Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Indonesia's Late Payers

Following on from yesterday's players union meeting in Jakarta, the following clubs are either late in paying salaries or have faced difficulties in paying wages or bonuses on time.

Indonesia Premier League (Official league recognised by FIFA)

That is, he says reaching for a calculator, seven clubs out of a 12 club league. And remember these are the guys who promised to guarantee all salaries, who said late payment is a thing of the past.

Indonesia Super League

  • PSMS
  • PSPS
  • Persidafon
  • Persiwa
  • Persiram
  • Deltras
  • Arema
  • Persela
  • Pelita Jaya
  • Persija
  • Sriwijaya
Again, using my amazing mathematic skills that works out at 11 clubs in the 18 club league. And you know what? Four of them are closely identified with the group that runs the league! Says it all doesn't it? How the hell is the league going to sanction clubs that, in effect, they own?

Don't expect a sympathetic hearing from clubs in either of the leagues. They just don't give a toss.

Oh, and this list doesn't include clubs in the respective Divisi Utamas.

You know what? If the players did hang up their boots the clubs wouldn't give a toss. They would just find some raw kids to browbeat and overpower.

Thanks to FIFA for allowing this wound to fester...


94,000 Reasons

Two massive games in Indonesia on Sunday. Sriwijaya defeated Persipura 1-0 thanks to a penalty by Keith Kayamba Gumbs. The crowd for this top of the table clash? 44,000!

The win sees Sriwijaya stretch their lead to a lot.

In the earlier game a late equaliser by Maman Abdurahman left Persija fans disappointed in front of 50,000. The game ended 2-2 and after the match three fans died.

The reaction to those deaths has been interesting. Remember the reaction to Fabrice Muamba when he collapsed on the field in the FA CUP and all those stories that went world wide including Indonesia? Well, let's just say the reaction to three deaths at a football match has not drawn a similar reaction.

Funny, innit? Someone thousands of miles away can stir so many emotions thanks to a football saturated English media yet a similar occurance in their own backyard evokes little beyond a role of the eyes and a ;not again'.


Ashes To Ashes

Indonesian football stands on a precipice as the game in the world's largest archipelago lurches from one disaster to another as effortlessly as David Cameron switches position based upon an unfavourable poll.

Heartily pissed off with the perma mess that surrounds football, the interminably late salaries and the contempt shown by many clubs, the players, under the guise of the footballer's union, APPI, are edging closer to a strike that could further paralyse a game that is already on a life support machine with the nurses on lunch break.

The 15th June sees a meeting where it is thought that FIFA could actually, finally, do something about the mess that they, through their own apathy and self interest, have exasperated over the years. Had they taken action when the last head of the FA was in jail, a definite breach of their regulations, then perhaps we would no be where we are now.

But for unfathomable reasons, they sat and did nothing. A decision they have never explained and yet one more they must be held accountable for.

Now the players are doing something. They are threatening industrial action, a strike, refusing to put their shin pads down their socks, if clubs don't make some effort to start paying the money they are owned by next Thursday.

This is a massive step. For too long, clubs have relied on players being professional, fulfilling their contractual obligations, while they have cavalierly done what the hell they wanted. To the club owners, often politicians or businessmen used to a playing field where their money and power inures them from outside pressures, this will be an affront.

These people have grown used to getting things their way and their way usually has sweet fanny adams to do with football. The ideas of competition and transparency are as alien to them as going to a pub and drinking water all night is to me.

To have their chattels turn on them won't be pleasant.

As ever there are two angles to the threat of strike action.

First, and the cynical western view point, is that it is too little, too late. The seasons end in June and July. Surely the threat of action by players could have been taken earlier? Certainly the conditions are not new. Why not turn the heat on a month ago or two months ago?

If anything, the timing is perfect for the clubs. They can point to the FIFA meeting and the uncertainty that creates as a reason to continue doing nothing. They can stall, play for time, perhaps toss out a few bills as a token gesture but that's about it.

Season's nearly over, the contract's are nearly finished, who cares, among them, if players aren't paid?

But that needs to be set against the cultural backdrop. In this part of the world people rarely go against the boss man. Indonesian footballers know that whoever runs the game, be it the new PSSI or the old PSSI, they cannot put their noses out of joint too much; football is their livelihood and it may not be going too far to suggest that some of the players may well be risking that livelihood by taking any action or indeed speaking out period.

Yes, the players union is acting out of self interest. But they aren't getting paid! They are being treated with contempt. What is the purpose of the union if not to protect its members? Players who don't get paid are unhappy people and that is going to affect their performance on the field. Bills to be paid, mortgages, all that dull old stuff. And don't forget, people here aren't earning Carlos Tevez like salaries.

The players' threat may succeed in focusing minds. Everyone says they want a solution. Everyone says they want one federation and one league. But, as is so often the case, what everyone says and what everyone does are two different things.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


The Paradox Of Indonesian Football

If you're watching the Sriwijaya v Persipura game there are some wonderful insights, if you know what to look for, as to why the game is in such a mess and why it shouldn't be.

Fans waving banners supporting the TV channel that is broadcasting the game live. On the one hand, the channel is so insecure, despite being owned by the family that just about runs the ISL, they need to have fans 'tell' them how wonderful they are!

Check the home team's bench and see the politicians taking up all the space, forcing the coach to the margins.

See how full the stadium is for the game and wonder how much 'official' merchandise they are wearing.

Add that little lot together and you can understand why the game here ain't gonna change any time soon.


Super Sunday

Massive day in Indonesia today with leaders Sriwijaya hosting second place and title holders Persipura. Before that there is the small matter of Persija v Persib. Check out my preview in the Jakarta Globe.

If you've never experienced a Persija v Persib game check out the atmosphere on Jakarta Casual TV

Saturday, May 26, 2012


EPL Has Beens Visit Jakarta

So we have the EPL All Stars in Jakarta for the weekend. In a masterpiece of timing their visit coincides with the national team hosting Inter Milan and tomorrow has the domestic biggy...Persija v Persib.

Why the hell would anyone wanna see a bunch of middle aged, pot bellied men hugging each other, enjoying their own private jokes and occasionally condescending to toss a wave or a thumbs up to the paying, braying, fan. Especially with two real games on the agenda?

These sorts of things have been popular in other parts of South East Asia for several years now; fans are that desperate to get close to their heroes, or even their dad's heroes, or even some player they have never heard of  but he once played for their favourite team so that's close enough, eh?

Hell, I'll even admit I have a couple of times been to see a 5 a side or 6 a side, in London and Brisbane, but those competing were players of that era, players I was of course well familiar. Even picked up Franz Carr's autograph...see, knew that would have you swooning.

But to go and see the likes of Ray Parlour and Paul Merson or even the legendary, the positively iconic David May now? Nope, no thanks.

The players treat it like a holiday; the organisers treat it as a chance to show how they can organise, the sponsors treat it as an opportunity to rub shoulders with famous people and hope some of that allure rubs off on them. And the fan? They get to cheer and clap hands on cue.

It all seems so 1970s, so Communist kitsch. Who needs to holiday in North Korea when the EPL Masters are in town and you can partake in your own choreography.

Friday, May 25, 2012


QPHa Ha Ha Heading To South East Asia

Queens Park Rangers will be coming to the region in July for a couple of friendlies.

14/7 v Thai All Stars Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok
18/7 v Sabah Select, Kta Kinabalu

Didn't Sheffield United play in Malaysia in 1983? I think they may have played in either Sabah or Sarawak.

Anyway, QPR join Arsenal and Manchester City in visiting Malaysia.

Me? I wanna go on the piss with Joey Barton in Bangkok!


Only In Indonesia

Inter Milan are in Jakarta for a couple of games. Last night they played one of these awful Select teams and won 3-0 while Saturday sees them play what will pass for the national team.

Tickets aren't selling well. I don't know know how many have been sold but when scalpers are flogging them at less than face value you just know there ain't that much demand out there!


More Match Fixing Allegations

SINGAPORE - Just three months after two Malaysian Super League (MSL) matches involving the LionsXII were reportedly red-flagged by world football governing body FIFA for suspected match fixing, yet another fixture involving the Singapore side has come under the microscope.

Sources revealed that four men - two Malaysians, a Singaporean, and MSL referee Shukri Nor - have been taken into custody by the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau (CPIB) here and could be charged as early as today, for attempting to fix Tuesday's MSL encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium between the LionsXII and Sarawak, which the Singapore side won 3-0.

TODAY understands none of the four are current football players.

Referee Shukri was originally scheduled to officiate the match but he was replaced at the last minute by Mohd Tarmizi, and did not take to the field. 

"At the team manager's meeting, we were surprised that the original referee did not turn up," said Sarawak coach Robert Alberts, who on Tuesday admitted that his charges were given a "lesson in football" by the LionsXII who "absolutely deserved to win."

"The fact that arrests have been made, along with the fact that some of my players actually played below par at that game, is very sad," Alberts added.

"I will bring this matter up to the management, once we get confirmation from the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), and there will definitely be an investigation. But it is too early to make any sort of judgment on the matter," added the former Home United and Tiong Bahru coach.

TODAY understands that details are being finalised for charges to be brought against the quartet.

Speaking to TODAY, LionsXII central defender Baihakki Khaizan was disappointed, saying: "Honestly we don't even want to hear about such things. As far as we're concerned, football is a sport and we will keep giving our best to win every game.

"We're not going to feel down about this, we'll just do what we have to do, continue playing football and entertaining our fans."

This is the latest in a string of fixtures in the MSL that have come under the cloud of match-fixing, but only two previous matches - the 1-0 away win over Sabah on Jan 21 and the 3-1 home victory over Negeri Sembilan on Feb 11 - have involved the LionsXII.

The Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League has also not been free from the spectre. Earlier this month, two former S-League players, South Koreans Kim Jae Hong and Jeon Byung Euk were found guilty for attempting to fix the May 3 match between Geylang United and Harimau Muda.

The FAS did not respond to TODAY's enquiries by press time.


Arthur Irawan

My latest Jakarta Globe column looks at how a young Indonesian player is causing waves in Spain.


Arema Celebrate Unlikely Away Win

Indonesian teams have hardly set Asian football on fire. Ever. So it is refreshing to report that Arema, struggling in the bottom half of the Indonesia Premier League, managed to travel to Hong Kong and defeat Kitchee 2-0 to earn a place in the quarter final stage of Asia's AFC Cup.

Arema of course only reached the Round of 16 after winning their final group game 6-2 to overturn a poor goal difference and no one gave them much chance in Hong Kong.

But two goals from Putut Waringin Jati either side of half time was enough to put them in the draw for the final eight.

Joining them are Kelantan who overcame near neighbours Terengganu 3-2. The Malaysian champions had raced in to a 3-0 first half lead but Terengganu fought back second half and on 85 minutes a penalty by Francis Forkay Doe made it 3-2 with the home team down to 10 men. They held out though for a famous victory just days after lifting the FA Cup.

One other team made it through. Chonburi defeated some team from Iraq 1-0, goal from Pipob On Mo.

The next round will be in September, home and away, and chances are high the teams from our region will be drawn against Middle Eastern opposition which won't be easy; no one ever wins there. Refs usually come from there as well and previous teams have complained about home team bias which I find reallyhard to believe. As if FIFA would allow such a thing...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Malaysian Signs For Portuguese Side

SINGAPORE - Jakarta's Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is one of Asia's most inhospitable venues for visiting teams, but even the vitriol spat from 100,000 partisan fans did not faze Nazmi Faiz when Malaysia upset hosts Indonesia to defend their men's under-23 football gold medal at last November's SEA Games final.

Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee was certain that his young protege was in a world of his own that night, and it was perhaps his ability to exist only on the football field that has now put Nazmi in a truly special place of his own.

Today has learnt that Nazmi, 17, who turned out for Harimau Muda 'A' in this season's Great Eastern-Yeo's S-League, has signed a pre-contract agreement with Beira-Mar, making him the first Malaysian to join a Portuguese First Division side.

"He has signed a pre-contract agreement for a three-year deal, and according to FIFA rules, Nazmi will return on his 18th birthday, sign the papers, and join the club," said Marco Guimaraes, director of football at Football Management International, the agency that was key in setting up the deal.

"He did very well, showing good movement and understanding of space. Speaking with the head coach (Ulisses Morais), it was his composure on the pitch, the way he kept his nerve under pressure that stood out the most - even Portuguese youngsters don't have that."

Guimaraes will now work closely with the club to help the player settle in when he moves to the port city of Aveiro where the club is based.

The Malaysian under-22 team are currently in Slovakia to prepare for the 2013 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) under-22 Asian Cup qualifiers, and speaking to Today in a phone interview early this morning, Ong, who also coaches Harimau Muda 'A', could barely contain his joy.

"I believe Nazmi will go far. The fact that Beira-Mar gave him a three-year contract indicates that they must have confidence in his abilities - it is a big achievement, and testament to our youth development programme," he said.

Nazmi will join Ong's under-22 side in Budapest where they will play three friendly games from May 23 to 30 as part of an intensive preparation for the qualifiers that will see the team play one friendly in Slovakia and another in China before their AFC under-22 Asian Cup qualifiers from June 23 to July 3, where they are in Group G with Vietnam, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and hosts Myanmar.

"I have no doubts about his ability, and if he can succeed there, it will open the door to Europe for other Malaysian players," said Ong who firmly believes others will follow Nazmi.

These include Harimau Muda 'A''s Wan Zack Haikal and Wan Zaharulnizam, who have postponed trials at a Japanese club due to their international commitments.

While delighted at the news, Ong hopes Nazmi and the rest of his team will focus on their immediate task at hand.

"I'm certain that everyone in Malaysia is happy for Nazmi, but we have a major assignment in front of us, the AFC under-22 qualifiers," he said.

"I hope that when we do get back to Kuala Lumpur on June 12, the team - and Nzami - won't get carried away by all this talk of Portugal and Beira-Mar."

Looking at Nazmi's trance-like dance every time he steps out onto the field, Beira-Mar and the all the glitz that comes with writing himself into Malaysian folklore may not get to the youngster, as long as he has a ball at his feet.

COMMENT - good luck to the lad but the hard work has just begun.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Bojan's Thoughts On Kelantan Cup Triumph

In the absence of any match report or tweets every few seconds from saturday's FA Cup Final between Kelantan and Sime Darby at the Bukit Jalil Stadium, here are the thoughts of Kelantan's coach Bojan Hodak.

'Great atmosphere, 2 hours before game was almost full stadium, in this atmosphere we couldnt lose
Today I read that Kelantan didnt play so well, problem is that everyone expect 3-0 4-0 but Sime Darby played 8-1-1, after they conceded the goal they changed to 8-0-2.

The pitch was horrible, Kelantan had 59% ball possesion, 10 shoots on goal, Sime Darby 2 and Kelantan goalkeeper fell sleep!

All finals are ugly, we come to win without risk and we did it. This is only important, Sime Darby work hard but we never give them chance.'

Next up is Terengganu in AFC Cup and Bojan feels it will be another tough match.

'They are fresh, we are empty physically and mentally so for me will be most dificult to motivate players but we are playing in Kelantan so with our fans we are always favorite to win'

However Kelantan's eyes are firmly on the Super League and a win against Johor FC brings that dream one step closer.

'In all 6 games in the group we played mixed team, always we rested someone and most probably tomorrow will do the same because on Saturday we are in Johor, if we beat Johor FC League title will be very near'


Duric Out Of National Squad

Has father time finally caught up with the ageless Aleksander Duric?

The striker who has netted 73.83 zillion goals during his 416 year Singapore career, he was having a kick around on the beach when some toffee nosed English git on a boat sailed past and decided to plant the Union flag where the penalty spot was, has been omitted from the 27 man squad that has been called up to play against Hong Kong and Malaysia in June.

Duric, pictured left hiding from the sun, helped Tampines Rovers to the SLeague title last season and his team mate, the far younger Mustafic Fahruddin, has been called up while Ahmad Latiff continues to be ignored by coach Raddy Avramovic.

Of course in ASEAN Cup year there is no guarantee Duric's international career is over. With two teams specifically set up to prime players for the national team, Young Lions and LionsXII, Avramovic has plenty of options to check out before the end of the year.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Just Another Game

New Football Association, same old shit.

Following the Divisi Utama game between Persipasi and PSS the ref was attacked by visiting players and a brawl erupted as the away team's players, angry a dead cert penalty was not given, vented their feelings on the incompetence officials.

Punches were thrown, plastic chairs were thrown and of course the odd plastic water bottle was thrown as players and club officials took out their frustration.

But despite the nonsense on the field, which saw a security official lamp a fan before official was shepherded away by his colleagues, the fans behaved themselves.

The PSS support, Slemania, had been immense all afternoon. Some seven buses had made their way to the capital city from their part of Yogyakarta and they had sung and danced all game.

Not the usual songs either. Indeed, this aging punk rocker was surprised to hear England Belongs To Me sung with gutso by the travelling support, with the odd word change of course.

When the shit kicked off after the game there was little reaction from the away support. Any lads who made a move to the front of their enclosure were gently ushered back by their own stewards and they just kept on cheering their team.

The home support also made little effort to get involved; perhaps they were a tad embarrassed by the blatant penalty that wasn't given, but they applauded the visiting support in a display of sportsmanship sadly lacking in the corridors of power.

I'm not one for match reports or man of the match but today without doubt the best performer was the Slemania. Football however was let down as ever by the people charged to ensure it runs smoothly.

For those knuckle draggers, it ain't about football.

UPDATE - just been advised they weren't Slemania but Brigatta Sud Curve! The fans that is...

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The Road To The Final

Today sees Kelantan play Premier League side Sime Darby in the Malaysia FA Cup Final. For Sime Darby it is their first final appearance while Kelantan are current Super League champions; they also lost in last year's final against bitter North East foes Teregganu in front of 87,500

1st Round
Kelantan v Sarawak 2-1
Sime Darby v Sabah 2-0

2nd Round
Penang USM v Sime Darby 0-2
Kelantan v KL 3-2

Quarter Finals 1st Leg
Sime Darby v Johor FC 3-2
SPA v Kelantan 0-3

Quarter Finals 2nd Leg
Johor FC v Sime Darby 1-2
Kelantan v SPA 2-0

Semi Final 1st Leg
Terengganu v Sime Darby 1-2
Kelantan v Kedah 1-1

Semi Final 2nd Leg
Sime Darby v Terengganu 0-0
Kedah v Kelantan 2-2


Turn A Blind Eye

Following the riot after Persipura's 1-0 home defeat by Persija, which saw the visiting team forced to leave the stadium three hours after the game ended by boat, the Indonesia Super League in their wisdom have seen fit to impose no sanction on the home team.

This is of course bollocks and double standards. You can be sure that had Persebaya, Persib, Arema or Persija hosted that game the ISL would have imposed a heavy fine and forced them to play home games behind closed doors.

Persipura increased the security presence for their next home game with PSPS but as they won that game 2-1 to keep their feint hopes of the title alive there was never gonna be any problems there.

Not for the first time, the authorities have found themselves powerless to take action against certain teams.

One day, maybe not in my lifetime, but one day the game will be run by people who are motivated by improving football at all levels. Until that day comes we will continue to see shit like this.


First Singapore Cup Upset

Geylang United sensationally crashed out of the Singapore Cup last night, beaten 2-1 by Philippine side Loyola Meralco Sparks (apparently this is the name of a football club and not David Beckham's next child).

The Eagles had taken the lead at Jalan Besar through Michael King just before half time but the visitors equalised in the second half through Mark Hartmann before Min Ho Park scored the winner on 95 minutes.

No mention of attendance on SLeague site which is a shame.

In other games so far SAFFC drew 1-1 with Balestier Khalsa who needed a late equaliser from Kim Min Ho to level Mislav Karolgan's opener while SLeague champions Tampines Rovers made hard work of defeating Cambodian side Phnom Penh Crown needing veteran Aleksander Duric to give them a 4-3 after Khim Borey had given the visitors the lead.

Home United edged leaders DPMM 1-0 at Yishun Stadium, John Wilkinson doing the damage on 40 minutes.

The Singapore Cup continues this weekend with Myanmar side KBZ playing Woodlands wellington at jalan Besar.


Aremania Are Back

It's been one hell of a confusing season for Arema fans. Two teams, players who have interchanged between the two, both starting the season badly.

The fans responded by staying away which is something I don't understand. They like to say they are the best fans in the land, and indeed have won awards twice for that, but then when their team lose a game or two they don't bother.

Their attendances in the Indonesia Super League have been poor by their standards, reflecting the poor performances on the field. For a long time the team lacked any kind of focal point; any player imbuing the Arema spirit in the manner of Noh Alam Shah or Pierre Njanka. The first half of the season was a mixture of journeymen and bench warmers.

Only Pierre Patrick Seme, the galloping full back, filled the void.

The signing of Herman Dzumafo from PSPS signalled a change. Here was someone who put himself about for the cause. He was followed by the likes of Megia Kurnia, M Ridhuan and Dendi Santoso from AREMA IPL and finally the fans had a team they could identify with.

Of course five straight home wins may also have played a part! But for all their recent form they are still 15th in the 18 team top division.

Oh and in case you're wondering this Arema are not the Arema who are in the next round of the AFC Cup!

v Persela 14,000
v Persiram 5,102
v PSMS 4,101
v Sriwijaya 2,818
v PSAP 3,584
v PSPS 5,021
v Persija 16,648
v Persipura 11,207
v Persiwa 5,355
v Persib 22,408
v Pelita Jaya 18,032
v Persisam 16,770
v Mitra Kukar 33,725

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Terengganu's New Coach

Peter Butler has been appointed coach of Terangganu. He takes over from Mat Aziz who was controversially dismissed last week.

Butler, who played for West Ham United, will be up against one of his former clubs next week when Terengganu take on Kelantan in the AFC Cup in what promises to be a very tasty affair.

This is Butler's third coaching appointment of the year following spells with Kelantan and Persiba in the Indonesia Super League.


More Embarrassment In Thai Football

As a farang we are not expected by Thais to have any concept of face. We don't understand their notions of power, patronage or status. We don't understand what it means to lose face in front of others and expunge that loss with a wai and a vague promise to enter a monastery at some undetermined future date.

As a farang we are allowed our little foibles but as long as we are generally rib roy or suuparb or jai yen or kreng jai then we are tolerated and the Thais can go about building their own personal kingdoms with the token white face.

That's what football is. It's a political power play among ambitious individuals intent on building their own empire...and much more no doubt. it pits puu yai against puu yai and the idea of trying to get between two local behemoths with quaint ideas of football first won't be appreciated.

In this endless pursuit of power and prestige even face gets sacrificed. Two rival camps will have their own concept of face, theirs and their rivals. How they are viewed by the larger public is irrelevant; they have their own audience and their own agenda.

Have a look at this video which I was sent today. The guy in the dreadful lime green t shirt clutching the microphone and inciting the supporters to charge on the field and assault the match officials obviously has some kind of agenda. He is certainly behaving in a most un Thai like manner, most definitely jai rawn. Or maybe he just can't handle his bottle of sangthip he has spent all day necking.

Heaven forbid any foreigners who get to watch this video will have a negative influence of Thailand or Thai football or Ranong FC.

Is he losing face by acting in that manner? A Joey Barton in a bad shirt? Or is he appealing to his supporters, proving his own macho ness in a sub plot we are unaware of?

There are enough problems in Thai football without the antics of this guy getting airtime. But will anything be done about it or will it just be swept under the table with a wai, a necklace of garlands and those immortal words 'it was a misunderstanding'?

Monday, May 14, 2012


Indonesia Not Ready For Palestine

My latest contribution for the Jakarta Globe looks at Indonesia's preparations, or lack thereof, for their trip to the Middle East. Check it out here...


Malaysian National Team Kept Busy

1/6 v Philippines (Shah Alam Stadium)
8/6 v Singapore (Jalan Besar Stadium)
12/6 v Singapore (Shah Alam Stadium)


Amar Rohidan, Khyril Muhymeen, Sabre Abu (Kedah),
Bunyamin Umar, Safiq Rahim, Asrarudin Putra, K. Gurusamy (Selangor),
S.Chanturu, S.Subramaniam, Khairul Fahmi, Shakir Shaari, Norsharul Idlan (Kelantan),
Faizal Muhamad, Sharbini Allawee, Ashaari Shamsudin (Terengganu),
Shahurain Abu Samah, Shakir Ali, Farizal Marlias, S.Kunalan (Negeri Sembilan),
Amiridzwan Taj, Aidil Zafuan (ATM),
Mahali Jasuli, Fadhli Shas, Wan Zack Haikal (Harimau Muda),
Faiz Subri (T-Team),
Safee Sali (Pelita Jaya).

SOURCE Malaysia Football


Reality TV Becomes Reality

A few years back a reality TV show in Malaysia came up with a team that took on the national team and they weren't the ones blushing.

Now Singapore is aping the idea. For obvious reasons I'm not bothering with covering it but it appears there are some people out there who take it seriously with reports suggesting than none other than SAFFC taking a look at a couple of the players showcased on the goggle box.

One of the players is a 31 year old striker.

Now no offence is meant against the lad in question, ok so he's no lad any more, but if a 31 year old can walk off the street, kick a ball around in front of the cameras and then get a trial with one of the biggest teams in the country, what does that say about the Singapore talent pool?

Sasikumar, one time Lion legend, says that both players have real talent and technique. They must next pass the fitness test all professionals must pass if they wanna play in Singapore.

Is this for real or is it just publicity for the show?


Sriwijaya Enjoy Point

Teams don't expect much from the long flight east to Papua so ISL leaders Sriwijaya will be feeling pretty pleased with themselves tonight. They drew 2-2 with Persidafon on a weekend when Persipura suprisingly lost at home.

Sriwijaya have been in impressive form all season and went into this game unbeaten in their previous 12 games. Thierry Gathussi's late equaliser kept that fine run going after Sriwijaya had twice come from behind.

Yohanes Pahabol gave the home team the lead on 16 minutes but the ever reliable, and leading contender for Jakarta Casual Player of the Year, Keith Kayamba, levelled the scores early in the second half.

Pahabol made it 2-1 and that's how it looked like it would end until Gathussi's late equaliser.

A look at the league table shows how crucial this result, and Persipura's defeat, was:

1 - Sriwijaya 23 16 4 3 49-19 52
2 - Persipura 24 14 6 4 40-25 48

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Crowd Trouble Mars Persipura Loss

It's not often visiting teams get a result in Papua. I have no idea how that can be. Without games from there being shown live, and even then the coverage ain't always the best and controversial incidents get overlooked, there is little in the way of openness and transparency. Rumours aplenty from people in the game who have been involved in games there but nothing more than that.

Recently Persiwa lost a home game. That doesn't happen very often. Mind you they lost against Persipura, a fellow Papuan side, so I don't think we can read too much into that.

Now Persija have gone to Mandala Stadium and won 1-0. Someone obviously hasn't read the rule book.

In the wake of the loss it seems that home fans have rioted, there won't be any visiting supporters or of there are they will be keeping quite, set fire to the stadium that was recently renovated to allow Persipura to play home games in Asian club competitions in front of their fans, and reports suggesting one young fan has died.

Now if all that is true then Persipura need to be dealt with severely. They need to be told that home games must be played outside of Papua, they need a hefty fine. After all, we can be sure that is how the authorities would react if it was either Persija, Persib, Arema or Persebaya fans involved.

There has been a history of trouble between both sets of fans. Earlier this season fighting flared when in the corresponding fixture, which was played in Yogyakarta, while several years ago a young fan was attacked outside Bung Karno Stadium and killed.

I have lost track of how many fans have died at football matches in this country and no one seems to give a bloody shit.

Life is cheap eh?

UPDATE - and apparently the Persija team were evacuated from the stadium by sea!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Jakarta Casual To Buy Malaysian Football Team

Following the decision by Malaysian owners to change the colours and crest of Cardiff City I have decided the time is ripe to move into football ownership.

I have long been mulling this over as I look for something to amuse me in my dotage and with the publicity surrounding the Cardiff City story now seems the perfect opportunity.

For those just awakening from hibernation, Cardiff City have announced they want to change their club colours from blue to red. The logic for this, sorry, I know there is no logic this far east, is that successful teams wear red. Successful teams like Brazil, Inter Milan, Real Madrid.

Another reason for the change is because Chinese people like the colour red. They associate it with wealth and happiness, inextricably linked in many eyes.

The Bluebird on the club crest is also to be got rid of. Instead they want to have a dragon.

So a Welsh club is looking to wear red shirts with a dragon on the badge. Wrexham already do this but hey! No one is asking them.

It's fine to reposition a product to pander to a new market but Cardiff's owners are greatly mistaken if Asians are suddenly going to give up on Liverpool and Manchester United and start following a team they have never heard of just because they wear the right colour. That is naive. They support teams that win and if Cardiff lose year on year who will be left to support the team? Not the folk in KL or Singapore, that's for sure.

Anyway, back to me.

I have decided to buy the incredibly stupidly named PBDKT T Team who play in the Malaysia Super League.

As far as I can make out there are no teams in Malaysia that appeal to foreign supprters. I'm gonna change this. T Team are going to change their name. And badge. And city. And city. I'm gonna rename them Melchester Rovers and the new manager will be a cardboard cut out of Roy Race. And I guarantee there will be no interference in team matters from me. None at all. Because I'll be too busy imbibing the finest products from the club sponsors...yummy, beer!

Terengganu doesn't offer much in the way of night life so I'm going to move the club. To Jakarta. Much better nightlife and the taxis are decent.

At the moment the club colours are as dull as the club name, black and white, but I'm going to put a stop to that. They're gonna have Melchester's famous red and yellow and the badge will be a British Bulldog holding a beer in one hand taking a piss on a guy wearing a black beret and a black and white hooped t shirt.

If the T Team supporters, both of them don't like it...well tough. I have already sent off my payment; a postal order for 37 pence and a packet of fig rolls.


Indonesia Cup Action

PSLS v Persebaya 1-1
Persiraja v PSMS 3-2
PSIS v Persik 1-1
Persis v PPSM 2-1
Persiba Bantul v Perseman 2-0

Persema v Persibo
Semen Padang v Pro Duta

Second legs to be played in a couple of weeks. Possibly


Five Teams Make AFC Knock Out Stage

Given the make up of the eastern half the AFC Cup group stage there was always going to be some representatives from the region going through to the knock out stage and it was five that made it with some drama along the way.

Terengganu may have sacked their coach at the start of the week but it didn't stop them flying to Hong Kong and getting a 2-2 draw with Kitchee. Both had already qualified so it was academic but the players at least put the nonsense behind them to get on with their job.

SLeague champions Tampines Rovers ended up with the wooden spoon, going down 3-0 in Vietnam against SLNA.

In Group G Chonburi travelled to Singapore and defeated Home United 2-1, Pipob On Mo giving them an early lead. Both teams go through, Chonburi dominating the group remaining unbeaten.

Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak was less than happy with his team's performance but they won 1-0 against Ayeyawady United to finish top. Arema caused the upset of the round. Having done nothing all season domestically and in the AFC Cup they raced into a 5-0 lead before half time which improved their goal difference no end; they had to score four more than visitors Navibank Saigon to finish above the Vietnamese and they ended up winning 6-2!

The Round of 16, bloody daft name that, has a mouth watering clash with the two Malaysian teams, Kelantan and Terengganu, going head to head; a game that could have extra spice added if Peter Butler is appointed coach of the Turtles. He started the season with Kelantan before quitting to re-join Persiba.

22/5 Al Shorta v Home United, Chonburi v Al Zawra'a
23/5 Kitchee v Arema, Kelantan v Terengganu

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Darby Comes Out In Support Of Sacked Colleague

Steve Darby has slammed Terengganu's sacking of coach Mat Zan Mat Aris saying he 'was amazed'. The team from the north east of Malaysia sit third in the Super League but were recently dumped out of the FA Cup by Premier League side Sime Darby.

'The results at Terranganu have been excellent, ' says Steve talking to Jakarta Casual, ' last year they won the FA Cup, runners up in league and Malaysia Cup and this year reached semi final of FA Cup and in the top 3 of the M league! Plus reaching the knockout stage of the AFC Cup, which many teams on bigger budgets have failed to do.'

Recalling a number of battles against Mat Zan over the years, Steve recalls 'every team he turns out is organised and hard working.'

As I type this Terengganu are losing 2-1 to Kitchee in Hong Kong on the final group stage game of the AFC Cup.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Arema Preview

AFC Cup Action

While much of the world is looking forward to a Champions League final pitching Bayern Munchen against Chelsea, here in South East Asia the much more humble AFC Cup is nearing the end of the group stages and for clubs from the region it has been a largely successful campaign thus far.

Except of course Indonesia’s sole representative, Arema. Beset by problems all season, Arema, who are sitting tenth in the 12 team Indonesia Premier League have struggled to make any impact in Group H where they have been drawn against Kelantan from Malaysia, Ayeyawady United (Myanmar) and Navibank Saigon from Vietnam.

All but ignored by the fanatical Aremania supporters who have chosen to follow the Arema competing in Indonesia’s rival Super League, Arema have struggled from the first group game when they were held by Ayeyawady United in Malang despite taking the lead.

Next up was a trip to Vietnam to be hosted by Navibank Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City. Like their first game, Arema took the lead but the home team responded with a hat trick by Edison Fonsenca Pulgarin to ease out a 3-1 victory.

Another away game followed, this time at Kelantan, champions of the Malaysia Super League, and another defeat. Just under 10,000 fans saw the home team win at a canter, chalking up a 3-0 win over the hapless Arema while the return game, attracting a poor 2,000 crowd, saw the Malaysians win 3-1.

Arema it seemed were dead and buried. One point from their opening four games was a very poor return indeed and they would have travelled to Myanmar  with a certain amount of trepidation knowing Ayeyawady had beaten both Kelantan and Navibank Saigon in their previous home games.

Not for the first time during this season’s competition, Arema took an early lead when Putut Waringin Jati opened the scoring on 10 minutes. But this time the Indonesians went on to extend their lead, going into the break 3-0 up after goals from Ahmad Amiruddin and TA Mushafry added to the early goal.

They held on to win 3-0 and return to Indonesia knowing that with just one game remaining knowing that, against all the odds there is a chance they could reach the next round of the competition.

Kelantan lead the group with 10 points from their opening five games and have secured qualification to the knock out stage where they join fellow Malaysians Terengganu. The fight for the second qualifying place though is a keen one.

Ayeyawady and Navibank each have seven points with the Vietnamese enjoying a better goal difference while Arema are bottom with four points. Arema host Navibank in the final group game knowing that if they can overturn their negative goal difference, and Kelantan beat the Myanmar side, there is an outside chance they could reach the next round.

It’s a remote chance for sure. The Vietnamese have a goal difference of plus two while Arema’s is minus four. In the Indonesian’s favour will be the fact that Navibank have yet to win on their travels.

If ever the team needed the Aremania it will be on 8th May at the Gajayana Stadium in Malang as they seek to achieve the impossible.

Written 26 April for Jakarta Globe


Persebaya Draw Level

Interesting day yesterday in the unofficial Divisi Utama with the top two in action. Second placed Persebaya traveled to the West Coast of Sumatra to face PS Bengkulu and came away with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Richard Obiora and Basuki, one in each half.

Leaders PSIM were less fortunate, going down 1-0 at Persitara with Adolfo Souza netting on 81 minutes. PSIM had a whine about the pitch at the Tugu Stadium...I guess their own pitch in Yogyakarta is like the Emirates.

1 - PSIM 16 9 4 3 22-12 31
2 - Persebaya 16 10 1 5 22-12 31
3 - Persita 14 8 4 2 18-8 28


Malaysia FA Cup Final Prices

The Football Association of Malaysia, where public relations gaffes are a job requirement, have basically stuck two fingers up to supporters ahead of next weekend's FA Cup Final between Kelantan and Sime Darby.

The FAM don't think 40 RM is expensive. My brother doesn't think paying 100 quid to see the Arsenal is expensive either but then he is a consultant for a bank and flies everywhere Business Class.

Responding to questions the Secretary General said that 'decision has been made, agree or disagree. Everyone need to accept the decision.'

To which the Malaysian public doffed their caps and said yes sir, of course sir, thank you oh wise one for letting us riff raff enter your precious bloody stadium in the first place.


Terengganu Seeking New Coach

Terengganu coach Mat Zan Mat Aris, one name, has quit. The team are third in the Malaysia Super League, 10 points behind leaders LionsXII but with three games in hand. However that doesn't seem to be enough for the team from the North East who were surprisingly knocked out of the FA Cup semi finals by Premier League side Sime Darby (no relation to Steve) and have only won one in their last five Super League games.

Last year was the most successful in the club's history when they won the FA Cup and finished runner's up in both the Super league and the Malaysia Cup but that ain't enough for some people I guess.

One name thought to being considered is that of Peter Butler who is currently with Persiba Balikpapan.


Singapore Cup Draw Dates

14/5 Singapore Armed Forces FC vs Balestier Khalsa (Choa Chu Kang Stadium)
15/5 Albirex Niigata vs Yotha FC (Laos) (Jurong East Stadium)
16/5 Tampines Rovers vs Phnom Penh Crown FC (Cambodia) (Clementi Stadium)
17/5 2012 DPMM FC (Brunei Darussalam) vs Home United (Yishun Stadium)
18/5 Loyola Meraclo Sparks FC (Philipiines) vs Geylang United (Jalan Besar Stadium)
19/5 KBZ FC (Myanmar) vs Woodlands Wellington (Jalan Besar Stadium)
20/5 Gombak United vs Harimau Muda B (Malaysia) (Jurong West Stadium)
21/5 Tanjong Pagar United vs Hougang United (Queenstown Stadium)

A proper ASEAN Cup its becoming!


Indonesia Have Games Scheduled Shock

Indonesia are lining up a few friendlies and to help prepare they are playing a University team in Yogyakarta!

They fly to Palestine after to compete in the Al Nakba Tournament. (Just wondering if they need visas to visit Palestine?)

10 teams have entered and they are drawn into three groups with Indonesia in Group B

17/5 Uzbekistan
19/5 Iraq

Palestine, Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Jordan and Mauritania are also competing.

Indonesia have also arranged a friendly against Philippines in Manila for June 5. Well, I dunno if they arranged it or the hosts did.

Also have no idea of the squad for Palestine. Many have been asked but few have answered the call.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Thai Premier League Latest

Not looked at the Newin Chidchob Appreciation Society League for a while. For good reason; it's a joke. The big news from there is apparently there have been no fixture changes for all of 27 minutes.

Tonight has champions and all round fantastically good eggs Buriram United playing Wuachon United. Buriram are five points behind leaders Muang Thong United but I don't think they'll be shedding too many tears just yet. Their AFC Champions League commitments have kept them busy and they have three games in hand on the Muang Thong.

At the weekend an uninspiring collection of games. Friday night saw Chonburi lose their first game of the season against Army United in front of almost 4,000. Well, 3,600 odd.

Leaders Muang Thong went to Saraburi and defeated Osotspa 2-1. Two shite crowds on Saturday. 422 saw newly promoted BBCU go down 2-0 against Pattaya United while TOT's narrow 1-0 win over Chiang Rai United was witnessed by a whopping 922.

Yesterday saw Bangkok Glass beat Samut Songkram 4-1 while Thai Port lost 2-0 at home to BEC Tero.

1 - Muang Thong United 8 5 3 0 20-11 18
2 - Bangkok Glass 8 4 4 0 15-5 16
3 - BEC Tero 7 5 0 2 10-5 15
4 - Buriram United 5 4 1 0 14-4 13

Friday, May 04, 2012


More Match Fixing In Singapore

SINGAPORE - Two former Geylang United footballers have been sentenced to jail for bribery.

Kim Jae Hong, 27 and Jeon Byungeuk, 24, were convicted on Friday of bribing two current Geylang United's players.

Kim admitted to giving Geylang United's current goalkeeper, Mohamed Yazid Mohamed Yasin, 32, S$4,000 to ensure the club loses its S-League football match against Harimau Muda.

Kim told Mr Yazid that the results would be fixed by having the team losing at both half-time and full-time. If the match fixing was successful, the goalkeeper would get a further S$2,000.

The match was played on May 3 and Geylang United lost 0-2.

Court documents showed that Kim was instructed (by who? Is this person a target for any investigation?) to fly in to Singapore to offer the bribe.

Kim also admitted to conspiring with fellow countryman Jeon Byungeuk to bribe another Geylang United footballer Mun Seung Man in April when he instructed Jeon to speak with Mun.

On May 2, Jeon met up with Mun and offered to pay S$3,000 to S$4,000 if Mun refrained from scoring goals against Harimau Muda. (The guys behind the bribe obviously know nothing about SLeague if they're trying to bribe Mun not to score. Geezer hasn't scored all bloody season!)

Kim was charged on two counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act. A third charge was taken into consideration. Meanwhile, Jeon faced one charge of corruption.

In his mitigation, Kim told the district judge through an interpreter that both he and Jeon are remorseful and pleaded for leniency. But the judge pointed out that Kim's sentence will be heavier as he faced more charges.

On each count, Kim was sentenced to five months' jail, bringing his total sentence to 10 months. Jeon, who faced one charge, was jailed for five months.

They could have been jailed up to five years and fined a maximum of S$100,000.

SOURCE - Today Online


Stags Make Hard Work Of Lions

It's not been the best of starts for SLeague champions Tampines Rovers but they are slowly dragging themselves back up to the top part of the table. Coming from behind and needing an own goal to overcome Young Lions may not be the chosen method of securing three points but that's what they had to do last night but they won't be grumbling too much.

Tampines scored first when Anaz Hadee put through his own goal to give Young Lions the lead. Tampines scored again but this time at the right end through Jamil Ali half way through the second half and moments later Jonathon Toto, Young Lions leading scorer with five goals, gave the Stags the lead at the Clementi Stadium.

That win moved them up to 4th with two foreign teams leading the table.

1 - DPMM 10 7 2 1 21-9 23
2 - Harimau Muda 11 7 2 2 19-9 23
3 - Balestier Khalsa 10 6 3 1 12-6 21
4 - Tampines Rovers 11 6 2 3 21-11 20

Funny game, eh?


Football's Fickle Fates

People call football fans fickle.

Last week we saw Greg Nwoklo, Pelita Jaya striker, spitting the dummy with the ref after his team had conceded a controversial , late goal away to Arema. His team lost 3-2.

This week he was protecting the ref after his team, and him, were the beneficiaries of a late, controversial goal in the 3-2 win over ISL champions Persipura.

To paraphrase a popular whine from coaches and players; all we ask for is consistency!

Two goals from Malaysian international Safee Sali helped Pelita Jaya come from behind after Zah Rahan had given Persipura the lead in front of 7,654 at the Singaperbangsa Stadium.

The defeat leaves Persipura trailing leaders Sriwijaya on goal difference but they have played two games more.

1 - Sriwijaya 21 15 3 3 44-16 48
2 - Persipura 23 14 6 3 40-24 48

In yesterday's games, Persiba continued their recent fine form with a 3-1 win over PSMS to move up to a point behind Persiwa. The visitors had taken the lead through Nastje Ceh, great name, but Matsunaga and Kenji Adichihara with a pair secured the win for the home team.

You may remember last season a chap named Osas Marvellous scored about 3,000 goals for PSAP in Divisi Utama. He is proving to be somewhat less prolific this campaign after his move to Medan

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Two Teams In Gresik

They started the ISL season known as Gresik United but some media are now calling them Persegres. There is a Gresik United in the 'official' Divisi Utama but they don't announce attendance so we cannot compare. Anyway this lot may just be 12th but their crowds are pretty healthy if the numbers tend to be rounded up by the look of it.

v Persela 20,000
v Arema 21,000
v Mitra Kukar 22,800
v Persisam 18,400
v Deltras 18,800
v Persidafon 22,200
v Persib 20,350
v Pelita Jaya 23,400
v Persija 20,245
v PSPS 12,840
v Persiram 6,300


ISL Transfer Window

The Indonesia Super League transfer window has been and gone with some notable names moving. I have no idea about the supposedly official Indonesia Premier League though if the rumours are true then no bugger there has any money and clubs are leaving.

Former Persitara striker Prince Bello Kabir is back! He has reportedly signed for PSPS. Fellow Sumatran signed and league leaders Sriwijaya have been having a clear out with squad members and former Indonesian internationals Rahmat Rivai and Ilham Jaya Kusama leaving the Palembang club while Aussie Jamie Coyne, who spent time as a youngster with West Ham United, has joined.

As mentioned previously persib have added a couple of new strikers. Noh Alam Shah and Marcio Souza have come in to form a firey partnership on the field while Moses Sakyi has been allowed to leave.

Deltras have been busy with former PSMS, Pelita Jaya and Gresik United striker James Koko Lomell adding bite up front while Sean Rooney has left the club.

Arema have also been busy, mostly raiding IPL Arema. In have come Megia Kurnia, M Ridhuan, Dendi Santoso and Hendra Siswanto while Boy Jati has been allowed to leave! Like Persib, Arema have a new strike partnership with Herman Dzumafo, so consistent over last few years with PSPS coming in along with Alain Nkong.

And finally Esteban Guillen has joined Persiba from Arema IPL.

A complete list can be found here.

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