Thursday, February 28, 2013


Results 27/02

Indonesia Super League

Persib v PSPS 4-1 (Supardi, van Dijk, M Ridwan, Herman Dzumafo; Konate Makan) 15,530
Persipura v Persiba 2-0 (Zah Rahan, Boas Solossa)
Persiwa v Barito Putra 1-0 (Camera)
Persita v Persija 0-1

Persib came from behind to crush PSPS at Siliwangi Stadium while it would come as no surprise at all to learn both Papuan teams won their home games. Persija's second win of the season away to Persita was played out in Semarang after police would not give security clearance for the game to be held at their usual stadium in Kuningan, the heart of Persib land!

Persipura's win over Persiba saw them climb to second, just a point behind leaders Mitra Kukar

In other news Persegres have sacked their coach Suharno after a run of poor results. They would also have sacked Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho in similar circumstances I guess.

Divisi Utama

Persikad v PSCS 0-2 (Wahyu Tri, Taryono)

1 - PSIS 4 3 0 1 6-2 9
2 - PSCS 4 3 0 1 4-3 9

Indonesia Premier League

Pro Duta v Persiba 0-0
Semen Padang v Arema

Yet again the news from the IPL revolves around off field issues after Arema didn't bother travelling to West Sumatra for their game claiming they weren't ready! They also blew off their first game of the season.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Persiba Striker Banned For Life

Mahmoud El Ali, a striker from Lebanon who is currently playing with the Balikpapan Football Association (Persiba Balikpapan), an Indonesia Super League club, has been banned for life by his country and fined $15,000 for match fixing at a 2012 World Cup qualifier.

He is among 24 people, mostly players, sanctioned by the West Asia Football Federation (WAFF) for manipulating the results of the game between Lebanon and Qatar that ended 0-1 in September, WAFF secretary general Fadi Zureikat said on Tuesday.  
El Ali, 28, was in the group that received the harshest penalty, along with Malaysian Super League team Selangor striker Ramez Dayoub, also from Lebanon. 

The sanction means they are forever banned from playing for the Lebanese national team.    

Others received penalties of between one to three years, and fines of $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000. 

The 24 could still appeal their sanction. 

Persiba Balikpapan could not immediately be reached for comment.


COMMENT - The ISL will probably carry on regardless, they aren't too worried by niceties such as rules and regulations normally. 

Qatar eh?

UPDATE - Umm, Persiba will do nothing for the time being this report suggests


Suwandi To Metz

SINGAPORE — French stars Robert Pires and Louis Saha, former Cameroon captain Rigobert Song and Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor are some of the famous names who have featured at FC Metz’s 26,700-seat Stade Municipal Saint-Symphorien after coming through its famous youth academy.
And the French third division side sees similar potential in Singapore’s Adam Swandi.
The former National Football Academy Under-16 captain — who was outstanding at the 2011 and 2012 Lion City Cups — caught the eye of Metz’s Youth Academy Director Denis Schaeffer during his week-long training stint with the club last November.
In an e-mail interview, Schaeffer believes two-time French Cup winners Metz can mould the 17-year-old Singaporean — who left for France last night after signing a two-year youth contract with them — into a top-class footballer.
“The coaches and I were very impressed with what we saw in Adam when he was with us,” said Schaeffer.
“For Adam, I believe he can only get better with FC Metz, and this will be good for Singapore football in the near future. We will be in constant contact with the FAS (Football Association of Singapore) to update them on Adam’s progress — both on the pitch and in the classroom.”
The FAS, which announced Adam’s move on Saturday, is footing the bill of approximately S$200,000 for his studies from its Football Development Fund, which is used to send players, coaches, referees and staff for overseas attachments.
“Coming from a club which places great emphasis on youth development, I am impressed with the Football Association of Singapore’s philosophy in terms of developing young players. They have a well-defined structure and programmes which cater to players between the age of six and 18,” said Schaeffer.
“With adequate support, I am certain you will see a conveyor belt of talent coming through the system regularly and that means your national team will be a force to be reckoned with,” he added.
The teenager had spent 45 days on training stints last year at top European sides Ajax Amsterdam, Atletico Madrid and Newcastle United, as well as Japan’s Albirex Niigata. A graduate of the Singapore Sports School, Adam will join Metz’s Under-19 squad and continue his studies there.
Based in eastern France, Metz, which count Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery and former French internationals Sylvain Wiltord and Patrick Battiston among their alumni, are keen to further their partnership with the FAS, and hope Adam is the first of many to arrive.
“We also hope to expand our collaboration to include other areas such as staff exchange programmes and the organisation of football clinics in Singapore,” said Schaeffer. “FC Metz will also consider bringing our senior technical staff to Singapore to share our youth development model with FAS officials and coaches.”
Last night, about 50 family members, friends, supporters and FAS officials were at Changi Airport to give Adam a rousing farewell before he departed for Paris.
“I’m feeling quite nervous yet excited because not every teenager gets the chance to do this and I’m probably the first. I hope my team-mates and the other youth players will see this as a chance to pursue their dreams of playing in Europe,” he said.
“There is a little pressure because almost everyone knows about this and expects me to do well. Hopefully, I can do well and bring Singapore football to a new level. After two years, I hope to play for the national team and make the first team at Metz or other clubs out there.”
His father, Swandi Kitto, and mother, Hamidah Dasuki, — they have four children aged 17 to 31— will join their youngest son in Metz soon.
“I’m very proud of him, and hopefully he can progress further. I’m confident he’s in safe hands at Metz,” said a beaming Swandi, a former Singapore international. “He has shown promise since he was very young, even before Primary 1. Maybe it’s because of my genes. I really hope he can succeed over there.”
COMMENT - my reading of this is Metz have not signed a footballer but have taken on a paying lodger. Or am I too cynical?


Will The Last To Leave Please Turn Out The Light?

PETALING JAYA — Controversial Thailand Football Association President Worawi Makudi has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Mohamed bin Hammam as President of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Also in the running are Bahrain FA Chief Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Saudi Arabia’s Hafez El Medle and Yousuf Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates.
AFC Vice-President, China’s Zhang Jilong, is also expected to join the race and has the backing of Japan.
But Worawi, an executive committee member of football’s world governing body FIFA, is seen as the front-runner and has the support of the 11-member ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) and the Australian Football Federation.
Worawi was “extremely honoured” at being nominated for the post by the AFF. “I will do my utmost to serve the ASEAN family members,” he said. “My main target as the AFC President would be to bring everybody together and to unite the Asian Football Confederation.”
The 46-member AFC will elect a new President in Kuala Lumpur on May 2. Hammam resigned last December after a FIFA investigation into alleged irregularities over his management of the AFC’s finances.
In September, Worawi denied fraud allegations made by a South Korean firm over the premature cancellation of a multi-million-dollar broadcast rights deal. He was also cleared in 2011 of accusations that funds meant for the Thai FA were spent on his assets in Bangkok.
He was also accused by former English FA Chairman David Triesman of being part of an alleged bribery scandal for FIFA officials in return for backing England’s World Cup bid. AGENCIES

Monday, February 25, 2013


Indonesia Football Weekend

Indonesia Super League

Arema v Sriwijaya 4-1 (Gonzales 2, Goncalves 2; Hilton Moeira) 40,002
Persegres v Pelita Bandung Raya 0-1 (Chena OG) 12,250
Barito Putera v Persela 3-2 (Sugeng, Coulibaly 2; Zaenal Arifin, Gustavo Lopez) 4,990
Persiba v Persepam 3-3 (El Ali 2, Syakir; Zaenal Arif, Ishak Djober, Busari) 4,375

You know like when clubs announce their attendances, in some places they give the crowd or average crowd as a percentage of the ground capacity? At the Kanjuruhan Stadium last night the attendance was 110% of capacity. Would hate to have been stuck in the car park after that game! They may have an aging strike force at Arema but the goals keep flowing don't they?

Good win for Pelita Bandung Raya away to Persegres or Gresik United, which ever you wanna call them.

I imagine though neither Rahmad Darmawan at Arema, remember the fans wanted him out before the season began? and the guy at Mitra Kukar will be getting too carried away at the moment. Look what sits menacingly in 3rd place, unbeaten and not conceding many goals. They have games in hand with Persiba coming up on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, sees Persita host troubled Persija in Semarang after they were refused permission to play the game in their temporary home of Kuningan, a Persib stronghold!

1 - Mitra Kukar 8 6 1 1 19-12 19
2 - Arema 9 6 0 3 20-9 18
3 - Persipura 7 4 3 0 15-3 15

7 - Cristian Gonzales (Arema)
6 - Lancine Kone (Persisam), Boaz Solossa (Persipura), Djibril Coulibaly (Barito Putra)

Divisi Utama 

Persip continued their fine start to the season defeating Persitema 1-0 in front of 10,000 while Persipur beat Persikad by the same score in front of another healthy crowd, this time of 7,000. More from Divisi Utama here.

Indonesia Premier League

Persebaya v Bontang 5-0 (Mario Karlovic 2, Andik Vermansyah, Feri Ariawan 2)
Persijap v Persija IPL 5-0 (Noor Hadi 2, Bachtiar, Safri Umari, Dicky Firasat)

Saturday, February 23, 2013


SLeague Coaches

Balestier Khalsa - Darren Stewart
Tanjong Pagar - Patrick Vallee
Woodlands - Salim Moin
Warriors - Selvaraj
Home United - Lee Lim Saeng
Geylang Inter - Vedamuthu
Tampines - Nenad Bacina
Young Lions - Aide Iskander
Hougang United - Alex Weaver


SLeague 2013 Kicks Off

Young Lions v Hougang United 0-1 (Sulaiman)
Geylang International v Tampines Rovers 0-5 (Hadzibulic, Siaful Esah, Firdaus Kazman, Jamil Ali, Khairul Amri)
Home United v DPMM 0-0
Woodlands Wellington v Warriors 2-2 (Moon, Hamdaoui; Anuar, Sakurada)
Harimau Muda v Albirex Niigata 0-1 (Sakamoto)
Tanjong Pagar v Balestier Khalsa 3-1 (Monset, Kamel, Hafiz Nor; Park Kang Jin)

Some unfamiliar names there. Geylang International is the original name for Geylang United and you wonder just how international the mentality is there at Bedok Stadium. International or United, they were well whacked by a rampant Tampines in the East Coast derby.

Warriors used to be SAFFC but they are hoping to attract a corporate sponsor so that may change as well.

Good start for Tanjong Pagar against a Balestier Khalsa notorious for their mean defence. Mind you the Jaguars do now boast Ahmad Latif in their ranks. With a new coach on the horizon for the national team perhaps a recall could be on the cards for Latiff?


Another Indonesian Innovation

Towards the end of last year Indonesia boasted two national teams preparing for the same competition. One was off on the Gold Coast in Australia playing some Sunday schools while the other, backed by the PSSI, actually went off and played the game in Malaysia at the AFF Cup.

The one in Australia, backed by the laughingly named Committee to Save Indonesian Football, came home and quietly disbanded, players returning to their respective clubs.

Now we again have two national squads called up; both by different sections of the PSSI! I don't make this up, please understand this, I couldn't. Disney couldn't and the Grimm Brothers couldn't. No bugger could make up what happens in this place.

Coach Nil Maizer has announced one squad while the new coach, Luis Manuel Blanco, has announced another with some players called up twice!

Who is the coach? Who knows, who cares. The new mob at the PSSI promised to change the game and they sure are doing that bringing new levels of farce with each passing week to the game here.

It doesn't matter what FIFA does at their next gobfest in March, it's too late. Humiliation is piled on humiliation by the people who are charged with running the game.

But then it ain't about football, is it?

Friday, February 22, 2013


Bradford City Offer Rare Romance In Cash Filled English Football

Roberto Mancini claimed at the weekend he was the best manager in English football. A strange thing to say you might think following his team’s collapse in the Champions League and inconsistency in the Premier League. Given the resources at his beck and call Manchester City should be winning things, such is the inherent bias football offers wealth.
This weekend sees big spending Manchester United travelling to west London to take on big spending Queens Park Rangers hoping big spending Chelsea and big spending City cancel each other out in their own clash in the north west.
As the Premier League chases the Asian baht, rupiah and ringgit most of the focus this weekend will be on those two games and the impact they will have on United’s inexorable procession to the title.
But elsewhere another game is taking place that will lack the hype and hullaballoo of the Premier League giants. Yet surely the story that has unfolded on the road to Wembley and the Capitol One Cup Final exceeds anything the Premier League cash cows can offer.
In 1985 Bradford City was a name on everyone’s lips. Images from a fire that tore through a ramshackle stand killing dozens beamed around the world. Those flames, combined with a rampant football hooliganism that was almost holding the game to ransom, changed much and led a rethink of stadiums and fans. The stadiums we now have in England with their improved safety and comfort come straight from the ashes of Bradford.
As a club Bradford long existed in anonymity. The fire at their Valley Parade ground brought them their 15 minutes of fame as Andy Warhol promised us all but they soon fell off the back pages. They were just another football club struggling to adapt to a torrent of change and wondering how the next bill would be paid.
A brief flirtation with the Premier League saw them defeat the likes of Arsenal, something they repeated a dozen years later, but it was all a dream. High wages were gambled on the likes of Benito Carbone and when relegation came the club was left counting the cost for several years.
They plummeted down the tables as they struggled to adapt to the new reality and they now find themselves in the 4th tier of English football, mysteriously known as League Two.
In recent years they have had the likes of Bryan Robson, Peter Taylor, Zesh Rehman and Lee Hendrie on their payroll but keen fans looking at the current vintage would struggle to find any familiar names. Even the manager, Phil Parkinson, raises few eyebrows among those for whom English football begins and ends with the Big 4, 5 or 6 or whatever in the Premier League. He spent the bulk of his playing career in the lower leagues with Bury and Reading.
The fans though have remained by their club with attendances regularly topping 10,000 as they have responded to the club’s imaginative pricing plans.
And this year they are receiving their reward. After a glorious Capitol One Cup run which saw them claim a hat trick of Premier League scalps, Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa, they are looking forward to a trip to Wembley and a final date with Swansea City, another club who have enjoyed a roller coaster three or four decades.
As part of City’s preparations for the Final no doubt they will be following a well worn path. There will be plenty of media interest of course, locally and nationally if not internationally, they will be measured for new suits and they will have sponsors crawling all over them ahead of their date with destiny.
The club shop will be doing a roaring trade and thousands of excited Yorkshiremen will be checking and re-checking their travel arrangements to London, their hotels and of course which pubs they will be celebrating in.
In this part of the world we will get to see none of this and that is a shame as it offers us a window into how even relatively small clubs have their own histories, traditions and cultures.
Valley Parade stands like a phoenix; a testament to a city’s pride in their local club and football’s renaissance since the dark days of the 1980s. The refurbished ground is one of the nicest in the lower leagues and was packed to the rafters when over 25,000 turned up to witness that classic David v Goliath encounter against Arsenal.
As a city Bradford rarely makes headlines; when it does it is usually for the wrong reasons. It can be a grim, unwelcoming place full of dark menacing buildings recalling a Victorian civic pride long gone. But this weekend the people and the football club will be beaming with pride as they hog the spotlight even for a short time in the final and perhaps for once we can allow a tiny bit of romance to enter English football and knock the rich men’s playthings off their pedestal for a few moments.
I started this story with Mancini’s claims he was the best manager in England. His squad boasts players costing 25, 30 million pounds. While managing a club with high profile players, and their accompanying egos, no doubt presents its own challenges, spare a thought for Parkinson. His motley bunch cost about 7,500 GBP to put together and that went on one player signed from a local non league team, Guiseley. The rest are hand me downs, cast offs and journeymen operating below the radar and away from the worldwide glare that afflicts their colleagues further up the divisions.
His meager contract, reportedly 1,000 GBP a week, is about to expire and the club are realistic; it’s going to be difficult to hold on to the man who beat Arsenal and Aston Villa. But for this weekend at least a mid table team with one win in their last eight league games are 90 minutes away from the biggest story of the year, a massive financial influx and European football.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Controversy Mars PSIS Last Minute Victory

Football does seem to suffer quite a bit from late, late goals favouring the home team and I have often wondered why that should be the case.

Moving on PSIS returned to the top of Divisi Utama (Group 2) after coming from behind to defeat Persitara at Jatidiri Stadium.

Persitara, themselves sitting 3rd, took the lead through Rohiman on 32' minutes and it took the home team till just shy of the hour mark to level things. Morris Power netted the winner in the 5th minute of injury time to ensure the home crowd of 14,125 weren't inconvenienced by anything as trivial as a defeat.

The ref was attacked and home fans threw plastic bottles on the field as chaos reigned after Power had given the home team the lead but the result stood and it was basically tough shit.

Persitara hope to complain to the governing body who no doubt will look serious, inhale kretek, look busy on their Blackberrys and basically do nothing.


Thai Cup Final Fixed?

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) will look into an alleged match-fixing attempt in last season's FA Cup final between Buriram United and Army United, FAT president Worawi Makudi confirmed yesterday.
The announcement came after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) last week informed the FAT of possible irregularities in the November match, which Buriram won 2-1.
According to Worawi, the AFC said Japanese referee Yoshida Toshimitsu, who officiated the match, informed the Asian governing body that he was offered bribes to favour of one of the two teams.
Worawi did not offer further detail but said the FAT would discuss the matter at today's meeting.
"We will set up a committee to look into the issue," Worawi said.
"We will talk to both Buriram and Army before submitting our findings to the AFC and [world football's governing body] Fifa."
Asked why the claim was made public months after the match had been played, Worawi said: "You cannot jump to conclusions. We have to consider a claim carefully to see if there is grounds before publicising it."
When asked whether this development could affect Buriram's campaign in the AFC Champions League, Worawi insisted it was too early to speculate.
He said he would take part in this week's seminar on match-fixing in Kuala Lumpur between the AFC and Interpol.
Meawhile, Army United manager Col Worawut Withisiri said his club had nothing to do with the allegation.
"Military officers have discipline and we will never resort to ungentlemanly conduct," he said.
"Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, as Army United chairman, has a clear policy that we must play entertaining football in a straightforward manner."
Buriram chairman Newin Chidchob was unavailable for comment and manager Thatthep Pitakpoonsin is overseas.
Europol, the European Union police organisation, recently said an investigation found that there had been more than 680 suspicious matches worldwide
COMMENT - umm, get away. Match fixing you say? In Thailand you say? The land of smiles you say? Up there, match fixing you say? I mean come on, how gullible do you think I am? Match fixing my somtam!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Persija Bottom Of ISL

Persija v Arema 1-2 (Pedro Javier; Keith Kayamba, Alberto Goncalves) 21,463
PSPS v Gresik United 2-0 (Latyr, Makan) 6,523
Persisam v Persib 2-1 (Ferdinand Sinaga, Lancine Kone; Sergio van Dijk) 14,573
Mitra Kukar v Persita 1-1 (Jajang Maulyana; Christian Carrasco) 3,291
Sriwijaya v Pelita Bandung Raya 2-0 (Lestalalu, Ponaryo Astaman) 15,557
Persidafon v Persiwa 3-1 (Issac Wanggai 2, Andri Ibo; Guy Junior) 13,235
Persiram v Persipura 1-1 (James Koko Lomel; Patrich Wanggai) 10,202

1 - Mitra Kukar 7 5 1 1 15-10 16
2 - Arema 8 5 0 3 16-8 15
3 - Gresik United 8 4 1 3 10-11 13
4 - Persipura 6 3 3 0 12-3 12

Persija find themselves bottom of the ISL with just one win from seven games and coach Iwan Setiawan coming under increasing fire as he seems unable to halt the slide. I bet they are hoping Bambang Pamungkas will sign up for the second half of the season. Mitra Kukar, are they still interested in Shevchenko, stay top thanks to a hard fought point at home to Persita while sitting in 4th place, ominously are Persipra, unbeaten and experienced.


IPL Is Back

The Indonesia Premier League, the official one, kicked off at the weekend with a whimper. Champions Semen Padang defeated newly promoted Pro Duta 2-0 to take an early lead in the table.

Sunday's game saw Arema not play Persiba Bantul. There may be no Arema IPL this season. Or there maybe.

Some more games from the opening round of fixtures on Thursday and Sunday but there seems to be no plan beyond that; the league website only has one round of fixtures listed!

So a football association that wants to host Arsenal and Chelsea later this year can't even organise its own league...

Friday, February 15, 2013


Everything I Know About IPL 2013


Gazza - Our Role In His Downfall

There is something in the English psyche that draws us to flawed, tragic geniuses. The Americans love their squeaky clean, all American apple pie heroes resplendent with fake tan, teeth and hair. In England we look for something coarser, rougher, real. And preferably drunk.
Paul Gascoigne fitted the bill to a tee. From the moment he burst on the football scene as a teenager with Newcastle United the nation was enthralled with the bubbly lad who exuded confidence and went about in awe of nothing beyond his drinking partner Jimmy ‘Five Bellies’ Gardener.
The archetypal working class lad done good, when Gazza cried, we cried, when he winced the whole country winched and when he was labeled ‘daft as a brush’ by former England manager Bobby Robson we recognized him as one of our one.
Say what you like about players like David Beckham, Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard, not one of them could hold a candle to Gazza when it came to fans being able to identify with footballers.
Lampard, superbly consistent on the field, is a consummate professional, a club’s dream employee not only doing the business in the blue of Chelsea but off the field as a club ambassador, assiduously avoiding any comment that may be seen as controversial.
There was no such diplomacy with Gazza. What you saw was what you got. His extravagant talents meant he played football as he lived life. To the full, with a smile but with other emotions bubbling under the surface.
I recall seeing him charge through the Arsenal defence at White Hart Lane to score for Tottenham Hotspur in a league game despite wearing one boot then there would be that challenge on Gary Charles in the 1991 FA Cup Final against Nottingham Forest which left him out of the game for several months and delayed his lucrative move to Lazio.
Ahead of the 1996 European Championships which England hosted they went on a tour of China and Hong Kong. At the end the players piled into a bar in Hong Kong and set about adding to the owner’s profits in fine English style. There was a dentist chair and of course that became a magnet for the ever increasingly drunk players as they sat in the chair and received their medicine; bottles of spirits flowing down their necks while the nation’s media looked on amazed and delighted at the front page story being played out in front of them.
They snapped away, the country looked on horrified but, irreverent as ever, Gazza said he had only gone in the bar ‘for a filling’!
The antics were explained away as high jinks and team building and when Gazza scored against Scotland during the competition the whole country jumped and wept for joy as he lay on the Wembley turf celebrating and his team mates queued up to pour drinks down his neck.
One newspaper, keen to capture the nation’s mood, ran an apology saying they were wrong to describe the midfielder as a fat, drunken imbecile.
Because he was Gazza we, the country, let him get away with anything. He was a football genius we reasoned and geniuses all carried a certain eccentricity with them. The two traits were inseparable and we pointed to George Best as another example to prove the point.
It’s difficult to imagine a club like Barcelona, Arsenal or Bayern Munchen signing such a player today. Indeed it is difficult to imagine Gazza having the status he enjoyed in England in any other country. The Germans love their players to be like Franz Beckanbauer, smart, clinical and of course efficient. The French had their philosopher quoting Eric Cantona . In England we had a guy who had more pranks in his arsenal than a Carry On movie.
Gazza became a showman who played football in the same way that Beckham became a brand who relied on football to promote his brand. People wanted to see him because they wanted their own Gazza moment. People  wanted to say ‘we saw Gazza impersonate a flutist’ or ‘met Gazza in a bar, he was mad’ and Gazza craved the attention.
While peers like Alan Shearer learnt to keep the press and public at arms’ length, Gazza welcomed them into his life and we shared in all his sorrow and joy but when the football stopped there was nothing left beyond an ‘alright Gazza, fancy a drink’ from people meeting him in the pub. He was no longer a footballer but we expected him to carry on being the showman who lived life to the full in a goldfish bowl world of our making.
Read an average footballer’s autobiography, and they are rarely hard to read (painful yes but uncomplicated), and you will read tales of drunkenness and amorous conquests paraded like trophies or medals. It’s what we expect.
The consequence now sits in the United States undergoing treatment for his alcoholism. His first days detoxing saw him rushed to intensive care. Away from the adoring public Gazza struggled to find meaning in his life and he became a caricature of himself to seek applause. A dribbling performance at a speaking gig showed the country how far he had fallen and he finally came to realize he needed help.
His friends, grateful at last to be able to do something, rallied round and got him to the US and treatment. There is a feeling this is his last chance.
What lessons can football learn from this? Should there be a drive within the game to take better care of players who have issues such as Gazza? For sure, many do and clubs, as well as the Players’ Union, the PFA, do a good job of dealing them quietly and away from the limelight, and that surely is the right and proper way to deal with these issues.
Maybe for Paul Gascoigne it is too late. And maybe of course many didn’t see his behavior at the time as a problem, preferring to concentrate on the next game and letting life after the game when the cameras, the buzz and the fans have moved on take care of itself.
The Geordie has fought many battles during his career. Now that career has ended he is facing his toughest fight yet.

COMMENT - this story appeared in Jakarta Globe 15/2/13 but not on their website!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Shevchenko & Mitra Kukar

I see Indonesian football has been making waved around the world with the unlikely story that former Ukraine international Andrei Shevchenko is mulling a move to Mitra Kukar.

Talk is that the deal would be for 10 games. That could mean three coaches in this place plus a couple of lengthy road trips to Sumatra and Papua depending on the whims of the owners and the quirks of the fixture list.

Sheva was in Indonesia recently as part of the Milan Old Buggers team playing Indonesian Old Buggers with some down time in Bali.

I haven't been to Kutai Kertenegara yet but I'm guessing it isn't like Bali. It is one of Indonesia's wealthier cities that is for sure but it ain't Milan. It ain't even Stamford Bridge.

It's a couple of hours from the nearest airport!

Will Sheva go? Put it this way. Think about Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Fowler. They came to Asia and they left even richer than when they arrived. But what impact did they have on the local game? What will their lasting legacy be?

If Mitra Kukar have about a million quid burning a hole in their pocket then they are best advised investing that money in youth. Not as sexy as a middle aged Ukraine I guess but a better punt for Indonesian football. But then it is never always about football, is it?


Trials & Tribulations Ahead Of AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers For Indonesia

You can rely on Indonesia to take something simple and complicate the crap out of it. Back in November we had the hilarious situation of a bunch of players, officials and coaches running round Brisbane masquerading as a national team, preparing to represent the country at the ASEAN Cup.

They played a Sunday school a couple of times!

Now we have a single national team set up that would have Issac Newton throwing the apple at a passer by. There is a Technical Director, Lionel Charbonier who does whatever a TD does in this country. We have a coach, Nil Maizar who was rather landed with the job when the current PSSI sacked the coach the previous PSSI had hired. And last week we had the news that the head of the PSSI had gone and appointed his own coach in consultation with the Argentine Embassy!

The Thais and the Singaporeans may think their FAs are a mess but even they must acknowledge they are mere amateurs in the presence of the Indonesian FA which shows unlimited creativity when it comes to muddying waters.

You can imagine a FIFA gobfest and PSSI saying to that Thai guy 'you have much to learn young Worawi'!

Anyway Indonesia will not qualify from their AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Group, I don't care what anyone says. The potential that we keep hearing about, usually from foreign observers struggling to be polite, has gone AWOL, probably with Newton's apple, and with Arsenal and Chelsea due to visit later this year we will be hearing the dreaded P word a few more times this year.

In fact, coming soon, I will write up Arsene Wenger's press conference just for the hell of it.

So the national team play Saudi Arabia next month in Indonesia and the PSSI are making noises about moving the game to either Surabaya or Yogyakarta. Their logic, stop laughing at the back, is they think rain may cause flooding in Jakarta.

Well, yes, it may. But of course it also rains in other cities in Indonesia, honest, so the argument applies to both alternatives put forward. As ever we must read between the lines. The new PSSI mob have really proved to be that popular in Jakarta; The IPL Persija spent last season playing in Madiun which is bloody miles away, it rains there as well, and recent friendlies have seen crowds smaller than a Doctor Who Convention in the Falklands.

With the cost of renting the Bung Karno and the serious risk of fan apathy perhaps they are looking for the best way out and a stadium with some fans in it?

Calling up Persib's new striker Sergio Van Dijk would guarantee a full house were the game to be played in Bandung but that option is not on the table imagine and there is no guarantee the newly naturalised striker would be given a chance anyway.

The recent record under Maizar doesn't inspire too much confidence either.

P 12 W 2 D 5 L 5 F 8 A 18

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Semen Padang Warn Fans

With the AFC Cup on the horizon the officials of Indonesia Premier League champions Semen Padang have warned their fans not to throw bottles on the pitch. Each bottle, the club advises, costs $5,000 in fines and apparently the AFC are very strict in enforcing the rules.

A typical reaction here when something doesn't go their way is for fans to throw stuff on the field and this is usually plastic water bottles or sometimes rocks or stones.

The question that leaps out off the page here is why are AFC sticlkers for rules but not the Indonesian clubs themselves?


On The Road Again

Persija were forced to play their home game with Persegres, or is it Gresik United, in Solo because the Bung Karno is having some work done to it.

They are used to playing away even when they are at home as this breakdown shows:

Manahan Stadium, Solo x7
Gajayana Stadium, Malang x4
Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang x2
Mandala Krida, Yogyakarta x2
PTIK Stadium, Jakarta x1
Kartini Stadium, Jepara x1
Jatidiri Stadium, Semrang x1
Segiri Stadium, Samarinda x1


Van Dijk Is A Bobotoh

It's been a long time coming but Sergio Van Dijk is now apparently an Indonesian citizen and has signed for Persib.

I think it was two or three years ago that new broke the striker was interested in playing in Indonesia and for Indonesia and now the 30 year old has made it.

He has been playing in Australia for the last four and half years averaging a goal every couple of games almost for first Brisbane Roar, then Adelaide United. He quit Adelaide last month to try and get his wish of playing in front of large crowds, oops, sorry, playing in Indonesia.

The game is riven with political dispute and contracts are not always honoured but Persib have less problems in that regard than others and he has certainly joined one of the biggest clubs in the country. From the backwater of Adelaide to the passionate Sundanese heartland of West Java van Dijk can look forward to a culture shock no guide book can prepare him for.

He started his new life with a hat trick on a friendly this afternoon but it remains to be seen whether he will join his new team mates when they head to Samarinda tomorrow.

Friday, February 08, 2013


Indonesia Announce New Coach. Maybe

While the Merah Putih was still licking its wounds after a 1-0 loss to Iraq in the 2015 Asian Cup qualification on Wednesday, Indonesian football authorities made a surprise move by announcing a new head coach for the national team on Thursday. 

Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) chairman Djohar Arifin Husin announced the appointment of Argentine Luis Manuel Blanco as new head coach, while refusing to elaborate on the future of current head coach Nil Maizar. 

“PSSI signed Blanco and his staff for two years. There’s a sponsor helping us arrange his contract,” Djohar told reporters at a media conference. 

“Nobody is fired. Blanco will help the national team and there will be further discussion between Blanco and Nil Maizar.” 

Indonesian football fans known litlte about Blanco. 

According to his resume, he started his managerial career with Cobras Club of Mexico in 1991, while his last assignment was as head coach of China’s under 20 team last year. 

The appointment appeared to catch many by surprise, including Bob Hippy, a PSSI executive committee member and national team coordinator. 

Bob said that Djohar made the decision without consulting other executive committee members. “All I know is that Blanco came to Indonesia on the Argentine ambassador’s invitation, not on behalf of the Argentine Football Association.” 

As the man in charge of the national team, Bob said he refused to replace Nil with Blanco. He said Djohar had never told him that Blanco would be at the helm. 

“We can’t fire Nil just like that,” Bob said. “Besides, Djohar initially told me that there would be a new coach from Argentina and it’s up to me to assign him. He’s not supposed to be head coach.” 

He also criticized Djohar’s decision to take assistance from a sponsor to bankroll Blanco’s contract. 

“How could the national team head coach sign a contract with a third party? 

“If the federation appoints him as head coach, he should sign a contract with the federation. 

“Don’t make the same mistakes as previous leadership,” Bob said, referring to Alfred Riedl, who reportedly signed a personal contract with then vice chairman of the national team body Nirwan Bakrie. 

On the pitch, Indonesia suffered a 1-0 loss to Iraq in the opening game of the 2015 Asian Cup qualifier at Al Rashid Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Indonesia showed solid defense and mostly managed to combat Iraq’s attacking thrusts. 

The game’s only goal was scored when a misplaced pass from Handi Ramdhan fell forward to Younus Mahmoud, who ran past Wahyu Wijiastanto and shot into the far corner past goalkeeper Endra Prasetya in the 66th minute. 

Nil said the mistake cost his team an important point and he would try to beat the opponent at home. “We came here looking for a point, with the thinking being that we could claim all three points against Iraq in Indonesia,” he told the Asian Football Confederation website. 

“We wanted to defend 60 percent and try for a counterattack but today we made one mistake and conceded one goal. 

“Now I will go back to Indonesia and think about how we can defeat Iraq in our own home.”

COMMENT - I have none! Can't be arsed, it has all been said before, would just be going over old ground.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


Jakarta Globe Column

So it has finally happened. We've seen the likes of Phaitoon Thiabma, Suchao Nuchnum, Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakul and Pipat Thonkaya ply their trade successfully in the Indonesian league but no Indonesian has yet made the return journey.

That has now changed with Irfan Bachdim signing for Chonburi ahead of the new Thai Premier League season.

After unsuccessful trials with Persib and Persija Bachdim signed for unfancied Persema Malang back in 2010 ahead of the ASEAN Football Federation Cup. It's fair to say he was an unknown here having spent most of his life in the Netherlands but he set about making an impression and wooing a following of female fans who mobbed his early appearances for club and country.

Celebrity is a fickle beast though and it wasn't long before the glamour types moved on to the next big thing leaving Bachdim with his football. Last season with Persema, a pale shadow of their 2011 vintage, he was left with making cameo appearances off the bench in an underperforming team floating along just above mid table in front of crowds that could be counted in their dozens.

After a failed trial with another Thai side, BEC Tero, it looked like Bachdim was looking forward to another season in the Indonesia Premier League with a side short on funds and fans.

Then came Chonburi and he was finally on his way.

Much has been written about the Thai Premier League in recent years with many in Indonesia casting envious glances to their northern neighbours. But what can Irfan really expect in the Land of Smiles.

The TPL lacks the history and passion of Indonesian football for a start. The two big teams at the moment are Muang Thong United, who won the title last season, and Buriram United but both are relatively recent additions to the football scene there.

Buriram were crowned champions in their debut season in the TPL despite not earning promotion the previous season! The patriarch of Buriram province persuaded PEA, a nomadic club, to settle in his town for a season; he built an impressive new stadium and arranged for fans to fill it.

The gentleman concerned happens to be a prominent politician in Thailand who is currently serving a suspension from politics.

Muang Thong are also relatively new and possess their own rich backers, a media group, who have added a media savvy to Thai football Indonesia can only dream of.

These two clubs are the richest, biggest clubs (two adjectives that go together in Thailand as well as anywhere else in the world) in the country at the moment. For the really big games both are capable of pulling crowds of 20,000 plus; better than anyone else in Thailand but nothing special compared to the likes of Persib, Arema, Sriwijaya and others in Indonesia.

Chonburi are also a new addition to the Thai footall scene dating back to the end of the last century and they too have their own rich backers in the family who run the province of Chonburi as their own fiefdom. The brother of the Chonburi mayor happens to be the mayor of Pattaya and they are both highly visible in regional and local politics; indeed Bachdim may find not many people want to talk to him this weeks as news came out earlier of the arrest of the brothers' father after several years on the run!

As a league the TPL lacks the strength of the Indonesia Super League. Beyond the three named clubs only Bangkok Glass, another club with rich backers new on the scene, look to have the resources to compete with the big boys but are sorely in need of stability on the coaching front before realising any nascent potential.

BEC Tero make up Thailand's Big 5 and they too are a corprorate entity owned by a TV channel and despite some success in the AFC Champions League in its early days lack the fan base to provide any kind of atmosphere.

The rest of the TPL is a miss mash of older clubs who hang on with small crowds and big dreams. Thai Tobacco Monopoly are a frequent mover, last season in Chiang Mai, and are one of the relics of the old Thai league before big money entered the scene while other clubs from that era hanging on are Telephone Organisation of Thailand, Police United and Army United.

The power of a handful of clubs has strengthened the league at the expense of the national team as different factions jockey for power and influence, pitting their 'phuu yai' (person of power and influence), against their rival's 'phuu yai' in a mafiosi game of poker.

The supporters are much more twee than in Indonesia and probably much richer, more than happy to fork outh their cash in the official club shops on official merchandise. The atmosphere round a Thai game can best be described as fun as families and friends gather, have a picnic and take inumerable pictures of each other to post on the myriad message boards that cater to their interest.

They also drink their way through large amounts of beer which is freely available inside and outside the stadiums.

Given the sudden rise in popularity of the game no real rivalries have been established though relegated Thai Port, with their Millwall like following, do their best. There have been some incidents of crowd misbehaviour in recent seasons but nothing major and certainly for now there is no rivalry to match a Persija v Persib or Arema v Persebaya.

Bachdim seems to have chosen, or been chosen by, the right club. Chonburi are a club that try to do the right thing by both players and football unlike some clubs there run by egotistical owners whose views of the beautiful game, and motives, won't always coincide with a coach who has his own thoughts about football. Rumours of North Korean style restrictions written into players' contracts abound while some clubs spend an inordinate amount of time working on players' fitness.

But for all the baggage that makes Thai football seem like Indonesia lite on the field a lot of good work is being done. In Kawin they boast perhaps the best goalkeeper in the region while players like Adul and Teerasil proved their quality during the recent ASEAN Cup when the Thais lost in the final to Singapore.

The Thais face one other self inflicted hurdle. Every time they enter the SEA Games and ASEAN Cup they think all they have to do is turn up and they will win. These unrealistic expectations act as a millstone round the necks of all parties involved and act as a break on any innovative hinking or creativity that is surely needed to push Thai football on to the next level.

For Bachdim then he can look forward to some thrilling experiences in a league that is still doing much right. He can look forward to living in a nice place close enough to Bangkok to enjoy all its positives but far enough out for space. And also, perhaps most importantly for an Indonesian player, he can look forward to getting paid on time.

How he settles in will be interesting to see as will whether other players follow his trail andescaped the stifling, repressive atmosphere that is choking the Indonesian game.

COMMENT - first appeared in Jakarta Globe last week and is already date because Persema don't want to release him expecting him to honour a contract they don't even pay him for! Jokers these guys. One Persema official was quoted as talking about ethics! Are they taking the piss? The guy ain't been paid for about eight months!

Sunday, February 03, 2013


Play Football And See Indonesia

Persib's journey to Sentani for their away game is the stuff of adventure. They played Persiram in Sorong the other day while the second game of the Papuan stopover is away to Persidafon in Jayapura.

Now Sorong and Jayapura are on the same island. You would imagine getting between the two would be just a cruise down the motorway eastwards. Except of course there is no motorway. I don't think there is even a functioning road linking the two centres.

There will be boats but a daily service is most unlikely.

So Persib were forced to fly back to Makassar, a couple of hours or so westwards, before connecting to another flight to take them back east, to Biak, and then on to Sentani where they arrived less than an hour ago for the game on Monday. All in all a 17 hour trip!

Then they gotta fly home!

Criss crossing timezones and backtracking are a reality of Indonesian football meaning professional footballers cooped up on cramped flights or hanging round poorly equipped terminals in far flung parts of the country.

When the Indonesia Premier League kicks off watch out for teams like PSLS and Persiraja facing even longer trips when they play away to Perseman!

Friday, February 01, 2013


Moukwelle Homebound At Last?


A French player in Indonesia’s premier league who caught typhoid was left unable to afford hospital treatment after his salary was withheld for nine months, an official confirmed Thursday.

Striker Moukwelle Ebanga Sylvain was reportedly struck with typhoid and in November while owed Rp 217 million ($22,222) by his Liga Prima club Persewangi Banyuwangi.

Football fans around the world were outraged when Paraguayan striker, Diego Mendieta, died aged 32 of a viral infection in December, also unable to pay for medical bills with four months’ salary withheld by his club Persis Solo.

Liga Prima chief executive Widjajanto admitted Sylvain had been neglected by his club.

“Harsh sanctions must be given to Persewangi as it failed to take care of one of its players,” he told AFP.

He said the league had recently settled the matter with Sylvain, who has been paid more than $15,000, has “fully recovered and is looking forward to flying back home”.

Sylvain’s case is another embarrassment for Indonesian football, which performs poorly on the world stage and has for years been marred by corruption allegations, leaderships tussles and poor security at major matches.

The sport again plunged into chaos in 2011 as a rival administration kicked off its own rebel top-tier league, splitting the nation’s best teams and prompting FIFA to threaten expulsion from international competition.

The Liga Prima said it would submit a recommendation for the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) to sanction Persewangi Banyuwangi.

PSSI secretary-general Halim Mahfudz said the association would “possibly fine them or bar the club from taking part in competitions for a certain period of time.”

COMMENT - the club have apparently jumped ship and joined the alternate league set up run by the KPSI - the committee to save Indonesian football.

Meanwhile back at FIFA commissioner Blatter continues to ignore the damage being done to the game here accentuated by his inaction.

Persewangi last season played in Divisi Utama, not Liga Prima.


Home Comforts For Papuan Teams

Papua is a notoriously difficult place to get a result. The distances involved mean many visiting teams are knackered when they land often with little time to acclimatize and rest. Throw in the fact that games are never shown live round the country and you can understand people's concerns.

Persib are none to happy at the moment. They raced into a 2 goal lead away to Persiram before the home team clawed their way back into the game, veteran Liberian striker James Koko Lomell scoring the equaliser a respectable 12 minutes before the end amid accussations from the visitors there was an element of offside.

While Persib bemoan the ref the other three teams playing in Papua ended up with nothing.

Persipura inflicted a second successive 4-0 thumping on newly promoted Persepam while Persidafon matched that against Persita. Persiwa had an 81st minute goal to thank for their three points and, call me suspicious, late goals favouring the home team are no rarity over there.

Persipura v Persepam 4-0 (Patrich Wanggai, Boaz Solossa 2, Lukas Mandowen) 23,665
Persidafon v Persita 4-0 (Juan Marcelo Cirelli, Ronal Setmop, Jaelaniu rey, Issac Wanggai) 9,500
Persiwa v Persela 2-1 (OG, Guy Junior Nke Onduna; Mario Costas) 1,553
Persiram v Persib 2-2 (Kubay Quaiyan, James Koko Lomell; Kenji Adichihara, Herman Dzumafo) 2,150

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