Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Jorg Still Keen On Indonesia

Jorg Steinbrunner is not put off Indonesian football after his short spell with Medan Chiefs where he was given the heave ho for refusing to accept interference in team affairs. The German who also coached Woodlands Wellington and Sengkang Punggol is reported locally to interesting Divisi Utama side Persikabo who are already looking ahead to the new season. Whenever it may start!


Confusion Surrounds LPI Future

Again claims are being made that the breakaway league, the Liga Primer Indonesia, will not continue after the mid season break. Again though the claim is being made by PSM which doesn't seem to stop them being linked with Edward Wilson Junior and Pierre Njanka.

Yesterday, on Twitter so it must be true (!), one of the foreign players asked the LPI spokesman who regularly tweets and exhorts people to change the game what was happening with LPI, PSSI and FIFA. The response? Ask one of your team mates with a 'ha ha ha' thrown in for good measure.

The fact that said team mate didn't speak much English and that said foreigner was no longer in country didn't seem to matter. Also the flack that the PSSI, and now FIFA, have come under attack for their opaqueness and their overbearing attitude didn't seem to come into the equation.

Now obviously there may have been a subsequent private correspondence between the two but the initial response to a sensible question does beggar belief especially considering the whole spiel that comes out of the LPI about emulating the best western leagues.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Timor Leste Deny WC Qualifier In Nepal

The Nepali FA had recently claimed both legs of their World Cup Qualifier would be played in Kathmandu, Nepal. Timor Leste lacks any kind of stadium that meets FIFA standards, whatever they maybe (!), and in the last qualifying campaign played Hong Kong In Bali.

In an email to the Nepal FA they said that they wanted to use Maguwoharjo Stadium in Yogyakarta, usually used by PSS Sleman.

In more Nepali news it looks like ormer Totteham defender Graham Roberts could well stay on as coach there though nothing has been signed yet.


Big Boys Don't Scare Tanjong Pagar

SLeague new boys Tanjong Pagar United have only scored six goals in their opening 14 games and one of them came in their only win so far, away to Woodlands Wellington. Doesn't look too good, does it?

Until you look at who they scored against;

v SAFFC 1-2
v Tampines Rovers 1-4
v SAFFC 2-2
v Home United 1-3

Their next two games? Against Tampines Rovers and Etoile!

They should be ok as long as their foreigners are playing. In fact the only Singaporean to have scored for the Jaguars is Razaleigh Khalik...and he plays for SAFFC!


Thailand's Relegation Battle

With the TPL long destined for Buriram PEA time to look at the relegation struggle in Thailand.

Good news for Thai Port fans as back to back home wins have seen them climb away from the drop zone. I wonder if the six goals in those two games were linked by any chance to salaries getting paid? But they won't be breathing any easier there because a record of five wins, five draws and five defeats with 16 goals scored and conceded by look a mathematician's wet dream but coach Sasom, whether he stays or leaves, won't be fooled.

Goals are at a premium down there with seven out of the bottom eight averaging less than a goal a game, Chiang Rai United being the only exception thanks in no small measure to Wasan Natasan, the second top scorer in the TPL who has hit nine of their 17 goals.

Talking new boys newly promoted Sri Racha are bottom while fellow newbies Khon Kaen are second bottom separated by Raj, or is it Siam, Navy.

We should never make assumptions in the whacky world of South East Asian football but let's have a laugh and assume three teams will get relegated this year from the TPL which, apparently, ends on Christmas Day.

These then are the teams in those slots

16 - Khon Kaen 15 3 3 9 14-30 12
17 - Raj Navy 15 2 5 8 11-28 11
18 - Sri Racha 15 2 4 9 10-21 10

Bottom club Sri Racha's next two games they will think are winnable, at home to 15th placed TTM Phichet, without a win away from home all season and just one point from their travels, before they make the short journey to take on Raj Navy in the last game before the mid season break.

Khon Kaen have a tougher couple of games with 4th placed Bangkok Glass at home before ending away to a resurgent Thai Port.

Things are so tight down that end of the table, Thai Port's climb based on back to back wins will give everyone hope they can emulate that feat. But be sure that come the transfer window all the strugglers will be looking for that striker whose goals, like Wasan up north, can just keep their heads out of the dreaded relegation places.

Either that or hope someone somewhere unilaterally decides to do without relegation this year...on purely football terms you understand!


Malaysian Groundhopping!

Anybody know how to get to Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium, capacity 11,098 (!) using public transport and, more importantly, how to get back after a game?

Malaysia insists on the daft 8.45 pm kick offs which makes things difficult if you rely on buses or trains especially when stadiums aren't alwaya that close to facilities.

So far the best way I've found to go to a game in Malaysia is stay in Singapore and cross the border to go see Johor at Larkin Stadium!



Malaysia Premier League

1 - Selangor PKNS 20 17 3 0 49-5 54
2 - Sarawak 20 13 3 4 49-16
3 - Sime Darby 20 10 4 6 22-11

Well, it doesn't get more convincing than that, does it? Still two games left to play
including Sarawk v PKNS!

Of course Malaysia, in common with neighbouring Indonesia, do have a habit of deciding at the last minute to do away with relegation/promotion at the end of the season, I guess it depends on which team finishes at the bottom. I'm sure such decisions are taken purely for footballing reasons


July Good Time For EPL Fans In Malaysia

13/07 - Malaysia XI v Arsenal
21/07 - Malaysia Select v Chelsea

Also rumours Liverpool may come over as well. No sign of Manchester United which could lead to questions being asked in parliament...


SAFFC Win Big To Stay In Hunt

Balestier Khalsa v Geylang United 3-1 (Kim Kwang Young 2, OG; Amy Recha) 858
Woodlands Wellington v SAFFC 1-5 (Goh Swee Swee; OG, Mislav Kaoglan, Fazrul Nawaz 3) 681
Home United v Tanjong Pagar 3-1 (Frederic Mendy2, Ashraf Rashid; Kim Jong Oh) 1,441

1 - Home United 16 11 2 3 40-15 35
2 - Tampines Rovers 14 10 3 1 30-11 33
3 - SAFFC 14 9 2 3 30-16 29

Tonight sees Tampines play Tanjong Pagar with victory against the cellar dwellers taking them back to the top of the SLeague.

12 - Frederic Mendy (Home United), Aleksander Duric (Tampines Rovers)
11 - Mislav Karoglan (SAFFC)


Aceh To Host Mini Tournament?

Anybody know anything about a mini tournament to be held in Aceh next month? Possibly featuring teams from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia?


The Biggest Story Of Recent Days

And no, it's not me winning gold at a tug of war or getting ratted all weekend, can Persiba Bantul survive in the Indonesia Super League? Read about it in the Jakarta Globe why don't you...

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Welcome To The Party

It's not often Indonesia leads the world in anything beyond natural disasters, man made disasters and boasting the world's largest Muslim population...what, you never knew that? How remiss of CNN and BBC not to mention that every time they mention the place.

For the last couple of years at least Indonesians have been clamouring for a reform of their national football association, known locally as the PSSI (which of course is an anagram of piss). The reasons are like the leaves on a tree but for starters include having a convicted felon running the game from behind bars for a while. At the time FIFA, and the AFC, did nothing which of course implies acit support at the very least.

It's worth remembering that small titbit as both Sepp Blatter and Mohammed Bin Hammam squirm under the glare of corruption allegations brought about by England's failed World Cup bid and Qatar's successful one.

Incompetency, abuse of power and political savvy are prequisites for positions of power in the world we live in and there is no reason why FIFA, AFC and PSSI should be any different. But does that explain how Indonesia was able to host the Asian Cup in 2007 with a convicted corrupter in charge?

For a long time it seemed Indonesian football fans where pissing in the wind. Oh, do I like that! Then Indonesia's World Cup bid, anyone remember that, fell by the way side with the government saying they wouldn't support the effort to bring the 'biggest show on earth' to their country, saying they would rather the PSSI concentrated on improving the performance of the local league and the national team before moving on to world domination.

With the government now actively saying the PSSI needed reforming things started moving. A special football congress was held in Malang which gave recommendations to the PSSI to clean up their act. The PSSI said thank you very much for your suggestions but we're charged with running the game in Indonesia and we will do what we see fit. and of course they were right. Because they had FIFA's support.

The calls for reform grew stronger with more and more people getting involved. The fans were always there but now politicians, their finely tuned antennae sensing votes saw a band wagon worth jumping on adding their voices to the growing calls for change.

PSSI continued to do nothing and cries to FIFA for help were ignored.

Then came the Liga Primer Indonesia with its slogan Change The Game. Funded by a wealthy businessman they attracted three teams from the official PSSI sanctioned leagues and started kicking a ball in January of this year. PSSI responded by taking a large number of officials to Qatar for the Asian Cup and Bali for a chat. The PSSI members, those with the vote, remained firmly behind the leadership, Nurdin, while the PSSI threatened to deport foreign players and coaches involved in the rebel league.

FIFA too firmly opposed the LPI and said they would under no circumstances talk with them. Without PSSI recognition the LPI was just a well paid pub league in the eyes of Sepp Blatter and co.

2011 is an election year in the PSSI and a congress was held in Palembang to elect a new leader. Various candidates had been disqualified by a PSSI authorised committee including a general and the man with the money behind the LPI leaving only two candidates, the incumbent and a scion of a wealthy and influential political/business family long involved in Indonesian football.

The congress ended in a PR disaster for PSSI. A FIFA delegate in town to attend the meeting didn't attend. The PSSI claimed he decided the scenes of mayhem were too much and he had gone home. The delegate replied by saying the PSSI had prevented him from attending.

The fiasco in Palembang had finally shown the incompetence of the leadership to a wider audience. From a position of strength, they had the full unqualified support of FIFA despite Nurdin's conviction, they had become pariahs and the leadership soon scurried away from the scene humiliated.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere, there was a reform group in the PSSI membership demanding the general and the businessman be reinstated as candidates. A reform group that was not heard from during the Qatar and Bali trips. A second attempt at setting up an election also ended up in disaster with FIFA and AFC delegates looking on bemused.

And that's where we stand now. Indonesia is on the precipice of expulsion from FIFA competitions as it struggles to elect new leaders to head the PSSI. Yet had FIFA acted swiftly when Nurdin was first convicted of corruption charges and had change been effected then we would not be in this mess now. FIFA has seen fit to suspend Brunei, tiny Brunei, over allegations of political interference in the running of their FA yet they have been strangely quiet over Indonesia and the convicted felon running the game there.

Both Blatter and Bin Hammam have promised to clean up the game and make it more transparent. Perhaps they can start by explaining why they saw fit to support the PSSI while Nurdin was behind bars.

The spotlight is now on FIFA of course with allegations of corruption flying around and the odious members rushing to cover their individual arses in the wake of charge and counter charge. But let's understand why this is happening. England and the US bids failed. They are in effect kicking up a storm in the role of sore losers. Had they won we would not be involved in this mud slinging now. Everyone, it seems, accepts impropriety as the norm. Until they lose out.

It's great that FIFA is under the spotlight at last for its murky transactions carried out in dingy, dark lit corridors among the rats and cockroaches. What would have been better though would have been if the whistles had been blown, in unison, during the campaign. Withdraw then, on a point of principal, and you have the moral high ground. Complain after the fact and you sound like a sore loser.

Now we have sections of the international media calling for FIFA to be reformed and for the elections to be cancelled. For us, here in Indonesia, it's deja vu.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Timor Leste World Cup Preparations

Andy's 1890

The FIFA World Cup Qualification had just announced the draw for the Asians football teams. Timor Leste were put against Nepal, the Himalayas Nation. Nepal whose rank only 172 ; meanwhile, Timor Leste only rank 201.

The first leg of this tournament will be at in Kathmandu, Nepal which have 42 degrees in temperature. This is a challenge for Timorese players who live in humid and hot weather. The first leg are set in June 29. 2011. Orlando Mendes, a deputy general of Federacao de Futebol de Timor Leste said that, our players will be warm by wearing a long sleeve football shirt and we will arrive in Nepal, two weeks earlier so that we could use to the weather in Nepal.

Timor Leste seleccao’s preparation for this world cup, would start in April 27, 2011; They are going to spent their training in Dili for three weeks and then they go to Jogjakarta for training and exhibition games with Indonesia’s football clubs.

29 Players will be participated in the World Cup squad, 16 players are from overseas and 13 players from local. This squad will be using Maguwoharjo Stadium, which hold 30,000 capacities, for training and second leg.

Coach Antonio Carlos Viera will be joining the seleccao in April 25, 2011. The seleccao will left Jogjakarta in June 13, 2011 and will be arriving in Kathmandu on Morning June 15, 2011. Here are the Exhibition games and the list of Players.

Exhibition Games

Persip Pekalongan, May 27, 2011 -

Persija Jakarta, May 30, 2011, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium

Arema FC, June 3, 2011, Kanjuruhan Stadium

Persipura Jayapura, June 8, 2011, Maguwoharjo Stadium

First Leg FWCQ: Nepal Vs Timor Leste, June 29, 2011, Dasarath Rangasala Stadium

Second Leg FWCQ : Timor Leste Vs Nepal, July 3, 2011, Maguwoharjo Stadium (Check this story for an alternate venue...)

The Squad List

GK 1, Diamantino Leong ( Adi), October 8, 1986, FC Rusa Fuik (Timor Leste)

GK 14, Rodrigo Cruz, November 13, 1984, GD Mealhada (Portugal)

GK 29, Leonel, July 5, 1986, FC Porto Taibesi (Timor Leste)

DF 2, Cabita Lebere, August 15, 1980, FC Rusa Fuik (Timor Leste)

DF 6, Chris Nunes, January 6, 1985, Marconi Stallions FC ( Australia)

DF 10, De Jesus, August 10, 1987, FC Porto Taibesi ( Timor Leste)

DF 12, Afonso Carson, May 16, 1987, Gwangju Gwangsan FC ( S. Korea)

DF 18, Ed Dino, Febuary 9, 1983, Bandung Jaya (Indonesia)

DF 20, Ede Araujo, April 29, 1988, Persik Kediri ( Indonesia)

DF 22, Ernesto Da Costa Pinto ( Eney), January 3, 1984 , UTP FC ( Malaysia)

DF 24, Juvito, January 27, 1987, Ad. Dili Leste ( Timor Leste)

DF 26, Miguel Santos Soares, July 4, 1984, Ad. Dili Leste ( Timor Leste)

MF 5, Americo Ximenes, October 11, 1986, Creveela FC ( Northern Ireland)

MF 7, Cipriano Branco, August 24, 1985, FC B River ( Brazil)

MF 9, Emmanuel Nonny, December 25, 1986, Persibo Bojenegra ( Indonesia)

MF 11, Eusebio, June 9, 1985, FC Porto Taibesi (Timor Leste) ( Captain)

MF 13, Helder Mota Ricardo (Eric), August 1, 1977, Ad Dili Leste ( Timor Leste)

MF 15, Jose Joao Pereira,October 9, 1981, Ad. Dili Leste ( Timor Leste)

MF 17, Robert M. Aja, July 7, 1985, Portuguese Youth FC ( Malaysia)

MF 25, Sidonio Augusto De Jesus ( Donny),July 18, 1981, Grants Braes FC ( New Zealand) ( C0- Captain)

MF 27, Torres Vidigal, January 19, 1990, Portuguese Youth FC ( Malaysia)

MF 28, Vicente Ramos Freitas, December 28, 1985, Ad Dili Oeste ( Timor Leste)

FW 3, Anggisu,March 16, 1993, FC Porto Taibesi ( Timor Leste)

FW 4, Emillo da Silva ( Ary), April 5, 1982, Ad. Dili Oeste ( Timor Leste) ( Third Captain)

FW 8, Ermera, April 1, 1985, Bandung Jaya ( Indonesia)

FW 16, Felipinho Nessa, March 5, 1978, Portuguese Youth FC ( Malaysia)

FW 19, Franco Triana, December 18, 1984, Nuevo Talento FC ( Colombia)

FW 21, Quito, October 25, 1986, Ad. Dili Leste ( Timor Leste)

FW 23, Rossy Salazar, February 7, 1986, Real Mataram ( Indonesia)

Thursday, May 26, 2011



The words below come from the Guardian and apply to FIFA. They also apply to Indonesia.

Undermined by whistleblowers within and dogged by corruption claims, can football's world body really go ahead with a presidential election when it is so badly in need of reform?


AFC Cup Round Of 16

Abril v Tampines Rovers 1-0
Muang Thong United v Al Ahed 4-0 (Datsakorn Thonglao, Teerasil Dangda, Christian Kouakou, Naruphol) 9,500
Song Lam Nghe An v Persipura 1-3 (Hyguen Hon Viet; Boas Solossa, Ortizan Solossa, Titus Bonai) 5,000
Chonburi v Sriwijaya 3-0 (Fabiano Ney, Therdsak Chaiman, Nattaphong) 6,954

A mixed night for teams from the region. Tampines took their Iraqi hosts to extra time before succumbing while undoubtedly the performance of the night was Persipura's win in Vietnam. Two Thai teams made full use of home advantage to ease through. without Keith Kayamba Sriwijaya threatened little against Chonburi.

Three teams also made it through to last years' Quarter Finals, Muang Thong United, who eventually reached the semis, Thai Port and SHB Da Nang. Three Arab teams in semis, two in final one won the cup, the difficulty of teams from this region getting results in the middle east is all to clear.

The Quarter Finals take place on a home and away basis in September.


Persiba Bantul Champions Divisi Utama

Persiba Bantul were yesterday crowned Divisi Utama Champions after they defeated Persiraja 1-0 at the Manahan Stadium in Solo. It was a short road trip for PaserBumi, the Persiba faithful, from their home base in Bantul, and ultimately an enjoyable one.

1 - Persiba
2 - Persiraja
3 - Mitra Kukar
4 - Persidafon (play off v Bontang?)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Persipura Shine A Light On Indonesian Football Gloom

These have not been happy days for fans of Indonesian football. The governing body, PSSI, is on a collision course with FIFA and there is a very real chance Indonesia could be banned from all FIFA recognised competitions which includes the World Cup Qualifiers that begin soon.

FA officials have twice humiliated themselves in front of representatives of FIFA as they bitch and scrap to elect a new leadership that will look after their interests and not the interests of the game.

Persipura could have been forgiven for going to Vietnam today for their AFC Cup tie with SLNA not giving a toss. Indonesian clubs have been notoriously poor travellers in Asian club competitions and I for one certainly expected nothing but a thumping for the champions elect domestically.

So I'm dead chuffed to be proved wrong. And how! They not only went there and won, they done their hosts 3-1 which is pretty bloody convincing in any one's book. Goals from Boas Solossa, Ortizan Solossa and Titus Bonai done the deed, all local lads as well.

Persipura can fly back to Indonesia with their heads held high. It's a shame the people who want to try and run the game can't do the same.


Mitra Kukar Are Promoted

After defeating Persidafon 2-1 in he play offs, Mitra Kukar are promoted to the Indonesia Super League for 2011/2012 or whatever bloody format gets adopted next season. Bad tempered affair second half with players from both teams behaving like PSSI officials.

Also promoted are Persiba Bantul and Persiraja who meet later tonight to decide the Champions.

In theory no team will get relegated because three teams walked out the ISL early on leaving 15 teams. Bontang, who will finish 15th, should play off against Persidafon I guess.

You can be sure though that the teams that walked out the ISL, Persibo, Persema and PSM, will whine and bitch if they are not allowed back in should the LPI fold, though that is by no means certain of course.


Arsenal In South East Asia

Given that Arsenal have announced they would play a friendly in Malaysia in July, given I am an Arsenal fan and given that it's my website I thought I write something about Arsenal's previous visits to the region.

First time here was 1968 after a game in Tokyo. We were three years short of a famous double and that team was slowly taking shape under Bertie Mee. We beat a President's XI 6-2 which is interesting because Malaysia is of course a constitutional monarchy so I'm guessing it refers to the President of the Football ssociation.

Arsenal won 6-2 with David Jenkins getting a hat trick, Bobby Gould, David Court and Gordon Simmons? In our line up that day was current assistant manager Pat Rice, currently assisting Liam Brady is David Court, former managers Terry Neill and George Graham plus former Reserve Team manager George Armstrong (RIP).

David Jenkins is one of the few players who made the move from Highbury to White Hart Lane, he was swapped for winger Jimmy Robertson. Also playing in that historic game was John Radford, Bob McNab, Peter Storey, Frank McLintock and Peter Simpson and it you need to Google any of them hang your head in shame!

We returned to Malaysia in 1975 after a season when we nearly suffered the ignominy of relegation. This trip was like a poorly organised backpackers trip with games in KL, Penang, Singapore and Bangkok.

First up in KL was a game against a Malaysian XI and we lost 2-0. Up the road to Penang and a 1-1 against Malaysian Select, Brian Kidd netting for us. Then we were down the peninsula to Singapore and a narrow 3-2 win with Kidd, Alex Cropley, who we spent 18 months trying to sign, and John Radford in front of 40,000.

The tour ended in Bangkok against the Thai national team and e won 3-0. Cropley scored once while Kidd got two.

These were turbulent times in South east Asia, the tour coming hot on the heels of the murderous Khmer Rouge taking over the country and beginning their genocidal regime just hours from Bangkok while Thailand itself was fill with American soldiers and diplomats licking their wounds after having their butts whooped in Vietnam.

July 1977 saw us back in Singapore as part of a trip that took in Australia and saw player indiscipline lead to some players sent home.

We lost 3-1 to Red Star Belgrade in Singapore with our goal coming from Malcolm MacDonald. Pat Rice was back having missed the 1975 trip while Liam Brady, head of youth development today, was in the team. Next game we beat Singapore 5-1 with MacDonald getting a hat trick, Brady and the abominable traitor Stapleton getting one each.

Also featuring on that tour were Sammy Nelson, Richie Powling, John Matthews, and, on his third far east tour George Armstrong.

Details of our tour of Indonesia in 1983 can be found here with some background here but this link leads to rare pictures of the game featuring a young looking Arsenal team plus some Singaporean called Fandi...while pictures of our game in Thailand in 1999, our last tour of the region before Arsene Wenger opted for leisurely outings in the Alps, can be found on Asian Football Pictures. We also played in KL that year but it's a sorry state of affirs when I can recall 1975, Pol Pot and Brian Kidd but can't remember 12 years ago...


Hougang United Statement

We refer to all the newspaper reports (New Paper, Straits Times, etc) dated
24th May 2011 in regard to the above incident and we wanted to clarify as follows:

It is with great regret that such an unpleasant incident would happen during
our home game on 23rd May 2011. We are sorry that the brawling incident happened
in our turf and we want to reiterate that we will not condone such unruly behavior.

We promise that we will interview all our players and get to the bottom of the
matter. We will find out who is/are the culprit/s involved in the fight and will not
hesitate to take disciplinary actions on any guilty player found to play a part in the
unfortunate incident.

We will cooperate fully with FAS in their investigations as we do not tolerate
such acts of violence. Any HGFC players found guilty would be severely penalized
for their wrong doings.


Bumper Crowd Goes Home Disappointed

Over 1,700, officially (!) turned up last night to see Gombak United take on Young Lions and went home muttering and mumbling after seeing the visitors earn a surprise 2-1 win.

Fans were heard complaining that they had come to see the players fighting but they got a football match instead.

It is expected that Straits Times will launch an investigation to find out why there was no fight feeling that yet again Singapore football has besmirched the nation's honour.

One fan was reportedly so furious there was no fight on the pitch that he returned to his HDB and said a rude word to an auntie in a lift. I understand TNP are investigating that outrage.


SLeague Suspend Brawling Teams

The SLeague have responded to the brawl that occurred before the recent Hougang United v Etoile game by postponing games featuring the two teams ahead of the inquiry which will take place 3 June.

The FA chairman says the FA has a zero tolerance policy towards violent conduct on and off the pitch. Maybe, but this is the second incident in less than a year...


Singapore Friendlies

According to Liga Singapura Singapore have lined up four friendlies ahead of their World Cup Qualifiying against either Chinese Taipei or Malaysia.

No mention of the Indonesian friendlies has been made in Indonesia as far as I'm aware.

07/06 v Maldives (H)
29/06 v Indonesia (A)
03/07 v Indonesia (H)
18/07 v Lao (H)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Axeman Raddy

Reports coming out of Singapore suggest national team coach Raddy Avramovic has sensationally dropped several big names ahead of World Cup Qualifiers in July.

Out go Noh Alam Shah, Baihakki Khaizan, M Ridhuan, Agu Casmir and Precious. The only overseas based in the squad of 30 are Mustafic Fahruddin, reportedly returning to Singapore next month, Shahril Ishak, from the previously rebel Liga Primer Indonesia, and Khairul Amri.

Still no place for Gombak United defender Bah Mamadou and Tampines midfielder Ahmad Latiff despite claims the squad was picked on merit.


Handbags At Hougang

So what are people saying after last night's brawl before the Hougang United v Etoile SLeague which saw the game cancelled before the kick off.

The SLeague website comes out with the usual spiel about taking a serious view blah blah blah. The FA took a serious view last year of a similar incident between Young Lions and Beijing Guoan, those lengthy suspensions saw players miss out on the AFF Cup and obviously no lessons have been learned.

Players were banned for several months after that incident. Perhaps we can expect offenders to be caned this time?

One of the Hougang United blogs didn't say anything beyond the fact that the game had been postponed to a later date, not knowing why. An Etoile fan blog saw nothing while a second Houngang United FC blog hasn't even updated for a few days.

SLeague Football just copied the story from Today, a local free newspaper, while Channel News Asia also goes with the same story from the same source.

All this silence is wierd when a club official claims there were 2,000 people inside the stadium. I guess anyone caught blabbing about what they witnessed would end up feeding the fishes courtesy of Seven Fingered Sebastian and his gang of ruthless cuthroats.


Arsenal Confirm Malaysia Date

Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that the first-team squad will be playing a pre-season friendly in Malaysia this summer.

Arsène Wenger’s side take on a Malaysia XI at the Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, July 13, kick off 8.45pm local time. This game will be the first leg of Arsenal's Asian Tour. Details of the second leg will be announced on Wednesday.

Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is excited to be visiting Malaysia.

“The Club has a tradition of playing there going back to the 1960s. This will be our fourth visit to Malaysia, having last visited Kuala Lumpur in 1999.

"We enjoy huge support in Asia and this will help bring the Club closer to our fans out there.”


Phnom Penh's Crowning Moment

Hosting the AFC Presidents Cup Phnom Penh Crown have assured themselves of a place in the next round after wins in their opening two games.

After beating Den Bosco from Sri Lanka 3-0 in the opening game, yesterday PPC overcame Abahani 1-0 with an 80th minute goal from Chann Cahaya in front of 8,500 at the Olympic Stadium.

They share top spot with Neftchi Kochkor who they play in the final game tomorrow.

Not sure the format for the next rond.

Heady times for Phnom Penh Crown as next month travel to Singapore to take on SAFFC in the Singapore Cup while they continue to chase CLeague glory at home.


SLeague Players Brawling Again

Singapore goes with squeaky clean in the same way Worcestershire Sauce goes with Shepherd's Pie. It's a nice peaceful place where tempers only get raised on newspaper websites.

Except when it comes to football. You just know when the Straits Times writes about local football it ain't gonna be in glowing terms. Last nights postponement of the game between Hougang United and Etoile before the ref had tossed a coin is fodder for the ST assassins and they loving it on their high horse...I would post the link but only half the story is on line, the rest is only available to paying subscribers which I ain't.

So what happened? Funnily enough it sounds like there was an Arsene Wenger impersonater conference going on in the same area because despite there being 2,000 fans there no one saw a thing.

Apparently a ball went on to the wrong side of the field during the warm up, some male egos were put out by this affront to their alpha male status when a player crossed the line to collect the offending ball, they probably puffed their chests out, puffed their cheeks out and waved their arms.

Players from both sides then got involved and soon it was a western style bar room brawl before, somehow, they were sent back down the tunnel. I wonder if there was a piano playing in the background, perhaps one guy found a bottle of whiskey in the dug out, took a quick nip then smashed the bottle on an oponents head.

My sources tell me this brawl was part of the Football Association of Singapore's well received Strategic Plan to raise the profile of the SLeague and attract more punters.


Singapore Cup Dates

Friday 10 June: HOUGANG UNITED FC VS YOUNG TIGERS (Malaysia) - Possible 'live' match, to be confirmed.

Match No: 1

Venue: Hougang Stadium

Time: 7.30pm


Match No: 2

Venue: Jurong West Stadium

Time: 7.30pm


Match No: 3

Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium

Time: 7.30pm


Match No: 4

Venue: Bedok Stadium

Time: 7.30pm


Match No: 5

Venue: Bishan Stadium

Time: 7.30pm


Match No: 6

Venue: Queenstown Stadium

Time: 7.30pm


Match No: 7

Venue: Choa Chu Kang Stadium

Time: 7.30pm

Friday 17 June: PATTAYA UNITED FC (Thailand) VS OKKTHAR UNITED FC (Myanmar) - 'Live' Match

Match No: 8

Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium

Time: 7.30pm

Monday, May 23, 2011


Results 21-22 May

AFC Presidents Cup

Phnom Penh Crown v Den Bosco 3-0

Divisi Utama Play Offs

Mitra Kukar v Persiraja 0-1 (Dillah) 1,025
Persidafon v Persiba Bantul 2-5 (Harianto, Ernest Jeremiah; Gonzales 2, Sugiyanto 2, Busari) 24,126

Liga Primer Indonesia

Bogor Raya v Medan Chiefs 2-4
Solo v PSM 1-4
Bali Devata v Aceh United 2-0
Minangkabu v Manado United 4-1
Cendrawasih Papua v Bintang Medan 3-2
Batavia Union v Persebaya 1927 0-0
Tangerang Wolves v Jakarta 2-3
Bandung v Semarang United 3-2
Persema v Persibo 1-1

1 - Persebaya 18 12 4 2 42-13 40
2 - Persema 18 12 4 2 35-17 40
3 - PSM Makassar 17 9 4 4 32-17 31
4 - Batavia Union 18 8 7 3 32-23 31

Thai Premier League

Sriracha v TOT 0-2
Chiang Rai United v Thai Port 1-1
Sisaket v Osotspa 1-1
BEC Tero v Bangkok Glass 0-2
Khon Kean v Pattaya United 1-1
Siam Navy v TTM Phichit 1-1
Samut Songkram v Buriram PEA 0-4

1 - Buriram PEA 14 11 3 0 25-5 36
2 - Chonburi 13 9 3 1 32-10 30
3 - Police United 13 7 5 1 13-7 26
4 - Bangkok Glass 14 6 4 4 20-14 22


Albirex Niigata v Home United 2-1 (Shimono, Ihata; Qiu Li) 1,455

1 - Tampines 14 10 3 1 30-11 33
2 - Home United 15 10 2 3 37-14 32
3 - Etoile 12 8 2 2 21-7 26
4 - SAFFC 13 8 2 3 25-15 26

12 - Aleksander Duric (Tampines Rovers)
10 - Frederic Mendy (Home United), Mislav Karoglan (SAFFC)
9 - Qiul Li (Home United)

Malaysia Super League

Johor FC v Perlis 2-1
Kedah v KL 0-0
Terengganu v Negeri Sembilan 3-0
Pahang v Selangor 2-1
Harima Muda A v Kelantan 2-2
Sabah v T Team 1-3
Felda United v Perak 0-1

1 - Kelantan 21 13 5 3 44-18 44
2 - Terengganu 21 13 5 3 40-18 44
3 -Selangor 21 13 3 5 30-20 42

Saturday, May 21, 2011


More tales From La La Land

An election for Football Association of Thailand president will be held on June 17, incumbent president Worawi Makudi said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference, Worawi said he had appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn a Fifa ruling which booted out Thailand from the current Olympic qualifying.

He also claimed he had achievements to prove his management ability but has been "bullied" by "envious" people.

He said a new date of the FAT election was set for June 17 at the National Football Development Centre in Nong Chok after the original poll on May 6 was called off.

At that time, Worawi said he and other members of FAT executive board decided to postpone the election because some member clubs were represented by more than one voter, amid reports that he could be defeated.

Worawi said yesterday the FAT had formally asked member clubs to name their voters who must be approved by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT).

There are 173 voters who include 19 members of the FAT executive board. Apart from Worawi, former Thai Port FC chairman Pichate Munkong and former national team manager Virach Chanpanich will stand in the election.

Worawi said he had lodged an appeal with the CAS for the court to allow Thailand to continue playing in the Olympic qualifying for the 2012 Games.

World soccer governing body Fifa has banned Thailand from competing in the Olympic qualifying after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) claimed that Thailand used a suspended player in a previous match.

Thailand defeated Palestine on penalties after a 2-2 draw over two legs. In the first leg in Bangkok, Thailand fielded Sujarit Jantakol who the AFC said was suspended during a U20 match in 2008.

Thailand argued that Sujarit had served his suspension because he was in the Thai squad for the 2010 Asian Games but did not play.

The AFC then claimed the football tournament at the Asian Games was not sanctioned by the AFC.

Worawi said yesterday he had talked to AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam who admitted the football event at the Asiad was supervised by the AFC.

"We should know a CAS ruling in 10 days. In my opinion, there is a high chance of Thailand returning to the Olympic qualifying," he said.

Worawi also used this occasion to attack his opponents.

"I don't want to have enemies but a group of people have bullied and attacked me only because our national team lost," he said.

"If I do not look after the association or the national team, then you can criticise me. I have tried my best to look after the national team. But you can get any result in football.

"Our football league has made progress in recent years and this could affect the preparations of the national team because the players will have less time to train with the national team.

"I believe that in the next one or two years, our system will become effective."

On criticism that he has not had an achievements, Worawi argued that he guided Thailand to the semi-finals at the 2002 Asian Games and to the final qualifying round for the 2002 World Cup.

At that time, he was FAT secretary-general.

"This is proof that I have worked hard for Thai football. I am not disheartened. Athough I have been bullied by envious people, I am accepted on the international stage," said Worawi, who is a Fifa executive member.

COMMENT - seriously, you can't make this shit up. The qualifty of person that leads football is shocking, they have no shame, no scruples. Given the money swirling round the game we're unlikely to be rid of them any time soon. Allowing fans to vote won't change things anyway. Look at the Manchester United shirts round the world, there ain't a whole lot of independent thinking going on out there.

Still, it's the modern world I guess and we must accept it?


RIP Indonesian Football

Yesterday's much heralded PSSI congress to elect a new chairman ended as so much of Indonesian football ends. In a farce. Organised by the Normalisation Committee which was empowered by FIFA to arrange new elections, the congress got bogged down in irrelevance as a laughingly named Pro Reform Group stalled, demanding to know why George Toisutta and Arifin Panigoro couldn't stand.

The reason why they couldn't stand was because they had initially been rejected by a PSSI committee, possibly under pressure from the old leadership, FIFA supported that rejection and appeals to the Sports Arbitration Council were thrown out.

Anyway, who the bloody hell is the Pro Reform Group? Three months ago they were former Chairman Nurdin Halid's backing band. Now they want reform? Or are they still doing their hero's bidding trying to disrupt Indonesian football and stop it moving forward?

Indonesian football now faces suspension from FIFA a month away from the World Cup Qualifiers and already national team striker Bambang Pamungkas thinks that is no bad thing.

After the incompetence of the Nurdin years we are now witnessing further turmoil while those in a position to fight for power scramble to make sure they protect their own little empire in any new regime. And there, in a nutshell, is why it is naive to expect any wholesale changes in the way football in Indonesia is run. Too many people have a vested interest in the status quo and won't go away quietly.

In the west pompous sounding pundits say people get the governments they deserve. Do Indonesians deserve these humiliating bitch fests besmirching them?

Friday, May 20, 2011


Another Exciting Evening In The SLeague

For so long Sengkang Punggol were a laughing stock in the SLeague. If they dropped much further down the league table, nobody ever once said, they would end up in the Batam Regional League. Sengkang Punggol players couldn't score in Lorong 8 or Joo Chiat the mockers mocked. The guys behind the now extinct Fish Out Of Water blog produced more than their heroes ever did.

Not anymore. Rebranded with a new kit, new colours and a new badge as well as a new name, not really sure why they don't count as a new team but there you go, they have become a comfortably dull mid table team. Hell, in Jordan Webb they even have one of the top scorers in the league! Heady days indeed.

For those fans who recall the days of the piss taking last night at the Hougang Stadium must have been oh so sweet. The league leaders, unbeaten Tampines Rovers, breezed into town. Tampines with their team of all starts, Duric, Latiff, Nakamura, Qiu Li, Hasan. They had swept aside all before them, surely Hougang were the next team to roll over and day in front of the Stags juggernaut?

Well, no, actually. Hougang United are now nicknamed the Cheetahs and the law of the jungle imposed itself on the SLeague last night as the Cheetahs mauled the Stags 2-0 with goals from Syaqir Sulaiman and Carlos Delgado from the spot in front of a frankly disbelieving 1,100 fans.

The Cheetahs are now in nose bleed territory, 6th in the 12 team SLeague. They are ahead of Gombak United, level on points with Albirex Niigata and just four points behind SAFFC. After 14 games they have scored 25 goals...more than they have managed in whole seasons previously. If they climb any higher up the table they will need oxygen masks.

More mundanely SAFFC beat Geylang United last night 3-1 to cement 4th.


The Jakarta Globe Column

More about PSSI elections, this time how they are overshadowing the real business of football.


New Stadium For Kelantan

KOTA BHARU (20 May 2011) – Malaysia Cup champions Kelantan will finally have a new stadium with a capacity of 40,000 – following the approvals from the state government to build the new facility in Pasir Puteh to the tune of RM159 million (USD 52.4 million).

Chief Minister of Kelantan Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said that the stadium will be built within a sports complex which will also have other sporting venues including a swimming pool.

The decision to build the stadium in Pasir Puteh was made due a new housing project being built in the area called Red Warriors City, named after the team.

“I’m really happy to make this announcement as it is for the benefit of the people of Kelantan to serve the sport loving populace,” added Nik Abdul Aziz.

“The stadium board has visited several stadia outside the country and so we know what shape the new stadium will take.

“Work can start almost immediately as afterall, the new facility will be built on state land.”

Kelantan currently play at the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu which has a capacity of 30,000 and was built back in 1957.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


You Couldn't Score In Patpong

The first year I started writing about Thai Premier League was back in 2008 and I recall mocking endlessly the lack of goals in that now unrecognisable league.

There were 16 teams in the league that year, the TPL was won by PEA (before they moved to Buriram) with Chonburi finishing second.

Just three teams scored more than 40 goals in that year (BEC Tero 50, Krung Thai Bank & Chula Sinthana 47) while eight teams averaged a goal or less per game.

Well, fast forward three years and it looks like not a whole lot has changed beyond a few names and more fans and the fact that Chonburi are still second!

There are now 18 teams in the league and, after 13 rounds, fully half, that's nine for the mathmatically illiterate, average a goal a game or less.

And just two teams have managed more than 20 for the season; that's leaders and Champions elect Buriram PEA (21) and eternal bridesmaids Chonburi top scoring with 32.

The leading scorer is Wasan Natasan, from newly promoted Chiang Rai United, who has scored eight of his team's 16 goals this season.

This shortage of goals has long been an issue in Thail football and has a knock on effect in the national team. With Teerathep Winothai off form for so long, a reluctance to use Anon Sangsanoi who has been perhaps the most consistent scorer in the TPL over the last few years, the Thai national team were forced to turn to the consistent but less mobile Sarayuut Chaikamdee.

The failings in front of goal were highlighted during the last AFF Cup when Thailand were surprisingly held 2-2 by Laos, mullered Malaysia 0-0 and lost 2-1 to hosts Indonesia.

It's another busy year on the international front with World Cup qualifiers beginning in July, Thailand face either Afghanistan or Palestine, and the biennial SEA Games Under 23 in November.

Thai FA chief Worwai Makudi has come in for a lot of criticism recently and is up for election this year. He cancelled the last one and is due to give a press conference later this week giving his views on Thailand's travails as well as accusations he asked for personal favours during England's failed World Cup bid.

While al that nonsense goes on, on the field fans expect goals. and they're not seeing many.


Singapore FA Fiddles As Crowds Stay Away

Young Lions v Woodlands Wellington 509
Etoile v Gombak United 502
Woodlands Wellington v Tanjong Pagar 753
Balestier Khalsa v Etoile 602
Tanjong Pagar v SAFFC 880

Grim reading eh? These are recent attendances at SLeague games and remember Etoile are the bloody champions!

Much talk of strategic plans, much quotes from the great and good in the world game (sic) saying how great the strategic plan is/was. Well, we can't expect a turn around overnight but perhaps a little stabilising at least?

But nope, can't even manage that. The SLeague, a genuinely exciting league, is sinking and the captain is in his life raft and long gone.


More Cards Than Vegas

PSAP missed out on the chance of Indonesia Super League football, losing 1-0 to hosts Mitra Kukar in the play offs last night.

The team from Aceh province had gone into the game worrying about match officials showing home side bias, something they know a lot about as this story testifies.

Franco Hita scored the only goal of them securing Mitra Kukar's path to the semi finals on 50 minutes in what looks like a bad tempered game with PSAP collecting seven yellow cards and one red.

Mitra Kukar will be joined by Persiba Bantul after they came from 3-0 down against PSMS to draw 3-3 thanks to a hat trick from Fortune Udo. Heartbreak for PSMS, one of Indonesia's real glamour clubs, who had raced to a 3 goal lead before half time but Fortune has been scoring for fun all season.

So Mitra Kukar and Persiba will join Persidafon and Persiraja in the semi finals to be held at Solo next week and you can hear a collective sigh of relief at the League headquarters. Persidafon come from Papua, Mitra Kukar from East Kalimantan and Persiraja from Aceh. None of those teams are likely to bring large numbers of fans.

Persiba, on the other hand, are from DIY. The journey to Solo will be a short one for the Persiba supporters, known as Paserbumi, who have been filling their Sultan Agung Stadium all season.

While any promoted teams wil have earnt their promotion on merit (yeah, I know) nne are going to increase the average attendance in the ISL significantly.


Young Lions Newsletter

Young Lions also have a regularly updated website with details of membership etc.


PSSI Candidates

1.Achsanul Qosasi, PSSI treasurer

2.Adhan Dambea, chairman of Persigo Gorontalo

3.Agusman Effendi, former PSSI deputy chairman

4.Djohar Arifin Husin, PSSI acting deputy secretary general

5.Erwin Aksa, former PSM Makassar manager

6.Habil Marati, former PSSI Referee Body deputy chairman

7.I Gusti Kompyang Manila, former Persija Jakarta manager

8.Iman Arif, PSSI National Team Body deputy chairman

9.Indra Mukhlis Adnan, PSSI Riau chairman

10.Japto S. Soerjosoemarno, owner of now defunct Arseto Solo

11.Jusuf Rizal, former PSSI marketing director

12.Robertus Indratno, Persewar Waropen secretary general

13.Sarman El Hakim, Indonesian Football Society chairman

14.Sutiyoso, former Persija Jakarta chairman and former Jakarta governor

15.Syarif Bastaman, PSSI law department chairman

16.Tahir Mahmud, former PSM Makassar manager

17.Wahidin Halim, Persikota Tangerang chairman

18.Yesaya Buinei, Persewar Waropen chairman


Geylang United Replica Shirts

Good to see Geylang United in the SLeague trying different revenue streams. The club will start selling replica shirts for 50 SGD which is probably half the price of shirts from England, Italy and Spain.

In all my years of visiting Singapore I have only ever seen fans on non match day wearing club colours on a handful of occasions and they have all been wearing the green of Geylang United.

Of course, you can be sure they won't have my size!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


PSAP Having A Laugh

When you win consecutive home games by margins of 10-0, 9-0 and 5-0 I think you are in no position to lecture anyone on the dangers of refs showing home team bias. But that's exactly what PSAP are doing ahead of today's crucial play off against hosts Mitra Kukar. Both teams need wins to go through to the semi finals.

These are PSAP's home results over 2010/2011

5-0, 9-0, 10-0, 1-1, 2-0, 1-0, 2-1, 2-0, 2-2, 1-0, 2-0, 1-0

P 12 W 10 D 2 L 0 F 38-4

Notice that sudden goal glut at the end of the season?!


Abahani Prepare For Cambodian Adventure

Like their previous three appearances, Abahahi set their sights on the finals of the AFC President's Cup as the three-time Bangladesh League champions begin their Group A Qualifying campaign in Cambodia from Saturday.

The new format of the President's Cup is what gives Abahani hope of qualifying since the final round this time will allow six clubs instead of four. This comes as a result of increasing the number of participating from nine to twelve.

The twelve teams, split into three groups, will play in league format and top two teams from each group will qualify for the finals of this third-tier club competition.

Abahani were eliminated from the group stages in all of their three previous appearances despite finishing joint-group champions at home soil in 2009 when they failed to qualify due to inferior goal difference. Last year they became group runners up while their first appearance in 2008 was a the worst that saw them finish third after going down Nepal Police 4-0, Regar-Tadaz of Tajikistan 2-1 and winning against Wapda FC of Pakistan 1-0.

“Our performance was not bad in the last two editions where we were eliminated because of goal difference but this time I think the new format will help us advance to the finals which is our ultimate target,” Abahani football manager Satyajit Das Rupu said yesterday.

A 30-member Abahani squad is scheduled to leave here for Cambodia on the early hours of Thursday where they will play against Don Bosco Sports Club of Sri Lanka, Neftchi Kochkor-Ata of Kyrgyzstan and Phnom Penh Crown FC Cambodia in Group A.

“The first match against Neftchi Kochkon is a crucial one. We will play for a win even though they are considered a strong side,” Rupu said. “We know more or less about the clubs from Sri Lanka and Cambodia and they are expected to be somewhat similar in strength to us since Cambodia's ranks lower than Bangladesh in FIFA rankings.”

However, Abahani's hopes of qualifying for the finals may be more difficult than it seems since their domestic form this season has been not as good as the last few seasons. After winning the Federation Cup earlier in the season, the Sky Blues were eliminated from the quarterfinals of the Independence Cup and they are currently trailing league leaders Muktijoddha by six points in the ongoing professional league.

Besides, key players like Ghanaian Awudu Ibrahim and midfielder Mehdi Hasan Ujjal have been suffering from injuries though both of them will travel with the squad. Apart from injuries, Abahani have a weak midfield to worry about.

Captain Prantosh Kumar said that their Iranian coach Ali Akbar may adopt a five-man backline in the AFC President's Cup like they did against Brothers Union in Independence Cup and Farashganj SC in the Bangladesh League.


Promoting The President's Cup

Moments after whining that SLeague clubs do nothing to promote their own league I hear from Andy in Cambodia. Blogger and now media officer at Phnom Penh Crown, he is actively involved in raising the profile of the game in Cambodia including putting together the first ever Phnom Penh Crown handbook.

This weekend sees the President's up kick off and one way to put bums on seats is to advertise. And that is what they have done. Putting together a short TV commercial to raise awareness of the competition and of course Phnom Penh Crown.


Tanjong Pagar Complete The Set

The other day it was Woodlands Wellington who won their first game of the season, defeating Young Lions. Last night the Rams hosted the winless Tanjong Pagar and it was the turn of the visitors to earn their first win of the season, winning 1-0 in front of 753 fans.

Bottom of the table looks like..

10 - Young Lions 11 1 3 7 7-19 6
11 - Tanjong Pagar 13 1 3 9 5-33 6
12 - Woodlands 14 1 2 11 7-30


Persiraja Celebrate

Persiraja made it through to the semi finals of the Divisi Utama play offs and drawing 1-1 with group winners Persidafon in Jayapura.

Persiram were considered to be favourites by cynics out there, they're from Papua, but they got beat by Gresik United.

Despite enjoying home ground advantage and despite boasting a pretty decent squad Persidafon pulled piss poor crowds for the play offs.

The other group, hosted by Mitra Kukar and featuring PSMS, Persiba and PSAP plays today with both winner and runner up to be decided.

Semi final and final to be held at Manahan Stadium in Solo.


Typical Singapore Response

An article in Today about coach Raddy Avramovic looking ahead to a busy few months with World Cup qualifiers on the horizon.

This is an extract from a comment posted on the page.

It's a typical Singaporean. The government should do more, blame the government blah blah and blah. The game is what it is and none of it travails can be thrown at the feet of the government. The FA don't show leadership. Instead they play to the gallery and hope giving away free ice cream will bring the punters in.

They fog about official match attendances, they do nothing to promote their own league or players.

The Singapore public are condescending about the game on their own doorstep and are constantly on the look out for free tickets. They complain match tickets, at 5SGD/6SGD/10SGD are too expensive.

Luckily fans at Hougang United as well as the people behind Young Lions are making an effort to try and change things but this ain't down to the government. It's football's mess and football needs to sort itself out and start selling itself to the public. And the public needs to realise 5 bucks is way too cheap.

I wish the government would be more generous in funding and putting in reforms to make footballing as a career more viable in Singapore.


A Couple Of Jakarta Globe Columns

Where has all the English talent gone?
One man and his dream


Vital Few Days For Indonesia

Another crucial few days in Indonesian football with the FA having a meeting later this week, with AFC and FIFA sending representatives, in Jakarta to elect a new leadership. The last meeting, in Palembang, ended up a disaster and saw Nurdin Halid removed from his position as chairman.

The normalisation committee, charged by FIFA to try and organise new elections, have appealed FIFA's decision to bar businessman Arifin Panigoro and military man George Toisutta and if successfull they could stand.

Arifin's money helped kick start the Liga Primer Indonesia, the initially rebel league that was eventually brought under FA 'control' once Nurdin had fallen from the scene.

However I understand all is not well in the LPI with talk it will end this weekend. Familiar faces at the LPI have been quiet over the last few weeks and indeed even the government, such vocal critics of the FA in the past, have not been saying much which is also interesting.

The problem of course with the LPI is that there is no final court of appeal. Players Union leader Brendan Schwab, from FIFPro, has been assured players' contracts have been guaranteed by the LPI which is reassuring but there must still be doubts. Indonesia doesn't have a sterling record when it comes to honouring contracts.

The LPI was set up with the monicker Change The Game but it was always unlikely any real change was going to happen. The pitches are still lousy at many grounds, coaches are still influenced by club owners and, from what I've heard, bonuses have been changed. Players have been frozen out of their clubs, suspended from training and fined for nothing more than making the club owner lose face.

Of course no decision on the LPI's future can be taken until the election is over and a new leadership has decided how to deal with it. Again though much talk of a merger between LPI and ISL continues.

The sad fact is that whoever takes over the running of Indonesian football probably won't address the key issues that affect the game. The alleged intimidation of match officials, the poor performance of match officials, interference in team affairs by club owners, shoddy pitches, poor quality coaching, disregard for spectator or player comfort, any meaningful youth development programme, home team bias shown by match officials, piss weak TV deals, lack of national team development programme, fan violence, the inability of anyone to make Indonesia's most popular pastime a business that can make money.

For sure local government subsidies have to stop. But be wary when thinking that will cure all ills. Look, for example, at one of the few privately owned teams in the Divisi Utama, Pro Titan. They started off playing in Bandung, moved to Sleman and are now based in Medan, North Sumatra. Owned by a wealthy businessman who is a candidate in the upcoming elections, how can a football club develop a support when it keeps moving its home base?

Another case in point is Pelita Jaya. In the last few years they have played in Jakarta, Solo, Cilegon, Purwakarta, Soreang and now Karawang. They are owned by a prominent business/political family yet the way they keep shifting the team from one stadium to another, from one city to another, suggests their minds are not fully focussed on football.

Neither Pro Titan or Pelita Jaya have seen the need to develop a stadium and a home base. Instead they would rather turn their football clubs into nomads, roaming the country looking for an elusive success.

The LPI was never going to change the game. At best it may be a catalyst, at worst just an irrelevant sideshow.

Anything has to be an improvement on the Nurdin years. By the way, FIFA needs to explain why it supported a jailed convict to run football even though its against their statutes. But reform isn't a button to be pushed. It's a slow, painful journey with more obstacles than the Grand National.

It's worth remembering football is only as good as the people who put themselves forward to run it. When characters like Jack Warner, Nurdin Halid, M Bin Hammam, Worawi Makudi and Sepp Blatter are let loose unsupervised look what happens. Yes, their needs to be greater transparency and democracy in the world game but them what run the game will turn round and say why change it, look at the numbers. And they'll be right. Attendances are good, TV rights are expensive, ticket sales for big matches are over subscribed.

Wanna change the game? Turn your back on it now, hit them all where it hurts...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A North Eastern Affair

Kelantan will meet Terengganu in the Malaysia FA Cup final after both secured convincing victories in the semi final. Kelantan beat Selangor 6-2 (5-1, 1-1) while Terengganu overcame Pahang 5-2 (3-2, 2-0).

Difficult finding info out about the game in Malaysia at times. Malaysia Football hasn't updated the FA Cup while even the Wikipedia page is behind schedule. It's a sorry state of affairs when I have to go to gambling websites to keep up to date with the game there. The FAM and the Malaysia Super League websites have been designed by three year olds with little thought for the end user experience...


First Win For Rams

SLeague Latest

Young Lions v Woodlands Wellington 1-2 (Fazli Ayob; Goh Swee Swee, Leonardo Alexio) 509
Tampines Rovers v Albirex Niigata 3-1 (OG, Shahdan Sulaiman, Aleksander Duric; Yosuke Saito) 1,304
Home United v Hougang United 4-2 (Qiu Li, Frederick Mendy, Firdaus Idros 2; Diallo Mamadou, OG) 1,531

I don't want to sound patronising but what's happening at the bottom of the SLeague is almost as exciting as what is happening at the top. Young Lions, Woodlands and Tanjong Pagar have played 36 games between them, have managed two wins between them, have scored 18 goals between them and have conceded 81 goals between them. Tonight, Tanjong Pagar play Woodlands and while the rams are celebrating their first win of the season TP are coming off the back of a sensational 2-2 draw with SAFFC.

The latest table can be found here!

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