. On a couple of occasions he rolled round theatrically like he had been shot when plainly no one had touched him. The ref each time allowed him to get treatment. In fact the ref should be the one getting treatment for falling for Batak's antics.

The keeper should be charged for bringing the game into disrepute. At the end of such an important game emotions are always going to be high and with Sriwjaya full back Christian Worabay the mercury doesn't need much to burst.

Refs are quick to complain that players don't understand the rules of the game. That's an argument that works both ways. They may, usually, know the rules but that doesn't mean they know how to play the game.

It's like the old Jasper Carrot sketch about his mother in law who knew the Highway Code inside out. She just couldn't drive to save her life.


Now on Jakarta Casual TV

A pictorial special devoted to Persitara - The Pride of North Jakarta


ISL Top Scorers

11 - Erick Weeks Lewis (Persiwa)

10 - Julio Lopez (Persiba), Alberto Goncalves (Persipura)

9 - Boakay Eddy Foday (Persiwa)

8 - Bambang Pamungkas (Persija)

7 - Herman Dzumafo (PSPS), Aldo Baretto (Bontang FC), Andi Oddang (Persebaya), Noh Alam Shah (Arema)


ISL Preview 23/1

Sriwijaya v Persik

Copa Indonesia winners have yet to impose themselves on this ISL season and find themselves sitting 10th with 15 games gone. Just a single win in their last seven games, and that a narrow 1-0 against struggling PSPS, shows Rahmad Darmawan's men aren't having the best of times when you consider next weekend they travel to Singapore to take on Singapore Armed Forces in an AFC Champions League Play Off.

For a team brimming with internationals and big names it just ain't good enough and while they showed glimpese of good form against Persija recently they know that they will need to ba at the top of their game against a resolute Persik who are also mid table following one win in their last four.

The 2006 Champions will be without Saktiawan Sinaga but they will be hoping young striker Yongki Aribowo continues the fine form he has been in since returning from the SEA Games.

Persema v PSM

Persema have gone off the boil somewhat, nost recently losing to a controversial penalty away to Persebaya midweek. But home wins against Persib and Sriwijaya show their true mettle. Don't be surprised if coach Subangkit spends the transfer window looking for a striker as goals have proved hard to come by for Jairon Feliciano and Bepito Brima.

The first choice striker do have a nuisance value which has allowed midfielders with an eye for goal like Robbie Gaspar and Bima Sakti to have a pop from range but you do rely on your strikers to work the keeper.

PSM have just sacked their coach Hanafing who says it ain't his fault the side have failed to score in any of their away games yet, blaming interference from those ablove him. He has been replaced by Tumpak Sihite who has previously worked at PSDS, Barito Putra and Persid Jember. It remains to be seen whether he is a stop gap until the transfer window.

Persib v Persebaya

Danurwindo has done a good job working on his leaky old defence with the result they have now conceded four goals in their last eight game and now sit 5th.

Their fans, known as Bonek, have just been banned from travelling to away games. Again. Disturbances away to Pelita Jaya, while already under a travelling embargo, didn't go down to well with the powers that be.

Unfortunately the decision was taken too late to stop numbers of Persebaya fans, estimated at between 500 and 1,500, from travelling to Bandung and while some were already in the West Java city yesterday, others got caught up in a punch up in Solo while one fan also dide after falling from a train. Sadly an all too common occurance.

Oh yeah, the game. Suchao Nuchnum will probably play his last game for Persib at the Jalak Harupat tonight as his team will look for a third win in eight games. Scant return for a heavy pre season investment on players.

Coach Jaya Hartono has used international Budi Sudarsono sparingly this season, as did Sriwijaya during the second half of last season which quite franly confuses the hell out of me. Gonzales has been struggling to make a mark this season, just three goals, yet when the two of them lined up for Persik they were like poetry with bandy legs and buck teeth.

Friday, January 22, 2010


English football

When I started this blog I used to post the odd comment about the English game. Now I have a dedicated blog devoted to my ramblings about the game back home. Check out Premier League Nonsense for old school rants about the modern game.


Persib look at new options

Persib have yet to show any consistency this season so it is no surprise that a few players may worrying about their place. With the first team in Kalimantan the club trialled a few players. One was Irfan Bachdim who is Dutch of Indonesian descent.

Another player being given a chance to shine is for Super Red Jeon Byung Euk from the SLeague while Satoshi Otomo has come from Japan to try his luck in Bandung.

Suchao will probably be leaving at the end of this month which is a great shame. Not only has he looked a quality player, he has yet to appear on Jakarta Casual TV!


Two games in Jakarta

The way the schedule stands at the moment there will be two ISL games in Jakarta on Sunday. Persitara play Persiwa in the afternoon at Kuningan while Persija will host Persisam in the evening at Bung Karno.

The distance isn't that great between the two stadiums and when you consider the two teams met midweek the authorities wouldn't allow any fans in case of trouble you wonder whether they will be any last minute changes.


Muang Thong United raise the bar

They already have Teerathep Winothai and Teerasil Dangda. Now come reports they have completed the signing of Datsakorn Thonglao for a fee of $200,000 from his VLeague side HAGL. One confirmed signing is Berkant Gotken from the Bundesliga. He was apparently sacked for drug use over there!

After winning the Thai Premier League in their first season, the team that gets heavy financial backing from a powerful media group, is going all out to make an impression on the continent. They have recruited a new coach, Rene Desaeyere from Belgium, as well as Chonburi's Kone Mohamed, and face VLeague champions Da Nang in an ACL qualifier at the end of this month.

Their squad is possibly the most expensive assembled by any South East Asian side in recent years and with plans to increase the stadium capacity to 25,000 the side from North Bangkok are going all out for increased success.

Of course so many star names don't guarantee success. Instead you get conflicting egos in the dressing room so the most important job the new coach has is creating a settled squad. Forget all the 'we're professionals' bullshit players spout in front of the cameras, they wanna play.

Another thing they may have to be wary of is fatigue. Many of their squad have been playing since December in pointless tournaments and on international duty. Come the season start in March they may be more knackered than me walking to the mini mart to buy some milk.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Wanna know what makes Indonesian football special?

Arema were only formed in 1987 but in their short time on Indonesia's football map they have established themselves as one of the biggest names in the country. With a support to match.

The support hasn't always been angelic and despite what do gooders and dreamers might have you believe, whenever you have several thousand young lads together you are always going to have the potential for mischief.

Following your team on the road - as a supporter it don't get much better. I did it with the Arsenal and to a certain extent St George in the old NSL and the buzz of taking it into the enemy's camp is undescribable. You've either done it and you get it or you have never done it and you will never get it.

Arema's game against Persik the other day was switched to the more neutral venue of Lamongan over fears of violence had the game gone ahead in Kediri given the hatred that exists between the two sets of fans.

Having missed the away game at Persebaya because of a ban on away fans, Arema, buoyed by their heady start to the season and the impact of Singapore duo Noh Alam Shah, headed excitedly to Lamongan in droves.

Ongisnade reports 82 official buses made the journey. Plus those who made their own way. They helped swell the Surajaya Stadium to 12,000, one of the biggest crowds of the season. And what is believed to be the largest travelling support in ISL history.

Anybody hazard a guess at how many Arema fans made the journey? (I don't know, it's why I'm asking!)


Going down

We're nearly at the half way point in the Indonesia Super League so as good a time as any to see which clubs have squaky bums at the moment. Three are guaranteed to be relegated while one other will have to go into a play off with a side from the Premier League.

15 - PSPS 14 4 4 6 13-17 16 LLWDL
16 - PSM 15 4 4 7 10-21 16 LLWDL
17 - Persitara 13 3 2 9 11 LWLWD
18 - Pelita Jaya 14 1 6 7 8-18 9 LDDDW

You don't need a crystal ball to see which team faces the biggest up hill challenge in the second half of the season. Pelita Jaya have mullered teams during the season but they lack a goalscorer. And even when they do put the ball in the net match officials blank them for no real reason like their last game against Persitara when they two goals wiped off.

All Fandi Ahmad has to do is to find a regular goalscorer and we all know how easy that is. Their top scorer from last season, Cristian Lopes, was allowed to sign for Premier League side PSIS while his replacements, including a Jordanian, Al Tali, have not proved their worth.

Pelita Jaya have something about them and given a fairer rub of the green in the second half, and given a new striker, should get themelves out of the drop zone.

It's hard to be so optimistic about Persitara. In the second half of last season they played some of the best football in the country prompted by a midfield of John Tarkpor and Esiah Benson. They have gone and no one has come in. Prince Bello Kabir is big and strong up front but lacks pace and lacks a reliable partner.

Persitara should be dead certs for the drop but I wouldn't be surprised if they stay up somehow.

PSM are one of the biggest clubs in the country but have fallen on hard times in recent years. Some of the current imports have left a lot to be desired and four home wins is all that's saving them from humiliation at the moment. Five away games have all been lost and they have yet to score on their travels. next up they face Arema and Persema in Malang. Grim times indeed for the Makassar men.

PSPS are currently the only newly promoted team in the drop zone, albeit the play off. Their coach has been touted for the Indonesian position when Benny Dollo finally steps down so take that how you will.

They have managed a couple of good results, drawing away to Persiwa is no mean achievement, but take out their striker Herman Epandi and they struggle which is a good enough cliche to end my comments about them 'cos I don't know too much about them anyway.

Other clubs reliant on strong home form include Bontang and Persisam who are in the danger zone. And that is despite Persisam collecting eight points from their last four games, their best run of the season. Which rather proves the first sentence of this paragraph, dunnit?


Persipura eye Asian glory

Last season's Super League Champions Persipura are just a month away from their first foray into the AFC Champions League. With their Mandala Stadium in Jayapura being renovated at the moment they will be forced to play their home games in the group stage at the Bung Karno in Jakarta, their ISL games being played in Makassar.

After an 18 game unbeaten run spanning two seasons the side known as the Black Pearls have come off the rails somewhat with just five wins in their 15 games so far this season. Ominously they have just lost three games, drawing their other seven. They are sitting 5th, eleven points behind the leaders Arema.

A couple of factors have conspired to rob Persipura of last season's cloak of invincability. Firstly their striker Ernest Jeremiah was forced to leave after headbutting a ref in last year's Copa Indonesia final and has never been adequately replaced.

Second their local hero Boaz Solossa has only been involved in fits and starts, having also to contend with injuries and national team duty in both the Asian Cup qualifiers and SEA Games. Along with Boaz other players have also suffered from injury and call ups leave coach Jacksen F Tiago's men looking understaffed at times.

Alberto Goncalves has been lethal again this season but he is just one. Last season he was up top with Jeremiah and Boaz. Yustinus Pao has done ok but lacks the experience for now.

At the back, former national team keeper Jendri Pitoy has been looking vulnerable to long range shots. Against Persema and Persebaya his hands were stinging and his defenders left complaining as shots from outside the box had him scampering hither and thither. The three points against Persebaya in Surabaya was the biggest job since Ronnie Biggs and his mob coshed the driver back in the early 60s.

But with their first ACL game on 23rd Feburary against Korean side Jeonbok you can be sure Persipura will be busy looking for new blood to kick start their campaign


A kick in the balls for Singapore football

The arrival of two new foreign teams in the SLeague hasn't gone down too well in Singapore with some fans calling for a boycott of games in the upcoming season. A bit drastic that when no bugger goes anyway.

Etoille and Beijing Guoan have of course replaced DPMM and Super Reds. But why do we have to have two foreign clubs replace two domestic clubs? Do 25% of the teams competing in the SLeague have to be foreign?

The French team looks like it's going to be made up of journeymen currently plying their trade in the lower leagues of France. If this is to be the case then how does Singapore benefit from this? Is Etoille going to be a serious football club aiming to provide young players with an opportunity to shine in this region or is it going to be a retirement home for aging legs and aching muscles, eking out a final pay packet in the tropics.

Saying that David Ginola is going to be a roving is ambassador is as pointless as saying the folk buy Frosties because the Queen of England is patron of Frosties. People buy Frosties because they think the taste is Greeeat, not because some aging harridan (bless ya Ma'am, I know you read this site) they have never met says so.

What if Etoille win the SLeague? Then what? They can't qualify for the AFC competitions so why bother?

It's unfair to say Beijing Guoan are going to be a disaster just because Simchi, Liaonang and Dalian were disasters. They could surprise people and do well which may disappoint the pools company. Just because there are a few high profile divorces in Hollywood doesn't mean that every marriage in the west ends in divorce (believe me, if I had a dollar etc...), likewise with the new Chinese side.

Think back to why the SLeague was formed, about why Singapore left the Malaysia Cup (cue old farts reaching for their tissues and wailing for Fandi Ahmad to reseurrect his career.) I'm guessing the reason was to improve the standard of Singapore football by developing a strong nationwide league. Well, if that's the case then by their own benchmarks they are currntly failing. How can it be otherwise when a rebranded Yishun Super Reds, a known commodity with a good name already among football people, were kicked into touch, in favour of yet more foreigners?

For me a win-win situation would have seen Yishun keep their place and accept the Malaysian bid. Yishun because someone is having the guts to try and build something and in Singapore that should be supported and Malaysia because football teams love a good road trip. Hostile atmospheres are what footballers love, they get a buzz.

And you can't beat a good old fashioned rivalry on the terraces!


Noh Alam Shah wins East Java Derby

Persik v Arema 0-1 (Noh Alam Shah)
Persiwa v Persela 5-0 (Weeks 2, Boakay 2, Padwa)
Persipura v Persijap 1-0 (Ricardo Salempessy)

1 - Arema 15 10 3 2 17-6 33
2 - Persiba 15 8 3 4 21-11 27
3 - Persiwa 15 7 3 5 33-22 24
4 - Persela 15 7 3 5 13-15 24

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Persija win Jakarta Derby

Persija v Persitara 3-0 (TA Mushafri 3)

Mushafri's first goals for Persija since his move from Persiba pre season secured a comfortable three points and helped move Persija out of the relegation zone in front of an empty stadium. Three times Persija went wide left, three times low crosses had the Persitara defence scratching their pistachios and three times Mushafri scored.


V League 2010

I understand the V League begins this weekend. Anybody got a link to a fixture link? Vietfootball?

UPDATE - Here! Thanks to everyone who answered...


SLeague 2010 - How to support your local team

The SLeague begins in about 12 days time, no fixture list yet, so I thought I'd scour some of the teams websites and find out just what they are doing to entice supporters.

Albirex Niigata have one of the better sites and club shops in the SLeague if somewhat overpriced. Adults can purchase season tickets at a cost of $40 (all prices in Singapore dollars obviously) which is pretty good value when you consider match tickets cost $6 a game (all prices for adults).

This Saturday the Japanese side will have a launching when supporters club members, buy a season ticket and you're a member, can meet the players and take their photographs.

Geylang United have a rich pedigree in Singapore football and this season they return to the continetal stage after winning the Singapore Cup. They will compete in the AFC Cup against the likes of Thai Port and some Hong Kong outfit.

They do have a club membership scheme but from the website it looks like is doesn't include admission to the matches which borders on daft if true. There is a fan club, who wear green, eat chicken rice at half time and sometimes even watch the game, but again details on the website are sketchy.

Expectations are at high Gombak United but if you're a fan and keen to get behind the team you may be left wondering how to. You can be a member which means you can be involved in fan club activities. Whatever they maybe. Again the onus, from the club's point of view, is for the fan to do all the leg work. If it was me, and I was 20 years younger, I'd gather five or six mates and do my own thing but then that's just me.

Home United have a slick new website in place and even updated. Fan Club memberships offers you discount on various bits n bobs but again, sounding like a stuck record, little info is availabe on the website and the fan is expected to call for further enquiries.

Singapore Armed Forces are of course the Champions, again, and will be challenging for a place in the Champions League. Again. Their fan club costs $10 and gets you a saving of $1 on match day admission. And don't forget every so often SAF offer their fans free ice cream so get there early! Tomorrow they play Swedish side AIK Stockholm in a pre season friendly/Charity Shield.

Or we have Woodlands Wellington. where membership gets you, umm, dunno really. No info on the webiste. In to the club house whatever that maybe.

And so to Tampines Rovers. According to their website ... This Section is temporarily unavailable...

Sengkang Punggol allows fan club members to buy replica shirts at a discount price. I guess they can do this at the club house which, acording to the website, is closed during the second half of matches.

SLeague attendances have to increase substantially if they wish to enter AFC competitions in the future and one way they can start to attract more paying bums on seats is by telling people how they can be involved with their local club.

Compare with my story of a couple days back and Muangkan in Thailand.


Results 20/1

Indonesia Super League

Persisam v Persib 2-1 (Zaenal Arief, Ronald Fagundez; Christian Gonzales)
Bontang v Sriwijaya 3-1 (Kenji Adichihara, Geddy, Ali; Arif Suyono)

Malaysia Super League

Selangor v Pahang 4-0
Negeri Sembilan v KL Plus 2-1
Kelantan v Kedah 0-1
Perak v Perlis 0-1
Penang v Johor 1-1
T Team v Terangganu 1-1
Johor v KL 0-1

1 - Selangor 4 4 0 0 11-2 12
2 - Terengganu 4 2 2 8-2 8


Grounds for concern

A couple of stories in today's Jakarta Globe caught my eye.

One suggests that Bung Karno Stadium is to undergo extensive renovations with a view to hosting major events during the 2011 SEA Games. Work is expected to begin later this year. I wonder where that will leave Persija for their home games? Perhaps back at Lebak Bulus?

The other story talks about a rebranded Copa Indonesia, now to be called Indonesia Cup. Instead of home and away the competition this year will be played in groups with the opening round spread across eight cities.

They are talking about Persipura being allowed to host one of the groups. I thought they had been banned from this season's cup competition after they got all prissy during last year's final and walked off, never to return?


Highest and lowest

The average attendance in the ISL thus far this season is 10,107. That figure would be higher had Arema v Persib and Persib v Persija been played in front of supporters.

Four crowds have been recordedin excess of 35,000, three were Arema home games (Persija, Sriwijaya & Persema) and Persija v Pelita Jaya.

The smallest crowd of the season saw Pelita Jaya play Persik in front of 173 paying spectators while apparently 168 managed to see Persib v Persija somehow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Life on the road

Indonesia is a big country of course but often people never really realise that till they get here.

Pelita Jaya coach Fandi Ahmad told me recently about travelling to PSSB Bireuen and it taking 10 hours from the airport in Medan. So that is on top of a two hour flight!

Persema midfielder, and temporary defender, Robbie Gaspar, last week told me about a gruelling road trip back from Jepara to Malang which also took 10 hours along some of Java's finest road.

Last weekend Persita had a game at PPSB in the Premier League. The Tangerang side had a good record on the road thus far this season, gaining a number of victories up in the badlands of North Sumatra and Aceh. But they came unstuck at the weekend, losing 1-0 after a 10 hour trip that included flooding and an accident that left them stationary for a while.


Persija v Persitara

Tomorrow's capital city derby between Persija and Persitara will be played out at the Bung Karno Stadium tomorrow in front of an empty stadium with the local police banning any supporters from watching the game, fearing crowd trouble even though Persitara fans have said they won't travel.

The Jakmania though have promised their heroes they won't be alone and are calling on all Persija to line the route the players will take from their base to the stadium and give them a bloody good cheer.
At the same time it seems both touching and sad.


Next on Jakarta Casual TV

Look out this afternoon for an exclusive one on one with Baihakki Khaizan, the Persija and Singapore international. He talks about away games in Indonesia as well as playing midfield and how dangerous life is here...

UPDATE - interview now uploaded on Jakarta Casual TV


Beijing Duck to be boycotted?

The good folk at Kallang Roar are more than a little peeved to see that Chinese side Beijing Guoan have been successful in their application to join the SLeague which kicks off in less than two weeks.

Indeed they have been going so far as saying will boycott the Chinese team's games. Not that anyone would notice I don't suppose. Attendances for Dalian Shide games back in 2008 were so small the MC used to read the names of the fans to the players before kick off.

If you're going to have foreign teams in a league then at least attract teams from countries with large minorities in the place. In Singapore's case that would mean Malaysia or Indonesia. Chinese teams have come and gone before, using leaving a bad taste in the mouth, hence the current apprehension in certain quarters.

But better still concentrate on the local stuff.


Door still open for Malaysian team

While the SLeague has gone ahead with a French and Chinese team they have not ruled out a Malaysian team joining in the future. But not 2010. Apparently a 'couple of technicalities' have yet to be sorted out.

What are these 'technicalities' exactly? Why aren't we told? If it's money then say it's money. If it's players say it's players. If it's because the Malaysians couldn't handle kicking off an hour earlier than at home then say so.

Don't treat people like idiots. There is an omerta that hangs round Jalan Besar that isn't healthy for the future of Singapore football.

We live in a time of greater transparency around the world, much of it brought on by the rise of the internet, yet why do some people cling on to the notion that us, mere plebs, shouldn't be party to information?


Chinese and French added to SLeague

The SLeague has finally decided on the final two teams when it was officially announced yesterday Etoile and Beijing Guo'an would replace Super Reds and DPMM.

Chinese teams don't have the best record in Singapore's top flight. In 2006 Sinchi left because of indiscipline on the field. 2007 saw Liaonang kicked out on match fixing while a year later Dalian Shide left after an anonymous season when they attracted miniscule crowds.

So another Chinese team. Can't say the prospect fills me with any great excitement while what is the point of the French team?

Personally I would have loved to have seen a Malaysian team join as well as keeping DPMM but the FIFA bullies stopped that particular one. So why not a rebranded Super Reds? Singapore football will be deprived of one of the best footballing teams in the country to accomodate these outsiders.

Singapore's football authorities love to trumpet the fact that they are one of Asia's top 10 top 10 leagues, a meaningless statement but one they bring forward at every opportunity. But the way things stand now they will have no chance of competing in further Champions League competition until the fan bases increase and until they introduce promotion and relegation.

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