Thursday, October 31, 2013


Mustafic Fahrudin Returns To Indonesia

An 18-man S-League all-Star team managed by former Warriors FC head Coach Richard Bok will take on an Indonesian all-Star side over a two-legged series with the games to be played in Singapore on 11 November and Indonesia on 13 November.

The games are arranged by RED CARD led by former Singapore international R. Sasikumar.

Almost all club sides based in Singapore will see players representing the S-League all-star team. Below is the full list of players who will be involved in the two matches.

Goalkeepers: Shahril Jantan (Home United), Yazid Yasin (Woodlands Wellington)

Defenders: Paul Cunningham (Balestier Khalsa), Shariff Samat (Woodlands Wellington), Daniel Bennett, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin (Both Warriors FC), Juma’at Jantan, Noh Rahman (both Home United)

Midfielders: Mustafic Fahrudin, Jamil Ali (both Tampines Rovers), Ahmad Latiff, Hafiz Nor (both Tanjong Pagar United), Jozef Kaplan (Geylang International), Sherif El-Masri (Courts Young Lions), Azhar Sairudin (Hougang United)

Forwards: Aleksandar Duric (Tampines Rovers), Monsef Zerka (Tanjong Pagar United), Bruno Castanheira (Albirex Niigata-S)

SOURCE - Axross the line 

COMMENT - Well, what to say? Surely a better idea would have been to get, for example, Tampines Rovers to play Persipura? Champions against champions?

I'm not a fan of these all star thingies. I know there was 80,000 earlier in the year for a game like this but the opponents then were Liverpool. To be honest, and as you know I do like my Singapore football, I can't see fans travelling from all over the archipeligo to see a Singapore select.

From a football point of view, nah. But looking forward to catching up with some good people again!

And who was Alice, anyway?


Arema Clearout

Following a disappointing season by their standards, Arema have been busy telling players they are free to move on.

Among them is 41 years young striker Keith Kayamba. Following him out of the Arema revolving door are Joko Sasongko, Yericho Christiantoko and Engelberd Sani who are reported to have joined Persisam.

Hasyim Kipuw and Egi Melgiansyah are also leaving Arema.

With the exception of Kayamba, most of the players being released are pretty young. It will be interesting to see who is brought in to replace them. And their ages.

There is a suspicion clubs, and I'm not picking on Arema here, are quick to choose more experienced players than giving youth its head. Arema, it must be said, gave keeper Megia Kurnia his opportunity when he was young and he is still doing a job for them.

But nit everyone seems so keen on young players which must be a worry for the current Under 19 crop after their successes at the ASEAN and AFC competitions


Indonesia v Kyrgyzstan

Ticket prices:

VVIP - Rp 750,000
VIP West - Rp 500,000
VIP East - Rp 250,000
Category 1 - Rp 200,000
Category 2 - Rp 75,000

The game will be played at Bung Karno on Friday with a 7.30 pm kick off.

Following the game, Indonesia will apparently fly to North Korea to play a couple of friendlies before heading to China for an AFC Asian Cup qualifier


IPL Game In Match Fixing Scandal

Those recent Indonesia Premier League play offs? You know, the ones I never bothered covering? Apparently the PSSI is concerned over match fixing allegations surrounding one of the games.

There were many high scoring games at the play offs as teams vied for a spot in next season's Indonesia Super League which has caused eyebrows to be raised.

Because of course Indonesian football is well known as being as clean as a whistle.

As ever, this is probably less to do with football and more to do with settling scores. Oh look, a double entendre!


Discrimination Rears Its Ugly Head In Pahang

With Pahang ready to appear in their first Malaysia Cup final in yonks fans in the state have of course been scrambling around trying to find tickets.

Except the local organisers, the Pahang FA, have rather upset a few people by insisting only people born in the state can actually buy tickets.

Pahang, who play Kelantan in the final, received 30,000 tickets with fans travelling from far and wide across the state to queue early but some were left disappointed when they were told they could not buy any.

Some guy from the Pahang FA said 'it was implemented to further improve the process of selling the tickets' whatever that means.

They could sell tickets to season ticket holders, to members of the Pahang supporters club, to fans who have match tickets from all the games this season, to people with coupons from the match day programme!

There are many ways to sell the tickets but to engage in such blatant discrimination, in a country that prides itself on its different cultures and boasts of 1 Malaysia, is sickening.

Mind you, they aren't the only team to take this path.

LionsXII also have a discriminatory approach to match ticket sales. Advance sales are only available to residents of the country. In other words, not me!

By extending the logic of LionsXII and Pahang, no Singaporean or Malaysian would be allowed to watch Liverpool or Chelsea because they don't come from there.


Ex Socceroo Durakovic Returns To Selangor

PETALING JAYA: The FA of Selangor (FAS) have signed former star player Mehmet Durakovic as head coach of the Super League squad for next season.
A source in FAS said that the 48-year-old former Australian player had signed the deal a couple of days ago and would begin work on Nov 15.
Mehmet is no stranger to Malaysian football having led the Red Giants to win the Malaysia Cup for three consecutive seasons from 1995-97.
Selangor are desperate for success in the domestic competition after three fruitless seasons. Former Selangor coach Irfan Bakti had left the state team mid-way through the Malaysia Cup this season. 
Irfan had reportedly signed up for Felda United next season.
COMMENT - I used to see this guy play in the old NSL back in Australia. A class act on the field

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Hunting Pacho

Persija's striker Emmanuel Kenmogne is a man in demand.

The Cameroonian played a leading role in helping Persija climb off the bottom of the Indonesia Super League afer signing in the mid season transfer window.

Now, with Persija playing their usual 'we'll leave everything to the last monute before we even thing about trivial matters like coach and players, risk losing the man who in case you haven't guessed by kniw is nicknamed Pacho.

After hitting a pretty impressive 14 goals in 15 games clubs like Mitra Kukar, Persebaya and Arema are reportedly sniffing round the striker with a view to signing him for the next campaign that could, should begin next year.


Johor Claims Shahril

SINGAPORE — It looks like LionsXII skipper Shahril Ishak will join Malaysian Premier League side Johor FA and play in the second-tier of the Malaysian football league next season.

At a press conference yesterday in Johor Baru, Johor Football Association President Ismail Idris, who is also the Crown Prince of Johor, announced that the 29-year-old striker will be meeting him next week to put pen to paper.

“Shahril will be signing the contract next week,” he said. “His dedication and determination are why we want him to join us next season. He will be a role model, a source of inspiration and an icon to the younger players in the Johor FA team.”

The announcement means that two LionsXII players will be plying their trade with Johor FA next season. Defender Baihakki Khaizan is believed to have already signed with the club although the 29-year-old has so far declined comment whenever he is asked about it.

When contacted yesterday, Shahril told TODAY that he is still considering offers from several clubs. “The truth is I haven’t put my signature on any contract,” he said.

Johor FA sources say that the duo have been advised to keep mum about their moves until they are officially unveiled by the club


Kelantan's Late Comeback

With eight minutes remaining on the clock, Kelantan were down and out of the Malaysia Cup. Despite winning the first leg in Kuala Lumpur 2-1 against ATM, or Armed Forces, a first half brace from veteran striker Marlon Alex James had given the visitors the lead and put them on the verge of a finals appearance.

Kelantan though are nothing if not resilient. They came out for the second half more purposeful. The midfield, almost nonexistent in the first 45 minutes, got more involved, harrying the visitors in the centre of the park, depriving James of service.

When ATM could get the ball forward, James was always a threat. Such is his reputation, seven Malaysia Cup goals going in to the game, when he missed what was a fairly simple opportunity by his own high standards ironic cheers echoed round the packed Sultan Muhammad IV stadium in Kota Bharu in the far north east of the Malaysian peninsula.

Substitute Ahmad Fakri pulled a goal back on 81 minutes and the noise level was cranked up another notch. The tie was now delicately poised at 3-3 and could go either way. ATM, who had been content to time waste since James had scored their second goal giving them an aggregate lead, were less slothful when it came to taking free kicks and throw ins.

It was to no avail. The tide had turned and when Badri Radzi equalised with five minutes on the clock it was Kelantan who had one foot in the final.

ATM still had their opportunities though. With the home team pushing for another goal instead of playing safe and keeping possession, they were always liable on the counter attack.

With literally the last kick of the 90 minutes a sweet 20 yard volley by ATM striker Hairuddin Omar sailed literally inches over the crossbar. Minutes later, deep in injury time, Kelantan keeper, Malaysian international Khairul Fahmi reacted with a finger tip save to to keep a goal bound effort out and within seconds, Kelantan were through to their third Malaysia Cup final in five years.

It had been a pulsating cup tie showcasing 'the best two teams in Malaysia' as Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak said after the game and with Pahang drawing 1-1 in Sarawak, coached by former Arema boss Robert Alberts, the following evening in front of another sell out crowd of 20,000 to go through 4-2 on aggregate sets up nicely next weekend's cup final to be held at Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor.

After the game, the ATM coach, B Sathianathan, who coached Kelantan before taking on the Armed Forces, blamed the ref but was quick to point out the role the home support had played in getting behind their team.

Certainly the home support was raucous with plenty of noise throughout the game. Fans of the Indonesian game may even recognize some familiar fan chants though with a slightly different dialect!

While Kelantan have come to see the Malaysia Cup as their own personal property, this will be their fourth appearance in the last five seasons, Pahang have not been so successful. Their last triumph came in 1992 and they have not made the final since 1997.

The Malaysia Cup is the longest running cup competition in Southeast Asia with Singapore defeating Selangor 2-1 in the first ever final held back in 1921.

Those two teams have since dominated the trophy with Selangor winning the venerable trophy 32 times, Singapore, despite withdrawing in 1994, have 24 titles to their date.

The last few seasons though have seen a geographical shift in power in Malaysian football. Selangor's last triumph was in 2005. Since then Kelantan, Kedah and Negeri Sembilan have lifted the trophy on two occasions while Perlis have one win to their name. In the history of Malaysian football those four clubs have been serial underachievers, minnows to be steamrollered by mighty Selangor.

But while this season's final will be between two of the more traditional state teams, less football clubs in the traditional sense of the word and more football associations, there is a feeling that in Malaysia there is another shift on the horizon.

With the national team winning the ASEAN Football Federation Cup in 2010 and back to back SEA Games titles, the regional dominance is slowly trickling down to the domestic competition. ATM were one of the first clubs to start ploughing serious money into the squad while the likes of Sime Darby and Johor Darul Takzim have also been splashing the cash; JDT have added for Argentine international Pablo Aimar to their ranks for the next campaign.

Unfancied T Team from the north eastern state of Terangganu last season boasted George Boateng, former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, and Caleb Forlan, a former Republic of Ireland international.

There is still a stench of match fixing though. A recent Malaysia Cup tie is thought to have been suspicious with one of the teams involved acting quickly in reporting their doubts to the Football Association of Malaysia.

Next week's showpiece final will be an 80,000 plus sell out as the east coast empties. The final always is. Yet, despite the longetivity of the competition and the crowds it attracts the cup remains little known outside of Malaysia.

Within Malaysia though, a new professionalism is taking the game to greater heights. Serious TV money has changed the coverage and the Malaysia Cup now boasts a new sponsor, a multinational pharmacy; gone are the days of state owned enterprises and tobacco firms plastering their names on player’s shirts.

Next week's final promises to be a special sporting event. 

SOURCE - My column from today's Jakarta Globe but not on line yet

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Kean's New Home?

This story comes from Reuters

COMMENT - remember the story yesterday about former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean heading to DPMM in the SLeague? Another story today by the way suggested former Arsenal, Everton etc etc striker Francis Jeffers may be heading for a trial there.

Anyway, Brunei are looking at introducing sharia law next year. 

Typically in Engaldn people get caned on a Saturday night but it usually means getting wasted or beaten up.

In Brunei it really could mean someone getting caned.

Imagine the phone call.

Steve - Franny, fancy coming out tonight?
Franny - yeah, anything on?
Steve - yeap, some robber his having his hands cut off
Franny - seen that last week
Steve - wait a minute, some guy having a bit on the side is gonna get stoned
Franny - pick me up at six!


Indonesia's Next Coach

With Jacksen F Tiago set to step down as coach of the Indonesian national team, a job he has done while guiding Persipura to their third ISL title in three years, the rumour mill is churning out the usual names.

One paper is suggesting Alfred Riedl. Again. He had it before, taking the merah putih to the final of the ASEAN Cup in 2010, before becoming a victim of the dualisme nonsense that has wasted so many people's time over the last two years.

The PSSI who took over after Nurdin Halid had to move aside couldn't find the Austrian's contract so they sacked him!

Ivan Kolev is also being mentioned. He has had the job twice before.

One other name being mentioned is former Aston Villa striker Peter Withe who  has also had the job before.

No mention, yet, of names like Bambang Nurdiansyah, Benny Dollo, Wim Rijsbergen, Luis Manuel Blanco (who?), Nil Maizer, Aji Santoso and Rahmad Darmawan who have all had a go in recent years?


Kedah Fans Unhappy

GEORGE TOWN; The Kedah football supporters groups called off a “peaceful protest” scheduled to be held outside the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar yesterday after receiving assurances from the Kedah Football Association (KFA).

The supporters from the state’s top fan groups like, Kedah Football Fan Club (KPBK), Ultras Kedah and Kenari Fans Squad had planned the protest to show their displeasure over the deterioration of the state football squad’s fortunes.

The supporters groups agreed to call off the protest on Sunday after the KFA honorary secretary Aminuddin Omar agreed to meet the supporters’ representatives tomorrow.

“We have decided to adopt a wait-and-see attitude after receiving positive feedback from the KFA management. We want to use Wednesday’s meeting with the KFA to air our displeasure over the way Kedah football has been run in recent years,” said Sazali Sobri, the group’s representative, in a written statement.

“We will not hesitate to carry out the demonstration if there is no follow-up by KFA to improve Kedah football or to weed out the bad apples in the association.

KFA need to buck up if Kedah are to return as a feared footballing state in the country.”

Despite having star players like Mohd Khyril Muhymeen and Baddrol Bakhtiar in their ranks, Kedah only finished fourth in the second-tier Premier League this year to miss out on promotion.

The Canaries also crashed out in the Malaysia Cup preliminary stage, extending the fallen giants’ trophyless streak to five years.

Chief coach Marijo Tot left the team when his contract expired after the Premier League ended, leaving caretaker coach Datuk Ahmad Shafie and Tot’s assistant Antonio Sisic to call the shots during the Malaysia Cup.

Mohd Azraai Khor, who quit as the Perak coach on Sunday, is now the favourite to return to the Kedah hot-seat next year.

The 61-year-old Azraai, who spent his entire playing career with the Canaries in the 1970s before guiding them to successive Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup treble triumphs in 2007 and 2008, will be a popular choice for the fans if he returns to Alor Setar.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Jacksen F Tiago In Talks With Chinese Club

Persipura's coach, Jacksen F Tiago, is apparently in talks to take the reigns at Chinese club Tianjin Songjian who play in League One.

Jacksen, a prolific striker with Persebaya during his playing career, has since led both Persebaya and Persipura to the Indonesian title.

Since taking over at Persipura in 2008 the Black Pearls have won the title three times and finished second twice.

In the same interview, Jacksen says if the move to China doesn't happen he would be happy to stay with Persipura.


RD To Persebaya?

Strong rumours are linking Indonesia's most successful coach, Rahmad Darmawan, with newly promoted Indonesia Super League club Persebaya.

This follows another story doing the rounds a few days back linking the widely travelled Marcos Falopa, currently coaching East Bengal, with the Arema job.

There certainly seems to be something going on in East Java. The owners of Arema are being linked with taking over Persikubar, who provided the rump of Persebaya when the latter opted to stay with the ISL set up when the leagues, and Persebaya went on to join the ill fated Indonesia Premier League.

The IPL Persebaya will not be allowed to enter the new ISL next season.

For observers of Indonesian football there is a pattern emerging. Darmawan, who won the title with Persipura and Sriwijaya, is thought to be close to a group influential in football having worked with them at Pelita Jaya and Arema.

However, Darmawan is also said to have had talks with Malaysian side Terengganu.

Read between the lines, lah.


Persikabo Get New Stadium

They may have failed to earn promotion to the Indonesia Super League but Persikabo will find themselves somewhere new next season.

They will move from their cramped stadium in Cibinong to a new stadium, also in Cibinong, that can hold 30,000.

The new venue is yet to be named but is being called Pakansari Stadium for the time being.

The completion of this stadium will give the province of West Java three decent, new stadiums. The others being Jaruk Harupat in Soreang and Persib's new home, Gede Bage.

Meanwhile, in the nation's capital...the focus is on building malls and office blocks.


East Coast Final

The first leg of the Malaysia Cup semi finals give a slight advantage to the east coast sides.

Kelantan overcame ATM 2-1 with Norfahan getting the winner with 11 minutes on the clock. Pahang will travel to Sarawak with a 3-1 lead after the opening game in Kuantan which saw all four goals squeezed into a 10 minute spell before half time.

Sarawak host Pahang this Saturday while Kelantan welcome ATM on Friday.


From Blackburn To Brunei

SINGAPORE — Former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean has been named as the new head coach of Brunei DPMM FC, the club announced on their website late on Saturday.
The 46-year-old Scot arrives on a one-year contract and replaces Vjeran Simunic, who had two spells (2008-09 and 2011-2013) in charge of DPMM. Simunic led DPMM to the StarHub League Cup and a second place finish in the Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League last year, feats that won him the Coach of the Year award for 2012.
DPMM failed to finish in the top half of the 12-team S-League after two rounds of league play this season, relegating them to the mini-competition for clubs in the bottom half. Failure to defend the League Cup and a quarter-final exit from the RHB Singapore Cup led to Simunic announcing his departure at the end of the season.
Kean is famously known for keeping Blackburn in the English top flight following the sacking of Sam Allardyce in December 2010 by new Indian owners Venky’s.
Initially handed the Rovers managership on an interim basis, Kean was given a permanent contract a month later, although his 21-month spell was unpopular and often controversial, with the club relegated after the 2011-12 season.
Though tasked to lead the club back to the top flight, Kean left Ewood Park last September claiming he had been “forced to resign”.
DPMM are set to continue their participation in the S-League with a signing ceremony scheduled for tomorrow at the Jalan Besar Stadium between the club and the Football Association of Singapore.
COMMENT - from the frying pan to the fire?

DPMM hosted Hougang United on Saturday and won 1-0. After the game current coach, Vjeran Simunic described the line up that earned the narrow win as his favourite DPMM line up. Was he waxing lyrical?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Ronaldinho Happy At PKNS

PETALING JAYA: Hotshot Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh is keen to extend his stay with PKNS FC for another season.
The 22-year-old Liberian international said he was impressed with the professional set-up at the club and wished to remain with the Super League side.
“If everything goes well, I should stay on for another season. I have no problems here. They have a good management team,” said Wleh, who was their top goal poacher with 22 goals this season.
He was also the Super League’s second top scorer with 14 goals and netted another seven in the Malaysia Cup competition.
PKNS did well to qualify for their first-ever Malaysia Cup quarter-finals this season. However, Pahang stopped their march into the semi-finals with a 5-3 aggregate win last week.
It is learnt that PKNS coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim will leave the club side and return to his home state Terengganu next season.
“If there is a new coach, then I’ll need to see him first and find out his plans for me. It is important that I know the coach and what he has in store for me,” said Wleh, who led Sime Darby FC to the FA Cup final last season.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Sundram Takes On Negeri Sembilan Challenge

V Sundramoorthy has stepped down as LionsXII coach following their elimination from the Malaysia Cup last weekend.

The coach, who led the team to the Malaysia Super League title, had long been rumoured to be finishing up with the team this season, will be Negeri Sembilan's new coach for the Malaysia Premier League next season.

From the outside it does seem a bit odd. Leaving the Super League champions for a team that was relegated but Negeri Sembilan are a bit of a sleeping giant in Malaysian football and there are suggestions they will be backed up by some serious money in the coming season; something which is becoming a bit of a trend in Malaysia what with Johor Darul Takzim, ATM, Sime Darby et all splashing some serious cash recently.

For most of the 20th century Negeri Sembilan did nothing on the football field beyond one Malaysia Cup (1948) and a second tier title in 1991.

Then came the 21st century!

Malaysia Cup Winners - 2009, 2011
Malaysia Cup Runners Up - 2000, 2006, 2010
Malaysia FA Cup - 2003, 2010
Charity Shield Winners - 2012
Charity Shield Runners Up - 2004, 2010
Super League Winners - 2006
Super League Runners Up - 2008
Premier League Runners Up - 2005

So, no pressure there, then.


Home Make Singapore Cup Final

Home United overcame Balestier Khalsa to remain on target for their sixth Singapore Cup success. They meet Tanjong Pagar in the final at Jalan Besar after Tanjong overcame Philippine side Global 4-3 on aggregate.

It's fair to say Home have been under performing over recent seasons so this cup final, their second in three seasons, gives their supporters the hope of some silverware.

They also have only lost once in the final.

A tough ask for Tanjong Pagar!


Managing Expectations

Today sees the AFC U19 Qualifying round kick off in Jakarta with Indonesia being joined by Laos, Philippines and South Korea and perhaps the biggest challenge facing the Indonesian team lies not on the field of play but in the court of public opinion.

Perhaps the worst thing the current squad could have done was to have won the AFF U19 in Sidoarjo. Yes, I accept the hoary old argument that the silverware ended a generation of drought.

But if it means they go into the AFC competition expecting to just turn up to win then the whole experience was wasted.

Back in 2010 a couple of big victories against Malaysia and Laos had the whole country expecting Indonesia would go on and win the AFF Cup. The media led the hype with channels not  normally known for their interest in the local game flooding their schedules with tidbits, accompanied by celebrities whose knowledge of the beautiful game extended as far as the Manchester United replica shirt their advisors told them to pick up from a local market.

Semi finals and the final against Malaysia attracted around 300,000 fans high on the expectancy of victory, low on the subtleties of the game; Malaysia were a better, more experienced team. Blind patriotism.

Indonesia lost and the hangers on drifted away. Football descended into its own civil war and the celebrity fan moved on to the latest coffee hangout in what ever became the latest hip hang out for them sort.

The danger now with the U19s is a repeat of that mania.

Apart from anything else, and whisper this quietly if you are around the Bung Karno Stadium later today, but at this age group it ain't about winning. It's about developing players for the future in the knowledge that perhaps only two or three of the squad will go on to make a name for themselves in the game in the  future.

Back in 2008, Indonesia hosted an AFF U16 competition. Five years on, we can't expect too many of those players to be household names. Not in a country where the big clubs tend not to trust youth.

But Singapore's Shafiq Ghani recently played a major role in LionsXII winning the Malaysia Super League while Malaysians like Gary Steven Robbat and Devandran have gone on to become first team regulars. From the Indonesian team? You know, lah.

Tell that to the thousands who will confirm on Bung Karno over the next few days or, even, the players pulling on the merah putih.

Football can still be a long career at their age; winning an U19 will mean jack shit when they finally hang up their boots and look back on their trophy free time in the game. Perhaps the likes of Bambang Pamungkas, Friman Utina and Ponaryo Astaman might have welcomed an U19 as they look back on their careers but the stuff of dreams it ain't.

How the coaching staff managed the successful team in Sidoarjo will be of the utmost importance. If they pandered to the players, allowed them their ego trips and extra training sessions to practise goal celebrations then they have done a great disservice.

Sidoarjo is over, the AFC U19 is a tougher nut to crack. Already, the Indonesian coach has said the draw benefits Indonesia because they have two easier games before meeting South Korea. A quote he may rue because the South Koreans have a similar draw!

And people have been underestimating the work Laos have been doing at youth level for several years now and underestimating a team is never a recipe for winning anything.

While Indonesia may still be dining out on the glory of that night in Sidoarjo, it is in the past. Today sees a new competition kicking off. And ultimately, success for Evan Dimas and his team mates comes not in East Java or the AFC U19s. It comes five or six years down the road when they have become established players in their own right and they are able to dine out on their performances of the last game as men, not a little known pot they won as teenagers.

Monday, October 07, 2013


Coulibaly In Demand

This promises to be an interesting close season with a handful of clubs chasing the top names. It may lack the glamour and 24/7 coverage of the transfer window but then in this part of the world maybe we don't have that much free time. I certainly don't!

Anyway, Barito Putra's Djibril Coulibaly is one name that is sure to attract envious glances after an impressive season with newly promoted Barito Putra. Sorry, I don't have the stats, the ISL website is down. Again! Anyway, Mitra Kukar have already been linked with him.

Expect a bit of a chase for Persisam's Lancine Kone as well. Techincally gifted, he could do a job at many places if Persisam cannot hold on to him.

There was talk a few weeks back of India's Mohan Bagun expressing an interest in Semen Padang's long serving striker Edward Wilson Junior.

In Malaysia expect the canny to have a look at Sime Darby's Karlo Primorac after a prolific season. Then again Sime Darby are one of a few Malaysian clubs offering a pretty good wedge now.

Strong rumours several of the Malaysia Super League title winners heading across the Causeway. Hariss Harun to Johor Darul Takzim, Bahakki Khaizan to Johor (the other one), Safuwan Baharuddin to T Team. Striker Shahril Ishak is another who could be on the move.

I would like to see some more Indonesian players try their luck overseas. Players like Titus Bonai for example, Vendry Mofu. They both struggled against East Bengal after Wilson went off during Semen Padang's AFC Cup tie against the Indian team, they would benefit from being taken out of their comfort zone.

While no one can accuse Boas Solossa of not getting the goals when needed, perhaps the time is also right for him to have a look overseas?

Look at Bahakki for example. He returned from Indonesia revitalised, a more astute and yes, more mature, player. He has been sensational the last 12 months or so.

Persib have as ever been acting swiftly, bringing in Tantan and Ahmad Jefriyanto


Indonesia Squad AFC Cup Against China

1. Choirul Huda (Persela Lamongan)
2. I Made Wirawan (Persib Bandung)
3. Dian Agus Prasetyo (Barito Putra)
4. Yustinus Pae (Persipura)
5. Ruben Sanadi (Persipura)
6. Slamet Nur Cahyono (Persiba Bantul)
7. Raphael Maitimo (Mitra Kukar)
8. Ahmad Bustomi (Mitra Kukar)
9. Vendri Mofu (Semen Padang)
10. Boaz Solossa (Persipura Jayapura)
11. Titus Bonay (Semen Padang)
12. Patrick Wanggai (Persipura Jayapura)
13. Zulham Zamrun (Mitra Kukar)
14. M.Robby (Persisam Samarinda)
15. Firdaus Ramadhan (Persita Tangerang)
16. Sergio Van Dijk (Persib Bandung)
17. Fachruddin (Persepam Madura United)
18. Imanuel Wanggai (Persipura Jayapura)
19. Toni Sucipto (Persib Bandung)
20. Victor Igbonefo (Arema Indonesia)
21. Hasyim Kipuw (Arema Indonesia)
22. Greg Nwokolo (Arema Indonesia)
23. Taufik (Persebaya 1927)
24. Andik Virmansyah (Persebaya 1927)

Interesting to see Choirul Huda finally get a call up. He has been a consistent performer for Persela for a number of seasons now but they aren't the highest profile team in he country.

Former Pelita Jaya keeper Dian Agus Prasetyo seemed to have fallen off the radar for a few seasons but seems to be back in favour after a good season with newly promoted Barito Putra.

A few IPL players getting a call up, the most obvious I guess being the highly rated Andik Vermansyah who is currently having a trial in Japan.

No places for Cristian Gonzales, Irfan Bachdim in the squad...


IPL Play Offs Slated For Jepara and Bantul

The Indonesia Premier League is still with us. Kind of.

The league itself has all but ground to a halt, a mixture of apathy and incompetence slowly choking the league. Persija, Persema and Persibo were effectively kicked out of the league while Bontang want to be kicked out but were told they couldn't.

Persebaya and Arema have no future in their current guises as the new set up, the latest of many new set ups, won't  be recognising two clubs sharing the same name!

Semen Padang will be in the Super League next season by dint of winning the IPL.

The remaining 10 IPL clubs will go into a play off to decide their own futures.

Each play off group has five clubs...don't ask for who is playing when, no one seem to have thought that far ahead yet.

Jepara Group - Persijap, Pro Duta, PSLS, Bontang, PSM

Bantul Group - Persiba Bantul, Perseman, PSIR, Persepar, Persiraja.

I will add the actual playing schedule when I hear it. Which, knowing this country, may be after the games have been played.

And as to who goes up and other idea!

16 Oktober 2013:  
PSLS vs Bontang FC, Pro Duta vs Persijap Jepara (grup K)
17 Oktober 2013:  
Persiraja Banda Aceh vs Persepar Palangkaraya, PSIR Rembang vs Persiba Bantul (grup L)
18 Oktober 2013
Persijap Jepara vs PSLS Lhokseumawe, PSM Makassar vs Pro Duta (grup K)
19 Oktober 2013
Persiba Bantul vs Persiraja Banda Aceh, Perseman Manokwari vs PSIR Rembang (grup L)
20 Oktober 2013
PSLS Lhokseumawe vs PSM Makassar, Bontang FC vs Persijap Jepara (grup K)
Persiraja Banda Aceh vs Perseman Manokwari, Persepar Palangkaraya vs Persiba Bantul (Bantul)
PSM Makassar vs Bontang FC, Pro Duta vs PSLS Lhokseumawe (Jepara)
Perseman Manokwari vs Persepar Palangkaraya, PSIR Rembang vs Persiraja Banda Aceh (Bantul)
Persijap Jepara vs PSM Makassar, Bontang FC vs Pro Duta (Jepara)
Persiba Bantul vs Perseman Manokwari, Persepar Palangkaraya vs PSIR Rembang (Bantul)
Winner Bantul group vs Winner Jepara group
Winner vs Semen Padang


Malaysia Cup Quarter Finals

The Malaysia Cup is hotting up nicely again. Kelantan were 4-2 down against Johor Darul Takzim in the first leg. Took them back to Kota Bahru and thumped them 6-1.

Pahang took an estimated 8,000 fans to Shah Alam Stadium where they overcame PKNS 2-1 to ease through 5-3 on aggregate.

Super League champions LionsXII defeated ATM 1-0 in the first leg but that was never going to be enough and true enough lost 4-1 against the Armed Forces with Marlon Alex James hitting a hat trick.

In the other game, Sarawak defeated Sime Darby 3-1 to secure their semi final place.

18/10 - ATM v Kelantan
19/10 - Pahang v Sarawak
25/10 - Kelantan v ATM
26/10 - Sarawak v Pahang


Cilegon For Football

London, the capital city of England and all that, apparently has a population of in excess of 8 million people. Bangkok has a similar population, more if you add in the folks who live in the surrounding provinces like Pathum Thani and commute in.

Jakarta? Jakarta has more than 10 million people and is according to wiki the 13th largest city in the world.

Nope, I haven't given up on football to become a demographic scribbler!

The London Football Guide is a blog about London. And football. As it says on the tin.It details every game going on in the city from the Premier League right down through the leagues. And there are dozens. Absolutely dozens. The keen fan could go to a game seven days a week and I am sure there are those who do.

Bangkok has its own BKK Football Blog which looks at football. In Bangkok.Admittedly it also takes in football across the country but then when it started the Thai Premier League was much more Bangkok centric than it is now.

Despite being a far bigger city, Jakarta lacks its own football blog. Mainly because it lacks any football on a regular basis.

It also has a shocking lack of stadiums. Bung Karno, Lebak Bulus (due to be demolished), Soemenatri Brojonegoro, Tugu, Ciracas...that is pretty much it!

Last week there was a grand total of zero games in Indonesia's capital city.

OK we could say the Indonesia Super League is over but even if it was ongoing chances are the local team, Persija, would have been playing a home game some place else in Java.

The Persija in the Indonesia Premier League were eventually told to stop embarrassing themselves; their home games were also outside of Jakarta. And Persitara, about the only team to play regularly in the city, well, it is nigh on impossible to find out when they play until you see the result.

Which all goes to explain why I gave serious thought to spending yesterday afternoon in Cilegon. An industrial city big on steel, Cilegon sounds a bit like Middlesbrough without the grandiose Victorian buildings.

The Krakatau Steel Stadium was hosting Division Two games and I had the opportunity of catching two games at a new ground. PS West Jakarta in one game and Cilegon United in the second. Coached by Bambang Nurdiansyah no less.

I love my double headers, used to do plenty in England back in the day. Indeed, recently O dragged my hangover to Watford one afternoon and Northampton in the evening.

One wonderful day I managed Halifax, Rochdale and Port Vale on the same day!

But then I was young, single and foolish. Today, I am just foolish. Just as in Middlesbrough there is sod all to do for a young family so too Cilegon. Probably even less.

At the end of the day I could not subject them to a few hours savoring Cilegon's industrial delights. It just didn't seem fair. And then to get stuck on the toll road back home.

Going to football in Jakarta is no easy matter. Still, at least the AFC Under 19s kick off tomorrow in Jakarta. But have you seen them ticket prices?

Saturday, October 05, 2013


Miljan Radovic Interview

Miljan Radovic smiles a lot. He may be thousands of miles from home and family but he is buzzing. For many people a doughnut shop in a Bandung mall early on a Saturday night isn’t going to get the pulses races racing but Radovic loves it.

He’s 38 years old later this month, he has no job, yet to look at him, to spend time with him, you would think his numbers had just come up on the lottery.

‘I love Bandung. I just love it here,’ he said, smiling of course.

Born in Niksic, Yugoslavia, Radovic’s footballing resume is a microcosm of Balkan history. Most of his schooldays were spent in Yugoslavia when it was considered the most open of Europe’s communist countries.

When he was 12 years old, in 1987, Yugoslavia won the World Youth Cup with a team featuring future greats like Robert Prosinecki, Davor Sukor, Zvonimar Baban and Igor Stimac. Even now, the names roll off the tongue.

In 1990 Yugoslavia reached the World Cup quarter finals only to lose to Argentina on penalties but already the country was being torn apart by the political rumblings that eventually led to the bloody civil war. The federation was on the verge of break up and when they made it to the 1992 European Championships the war raging in the constituent republics meant UEFA banned them from competing.

Football fans never got to see how great that Yugoslav generation could have been.

Amid the chaos of the early 1990s, Radovic started his career with his local team, Sutjeska Niksic. Famous for their youth academy, Sutjeska alumni includes Mirko Vucinic who now plays for Juventus.

‘I played with Vucinic,’ Miljan recalls. ‘I was his captain.’

Radovic was the type of journeyman footballer who rarely made the headlines. In 2000 he left his home town team and moved to Vojvodina, then Smartno 1928 before moving on to Grbalj, Mogren, Grbalj again, Lovcen Cetinje and Petrovac.

He was treading water. Football was a job, a job he loved for sure, but just that.

Then, in the autumn of his career, he signed for Persib Bandung in the Indonesia Super League.
‘For me, Bandung is football. It has an amazing football culture. To see the fans…’ he breaks off with a whistle.

Persib fans, known as Bobotoh, a Sundanese word meaning followers, are famous in Indonesia for the passion and intensity of their support. The club in many ways resemble Newcastle United and their supporters, the Toon Army. They are a beacon for another state, language, culture.

Just drive round West Java, the somewhat uninspiring name for the old Sundanese lands, and you will never be far from some Persib graffiti. Just as people born on the banks of the Tyne support Newcastle from birth, so Sundanese support Persib. It is a given.

But whereas Newcastle have a local rival, Sunderland, just a couple of stops away on the train, Persib have no such rival. Other clubs have tried to tap into the massive market that exists for football in the province, the likes of Bandung FC, Pelita Jaya and Pelita Bandung Raya but, well, they just are not Persib.

Radovic spent a season and a half with Persib, netting 17 goals in that time ‘and 24 assists’.

‘You know, driving out to the stadium (in nearby Soreang) the road was just a sea of blue. Everyone cheered us, banging on the coach. Unbelievable,’ he remembers.

And inside the stadium? He shakes his head at the memories.

‘Everywhere I went in Bandung, people recognize me. They want their photograph with me, they want my autograph. You know, they made me feel like a star.’

‘It is real football. I had never seen anything like it before. You know, I want to see Liverpool v Manchester United, Real Madrid Barcelona but Persib games were just unbelievable,’ he said. Smiling of course.

In a nutshell, Radovic was revitalized by his time in Bandung. He was part of a football culture he had read about and seen on TV. Bandung, its football club and its people were proving to be an inspiration and the attacking midfielder was responding to the cultural stimulation.

He wrote a book about his life. He started making plans for a football school. He had an extra spring in his step.

Released after a season and a half he returned to Montenegro and kicked his heels for a while, waiting for a club to call. One did. Pelita Bandung Raya. He was so excited he went to the travel agent and booked the first available flight which happened to be business class. The club paid but Radovic was in such a rush to get back, he didn’t care.

He returned to a club very different to Persib. PBR were struggling against relegation and the crowds they attracted wouldn’t have filled more than a handful of the packed angkots that regularly made the pilgrimage to Persib games.

But for Radovic, it was like nothing had changed. ‘Still people approach me. I get my photo taken, I sign autographs. I’m never alone for long’.

Now, with his contract ended and PBR safe in the ISL for one more season, Radovic is pushing forward with plans for his football school but is getting frustrated by the way things are done. Or, as is usually the case, not done.

‘You know, I have been a footballer for 20 years. It’s a great life. All I have to do is train, and turn up on match day. I love it. But now?’ again, a shake of the head, this time not of wonder or awe but frustration.
‘Getting things done here is so slow, so frustrating.’ Words heard in many a bar from many an expat over the years!

I ask him what it is about Bandung especially that keeps him here and has him making plans for the future here.

‘The people. They are amazing. I have never met people like them anywhere,’ he beamed. ‘Persib is Bandung and everyone is a Bobotoh.’

SOURCE - Jakarta Globe

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


AFC Cup U19 Ticket Prices

Category 4 - IDR 50,000
Category 3 - IDR 100,000
Category 2 - IDR 200,000
Category 1 - IDR 250,000
VIP East - IDR 250,000
VIP West - IDR 500,000
VVIP - IDR 1,000,000

For an under 19 competition!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


Malaysia FA Convinced Of Cup Tie Match Fixing

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) are “convinced” there are reasons to believe that the Malaysia Cup match between Sarawak and Perak was fixed.

The Group D finale finished with the Crocs notching an emphatic 6-1 win in front of their home fans to see them through to the quarterfinals.

Perak subsequently suspended their entire coaching staff and players after that game, on match fixing suspicions.

While FAM maintain they cannot reveal much information, Integrity Committee chairman Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat hinted of foul play.

Aseh also expressed his hope that the much debated Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) would be passed, giving authorities more power to curb match-fixing.

“It is premature for us to provide details now, as it may compromise the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations. But for us to go there and collect information, there must be something.

“We have heard many stories, including the possibility of Sarawak also playing a role, but nothing is conclusive. We hope the authorities could complete the investigations soon and bring the perpetrators to face the law.

“There are various approaches to investigate match-fixing. Perak have set a good example for future references and I hope there are results, said Aseh.

The Integrity Committee is set to meet their state counterparts on October 17 to discuss approaches to combat match-fixing, in addition to hearing their problems out as well.

Aseh also sent out a message to match-fixers to stop it, before they face the brunt of the law.

“The previous Ordinance which provides individuals to be kicked out of respective states are no longer available, but I’ve been informed that the PCA includes a provision which allows police to act on match- fixing as well. I hope it gets approved.

“Parties who are reaping the benefits of match-fixing should stop it. We want to clean Malaysian football’s image,” he added.



IPL Clubs To Discuss Future

The PSSI is to meet with clubs from the Indonesia Premier League and its associated Divisi Utama to thrash out a road map for the future of the clubs involved.

The IPL will to all intents and purposes be wound up at the end of this campaign though even that short term future is up in the air after a PSSI official called the IPL organisers incompetent.

Not all clubs will attend the meeting. Persema, Persija and Persibo have already been kicked out, good luck getting that money out of Persibo, AFC, while Persebaya and Arema are not invited because there are already clubs with those names in the Indonesia Super League.

The IPL has been a nonsense since it started. A lot of good people have been taken in by the glib words of politicians and so much time and money has been expended over the last three years you kind of wonder why anyone would want to trust Indonesian football again.

We are currently half way through the third IPL campaign. The first was stopped at the mid season break, the second was won by Semen Padang


Indonesia Behind Closed Doors In AFC Qualifiers

The PSSI are saying that their next two AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, against China and Iraq, are to be played behind closed doors after beng punished by the AFC.

It seems Asia's governing body is finally sick and tired of Indonesia's inability to organise crowd security at their games and the punishment comes after incidents at a number of games over the years.

I haven't seen anything on the AFC website about this.

This is wonderfully ironic as Indonesia have only just moved the AFC U19 from Sidoarjo to Jakarta. The final in East Java was marred by fans going on the rampage after being told tickets had been sold out only for touts to have plenty in their grubby fists.

Fans, who know how this country operates far better than I do, accused officials of selling the tickets to the touts for a profit which of course is something that has never, ever happened in England.

The last big game in Jakarta was the SEA Games final between Indonesia and Malaysia when some fans were killed in crushes brought on by weight of numbers.


Persibo Fined For AFC Cup Misdemeanours

The Asian Football Confederation have fined Persibo $12,000 for various breaches of regulations arising from their AFC Cup tie against Yangon United.

There was another $1,000 fine from their game in Maldives against New Radiant.

Persibo were given 30 days to pay up!

Good luck getting that from them!


Fulham U21s Head To Region

Fulham U21 play some cobbled together Indonesia select in Sleman today. Quite why they can't play PSS is beyond me but Indonesia does seem obsessed with this nonsense one off teams.

On Friday the Fulham reserves play Woodlands Wellington in Singapore at Jalan Besar.

This Wednesday sees Young Lions hosting Eintracht Frankfurt U21 at the same stadium. The Germans seem to like Singapore have sent another age group team to compete in the Lion City Cup earlier in the year.


AFC Cup Under 19s Switched

The AFC U19 Qualifiers have been switched from Sidoarjo to Jakarta I guess so they can get more people watching.

Indonesia are hosting the group, obviously, and play Laos on 8/10, Philippines on 10/10 and South Korea on 12/12.

For the mathematically challenged, Philippines play Korea on 8/10 and so on.

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