Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Irfan's Turning Japanese

Back in 2010, Irfan Bachdim was the hottest thing in Indonesia since colour TV. He shone at the ASEAN Cup and played a major role in Persema's success in the inaugural, and shortlived, Indonesia Premier League.

The gossip pages were filled with news of him and his celebrity girlfriend soon to become wife and screaming girls waited outside the hotel when the team played away.

But like the IPL, Irfan's fame was short lived. People soon forgot he was a footballer and as the IPL faded into irrelevance he struggled to get into a poor Persema side.

In 2013 he got a move to Chonburi but after half a season was farmed out on loan to Sri Racha and at the end of the season was released.

Now, he has signed for Japanese side Ventforet Kofu.

Excellent news you might think on the face of it. But the more you read about it the more you scratch your head.

When he had trials with the club last year, along with Syakir Sulaiman, the Indonesian players were as often photographed wearing samurai gear as playing football.

And the circumstances behind the official announcement of the signing are not what you would expect in international football.

The announcement took place at the offices of Indonesia's national airline and featured prominently at the head table was a representative of the airline as well as the Japanese ambassador to Indonesia both looking spiffing in their Ventforet Kofu shirts.

Last October, Indonesia's national airline signed an MoU with Yamanashi Prefecture to 'stimulate tourism this year through the areas of scholarship, culture, sports, sightseeing, and local products'.

So, you wonder. How much is this deal about a footballer pursuing his career overseas? Or how much is it about an airline and a local government promoting their own products?

For Irfan, the benefits are obvious. He puts himself in a bigger shop window...and who knows, he may even force his way back into the national team.

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Monday, January 27, 2014


SLeague Contributes $200 Million To Economy

This dates back to October but I never really had the time to address it.

The head of the Football Association of Singapore claimed that the local game contributed a whopping $200 million to the local economy each year. It was a number that had many people scratching their heads...attendances are down, people are apathetic about the game yet apparently this esteemed gentleman sees plenty of roses.

At least one media outlet decided to dig a little and this is what they found.

"This amount is derived from various income streams including, but not limited to, sponsorship, clubhouse operations, fundraising activities, gaming income, gate receipts and advertising revenue."

 "Apart from football-specific jobs such as professional players, coaches, referees, fitness instructors and physiotherapists, the industry contributes to employment in other capacities including marketing, management, accounting, administration, sales, communications, F&B and media."

By the same token, McDonalds also contributes billions to the economy because of the fast food specific jobs such as burger flippers, table clearers, plus the industry contributes to employment in other capacities including marketing, administration etc.

 An explanation that really isn't an explanation, I prefer this explanation.

Tua Pao Xian, a Singaporean, said he has no doubt that a 12-team S.League with matches played in front of a few dozen people each time can generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year: “Ya, I’m sure the multiplier effect is at work here.”

“Someone watching the S.League must have bet on soccer, then go to temple and pray for good fortune.”

“So, he burn paper money to his ancestors, who use it in the other realm.”

“As each note is $100 million, the ancestor uses two notes, so that’s why got $200 million.”

While the FAS seem to celebrate in grandiose, meaningless statements, compare with the English Premier League who actually provided serious numbers to a House of Lords debate.

As a result, the Premier League has become much more than just the United Kingdom’s most popular regular sporting competition. It has also become an important economic agent, with a significant impact on employment, GDP and national and local economies. A number of related industries have benefited from the Premier League’s strength, including broadcasting, marketing and other communications industries, and the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Premier League Clubs have become the social focus of many urban communities and are often the most prominent symbol of their cities in the UK and around the world.

The economic success of the Premier League generates significant taxation revenues for national and local government, giving the Government and local authorities a direct interest in the continued economic health of our competition. It is therefore important to bear in mind that, in considering the impact of the EU on sport, the relevant policies include employment, the internal market, economic development, trade, judicial and legal services, social inclusion, and regional policy as well as sport itself.

Benefits to the tourism industry have been recognised by VisitBritain. In 2012, the organisation claimed that around 900,000 tourists had attended a football game during their visit the previous year, and that 40 percent of these described this as the main purpose of their trip. 

They estimated that “these 900,000 foreign football tourists spent a substantial £706 million,
the equivalent of £785 per fan and £200 more than the average visitor (£583)” (VisitBritain, ‘900,000 Football-watching Visitors Spend £706 Million While In Britain’, 22 October 2012). 

In addition, with regard to tax revenue, Deloitte recently valued the amount of tax contributed by English professional football to the government, in 2011/12, at £1.3 billion (Annual Review of Football Finance—Highlights, June 2013, page 8).

Note the presence of references?

Notice the difference between the Singapore FA head's claims and the finely researched notes from the EPL? Notice how the latter talks about specific contributions directly attributable to football?

The Singapore claims could be applied to bus drivers, leaflet distributors or Mabel. It lacks substance, evidence or research. In short, football as an industry offers nothing to the local economy beyond providing jobs. Tax benefits, zilch, tourism boost, zilch, GDP gain, zilch.


Felda United v PBAPP 1-1

To be honest, not a whole heap to write home about.

The visitors took the lead with a well taken, opportunist goal from 30 odd yards. It was one of those where dullard ex pro pundits like to blame the keeper but I prefer to praise the goalscorer who spotted the opportunity and took the punt.

Keepers stray off their line, always have done, always will do. As supporting evidence, m'lud, Bob Wilson 1971 FA Cup Final, David Seaman ECWC Final 1995.

If keepers stay on their goal line it means with any break they are delayed in closing down the angles and putting pressure on the attacker because they have those extra few yards to catch up.

Stand around the penalty spot and they are better positioned.

Beating the keeper from long range, just getting enough on the ball to get ot over his head but down again quickly enough to creep under the ball is a skill and one I think should be recognised and not just fall back on the unimaginative 'what was the goalie thinking' mantra spewed out on TV ad infinitum.

Both Edward Wilson Junior and Zah Rahan made their debuts for Felda United and Wilson had plenty of opportunities to put the game to bed but it wasn't until about 10 minutes from the end when he managed to equalise.

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Malaysia And Troussier

IT’S no secret that world-renowned coach Philippe Troussier has been linked with a stint in Malaysia. It would be a pleasure to have the Frenchman as our national football coach, but is the man aware of the atrocious working environment that’s in store for him here?
Here are some factors Monsieur Troussier should take into consideration before signing on the dotted line with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
No. 1 - Beware the draconian law of the FAM (Article 88)!
Did the officials who conducted the preliminary interviews with Troussier warned him of the do’s and dont’s in Malaysian football? Was he told to just to keep his mouth shut, no matter what the situation? And that if he does want to open his mouth, then he MUST paint a rosy picture of Malaysian football?
If he were to say anything negative, then he’ll definitely be hauled up.
Can someone please tell Troussier that should he open his mouth – and the powers-that-be in the FAM do not like what he is saying – he’d better be prepared to face the consequences?
And do connect him with the many former national coaches and officials who had fallen victim to the dreaded “Article 88” statute.
Three of the big names who were hauled up included former national coaches B. Sathianathan and Datuk K. Rajagopal and former FAM deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
Sathianathan was sacked after criticising Malaysia’s 5-0 mauling by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at home in their Asian Cup qualifying match in 2009. His comment that “the M-League is not football” moments after that defeat earned him the wrath of the national body.
Yes, the truth hurts.
Last year, Rajagopal was hauled up by the disciplinary committee for stating at a post-match press conference that Malaysia “lacked quality strikers” in the M-League. For that, he was deemed to have upset the powers in FAM. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and no action was taken against him.
But wait, there’s more. Annuar was slapped with a 30-month ban for speaking his mind in April 2012, when he was the deputy chairman of the national team committee.
Annuar was found guilty of violating “Article 88”, which states that only the FAM president and secretary general are permitted to make statements regarding the national team.
No. 2 - Things are done STRICTLY the FAM (Technical Committee) Way!
There is no doubt that Troussier will be at the mercy of the technical committee – the sole decision-makers. This is because the coaching staff in FAM are subjected to the so-called “think tanks” (mostly unqualified officials) to endorse whatever plans or requests they have.
Everything is solely at the discretion of this committee. They can choose to sit on the proposals and working papers for months and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just ask some of the former coaches or technical directors.
No. 3 – FAM Tak Boleh! (FAM can’t progress)
If Troussier is still game for the challenge, then good luck! – he’ll need it.
Three top coaches – Frenchman Claude Le Roy, who guided Cameroon to the World Cup Finals; Brazilian Jorven Viera, who led war-torn Iraq to the Asian Cup title; and Englishman Allan Harris, a former assistant to Terry Venables of Spanish giants Barcelona – tried to change Malaysian football’s fortunes, and all three left without much success.
Youth and Sport Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was spot-on when he said that Malaysia would only need a world class coach once the team have reached the Olympics or the World Cup – not now.
He also pointed out that spending money on developing local football would be better than splurging on a world-class coach for the national team.
But do you think anyone (in the FAM) will listen?
The 2014 M-League kicked off this week and a total of 12 goals were scored in the six Super League matches.
Guess who scored the bulk of it? The foreign legion, of course. They contributed 10 of the goals.
Khairy is right. We just don’t have the material, yet. How is Troussier going to work with mediocre talent?
It’s pathetic that Malaysian football turned professional two decades ago and we still have not made much headway.
The ROT is in the system and until the national body put their house in order – Troussier is just going to waste his time coming here.
The rot is quite severe. There are deadwoods in most of the state FAs. A majority of them do not have any junior development programmes ... some not even a state league.
The bottom line is that we don’t have a big pool of players. FAM spent millions on the Harimau Muda A squad’s stints in Europe. And what happened at the end of the day – we failed to return home with a medal at the Myanmar SEA Games.
And that’s just a regional Games, mind you.
Enough said, if Troussier still wants to come, be my guest.
After all, 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year ... so, come and have a great holiday! (a paid holiday at that since he is asking RM2.7mil a year in salary).

The Star

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IIC Final Called Off

See what happens when you don't post for a few days?

Arema were of course due to play Persib in the Inter Island Cup Cup Final on Saturday in Sidoarjo. Then came a few mumblings about how the PSSI wanted to move the game to Kanjuruhab Stadium, home of said Arema, because apparently they had those revolving A boards.

Then at pretty much the last minute the game was called off because the Sidoarjo police would not permit the game to go ahead, siting security concerns. Sidoarjo is next to Surabaya and the Persebaya fans don't get on with Arema fans.

So there we have it. The final cancelled and sod the expense and inconvenience of anyone who wanted to catch the game.

The Indonesia Super League begins on Saturday and so far, no one has a scooby when the final will be played.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Persib Set Up Arema date

It was certainly a day of high drama in the Inter Island Cup in Solo yesterday with Persib,Mitra Kukar and Persiram all in with a chance of making the final and playing Arema on Saturday.

The day started poorly for Mitra Kukar, losing 1-0 against Persiram thanks to Semot's last minute winner.

That made the maths simple. The Papuans had five points and were in pole position. Persib, having drawn their opening two games knew they had to defeat Persik to have any chance of setting up a date with Arema in Sidorajo.

It start well for the Bandung team. Two goals in four minutes from Dimas and Faris gave Persik a shock lead and even though Konate pulled a goal back from the penalty spot just before half time, as things stood, it was Persiram who would be playing Arema at the weekend.

Ferdinand Sinaga equalised for Persib eight minutes into the second half and then M Ridwan won the game in the 89th minute to set up a final between the two teams who had the best average crowds last season.

Arema have already won the Trofeo Persija and the East Java Governor's Cup so have their eyes on a hat trick while Persib haven't won a trophy for so long most people can't remember when it was.

After Sriwijaya, twice, and Persipura won the first three editions of the IIC, 2014 will see not just a new name on the trophy but the first time any team from Java has reached the final.

For the record, IIC final appearances - Sriwijaya 2, Persisam 2, Persipura 1, Persiwa 1.

It's gonna be interesting to see what kind of crowd turns up on Saturday. It's obviously a short trip up the highway for Arema fans to a town just outside Surabaya but how many Persib fans will travel? With it being a weekend game there is a good chance a few will travel down but there is a bit of tension between Arema and Persib fans, based on the enemy's friend is mine enemy.

Anyway, it promises to be a fascinating climax to what has been an exciting competition and in true jakarta Casual style I won't be there!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Raddy's Burmese Days

Singapore — Former Singapore football head coach Radojko Avramovic has agreed terms with the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) to take over the seat vacated by South Korean Park Sung Hwa last month.
Sources close to the MFF told TODAY that the 64-year-old Serb will start work on Feb 1.
Some 40 coaches had applied for the job, which became vacant following Park’s sacking in December when Myanmar failed to make the semi-finals of the South-east Asian (SEA) Games football competition.
Tasked with winning the gold medal, Myanmar lost their final group match 1-0 to Indonesia and were edged out on the “head-to-head” rule, which Park claimed he was unaware of.
Reportedly paid between US$50,000 (S$ 63,950) and $60,000 per month, 58-year-old Park was just two weeks away from the end of his two-year contract, during which he took charge of Myanmar’s senior and under-23 teams.
PN Sivaji, former Singapore and Home United head coach, thinks Avramovic has the experience and tactical nous to help Myanmar football.
“Raddy will have to be patient when coaching the Myanmar national players who are extremely passionate but may lack the fundamentals which were not taught properly when they were younger,” said Sivaji, whose coaching contract with Myanmar league side KBZ FC ended recently.
During his decade-long tenure as head coach for the Lions, Avramovic burnished his reputation the most successful Singapore football coach by guiding the team to three ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) titles (2004, 2007 and 2012).
He also took Singapore to the brink of qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup finals, and the team made the third round of qualifiers for the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup.
It was after winning the third AFF title that Avramovic announced his decision to step down, although news floated about in early 2013 of the possibility that he could stay on with the Football Association of Singapore in a technical director role.
With family in Singapore — his only son, Ivan, works for a local bank and has children here — Avramovic is understood to favour taking up an assignment within the region, and has been linked to vacancies in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Avramovic’s first major assignment will be the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup in Maldives (May 19-30), where the winners will go to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.

UPDATE - Myanmar admit interest in Avramovic but deny he has been appointed. Story in Goal

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Free Scoring Hamkah The Difference For PKNS

When PKNS announced the signing of Karlo Primorace from Sime Darby, many in Malaysian football were salivating at the prospect of seeing him play alongside Patrick Wleh who had made a similar move 12 months earlier.

Last season they scored almost 50 goals between them.

It hasn't panned out that way of course. It rarely does in life, let along football. (Please note, it is football, not footy).

On Saturday, in their opening game of the Super League season, PKNS took the lead at Terengganu but were pulled back and lost 2-1.

Last night in the FA Cup they had better luck. Hamzah scored twice as PKNS defeated JDT 2 3-2 in Lumut. The other goal was scored by Wleh but Hamkah's brace means he has netted three time in the opening two games in Malaysia which probably makes him the leading scorer in the country at this moment in time!

Elsewhere, there were no surprises.

Adam Griffiths hit a couple for Kedah as they breezed past KL 4-0 while T Team beat UiTM 3-2 with their goals scored within the first half hour.

The most exciting tie came at Perak where Pahang were the visitors. Azamuddin Akil gave the Malaysia Cup winners the lead inside 10 minutes before the wonderfully named Hardi Haadar equalised. Then Kyaw Zayar Win made it 2-1 for the home team before ex QPR defender Damion Stewart levelled on 57 minutes. That's how it finished before Pahang finally settled the tie on penalties.

Former Arema and Persela striker Marcio Souza was on target for Terengganu as they defeated Pahang Shahzan Muda.

One game remaining with Selangor taking on Harimau Muda C tonight in Petaling Jaya.

The next round will be played 4 February with holders Kelantan entering the fray against Sabah

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Arema Reach IIC Final

Arema reached their third pre season final as they overcame Sriwijaya in the final Big 8 game while Perseru restored some pride by holding Barito Putra to a 0-0.

Playing in front of their home fans for the millionth time, Arema knew what they needed after Barito Putra's surprise draw with Perseru.

Cristian Gonzales scored the only goal of the game to set up a final with, umm, someone.

On the morning of the games in Malang it had looked like Barito Putera had the slight advantage but I guess a final with Kalimantan teams played in East Java won't pull in the fans.

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Advantage Kalimantan In Inter Island Cup

Reality hit for two of the Super League’s new boys in the Inter Island Cup as they fell to heavy defeats in the first Big 8 games.

Perseru had surprised everyone when they defeated Persipuura at the Mandala Stadium in the group stage but they have found life outside their native Papua a tad harder.

On Sunday, they came up against Sriwijaya who had surprisingly been thumped by Barito Putra in their first Big 8 at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang.

This time it was the turn of the Laskar Wong Kito to go goal crazy, whacking eight past the hapless Persru without repliy.

Former Chonburi, Delttras and Persisam striker led the way with five. Anis added a couple while Diogo hit an injury time goal to round off the rout.

The Papuans had lost their first group game 1-0 against Arema so despite a final game against Barito Putra, their interest in the competition is over.

Hosts Arema were held 2-2 by Barito Putta despite scoring twice in a minute. Cristian Gonzales had given them the lead on 23 mins with Irsyad following suit a minute later.

Bangura pulled one back on the half hour mark and Syahroni saved the game for the team from South Kalimantan with 12 mins on the clock.

Barito Putra lead the group on goal difference thanks to their 4-1 defeat of Sriwijaya with Arema in second place. Two time winners Sriwijaya are third on three points.

With the final games to be played today, Barito Putra will be hoping to keep on their goal spree against Perseru knowing victory could put them in the final in Sidoarjo on Saturday.

In the other game, Arema meet Sriwijaya. The team from Palembang know they must win this difficult game and hope Perseru get an unlikely result against Barito Putra if they are to reach the final.

The other group kicked off on Sunday with Persib, being followed by around 1,500 supporters, being held by Persiram 0-0. In the other game, newly promoted Persik, who sprung a surprise of their own by defeating Persebaya in the group stage to reach the Big 8, found life a tad tougher against Mitra Kukar.

Persik had the gall to take the lead against the East Kalimantan team through Dicky on six mins but Mitra Kukar responded with Raphael Maitimo scoring on 10 mins. Zulham scored on 17 mins, Anindito added a third on 36 mins and Zulham added his second a minute later to make it 4-1 at half time.

The goals continued flowing in the second half with Maitimo and Zulham completing hattricks and Rendi pulling one back for Persik.

If you have lost count, Mitra Kukar won 7-2 and if I check my maths, that puts them top of the group that is being held in Solo.

Things were much tighter in the second round of games played yesterday. Persik put on a much better performance against Persiram, coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw. Osas Saha Marvelous scored for the Papuan team on 81 mins but substitute Dimas Gaih Gumilang equalised with two minutes on the clock.

Tomorrow will be the final games with everything to be decided. Mitra Kukar obviously lead the group and must go into their final game Persiram as slight favorites while Persib take on Persik hoping to end a run of draws and rediscover their goalscoring touch that had demolished 10 men Persita in the group stage.

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Jakarta Globe Column

Malaysia’s Super League kicked off on Friday night with the traditional season opener between the champions and the Malaysia Cup winners.

This brought together LionsXII, now coached by Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad, and Pahang helmed by the experienced Ron Smith.

Hopes are high on the east coast the glory days may be just around the corner following their first Malaysia Cup triumph in 21 years and while the club have been active in the pre season transfer market perhaps the best bit of business they completed was getting Argentine striker Matias Conti to stay another season.

There was also something of a reunion in Kuantan with a former Queens Park Rangers defensive duo renewing acquaintances at the back of the Pahang defense after a six year break. Damion Stewart. Now in his second season with the club, he was partnered by Pakistani international Zesh Rehman, signed from Hong Kong;s Kitchee and in this history books as the first Asdian to play in the English Premier League.

After netting 16 goals in his debut season, Conti marked his birthday with the only goal in front of 36,000 fans to earn Pahang maximum points to start the season.

The rest of the games were played on Saturday night with Selangor defeating T Team 2-0 with new Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel netting twice. Indonesian striker Patrich Wanggai came on as a substitute for T Team as they chased the game but to little effect while former Persebaya 1927 winger Andik Vermansyah was left on the bench by the home team.

Big spenders Johor Darul Takzim also got off to a winning start defeating Perak 2-0 at the Larkin Stadium in Johore Bahru. Amri Yahyah and Luciano Figuero scored in each half to send the large crowd home happy.

Former Indonesian international Hamkah Hamza scored on his debut for PKNS after 18 minutes away to Terengganu but Mamadou Barry equalised minutes later before hitting the winner half way through the second half.

Kelantan, last season’s FA Cup winners, were also made to come from behind at the Sultan Muhammed IV Stadium in Kota Bharu. Sime Darby took the lead within the first 10 minutes through Fadzli Saari and the home team, nicknamed The Red Warriors, had to wait until the hour mark before Mohammed Ghaddar made it 1-1.

Last season, Kelantan earned a reputation for leaving things late and history repeated on Saturday night, Ghaddar netting the winner from the penalty spot with 10 minutes left.

Kelantan are one of several clubs to have a new coach and English man Steve Darby is no stranger to the Malaysian game having previously coached Johor and Perak and he has noticed a sea change.

Biggest change to me was the size of the crowds and the intensity of the passion, Kelantan, Johor and Pahang all had full stadiums with Ultras....its great for players....real football atmosphere.

 The game is also being marketed far better now by the clubs ie magazines/promotions and the massive use of social media.”

However, while Darby likes much of what he is seeing he did sound some words of caution. “Pitches sadly have not improved...some terrible pitches and you will not get good football on hard bumpy pitches....most teams haven't got proper training facilities and the pitches are council owned and can be hired out by anybody. The league has made fitness Coaches compulsory, the next step is Groundsmen!”

In the other game, ATM overcame newly promoted Sarawak 2-0 with first half goals from the prolific Marlon Alex James and Christie Jayaselan Devasagayam.

In Indonesia, the pre season Inter Island Cup has reached the Big 8 stage with the final eight teams drawn in two groups of four.

The Malang group kicked off on Saturday with Arema, Perseru Seru, Sriwijaya Palembang and Barito Putra Banjarmasin going head to head. The winner of this group will meet the winner of the Solo group (Persib Bandung, Persiram Raja Ampat, Mitra Kukar Kutai Kertanegara and Persik Kediri) in Sidoarjo in the final next Saturday.

There was a surprise in the opening game in Malang with Sriwijaya, winners in 2010 and 2012, getting thumped 4-1 by Barito Putra while Arema narrowly squeezed passed unfancied Perseru 1-0, conquereros of Persipura Jayapura in the group stage, with a penalty from Gustavo Lopez.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014


Raddy's Asian Return?

A multititled Serbian football mentor is among the candidates for the Philippine Azkals’ head coaching job.

Radojko “Raddy” Avramovic, who steered Singapore to three Southeast Asian football titles in nine years in charge, has expressed interest to take the helm for the Azkals.

Reliable sources said the 64-year-old Serbian, who also coached Kuwait from 2002 to 2003, has been in touch with Philippine Football Federation officials regarding the job following the sacking of German coach Michael Weiss last week.

The PFF ended the three-year tenure of Weiss with only four months to go before the AFC Challenge Cup, which stakes a spot in the Asian Cup in Australia next year.

Azkals manager Dan Palami last week said six international coaches are being considered for the job although it was not immediately known whether Avramovic is part of the list.

Palami remained tightlipped on the names of the coaches as he awaits confirmation for interviews with them within the next two weeks.

“They have experience and most of them have played at a high level,” said Palami who has bankrolled the national side since 2010.

Known for his tactical acumen and a stickler for discipline, Avramovic has been on a coaching sabbatical since stepping down as Singapore coach, following the Lions’ 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup triumph over Thailand.

The Lions eliminated the Azkals in the semifinals of the same tournament.

Having coached Singapore from 2004 to 2012, Avramovic is familiar with the Asian football setting, one of the qualifications set by Palami.

Read more:

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Arema's AFC Cup Dilemma

The Indonesia Super League season begins 1 February. It stops on 24 February. It starts again 6 March. It stops again 20 March for the general election. It starts again 11 April.

And that is the problem.

The Asian Football Confederation did not take into account Indonesia's election year when they set the calender for 2014 and now Arema, who are competing in the AFC Cup, have a problem.

Not only did the AFC overlook the election, they only went and scheduled two Arema games during the election period at home.

Typically, the Indonesian police don't allow games to go ahead during election time. Apparently they can't handle more than one big event at a time.

So where this leaves Arema's games is up in the air at moment. One option would be to play them behind closed doors. Another would be to play them in another country. Or Indonesia could change their election to fit better with the AFC calender?

Affected games

01/04 - Arema v Maziya
09/04 - Arema v Selangor

Friday, January 17, 2014


Malaysia Season Promises Goals

It's a funny thing but just as Malaysian football seems to be coming off the rails at international level after some of the most successful years in their history, two SEA Games and one ASEAN Cup, the domestic game is cranking up a notch.

Traditional powers like Selangor and Kedah have gone off the boil somewhat and while it is the north eastern clubs like Kelantan that have been top dogs in recent years, new money has created new powerhouses with previously unfancied clubs like ATM, Johor Darul Takzim and PKNS flushed with cash and looking to challenge the big boys. Or indeed become the big boys.

Champions LionsXII have had a clear out with a number of high profile players leaving and a new coach, Fandi Ahmad, coming in and charged with defending the title.

The Lions went on a pre season tour to Indonesia where they played against some of the lesser teams in their second tier but with the hottest atmosphere; an excellent team building trip for the lads as they look to bring on a number of new faces from last season's less than successful Young Lions.

The Champions could be hamstrung though. Their opening games will be played at Bishan Stadium because some wally forget to lay a new turf at Jalan Besar in the period between December and January when there was no football going on.

Some bod there did suggest the Lions could play a game at the new stadium later in the year...if they were doing well enough to get a good crowd! Gee, thanks for the praise boss.

All eyes though will be on the team directly across the narrow strip of water that separates Singapore and Malaysia.

I've seen Johor a couple of times at their Larkin Stadium in Johore Bahru. It is one of the easiest grounds to get to in the region and also one of the nicest. The times I went though there was  no bugger there. Seriously, there were more players, coaches and officials than spectators it was that bad.

No more it ain't. Now the sultan of Johor has come along and geed things up, signing some of the best local players like Safee Sali and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Amri Yahya. They have also brought in the Jakarta Casual Player of the Year 2013, Baihakki Khaizan and Hariss Harun from LionsXII and new coach Ceaser Fernando Jiminez. Oh, and some guy called Pablo Aimar?

With all that investment, the fans who discovered the team on their doorstep last season will be expecting great things. Not good, but great. Expectations will be stratospheric and after last season's disappointment finishing 3rd they will want an improvement.

(Explanation - the current Johor Darul Takzim were known as Johor FC while good old fashioned Johor are now Johor Darul Takzim II)

Another team that will be expecting big things are Malaysia Cup winners Pahang. They too have a new coach with Ron Smith coming in. Smith is no stranger to football in Malaysia having previously worked with Sabah and Johor FC, forerunners of JDT.

He has brought in Zesh Rehman to partner Damion Stewart at the back...a couple of former Queens Park Rangers lads reuniting on the east coast of Malaysia. Football, eh?

Their Argentine striker Matias Conti celebrates his 24th birthday today and as I type this will be getting a last rub down ahead of the season opening clash with LionsXII. In his first season in Malaysia he hit an impressive 16 goals in 22 games and Pahang will be looking to Conti and new signing Dickson Nwakaeme, recruited from Kelantan, to provide a strike partnership to challenge for honours this season.

Talking of strike partnerships, one to savour could well be PKNS who have teamed Patrick Wleh with Karlo Primorac. Liberian Wleh hit 21 goals in 31 games last season while his first season in Malaysia with Sime Darby saw an even more impressive 19 in 20 games. In has come Primorac, ironically from Sime Darby, where he scored 28 goals in 31. 

There is also an Indonesian flavour to PKNS with Hamkah Hamza coming in to try his luck overseas.

ATM are one other team who will fancy their chances in the new season. Only the reflexes of Kelantan's Khairul Fahmie kept the armed forces team, along with their all singing, all dancing cheerleaders, from reaching the Malaysia Cup final last time out and they have invested heavily for the new campaign.

They have kept hold of the ageless Marlon Alex James, a 37 year old former Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international whose goal scoring achievements in Malaysia have been nothing short of phenomenal.

MK Land 41 goals in 39 games
Kedah 44 goals in 44 games
ATM 46 goals in 54

If Melchester Rovers were still going, even Roy Race and Blackie Gray wouldn't get a start.

Coached by former national team helmsman Sathianathan, ATM have added Juan Manuel Arostegui, a 33 year old Argentine striker who once played for Boca Juniors and indeed has made his own impression in Malaysia in previous spells with 50 goals in 56 games for MPPJ.

Another former MPPJ player donning an ATM shirt this campaign is Bruno Martelotto who for some strange reason, at least according to wikipedia, started his career with Penang before having a spell with MPPJ.

With the spotlight on clubs like PKNS, ATM and JDT it remains to be seen how the big clubs manage. Selangor's signing of Andik Vermansyah from Persebaya 1927 promises to be one of the most interesting of the campaign while Steve Darby returns to Malaysia to take charge of Kelantan. And more Indonesian interest comes in the form of Patrich Wanggai who will be doing his bit for T Team this season.

With some big names carrying big reputations and strikers with goals aplenty on their resume, this coming Malaysia Super League promises to be an exciting one on the pitch.


Persib Turn To Udo For Good Fortune

Persib have finally called time on Djibril Coulibaly, their new signing from Barito Putra. The striker who made his debut for the West Java team against Persita in the Inter Island Cup, scoring in the process, has been injured for a while now and club had been mumbling about releasing him for some time now.

Now, it seems they have bitten the bullet and let him go. However, in true Persib fashion, they have moved quickly to release him, snapping up Fortune Udo to lead their goal chase in the Indonesia Super League that begins next month.

For a 25 year, Udo has certainly been around the block. He first created waves in this part of the world when he was part of Sporting Afrique, a one off venture that played in the SLeague several years back.

He must have impressed because he moved to Balestier Khalsa in 2006 before heading across the Causeway to Negeri Sembilan.

His first spell in Indonesia was short lived with Arema before moving to Persikab and then a prolific season with Persiba Bantul which made clubs round the region sit up and take notice.

He eventually moved to Binh Duong in Vietnam and from there he headed to Israel and Ramat HaSharon.

And now he is back in Indonesia with Persib!

2005-2006 Sporting Afrique 10 games 5 goals
2006-2008 Balestier Khalsa 25 23
2008-2009 Negeri Sembilan 20 14
2009-2010 Arema 12 4
2010-2011 Persikab 22 9
2011-2012 Persiba Bantul 26 34
2012-2013 Binh Duong 24 8


Inter Island Cup Big 8 Draw

Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang

18/01 - Sriwijaya v Barito Putra, Arema v Perseru
19/01 - Baritio Putra v Arema, Perseru v Sriwijaya
21/01 - Barito Putra v Perseru, Sriwijaya v Arema

Manahan Stadium, Solo

19/01 - Persib v Persiram, Persik v Mitra Kukar
20/01 - Persiram v Persik, Mitra Kukar v Persib
22/01 - Persiram v Mitra Kukar, Persib v Persik

Delta Stadium, Sidoarjo

25/01 - Winner Malang group v Winner Solo group

6 - Osas Saha (Persiram)
4 - Sunday Obah (Perseru), Cristian Carrasco (Persita)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Persib v Persita 7-1

A hat trick by substitute Atep meant this wasn’t the best of homecomings for Kenji Adachihara and Arcan Iurie as they returned to their old stomping ground in Bandung.

Persita Tangerang were torn apart in the second half by a rampant Persib Bandung who took advantage of slack defending and a one man advantage to embarrass the visitors 7-1 in the team’s first group stage game of the pre-season Inter Island Cup at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Soreang, West Java.

Persib started the game giving debuts to Djibril Coulibaly and Makan Konate but the spine of the team still boasted some familiar names including I Made Wirawan between the sticks, Supardi, M Ridwan, Hariono and Tony Sucipto providing an impressive looking wall at the back.

Persita had Cristian Carrasco up front partnered up front by Japanese striker Adachihara who had moved from Bandung at the end of last season and in the first 20 minutes or so the two combined well as Persita, known as Laskar Benteng Viola, more than held their own against the home team.

Persib took the lead on 19 minutes when a 25 yard free kick from Ahmad Jurfiyanto left keeper Denis Sapriyanto beaten.

The goal inspired Persib and minutes later they had a second, scored by Coulibaly, chalked off by the ref for offside. However the former Barito Putra marksman had better luck just minutes before half time and this one counted.

Half time saw the bulk of the Persita support arrive and they were welcomed with a goal by Adachihara after unselfish play by Carassco. With numbers behind them on the terraces self believe started to flow through their veins. They had been playing well enough to get something from this match and the goal lifted them.

But not for long. FX Januar got his second yellow card for getting entangled with Ferdinand Sinaga .

Down to 10 men, Persita collapsed.

Firman Utina fired in a free kick from about 25 yards to make it 3-1 and this time Persita never looked like coming back. Their support contented themselves with letting off flares, singing and dancing but on the field the team imploded.

Konate made it 4-1 with a volley on 73 minutes and then it became the Atep show.

The 28 year old winger was born and brought up in the Persib heartland of West Java but it was with Persija Jakarta he made he made his debut in 2004 and three years later he was making headlines as he netted a brace for Indonesia against Laos in the ASEAN Cup held in Singapore.

As is so often the case he was unable to build on that early promise and in 2008 he moved to Persib where he has been ever since, playing a role but overlooked at international level by a succession of managers who have opted for the more questionable talents of players like Oktavianus Maniani.

On as a substitute, Atep hit a 14 minute hat trick to leave Persita looking as purple as the horizontal band on their white shirts.

In the second game of the day, Pelita Bandung Raya dominated a dour Persijap Jepara but could only manage a 1-1 draw.

SOURCE - a version of this appears in today's Jakarta Globe


Four Teams Confirm Qualification

The Inter Island Cup is bopping along in it's own sweet, merry way with four of the Big 8 teams already confirmed.
Action from Persib v Persita
The next stage is shaping up something like this:

Group A - Sriwijaya, Arema, Barito Putra, +1
Group B - Persiram, +3

Persib need to defeat Pelita Bandung Raya tomorrow to ensure their spot in the final eight. Conversely, the goal shy PBR would make it themselves were they to win.

Persebaya are involved in a tight race with Persik for a spot as well in that group so it's all to play for in the final games.

As things stand were Persik and Persebaya to draw their final game today then both would qualify as they have seven points, better than any other second placed team.

Without doubt the shock of the tournament has been Persipura's ouster. At least they can concentrate on the ISL!

Arema are on target for a triple of pre season honours after convincingly winning the three games in their group. They have already lifted the East Java Cup and Trofeo Persija.

Outstanding games

15/01 - Persebaya v Persik, Gresik United v Persiba Bantul
16/01 - Persib v Pelita Bandung Raya, Persijap v Persita

Details of the next round of games will no doubt be announced a day or two before they are due to begin and sod the logistics.


Is Troussier Right For Malaysia?

It's been reported as a done deal on his wikipedia entry but I have seen nothing official yet. Frenchman Phillipe Troussier has been quoted as saying despite several other offers Malaysia is his preferred port of call for his next position.

"My choice is Malaysia. The FA of Malaysia (FAM) has not only offered me to serve as national coach, but also wants me to become its technical director. The national body is keen to have me oversee its football system," Troussier told

He is reportedly asking for $1.5 million a year to take over in KL where he will replace Rajagopal, the most successful coach in recent history for Malaysia having guided them to the ASEAN Cup in 2010.

However, Malaysia have bigger ambitions. They want to compete on a bigger field than just ASEAN even though they have failed to qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup to be held in Australia.

What will Malaysia get for their wang if they do get the Frenchman?

Well, these are the countries he has managed.

1993 - Ivory Coast
1997 - Nigeria
1997 - 1998 - Burkina Faso
1998 - South Africa
1998 - 2002 - Japan
2003 - 2004 - Qatar
2005 - Morocco
And success? Well, he won the AFC Asian Cup in 2000. And AFC Coach of the Year in the same year.

In 2008 he coached Ryukyu in Japan's third division followed by a three year stint in China with Shenzen Ruby in their second tier which seems less than harmonious.

For RM 5 million are Malaysia getting a good deal? Or are they just looking for a glamorous foreign name who has a reputation for not sticking around too long? One who knows next to nothing about Malaysian football and Malaysian players?

Surely there are better options out there? Coaches with the background in the region and the local knowledge?


Jakarta Casual Hits Instagram

In my ludicrous attempt to stay 'hip and happening' or whatever it is the cool young cats say today, Jakarta Casual has embraced Instagram. I haven't worked out how it works yet but it's there so check it out.

The plan is, yep, I have them sometimes, is that the Instagram will focus more on football culture in the region, things like fans, flares, fashion that kind of stuff. There will also be the odd stadium, team picture and that sort of thing.


Former QPR Defensive Duo Reunite In Malaysia

Zesh Rehman is relishing the chance to reunite with his former Queens Park Rangers teammate Damion Stewart as the two centre-backs hope to steer Pahang to glory in the Super League this season.
Zesh, who was the first Pakistan international to play in England, formed a formidable partnership in defence with Stewart for QPR between 2006-09.
The duo are expected to start when Pahang take on Singapore's LionsXII in the Charity Shield-cum-league match at Darulmakmur Stadium on Friday.
Zeshan, 30, started his professional career with 21 appearances for Fulham in 2003 and also represented England in various age-group competitions before making his debut for Pakistan nine years ago.
"Damion and I played together for a few seasons in England and we know each other on-and-off the pitch. Hopefully, we can get our partnership going for Pahang in the league," said Zeshman after Pahang's signing ceremony with apparel sponsor Puma in Bandar Utama yesterday.
"He told me about Pahang and I also spoke to others about the club. Everyone said only good things about Pahang. My aim is to give the fans something to cheer about this season."
Zeshan, who had loan stints with Blackpool and Bradford City, believes Pahang have the quality to progress accordingly following their Malaysia Cup success last season.
"I have been following the M-League for the last two seasons as I played AFC Cup matches here with my former club, Kitchee FC of Hong Kong.
"The level of play is high and the fans are passionate about the game. I believe Pahang are a good side with a strong foundation as 95 per cent of their players have been together for several years.
"The target (of retaining the Malaysia Cup and finishing in the top three bracket in the league) is achievable. We need to focus on ourselves as other teams will pay attention to us following last season's success," Zeshan added.
Despite not having enough training time in Kuantan due to the recent floods and a poor pre-season in Hong Kong, coach Ronald Smith believes his team will do well in their opening league matches.
"I only joined the team recently in Hong Kong for friendly matches on synthetic pitches.
"It was an important trip for conditioning. Upon arriving in Kuantan, we only had one training session due to the heavy downpour.
"Despite the limited training time, my players are responding well to my methods and should have a good start against Lions on Friday," said Smith.
Smith, who helped Sabah win the Premier League and also reach the Malaysia Cup final in 1996, signed a one-year deal with a clause, reviewing his contract every three months.
"The contract was drawn up in December when I was still keen to go to the World Cup finals in Brazil with Australia. I've been doing match analysis for Australia for the last decade and had gone for the last two World Cups.
"I will remain with Pahang for the entire season and not go for the World Cup finals as it is not like I'm coaching the Australia team," Smith added.
Meanwhile, Pahang FA (PFA) signed a three-year deal worth RM3 million with Puma in a ceremony attended by its president Tengku Abdul Rahman Sultan Ahmad Shah yesterday.
Tengku Abdul Rahman said the new sponsorship will spur his players to greater heights for the new season.
"I want my players to step up and play in the league and do well in every game," said Tengku Abdul Rahman.
On whether PFA has appealed the FA of Malaysia's decision to allow its former midfielder Amirulhadi Zainal to play for Darul Ta'zim following a contract dispute, Tengku Abdul Rahman said his association had done so and was waiting for a response.

Read more: Ex-QPR mates aim to power Pahang to glory - Soccer - New Straits Times


Wleh Promises Goals

PETALING JAYA: PKNS FC will not be short of goals in the Super League this season.
This is the assurance given by Liberian hotshot Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh, who has promised to complement his new striking partner from Croatia – Karlo Primorac, the 2013 Premier League Golden Boot winner with 28 goals.
“We will get the goals ... rain or shine,” warned Wleh, the club’s top scorer with 22 goals last season.
PKNS have strengthened the squad with a few new signings, including attacking midfielder Kim Dong-chan of South Korea and centreback Hamka Hamzah of Indonesia.
Wleh, who has signed a new two-year deal with PKNS until 2016, has vowed to score 27 goals this season.
“I have pledged not to miss a game this season. I want PKNS to finish in the top six in the Super League and win a Cup final ticket. The Super League is going to be really competitive, but we will be no pushovers and be among the title contenders,” he said.
“Karlo is a huge asset to the team. He is a good finisher and I like his style of play. He made an outstanding contribution with his former team, Sime Darby FC. I’m sure the two of us will make a big difference to the team.”
PKNS coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan has a balanced line-up and a good set of players, which include Mohd Nazmi Faiz and Mohd Fauzan Dzulkifli in the engine room and the likes of skipper Helmi Remeli, Es Lizuan Zahid Amir and P. Gunalan in defence.
Wleh wants his team to get off the mark in style when they open their campaign against Terengganu at the Sultan Ismail stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.
PKNS finished eighth in their Super League debut last season. In the FA Cup, they did well to edge Lions XII in the first round before crashing out to champions Kelantan (4-2) in the second round. They failed to get past the group stages in the Malaysia Cup.
COMMENT - looking forward to seeing PKNS this coming season. Let's just hope the strikers don't get injured!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Singapore And Marquee Players

I can't help feeling Warriors coach Alex Weaver has called this right.

He was being asked about the impact of marquee players and he questioned their motivation.

The SLeague introduced the notion of marquee players to try and boost interest in the league that still fails to attract fans in any serious numbers.

A marquee player would have some of his salary subsidised and a committee would assess his potential impact at the gate.

They must also have played in a top European league or a world cup.

"I'm not exactly a big fan of the status," said Weaver. "You have to ask yourself why these (big-name) players would come. I just wonder if they are desperate to win an S-League title or if they're just happy to enjoy the fantastic lifestyle Singapore has to offer.I'm not trying to be negative on the scheme. It's just that I'd prefer younger, hungrier players than having an older, marquee one."

You only have to look at Tampines' marquee last season, Martin Wagner. When I saw the Stags last season, I never noticed the Argentine until he was subbed. Compare that with the attitude you see on the field from players like Duric, Kaplan, etc.

Among the players supposedly offered to or been in talks with SLeague clubs have been Eidur Gudjonssen and David Healy.

There is also the effect on the dressing room moral when an aging player comes over on a high salary, gets all these other benefits yet doesn't really pull his weight. Not the best for team building.

A big name who is only in it for a final pay day is no benefit for Singapore football.


Primorac Joins PKNS

Petaling Jaya: New PKNS striker Karlo Primorac is confident he can form a lethal partnership with Patrick Wleh in the Super League this season.

The former Croatian Under-21 player enjoyed a dream debut in the M-League last season – bagging the Premier League Golden Boot award with 24 goals en route to guiding Sime Darby to a runners-up finish and promotion to the Super League.

The 29-year-old Primorac, however, sprang a surprise at the end of the season when he opted to sign for PKNS and compete for a place upfront with the prolific Wleh, who was PKNS’ top scorer with 21 goals from 31 matches last season.

Primorac, though, is not worried about that, saying he gets on well with the Liberian international and that they are both focused on helping PKNS scale greater heights.

“I get along well with Patrick and I think that we could well be the best strike partnership in the M-League next season,” said the 1.88m tall Primorac. “There is no competition between us as we are here to help the club do better this season. I will put the club’s interest ahead of mine ... but I have a set a personal target of scoring 15 goals!”

PKNS certainly punched above their weight last season – finishing eighth in the 12-team Super League and qualifying for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals after six failed attempts.

PKNS coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan has bolstered the team by roping in former Indonesia international defender Hamka Hamzah and South Korean forward Kim Dong-chan to complement the local talent like goalkeeper Zamir Selamat, Nazmi Faiz Mansor, P. Gunalan, Helmi Remeli and Mohd Lot Abu Hassan.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Zerka Stays With Tanjong Pagar

Monsef Zerka has re-signed for Tanjong Pagar ahead of the new SLeague season.

Zerka finished the 2013 season as the club’s top scorer with 20 goals to his name across all competitions and is regarded as the best marquee signing in the season.

“I am very happy to be able to continue playing for Tanjong Pagar. Last year we had a very good season and also accomplished the target that was set in the start of the season,” Zerka told

“Personally I am aiming to achieve the same target or better this season compared to last year. For the Club, I hope I can help to do more, to win at least one trophy and to attract more supporters to Queenstown Stadium.”

After a successful year with the Jaguars and working with Head Coach Patrick Vallee, Zerka express delight at being able to continue working with Vallee.

“I am very happy to be able to continue working with Vallee and I hope we can progress further together as a team. And also, I look forward to meet my teammates again, start training together with them. I also look forward to working with my new teammates for the 2014 season.”

“When I was in France during the season break, I followed the Club Facebook Page closely and saw that the supporters really want to see me return. For that, I really appreciate their support and faith in me. I will definitely work harder to repay their faith and support,” Zerka said.

SOURCE - Tanjong Pagar

COMMENT - good news for a club I have a lot of time for. Trying to do things the right way...


Persebaya's Potent Firepower

The duelisme nonsense has now, hopefully, been put to bed there is again calm in the world of football (a relative term dear reader).

There is bit one Persebaya and they are certainly going all to lift the Indonesia Super League for the first time; they have won Liga Indonesia twice.

Coach Rahmad Darmawan has assembled perhaps one of the most awe inspiring forward lines in the ISL in his bid to lift an Indonesian title with three different clubs (Previously Persipura 2005, Sriwijaya).

Naturalised Greg Nwokolo has followed Darmawan to the City of Heroes where he is teaming up with former Indonesia international M Ilham, former Singapore international Agu Casmir and ex Persija hitman Emmanuel Kenmogne.

Darmawan has also brought in a couple of players he has worked with previously, Ferry Rotinsulu (ex Sriwijaya) and defender Ricardo Salempessy (ex Persipura).

The Green Force begin the new season in the Inter Island Cup with Persik, Persiba Bantul and Persegres on Monday with the group games shifted from Surabaya to Persik's Brawijaya Stadium


Zah Rahan, Edward Wilson Junior To Guide Felda United

Kuala Lumpur: After three seasons of mixing with the big boys, Felda United are bracing for life in the Premier League this season.

But just because they are no longer in the company of the elite doesn’t mean they are going to lower their expectations.

In fact, Felda United head of sports Datuk Ahmad Fuad has told his men to get their hands on at least one trophy this season.

His optimism has been further boosted by the signing of three foreign players – Uzbek Yaroslav Krushelnitskiy and Liberians Edward Junior Wilson and Zah Rahan Krangar – and the arrival of veteran forward Indra Putra Mahayuddin from Kelantan.

Fuad is also confident that with former Selangor coach Irfan Bakti at the helm, Felda will be able to earn promotion to the Super League come end of the season.

“We had our ups and downs last season in the Super League. However, we are confident that our fortunes will change for the better this season,” Fuad said after the unveiling their new kit for the new season, which begins next week.


Kedah Deny Vincent Tan Behind Badge Change

Georgetown: Kedah team manager Datuk Jeffrey Low has given the assurance that there is no plan to switch the state team’s jersey colour to red.

The Kedah Football Association (KFA) had earlier kicked up a storm by changing their predominantly green and yellow logo to one which now has an image of a red eagle.

As expected, the change did not go down well with the Kedah supporters, who have known their team as the Canaries.

The fans voiced their displeasure in online forums and social media sites, and displayed banners condemning KFA’s switch during the team’s pre-season friendlies at the Darulaman Stadium. There are also calls to boycott the team merchandise carrying the new logo.

“Only the logo is changed. The green and yellow jersey colours are maintained to reflect our identity as the ‘Hijau Kuning’ outfit.

“The logo change issue has been blown up by a small group of supporters. There are bound to be protests whenever changes are made, but it has not affected the team’s preparations for the new season,” said Jeffrey, when contacted in Alor Setar on Friday.

“Proper procedures were followed in implementing the change. The KFA council approved the new logo and, more importantly, we received the blessing from the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah (who is also the Sultan of Kedah) to carry on with the change.” (Everything that is but consult with the fans! Editor)

The team manager also explained that the image of an eagle was added to project a dynamic and attack-minded approach for the Premier League outfit.

“Before the change, Kedah were known as the Canaries. The canary is meek while the eagle is fierce and feared by other animals. The KFA wanted to build a strong image for the team and restore Kedah’s reputation as a feared side in Malaysian football.”

KFA secretary Aminuddin Omar had earlier rubbished rumours that the change to a red-coloured logo was to please English Premier League side Cardiff City’s owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan. Cardiff had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with KFA in August, with Vincent making a personal contribution of RM2mil to the state association.

The Cardiff City owner is famous for his unpopular move to change the Welsh club’s home strip colour from blue to red, and replacing the bluebird on the club’s logo with a red dragon.

“We did not change the logo or colour according to our own or anybody’s fancy. It is part of a transformation that KFA is undertaking to develop football in the state,” said Aminuddin.

Kedah, coached by former Selangor player David Mitchell, returned from their pre-season training camp in Langkawi on Friday.

The team have been set a top two finish in the Premier League so as to gain promotion to the Super League in 2015.


Results 10/01

Inter Island Cup

Semen Padang v Sriwijaya 1-1 (Ohorella; Radanovic)

Persipura v Perseru 2-3 (Ferinando, Ian Louis Kabes; Oboh, Arthur, Boakay)
Persiram v PSM 2-1 (Ikpefua, Quaiyan; Pnaryo Astaman)

Arema v Persegres 3-1 (Irsyad, Alberto Goncalves, Gustavo Lopes; Escobar)
Persija v Persela 1-1 (Costas; Alves)

Barito Putra v Pusam 3-2 (Herman Abanda, Yosua, Shaka; Sasongko, Spasojevic)
Mitra Kukar v Persiba 2-0 (Zulham Zumron)

Well, I bet no one saw that coming. Persipura slipping up at home in their IIC game of the year and against newly promoted Perseru at that. The magic of the cup and all that!

Semen Padang play in a group of two and they needed a goal from Cinderella's brother just before the break to get something from their game against Sriwijaya. Just wondering, would they fly to the return game or go by bus?

Shaka, last seen in a Persija shirt, scored in the last minute to earn Barito Putra a win against Pusam, formerly known as Persisam. BP led twice in the game, each time Pusam went and pulled a goal back but the late show was just too late.

Talking late, Persija needed Costas to score five minutes from the end against Persela to grab a point.

More games today.

Friday, January 10, 2014


DPMM Kean To Get Started

DPMM FC’s players have reacted positively to the appointment of Steve Kean as the team’s new coach.
The former manager of England’s Blackburn Rovers FC will be leading the Sultanate’s only professional club this season following the departure of Croatian Vjeran Simunic last November.
“I believe that Kean will be able to bring the team back on its feet this year and challenge for the title in the Singapore League (S-League),” captain Rosmin Hj Mohd Kamis said in an interview with The Brunei Timesyesterday.
“He used to coach in the English Premier League, which is one of the best football leagues in the world, and it is an honour for us to be able to train under him,” he added.
DPMM FC had a poor campaign last year, managing an eighth-place finish and a heart-breaking 4-0 loss to Balestier Khalsa FC in the S-League Cup final.
“We had a bad season last year,” said midfielder Mohd Hendra Azam Mohd Idris yesterday.
“I can’t wait for the season to start. I am looking forward to working with Kean. He likes to play one-two pass football and it will be very interesting. I hope that he can lead us to win the league this year.”
Striker Shahrazen Said was equally excited. He believes that Kean is the perfect man to lead the club this season.
“He is a very good coach... The way he talks to the players and explains things on the training ground is just excellent,” said Shahrazen.
“Coach Steve (Kean) philosophy of football is quite different from Simunic.
“He (Kean) likes the players to run around with the ball and make one-two passes, while Simunic was more to running without the ball and looking for empty spaces.”
“I have a very positive impression about him and I hope that we will be able to adapt quickly to his style of play.”
Meanwhile, other new imports to the club are defender Boric Raspudic from Bosnia and midfielders Roberto Alviz from Croatia and Joe Gamble from Ireland.
The only import player retained in the squad is Brazilian Rodrigo Tosi.
Other foreign players said to be linked with DPMM FC include former Borussia Dortmund forward Euzebiusz Smolarek and ex-Sampdoria striker Ikechukwu Kalu.
Former Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers was also previously mentioned, but DPMM FC had made it clear that no deal has been made between the club and the player’s representative.
Another possibility is former Sunderland striker Roy O’ Donovan who is currently in the country.
“He (O’Donovan) just arrived today (yesterday) and I am looking forward to see him in training soon,” Shahrazen said.
The club are also looking forward to start their pre-season training. Their first stop is the Saksee Phuket Cup tournament in Thailand later this month.
According to DPMM FC’s official website, the club have been invited to participate in the tournament on January 25-27.
The club are also reported to have been slated to host Malaysian FA Cup Champions Kelantan FA on January 31 at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

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