Friday, May 30, 2014


Low Crowds In Eastern Conference Of ISL

During the first of the current Indonesia Super League season, attendances in the western conference averaged a handy 10,242

1 - Persija 22,826
2 - Persib 22,149
3 - Arema 15,374

We can be sure Arema's average will have been boosted in recent weeks by large turn outs against Persija (33,000 +) and Persib (42,000 +)

In addition, Sriwijaya and Persik are regularly pulling in 10,000 plus crowds despite having pretty poor campaigns.

So far, so good. Till we look at the eastern conference.

1 - Persela 11,269
2 - Persepam MU 9,450
3 - Pusam 8,980

Now, I have a lot of time for Persela. Small town but they regularly sell out their Surajaya Stadium. But for them to be getting the largest crowds in the east is a sad indictment of clubs like Persebaya for example.

It was not that long ago Persebaya pulled in 55,000 for a game with Arema in the old IPL. Their last home game, against Persipura, was just over 1,000! Their supporters don't see Persebaya on the field despite the green shirts and the famous badge. They see Persikubar, a team parachuted in from East Kalimantan to satisfy people's personal ambitions.

So, unlike in England for example where fans upset by new owners limit their protest to the odd march or twitter outburst, Persebaya fans stay away.

PSM and Persiram have different reasons for their pitifully small average crowds of 617 and 188. PSM are playing their home games in Surabaya, far from their home city of Makassar while Persiram call Sleman, a suburb of Yogyakarta, home for this season.

But Persipura are only averaging 7,000 plus, well down on other seasons I think. What is all that about? Are the fans concentrating on the AFC Cup?

The above numbers come from the ISL's mid season review. If you wish to read the whole thing, and it is well laid out and easy to understand, then check out the Liga Indonesia website.


Persis And PSIS Neck And Neck In Group 4

Selected results from Divisi Utama

Deltras v PSMP 3-3 1,650

This sounds like an absolute cracker of a game...unless you are a Deltras fan! They were 3-1 up with 13 minutes to go but goals on 85 and in injury time by Alain Nebie earned the visitors a point. Deltras remain rooted to the bottom of Group 6 without a win while this was PSMP's fourth draw of the season and they sit mid table.

Persiku v Persis 2-2 5,123

Group 4 is where it is at and if you are anywhere near Semarang this Saturday I strongly suggest you get down to Jatidiri Stadium to catch the top two, PSIS and Persis in action. There have been some disappointing crowds in the top flight this season but this is likely to be a full house with a large travelling support.

Group 1 - 1 - PSPS 7 5 0 2 10-7 15
Group 2 - 1 - Persikabo 8 6 1 1 13-7 19
Group 3 - 1 - PSCS 8 4 4 0 14-7 16
Group 4 - 1 - Persis 8 5 3 0 12-6 18
Group 5 - 1 - PSBI, Persinga, Perseman each have 13 points
Group 6 - 1 - Borneo 7 5 1 1 10-5 16
Group 7 - 1 - Persewangi 7 4 2 1 6-3 14
Group 8 - 1 - Persiwa 8 5 1 2 10-5 16

7 - Gakou Amadou (Persiku)


Biggest Crowd Of The Season Sees Arema Held By Persib

Indonesia Super League

Semen Padang v Persik 3-0 (Airlangga, Nur Iskandar 2) 3,421
PSM v Perseru 2-1 (Ponaryo Astaman 2; Ali Khadaffi) 200
Arema v Persib 2-2 (Gustavo Lopez 2; Ferdinand Sinaga 2) 42,449

Biggest crowd of the season saw the home team forced to come from 2-0 down to earn a draw against a Persib team that does seem to have the hex over them. Arema have only dropped seven points all season...five have come against Persib!

Persebaya v Persipura 1-1 (Emmanuel Kenmogne; Boas Solossa) 1,234

In another time, another place, this game would have filled the Bung Tomo Stadium. Both teams are challenging for the title. Both teams play open attractive football. And both coaches have coached both teams. But it ended a draw in front of a crowd that could have fitted into, and on, one commuter train.

Persija v Persijap 4-1 (Victor Pae 2, Ivan Bosnjak, Eddie Boakay Foday; Carlos Raul Sciucatti) 16,198

Going into this game, Persija had scored just 13 goals in 12 games and obviously that situation needed remedying if they were to mount a sustained challenge for the top four places and the play offs later in the year. They bought in Foday, a man whose reward for hitting five goals in an AFC Cup tie, was to be replaced by Persipura! Mind you, Persija were only playing Persijap who have looked poor all season.

Pelita Bandung Raya v Gresik United 4-1 (David Laly 2, Nova Arianto, Wawan Febrianto; Otavio Dutra) 200

Persiram v Persela 2-0 (Mbida Messi, Steven Anderson) 1,125

Persiram always have this kind of win in their locker. Despite being slightly off the pace in recent weeks,  they remain a tough nit to crack you just knew this was going to be a tough ask for a Persela side with title ambitions of their own.

Persiba Bantul v Persepam MU 0-2  (Silvio Escobar 2) 3,500
Persiba Balikpapan v Mitra Kukar 0-1 (Zulvin) 4,232

An East Kalimantan derby, there are plenty of them this season, Mitra Kukar did their own top four ambitions no harm with these narrow three points at their local rivals.

Persib v Gresik United 4-1 (Firman Utina, Makan Konate, Ferdinand Sinaga, Djibril Coulibally; Pedro Javier) 17,744

Quite a common score this week! There seems to be a mental strength about Persib this season that has perhaps been lacking in recent seasons.

Barito Putra v Persita 2-0 (Yongki Aribowo, Noor Hadi) 5.015

Western Conference

1 - Arema 13 10 2 1 30-8 31
2 - Persib 13 7 4 2 25-13 25
3 - Semen Padang 13 7 2 4 17-12 23
4 - Persija 13 6 4 3 17-10 22

Eastern Conference

1 - Mitra Kukar 13 8 2 3 23-9 26
2 - Persipura 13 6 7 0 20-9 25
3 - Persela 13 6 3 4 19-18 21
4 - Persebaya 12 7 3 2 24-10 21*

Deducted threepoints by FIFA

12 - Emmanuel Kenmogne (Persebaya)
8 - James Koko Lomell (Barito Putra), Ilija Spasojevic (Pusam)
7 - Gustavo Lopez (Arema), Silvio Escobar (Persepam MU), Ferdinand Sinaga (Persib)

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Travelling JDT Fans Complain Of Poor Treatment In Singapore

SINGAPORE - They came from across the Causeway to enjoy a football match.

But the 150-odd Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) supporters who travelled to Singapore to watch their team's Malaysia Super League (MSL) match against the LionsXII at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, claim that overly-stringent security officers turned their trip into a farce.

Most of them ended up watching a portion of the match on their mobile phones outside the stadium, JDT fan Zaman Nuri Hassan, who runs the "Luaskan Kuasa Mu Oh Johor Ku" Facebook fan page, told The New Paper yesterday.

Five Malaysians - a woman and four men - were arrested before the match for disorderly behaviour. They are out on bail and investigations are ongoing.

Mr Zaman said many JDT supporters were agitated when security officials at Jalan Besar told them to stay inside their buses even after they arrived late at the stadium.

He said the fans, who were in five buses, had left Larkin Stadium at 3pm, but were held up for almost two hours at the Woodlands Checkpoint as their buses were inspected.

After arriving at the stadium at 7.45pm - the kick-off time - they were made to wait even longer.
"We were already late, but they still wouldn't let us get off the bus," said Mr Zaman.

"The doors of the bus were opened, but they didn't let us go anywhere. We couldn't even leave the bus to pee. There was a mixture of security officers, some in all-black attire, some in yellow vests and some people in plainclothes taking pictures of us. Some of us saw it as provocation. For 30 minutes, we were forced to sit in the bus and just wait."

In response to TNP's queries, a police spokesman said: "The buses arrived at Jalan Besar Stadium late. The arrangement was for the buses to take turns to drive to the 'away' fan gate for alighting (and) the away fans would then be facilitated to enter the stadium to watch the match.

"The fans waiting in the buses were advised not to leave the buses as this would have caused further delay to the drop-off process. "There was a delay that night for the fans to enter the stadium as the liaison from the away fans were sorting out the ticket arrangements."

Mr Zaman claimed he was among the first busload of JDT fans to be allowed into the stadium.

By then, it was the 35th minute of the match, which JDT eventually won 3-2 through a controversial refereeing decision.

But that was not the end of the drama.

During the second-half, a large number of JDT fans began streaming out of their designated area at the stadium.

"At that point, we heard that three busloads of our supporters were not allowed into the stadium despite having tickets," Mr Zaman said.

"So we decided to boycott the game as a form of protest and to show unity with our fellow JDT fans.
"All of us left the stadium, and we watched the game on our mobile phones on the Astro On The Go website."

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said the Malaysian fans who were turned away "were not holders of tickets to the rightful and appropriate fan seating sectors".

At this point, some supporters became unruly after being denied entry.

In one video that has been making the rounds on social media, some fans can be seen aggressively shouting offensive words at Cisco officers outside the stadium, with one screaming "kecut" (cowards in Malay) at them. In the same video, another fan is heard shouting in Malay: "We need to pee! We're hungry! Thirsty! Why are we here?" Security officers can be seen boxing the supporters in with white rope, which incensed them further. Mr Zaman said it made the fans feel "like animals".

"The rope was used by Cisco as part of their crowd-control plan," a police spokesman said.

"The police officers were helping to maintain order among the fans who were walking to the stadium without any tickets while their liaison was sorting out the tickets. The fans were advised to go back to the buses to wait as they would not be able to enter the stadium without tickets."

It is understood that some of the JDT fans had tickets, but they were for seats outside the designated area for away supporters.

A local football fan, who declined to be named, told TNP: "This type of strict security is a one-off. I have many friends from Malaysia who I sit with at LionsXII games, and there's always no problem."
Referring to the away supporters who became unruly, he said: "I think it's just a case of the JDT fans getting upset at being unable to enter after buying tickets meant for Singaporeans."


Singapore Cancel Malaysia Friendly

SINGAPORE - The match between Singapore and Malaysia at the new Sports Hub’s National Stadium on Aug 8 has been postponed and rescheduled to a later date.

In a statement issued today (May 24), Football Association of Singapore (FAS) General secretary Winston Lee said more time was needed to prepare for the staging of the fixture (yeah, cos three or fours years just ain't enough time), and that the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had been informed.

“The initial response to the game has been very encouraging, confirming our belief that a Singapore-Malaysia game will always be a major crowd-puller,” he said.

“Given the high turnout expected, and to ensure a truly memorable experience and spectacle for every spectator, FAS has concluded that it will need more time to prepare for the event.”

This means the match between Italian Serie A champions Juventus and a Singapore Selection on Aug 16 is set to be the first football match to be held at the 55,000-seater National Stadium after it is completed next month.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Singapore Cup 2014

Four foreign teams as usual will join the fun this season. From the Philippines we get Global and Loyola Meralco Sparks while Cambodia has Naga Corp and Svay Riang. Laos' Champasak make up the foreign legion though I should of course point out DPMM, Albirex Niigata and Harimau Muda are also of course pretty foreign!

For those who know their way around an abacus, you will notice there are five additional foreign teams entered...Young Lions aren't entering this year.

26/05 Tanjong Pagar v Hougang United
27/05 Woodlands Wellington v Geylang International
27/05 Warriors v Balestier Khalsa
28/05 Svay Rieng v Albirex Niigata
29/05 Harimau Muda v Tampines Rovers
30/05 Home United v Naga Corp
31/05 Global v DPMM
01/06 Loyola v Champasak

Singapore Cup Past Years Winners

Year      Winner
1998      Tanjong Pagar United
1999      Singapore Armed Forces FC
2000      Home United
2001      Home United
2002      Tampines Rovers
2003      Home United
2004      Tampines Rovers
2005      Home United
2006      Tampines Rovers
2007      Singapore Armed Forces FC
2008      Singapore Armed Forces FC
2009      Geylang United
2010      Bangkok Glass FC
2011      Home United
2012      Singapore Armed Forces FC
2013      Home United


DPMM Suffer Rare Defeat

There is an air of confidence around Choa Chu Kang these days. The Warriors are sensing a return to the glory days that saw them dominate the SLeague for so many seasons.

Formerly known as SAFFC, I ain't writing all that down again, in their glory days they won the SLeague four straight years and won the Singapore Cup twice. An impressive haul yet you wonder why the architect of that team, Richard Bok, is not coaching another team.

But Alex Weaver, who was treated pretty shockingly last season at his last club, has quietly assembled an experienced squad and they have been quietly picking up points, tucking themselves in quite nicely behind the leading pack..which is of course DPMM.

After a recent 4-1 loss to Home United and a thrilling 3-3 draw with champions Tampines Rovers, Warriors fans may well have gone into the game with the current leaders with some feelings of trepidation. They needn't have worried.

They was to be no Arsenal style implosion, Warriors equipped themselves very well thank you and won 1-0 against Steve Kean's Brunei team. Hafiz Rahim scored the only game half way through the game and DPMM were unable to find an equaliser, slipping to only their second defeat of the season.

The three points took Warriors into second place, just four points  behind the leaders.


Persipura Top Of Western Conference

Mitra Kukar enjoyed some 24 hours at the top of the table but now it is Persipura's turn after they defeated Persiba Bantul 2-0 with two goals within the first nine minutes. Just 1,117 saw the game...what is that all about? Why are Persipura fans turning their back on the team?

In yesterdays other game, Persija were held 1-1 at Gresik United, another team whose fans are staying away...just 2,150 saw this game.

When you factor in Persebaya fans boycotting their 'team', and Persiram and PSM being forced to play outside their own cities you gotta wonder just what is going on at those football clubs.

The average attendance across the ISL is still over 10,000 but there is a marked difference between the eastern and western conferences.


Former Referee Says Aceh Is A 'Jungle'

The fall out from the death of Persiraja's Akli Fairuz continues with the goalkeeper who kicked him in the stomach saying the kick was 'unavoidable' and not 'violent'. Just check out the video and see if you agree with him or not.

Meanwhile, a former Indonesia referee has said that match officials do not enjoy doing games in the province of Aceh. Persiraja were playing PSAP, a local derby in the province, when the incident happened.

Jimmy Napitipulu said 'It’s like a jungle in Aceh. There are no rules. That’s why all referees always refuse when they’re assigned to Aceh. Players can do whatever they want.'

The full story can be found in the Jakarta Globe


Noor Hadi Leaves Persijap

Indonesian football clubs are nothing if not brutal. It is the transfer window and clubs around the country have been ruthlessly breaking players' contracts to make way for new signings.

As mentioned previously, Osas Marvelous has signed for Semen Padang from Persiram.

No surprise that it is the clubs at the bottom of the table who have been busiest.

Bottom placed Persijap have allowed local hero Noor Hadi to leave. The striker has signed for Barito Putra and such is often the way, his first game for his new club will come against...Persijap! In has come former Persitara midfielder John Tarkpor after a spell outside of Indonesia while Carlos Raul Sciuatti has also made the move.

One of the busiest teams has been Persiba Bantul. Ezequial Gonzales and Wahyu Widjianto have returned after spells at Semen Padang while Stevie Bonisapa has made the same journey.

PSM have released Robertinho and Mario Costas, bringing in Mamadou Diallo from Persih while Gresik United have also been busy, bringing in Gustavo Chena and Pedro Javier among others to try and reinvigorate their disappointing campaign.

Meanwhile, shot shy Persija have replaced Zelimir Terkes with former Persita striker Agus Salim.


Arema Lose First Home Game Of Season

Arema lost their first home game of the season after they went down 2-1 at home to Semen Padang. New signing Osas Marvellous scored twice for the visitors while Alfarasi hit a late consolation for the home side.

In unrelated news, the attendance at the Kanjuruhan Stadium was just 4,549. Recently, when Arema hosted Persija, there were more than 33,000. They are averaging more than 15,000 for the season and took several thousand to Jakarta for an away game.

All of a sudden they stay away from a home game?!

Mind you, Wednesday was an all round day of poor attendances.

Sriwijaya defeated Persik 2-0 thanks to goals from Vendry Mofu and Syakir Sulaiman in front of just 5,723. Normally, the Palembang side attract bigger crowds but the team has not been doing so well this season so fans have been staying away.

Mitra Kukar returned to the top of the eastern conference after they beat Persepam 3-1 in front of 2,300.

In Wednesday's other game, Perseru drew 1-1 with Persiram in a Papua derby played out in front of an impressive 275 people!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Anything Arsenal Can Do, Johor Darul Ta'zim Can Do

2-0 down away to defending champions LionsXII in the Malaysia Super League, Johor Darul Ta'zim looked to be down and out after the home team raced into a two goal lead.

Faris Ramli gave the home team the lead on 37 minutes before Zulfami Arifin made it 2-0 minutes later.

In an echo of Saturday's FA Cup final, have I mentioned Arsenal won, JDT pulled a goal back quickly through Pereya Diaz.

Luciano Figueroa levelled the scores before Diaz win the game for the visitors with 16 minutes to go.

1 - Selangor 16 10 4 2 19-11 34
2 - Pahang 16 9 2 5 29-19 29
3 - Johor Darul Ta'zim 16 8 5 3 17-9 29

Friday night sees JDT travel to Shah Alam to take on Selangor...victory for the Red Giants could well end JDT's title hopes?


Pelita Bandung Raya v Sevilla Ticket Prices

VIP - Rp 90,000
West Stand - Rp 50,000
East Stand - Rp 30,000
Behind Goals - Rp 10,000

Can't complain about them prices at all but still can't help thinking there is going to be a tiny attendance and the organisers need to get round local schools dishing out freebies.


Persebaya Thump PSM While Persib Held In Bandung Derby

Persebaya made it three wins in their last three games after they brushed aside PSM at the Bung Tomo Stadium in front of a meagre 1,300 fans.

ISL top scorer Emmanuel Kenmogne hit two to give him 11 for the season and making him the leading scorer in the league for the season. Greg Nwokolo and Lestalahu hit the others to make it 10 goals in their last three games for the Green Force.

Despite the good form on the pitch, the fans are staying away. Many of them see this Persebaya as not the real thing, instead being another club, Persikubar who were just parachuted into Surabaya.

Persib were held 2-2 by Pelita Bandung Raya at Jalak Harupat in the Bandung derby. Although perhaps it is a derby only in a geographical sense. The crowd has about half the attendance when Persib hosted Persija, a game that both teams see as their own classico

In a game of seven bookings, Persib took the lead through Tantan only for full back Wildansyah, Bandung born and bred and a former Persib player, to equalize in injury time.

Kim Jeffrey Kurniawan restored PBR's lead in the second half only for Ferdinand Sinaga to leve the scores with seven minutes to play.

The point helps neither team, Persib still nine points off first placed Arema.

In Monday's games, Persela were held to a 2-2 draw by Pusam at the Surajaya Stadium. Addison Alves had the home side 2-0 inside 23 minutes only for the visitors to pull goals back by Lerby and Naser Al Sebai.

It was the first time Persela had dropped any points at home this season.

Persijap were defeated 2-0 at home by Persita in the battle of the celler dwellers on Monday. Jalwandi and Sirvi Arfani did the damage for the visitors and the win allowed them to pull away from the relegation places.

Said it before, will say it again. Persijap are doomed and their fans obviously think so...just 1,500 turned up to see them lose their fourth home game of the season.


Persipura Drop Striker Who Hit Five Goals In A Game!

Indonesian football can be a ruthless place. Put it this way, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would never have lasted as long as they did here...they would have been out withing weeks of winning nothing.

Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby would have been released from their contracts rather than have them clog up valuable space in the physio room.

Take Persipura's Eddie Foday Boakay for example. Last week, the striker hit five goals in Persipura's 9-2 rout of Yangon United in the AFC Cup.

Now he has been dropped by the club as they juggle their squad ahead of the second half of the ISL season as well as AFC Cup commitments.

In his stead has come Argentine midfielder Robertinho.


Akil Faruz (Persiraja) RIP

Another dead footballer in Indonesia.

Persiraja striker Akil Faruz died last Friday after being kicked in the stomach by the PSAP goalkeeper during the recent Aceh derby in Banda Aceh.

It wasn't really a kick though, was it? Just watch the video.

This report has Ismed Sofyan, the Persija full back, quoted as blaming the player's club, Periraja, for not treating him sooner.

Mind you, Ismed is also said to be chairman of the Indonesian footballers association!

Monday, May 19, 2014


South East Asian Football Wrap

Find out the latest news and results from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore on the Jakarta Casual podcast.

On this week's podcast:

And much more including my next door neighbour banging away!

Friday, May 16, 2014


Football In Hong Kong

I think it is fair to say that when people talk about football in North East Asia, the focus will be on
the region’s powerhouses. South Korea, Japan, China. No one will mention Hong Kong. In fact, 
many will be surprised to learn they even play football there, let alone have a thriving league.

But within the game, a few things have been happening up there which are making people sit up 
and take notice.

Back in February, South China travelled to Singapore to take on SLeague champions Tampines
Rovers in an AFC Asian Champions League play off. 

Tampines are no push overs. They are a side brimming with experience, boasting players like 
Aleksander Duric, Mustafic Fahruddin and Shaiful Esah. South China won 2-1 though the home team 
did end the game with nine men after having two players sent off.

For Tampines though, worse was to follow. Knocked out of the ACL they entered the AFC Cup 
and their first tie came against yet another Hong Kong side...Kitchee.

For much of their history, Kitchee have been just another football club. But the last 10 years have
seen the club become possibly the glamour team of Hong Kong. They have won the First Division
in three of the last four years, finishing runners up in 2012/2013. 

They have also added the FA Cup and League Cup as well as becoming regulars in the AFC Cup.

In addition, they have come up against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea in high profile friendlies. In fact, the Arsenal game could give a pointer to the club’s ambition. The money 
raised from that game is going towards the development of a youth football training centre with 
Arsenal handing over a further donation.

Zesh Rehman knew all this back in 2012. That was when he made the decision to switch the 
glamour of Muang Thong United in the Thai Premier League, considered by some to be the best in South 
East Asia, for the apparent backwater of Hong Kong.

But Rehman, used to being a trailblazer, had done his research. He was after all the first Asian to 
play in the Premier League, with Fulham, and the first Pakistan international to play in the AFC 

I made the move because I wanted to continue playing in The AFC Cup having reached the quarter
final with Muang Thong, at the time Kitchee were looking to secure an Asian foreigner for the 
AFC Cup so I guess it was fate. My initial reaction was positive because I had heard a few 
whispers of the projects in place there before hand so I was keen to explore the opportunity 

The Thai league was booming at the time. Muang Thong and Buriram United had taken the game 
to the next level thanks to ambitious owners with deep pockets and crowds were rising. 
It certainly seemed an odd move for Rehman to make.

He admits there was interest from elsewhere in Thailand as well as Singapore, Iran and Kuwait but 
his research was leading his gut instinct to Hong Kong.

I spoke to a few people in the region and players/coaches who had worked their previously and 
after that my mind was made up. The club had just won the league the season before and had a 
superb young coach in Josep Gombau who implemented an injection of flair and skillful football 
with his Spanish approach so I was looking forward to working with him.

From talking with Zesh, you get the impression he is not the kind to rush in blindly to anything. 
He has been quoted as saying his “sole purpose in trying to be a success as a professional 
footballer is to inspire other Asian players to follow my lead and achieve their goals.”

He is a passionate guy with his own foundation which seeks to “to develop a social inclusion 
programme in the UK delivering community based initiatives that focus on using sport as a 
pathway and platform for community cohesion, integration and offer pathways into training and 
citizenship programmes in marginalised communities and neighbourhoods - working across all
ethnicities and cultures.

For him, playing in Hong Kong was one more string to his bow. To show that a young Asian kid 
growing up on the streets of inner city Birmingham can achieve anything.

Rehman enthused over the way the club was run, making the point that a happy employee was a 
productive employee. “Kitchee (is an) extremely professionally run outfit behind the scenes. 
Salaries are paid on time every month,  the import players and families are taken care of and all 
the day to day matters are dealt with efficiently. The boss at Kitchee, Ken Ng and all the staff are 
doing a wonderful job for the Kitchee brand and image of Hong Kong football on a regional scale.”

But while Kitchee are planning for the future with their youth training academy, another long term 
import had a word for warning for young players in Hong Kong. Speaking with the Hong Kong FA 
website, 30 year old Brazilian Roberto Affonso Junior, who has spent seven years with Sunray
Cave JC Sun Hei, says that he was frustrated to see the young players waste their free time 
playing with their gadgets.

Sometimes, I really want to tell the younger players to spend less time on Facebook or Play 
Station and focus more on their football careers. Back in Brazil, young players will work hard on 
and off the pitch to fight for their own careers or for their families. They all wanted to chase after 
something bigger in life and that was why they worked so hard. Over here, there seems to be
virtually no pressure on the players to perform and little competition for places,” he said.

When Kitchee met Tampines in the second group stage game, they again ran out comfortable 
winners, putting four past the Stags with no reply, ensuring their place in the group stage of the 
AFC Cup.

Unbeaten after five games, the only points they have dropped came in a surprise 2-2 draw at 
home to Indian side Pune.

Their former defender however thinks Kitchee will soon outgrow the AFC Cup. He cites the 
cooperation going on behind the scenes with Barcelona, introduced by former coach Gombau, as 
one reason for their rise. 

The Barcelona ethos,  philosophy,  style of play and development of players and coaches is very 
evident in the current set up. The local players and coaches are improving vastly and they also get
the chance to go to Spain and get further insight. Next year Kitchee will step up a level in terms of 
training facilities so it's definitely a club destined for the AFC Champions League within the 
next 5 years,” he stated confidently.

For now, they are impressing in the AFC Cup, Asian club football’s second tier competition. 
Kitchee host Arema on Wednesday at the Mongkok Stadium and while the Malang side can 
probably count on a reasonable support from Indonesians based in Hong Kong, coach Suharno 
knows his players will need to be at the top of their game if they are to return south with anything
from this game.

COMMENT - This piece was written before Kitchee finished their group stage games in the AFC Cup with the last paragraph added. It first appeared in the Jakarta is their headline, not mine!


Persipura Hit 9!


Persipura v Yangon United 9-2 (Eddie Foday Boakai 5, Ian Louis Kabes 2, Yustinus Pae, Titus Bonai; Kyaw Ko Ko, Cezar Agusto) 12,385

This game needs to be investigated by the AFC. You know, them with the zero tolerance towards match fixing yet they allow Ninh Binh to carry on even though they had withdrawn from the VLeague.

There may of course be nothing wrong with this game but we will not know until it is looked into.

Kitchee v Arema 2-0

Two goals in the first nine (that number again!) did for Arema at the Mongkok Stadium where they at least had the consolation of several hundred fans cheering them on. Arema fans - Indonesia's finest export?!


Disappointing Friendly Crowds

Last Sunday, Persija were involved in a high profile friendly with Dutch side Ajax. A fairly well known team I would imagine. Yet the crowd was given as a meagre 20,000.

Yet Persija's last home game, admittedly the Woodstock Love In against Arema, attracted double that figure!

Ajax's next game came against Persib at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Soreang, West Java. That attendance was given as 8,000. That number was on a par with Divisi Utama crowds at Persipur and PSMP played during the week.

Persib's last game, against Persija, saw some 27,000 turn up.
During the same week, Persis hosted PSIS in Divisi Utama and over 18,000 fans turned up to see PSIS defeated for the first time this season.

Then we had an Indonesia U23 team play Dominican Republic, their full national team, in front of a reported 200 fans at the 88,000 + capacity Bung Karno Stadium.

Yesterday, it was announced Pelita Bandung Raya would play a friendly against Europa League winners Sevilla 22/5 at Jalak Harupat Stadium.

Now PBR are not the biggest club in the country. Far from it.

The danger with this game is that the crowd on the evening will be, in short, bloody awful. PBR only draw crowds of more than 2,000 to their home games is when they host Persib.

The club and the promoters should do everything in their power to get some bums on seats...all the talk of the passion the fans have for the game here will mean nothing if Sevilla walk on to the pitch in front of a near empty stadium.

The least PBR can do is get round the local schools and give out some free tickets for the kids.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Singapore Is Where It's At

Singaporeans love to mock their local football. They say it is rubbish yet they will quite happily put on Chelsea shirts and celebrate a bus in the goal mouth.Irony, eh?

The last couple of nights have thrown up some spectacular football, not that you'd know if you read the local papers. Popular stories tend to be about Mourinho's latest spat.

Take Thursday, for example. Two games, 12 goals with one of them going viral.

Let's start with Tampines against Warriors where the goals came in pairs. Warriors were two up with two goals in three minutes halfway through the first half.

Tampines fought  back with two goals in three minutes early in the second half.

Then, in the last minutes, two own goals to end the game 3-3. The sort of game coaches hate but fans, in other countries, love. You know when English TV shows highlights from a game years back? If there was some similar thing in Singapore, this would be the type of the game that would feature.

On the same night, Geylang International suffered their first defeat under coach Jorg Steinbrunner. While Albirex Niigata fans may look back fondly on their 4-2 win, the result is not the reason why fans around the world have become aware of this game.

No siree. Fabian Qwok. Yep, he's the guy.Check out his goal, here.

Last night, DPMM took advantage of the Tampines draw to move seven points clear as they defeated Tanjong Pagar 4-0 in Brunei. Roy O'Donovan continued his scoring streak, hitting a brace, while Antonio Rodrigo Tosi and Shah Razen hit the others.

Tosi and O'Donovan, ex Hartlepool and Northampton Town, now have 21 goals between them out of DPMM's 30.

In last night's other game, Hougang United defeated Balestier Khalsa 2-1.

Friday, May 09, 2014


Persija v Ajax Ticket Prices

VVIP                 Rp 500,000         

VIP West          Rp 350,000

VIP East           Rp  150,000

Cat 1               Rp 100,000

Cat 2               Rp 50,000

Upper Tier       Rp 25,000

This will now be a double header.

18.30 Persija v Ajax 
21.00 Indonesia v ASEAN All Stars


Jakarta Casual Podcast has taken almost five months but my first podcast is up on Soundcloud.

In it I sit down and share a beer with Brendan Schwab, a senior official with FIFPro, actively involved in supporting the creation and development of an Indonesian footballers union. And god knows, they need one!

I enjoyed the chat immensly andI hope you enjoy the interview.

I hope that rather than just have me drone on and on about things, I can get to sit down and talk with people in and around the game in the region to provide more insight to the beautiful game in the beautiful region.

Next up will be a chat with...dunno yet!

Anyway, check out Brendan on Soundcloud!


PSM Players Threaten Strike Action

In the wake of the recent APPI (Indonesia Players Union) legal conference in Jakarta earlier this week, evidence there is still much work to be done on the ground.

PSM players are reportedly threatening strike action over unpaid salaries, which they have not received for almost three months.

With PSM second bottom of the eastern conference of the ISL, just two wins and three draws from their opening 10 games, wags might suggest the players have been on strike for most of the season!

Coach Rudy Keltjes seems unperturbed. 'I came to Makassar to coach. If players want to miss training, what can I say?' Which really sums up the role of the coach in this part of the world, compared to say, a SAF, Wenger or Mourinho.

PSM have been forced to play their home games in Surabaya this season, which means the club have had to fork out cash on facilities in the East Java city and play in front of an almost empty stadium since the ISL deemed their usual stadium in South Sulawesi not up to standard.

When they take these decisions, surely the ISL has a duty to find a better alternative...something a bit closer to home. They can't just say 'oh, you can't play in Makassar, go to Surabaya' and wash their hands of the consequences.


Marvelous For Semen Padang

Coach Jafri Sastra has reacted to finishing fourth in the first half of the ISL season by getting rid of three players and bringing in two more.

Ezequiel Gonzales, who was so prolific and spent so long at Persiba Bantal, has been dropped from the squad as have Stevie Bonisapa and Wahyu Wijiastanto.

To replace them, Jafri has brought in Osas Marvelous, formerly of Persiram and in one memorable season so prolific with PSAP.

Joining the marvelous one in Minang country is Valentino Talebun, a defender from Persita.

Having conceded 10 goals in the opening games, obviously there was a  need to tighten up the defence while Marvelous has scored goals on a regular basis in the past.


Persib, Persija Ends All Square

Persib v Persija 0-0 26,978

Indonesia's very own classico ended all square in front of the normal all singing, all dancing crowd. Despite the fact that peace had supposedly broken out between the two sets of supporters, Persija fans traveling by road to the game were stepped and asked to return home. And apparently their were some incidents on the toll road that connects the two cities.

The game itself is often second to the occasion and Benny Dollo's men probably took to their armoured personnel carriers after the game with a sigh of relief after a performance that surely cemented Andritany's reputation as one of the best keepers in the country.

For Persib, they are now seven points behind leaders Arema.

Arema v Gresik United 5-0 (Samsul Arif 3, Alberto Goncalves, Sunarto) 15,397

The Crazy Lions end the first half of the ISL top of the western conference after comfortably putting Gresik United to the sword. Good to see Samsul among the goals, proof that Indonesians can score!

Arema have been rampant this season, losing just one game so far, winning the rest and scoring for fun. And their goal difference is way beyond anyone else.

Pusam v Persiba Balikpapan 1-2 (Ilija Spasojevic; Fernando Soler, Ansou Toure) 5,345

One of several East Kalimantan derbies, Pusam took the lead on eight minutes through Spasojevic, his seventh of the season, but Soler took just two minutes to equalise. A late penalty secured the victory for Persiba meaning a happy journey home for their travelling support.

It was Pusam's first home defeat of the season and they sit uncomfortably just one place and one point off the relegation places. It was Persiba's first away win and they climbed out of the relegation places to sixth.

Perseru v Persipura 0-0 700

This is what I don't understand. This was a Papua derby played at Persipura's Mandala Stadium yet no bugger turned up?! What's that all about? The champions may have started the season slowly but they have been involved in AFC Cup duty and they remain unbeaten in the ISL. Indeed, the only team to remain unbeaten.

They sit third, just two points off the leaders, Mitra Kukar so are hardly out of the title race. Yet they play in front of a near empty stadium?

Western Conference

1 - Arema 10 9 0 1 26-4 27
2 - Persib 10 6 2 2 17-8 20
3 - Persija 10 5 3 2 12-7 18
4 - Semen Padang 10 5 2 3 12-10 17

Eastern Conference

1 - Mitra Kukar 10 6 2 2 18-7 20
2 - Persela 10 6 1 3 16-13 19
3 - Persipura 10 4 6 0 16-8 18
4 - Persebaya 10 6 2 2 19-9 17* three points deducted by FIFA

9 - Emmanuel Kenmogne (Persebaya)
7 - Ililja Spasojevic (Pusam)
6 - James Koko Lomell (Barito Putra), Alberto Goncalves, Samsul Arif (Arema)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Johor Darul Ta'zim Back In The News

Love 'em or loathe 'em, you can't deny Johor Darul Ta'zim make great stories for the media.

They drew 1-1 with Pahang in the FA Cup and are still whining about the ref costing them penalties.

They also want to move to a new stadium. That would have been the last thing on their minds when they were in the Premier League and known just as Johor.

I would go to Larkin Stadium and if you were lucky the crowd would top 30.

Things have changed with big bucks in the club and Larkin Stadium is packed every game.

So the club are to build a new stadium...on a new island between Singapore and Johor. The new island, by the way, is claimed to be twice the size of Sentosa, Singapore's artificial playground.

The 50,000 capacity stadium will, apparently, be the most state of the art in the whole wide world so there.

And there's more.

Johor Darul Ta'zim are considering moving to the SLeague for next season. It is unclear what the SLeague think about this or indeed Harimau Muda and the Malaysia FA.

As is often the case with people whose pockets are deeper, the royal owner has said he will pay a fine to the Malaysia FA if that will make everything more.

Oh, and there is more! The club have offered $3.5 million to Boca Juniors for Juan Manuel Martinez for next season. And they expressed an interest in Selangor's prolific Paolo Rangel.

I haven't finished yet. JDT are considering a friendly against AC Milan. And a game against an all start team featuring the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Not sure where the World Cup fits into this master seems the paper reporting the story didn't bother asking any logical questions. Check the original story here.


APPI Hold Legal Seminar As Clubs 'Drop' Players

The Indonesia Players' Union, along with FIFPro held a legal seminar yesterday in Jakarta and very interesting it was to. I did an interview with FIFPro's Brendan Scwab so I won't go into too much detail about what happened at the meeting.

There was though an interesting bit about club's breaking players' contracts without 'just cause'.

In other news, Persepam MU have announced they are dropping 10 players. That is after winning their last two home games under new coach Arcan Iurie.

10 players out, halfway through the season! The club are waiting for new arrivals to trial for the privilege to join the football club. Dunno about you but I am not sure I would want to play for a club that feels it can just drop half its squad halfway through the season, just weeks after ditching the coach. The word stable doesn't spring to mind, even here.

Sriwijaya have dropped Iranian defender Vali Korsandipish.

Hold there a link between the first paragraph and the third? Hmmm


Persikabo Held In Divisi Utama Clash

Persikabo v PS Bangka 1-1 (Rudi Widodo; Riko Simanjuntak) 5,561

In Divisi Utama's match of the day yesterday, Persikabo dropped their first points of the season as they were held 1-1 by similarly unbeaten PS Bangka at Persikabo Stadium in Cibinong.

Rudi Widodo gave the home team an early lead on eight minutes but Riko Simanjuntak equalised just short of the hour mark.

Villa 2000 v Persisko 4-2 753

New boys earned their first win of the season, getting past Persisko at Ciracas Stadium. The Jambi side have just one point this campaign.

PSBI v Persinga 2-0 3,713

Another top of the table clash, this time in Group 5. PSBI moved to within a point after this win memorable for the fact that Persinga boast players called Arsene and Ardiles!

Monday, May 05, 2014


PSIS Continue Divisi Utama Winning Ways

Persikad v PS Bangka 0-0

Group 2 leaders PS Bangka could not break down a stubborn if uninspiring Persikad at the Merpati Stadium in Depok. For the home team they have drawn all five of their league games, scoring just twice. For the leaders, these were the first dropped points this season!

PSIS v Persitema 4-0

While Persikad struggle for goals and points, PSIS are on a roll. This was their fifth win of the season...from five games and their 13 goals scored make them the top scorers in the Divisi Utama. The crowd? 12,500!

Group 1

1 - PSPS 5 4 0 1 7-4 12

Group 2

1 - PS Bangka 5 4 1 0 8-2 13

Group 3

1 - PSGC 5 4 0 1 10-4 12

Group 4

1  - PSIS 5 5 0 0 13-2 15

Group 5

1 - Persinga 5 3 1 1 10-7 10

Group 6

1 - Pusamania Borneo 5 3 1 1 7-5 10

Group 7

1 - Persekam 5 3 1 1 8-2 10

Group 8

1 - Persewon 4 4 0 0 11-2 12


Arema Remain Top Of ISL

Indonesia Super League

Persija v Arema 0-1 (Gustavo Lopes) 39,763

Ok, so it wasn't quite the 30,000 travelling fans predicted on the web last week but still the largest crowd this season at Bung Karno for the game between these two sides. Despite the passion on the terraces, this is no classico...more a Woodstock Revisited considering the close relationship between the fans of both clubs.

Arema stay top of the table after a controversial penalty, aren't they always, while Persija lost  their second game in the last three.

For Persija, attention will no doubt return to their misfiring strikers.

Semen Padang v Gresik United 1-1 (Airlangga; Kacung Munib) 6,372

For a team with play off ambitions, Semen Padang can't afford to keep dropping points against lower placed teams like this. Gresik are struggling to pull away from the relegation places yet they led for two thirds of the game, Airlangga equalising with 10 minutes on the clock.

Sriwijaya v Barito Putra 4-2 (Asri Akbar, Frank Oliver, Syakir Sulaiman, Vendry Pofu; Sahroni 2) 8,722

When a team with a good home record clashes with a team boasting a poor away record, results like this are always a possibility. It could have been oh so different after Asri had given the home team the lead. Sahroni scored twice within a minute and Barito Putra were in the lead. They kept the lead till half time but Sriwijaya hit back with two goals in nine minutes after the break to set up their own three points

Persita v Persijap 4-0 (Kenji Adichihara 2, Sirvi Arvani 2) 967

Whither next for Persijap? Just four points all season and pointless on their travels this season. Last week they finally replaced coach Raja Isa, replacing him with Evaldo, their experienced Brazilian defender, but he doesn't have much to play with and without a serious injection of funds, which have not been forthcoming, the club are dead certs for relegation.

Persiram v Perseru 0-1 (Yoksan Ama) 125

Another team to replace their coach, Perseru took three points from this Papuan derby played in Sleman, Java!

Mitra Kukar v Persiba Balikpapan 4-0 (Anindito, Herman Dzumafo, Eric Weeks Lewis, Reinaldo Lobo) 8,000

A healthy crowd saw Mitra Kukar return to the top of the eastern conference of the ISL after brushing aside a lacklustre Persiba.

Western Conference

1 - Arema 9 8 0 1 21-4 24
2 - Persib 9 6 1 2 17-8 19

Eastern Conference

1 - Barito Putra 10 6 2 2 18-7 20
2 - Persela 10 6 1 3 16-13 19

9 - Emmanuel Kenmogne (Persebaya)
6 - Ilija Spasojevic (Pusam), Esteban Vizcarra (Semen Padang), James Koko Lomell (Barito Putra)
5 - Cristian Gonzales, Alberto Goncalves (Arema), Djibril Coulibaly (Persib), Greg Nwokolo (Persebaya)

Saturday, May 03, 2014


BuGils FC International Soccer 6s

It may be a World Cup year and the focus of many football fans will be directed towards Brazil but that doesn’t mean Indonesia will be quiet these coming months.

Apart from anything else, Ajax Amsterdam are coming to town to play a couple of friendles in Jakarta and Bandung against Persija and Persib respectively while the Indonesian national team has a couple of games on the horizon.

First up is a fund raiser for victims of the Philippine typhoon last year when Indonesia play an ASEAN All Star XI. Then they head to the Central Java city of Solo to play the mighty Dominican Republic.

In addition, there will be teams packing their toothbrushes and shin pads to compete in one of the most eagerly awaited competitions on the expat calendar.

The BuGils FC Soccer Sixes is now in its second season and surely qualifies as the longest running football competition named after a bar that no longer exists in the whole of South Jakarta.

20 teams from Indonesia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong with 200 players of varying shapes and sizes will be doing battle at International Sports Club of Indonesia (ISCI) to win the coveted awards on offer including highly sought after Best Drinking Team award.

This event though is more than just a few misshapen middle aged men having a kick around on a Saturday afternoon. The aim is to showcase the city of Jakarta and the visiting overseas teams will be invited on a tour around some of the finest dining establishments the city has to offer in the best way possible. By Kopaja mini bus during the Friday evening rush hour!

The day out at ISCI promises to be a memorable one. While the hardy players run off their aching muscles and sweat out their alcohol intake on the football pitch, spectators will have the full run of the ISCI facilities including the swimming pool. There will also be a buffet available and it is rumoured even a beer tent.
For younger visitors, there will be a bouncy castle along with many other activities to keep them occupied and tired.
While the players take the odd break from their activities, former Lokomotiv Moscow, Dukla Prague and Seattle Sounders professional footballer Dale Mullholland will be holding a couple of coaching clinics where kids can try and emulate their heroes on the pitch by pitting their ball control skills against their peers.

At the end of a long day, there will be an awards ceremony, without the lengthy speeches they are normally associated with in these parts, before everyone piles on the bus and head to Kemang for a night of frivolity and fun.

Hong Kong has its world famous sevens rugby tournament, perhaps the BuGils 6s is setting the stage for Indonesia’s very own annual sporting event! Certainly, organiser Jasper Bouman says the day should be a fun day out for all the family and offers the city of Jakarta an opportunity to showcase its unique attractions to the outside world.

The fun starts at 9am on May 3rd at ISCI!


Indonesia U19s Face Myanmar Double

Indonesia's U19s continue their tiring preparations for the AFC U19 Championshios later this year with a couple of friendlies against Myanmar.

The games will be played at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on 5 and 7 May. The second game will be played behind closed doors...considering the cost of hiring the 88,000 capacity stadium, surely better, and cheaper, to use a smaller stadium in the city?

But will people turn up for the game on 5 May? The PSSI have cranked up the prices for a friendly match featuring the national U19 team...

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

*1 USD = Rp11,500 approx

In other national team news, the PSSI have announced, in their wisdom, Indonesia's U23s will play Dominican Republic in Solo on 15 May, the full international team. This is because Indonesia play ASEAN All Stars and obviously that must be the priority...I guess. Or not. As the case may be. Or may not.


Tampines Rovers v Albirex Niigata 1-1

Both Tampines and warriors had the opportunity to gain ground on the SLeague leaders DPMM over the last couple of evenings but both failed to take the opportunity leaving Steve Kean and his merry band to celebrate in Sharia ruled Brunei with lashings of fizzy pop.

Going into the game with a new coach, Tampines fell behind when Shuhei Hotta gave the visitors, who seemed to have more fans than the champions and supposed home team, an early lead.

Tampines certainly had the possession and chances, hitting the wordwork twice but they left late before Luis Alberto Closa dorve home from outside the area after Albirex had failed to clear a corner.

After the game there was a stand up argument between the announcer guy and one of the Tampines fans. No idea what it was about but to be honest was more entertaining than most of the guy. Lucky the announcer had turned the public address system off or the Clementi air would have turned blue!

There was another incident off the field that saw five officials tell one photographer to move. Five!

In the other game that noght, Geylang International drew 1-1 with Tanjong Pagar at Bedok Stadium. Felice Ezequiel equalised seven minutes from the end to keep the Eagles unbeaten run under Jorg Steinbrunner going.

Last night saw the Uniform Derby between Homes United and Warriors and I must admit I had been looking forward to this game...except I had to fly home and missed the bloody thing!

Alex Weaver seems to be putting together a pretty tasty squad at Chua Chu Kang way and the club were riding high in the league. And, in a Jakarta Casual exclusive, I can reveal that Weaver was at the Tampines game and sat for awhile with some of his players where they discussed...babies. Yep, you just don't get this kind of stuff in the mainstream media!

Fat lot of good it did them. They were thumped 4-1 by inconsistent Home.Fazrul Nawaz continued his fine start to the season, giving Home the lead  on 12 minutes but Hafiz Rahman equalised half way through the first half.

The veteran Indra Sahdan scored twice in six minutes to set Home up for a memorable win and that Brazilian guy with a Japanese name scored to make in 4-1 in the last minute.

The Home United coach had come under the microscope in recent weeks for some frankly odd decisions regarding playing players out of position but I guess if the team can win like this then the complaints will die down.

Another shock in the other game with Young Lions winning 3-0 at Hougang United!

Thursday, May 01, 2014


PSIS Make It Four Straight Wins

PSIS made it four wins out of four after winning 2-1 at PPSM. For a change, Julio what's his name did not score but it didn't matter 'cos Muhammed Yunos did which I guess means the pioneer of micro finance in Bangladesh has found a new career away from their whacky politics. Good crowd there as well, 7,600 including a large away following.

Persikad continued their own pretty unique start to the campaign. They drew 0-0 away to Persisko and they now have drawn all four of their opening games, scoring just twice. Pop quiz, hot shots. How many goals have they conceded?! It was Persisko's first point of the season!

Two rebranded clubs met in Samarinda. Last season they would have met in Bangkalan! Pusamania Borneo, formerly known as Perseba Super, defeated Kalteng Putra, formerly known as Persepar, 2-1 in a Borneo derby. What is interesting for dullards and anoraks like me is the crowd was just over 1,000...I thought the whole point of Borneo was to be a fan owned club objecting against the politics of Pusam yet both teams got crap crowds in their last home games.

The Yogya derby ended blankety blank. PSS drew 0-0 with PSIM in front of 15,000 plus fans and PSIM warning it could be their last game of the season as they have no money...a common tactic here Im afraid. Makes you wonder, dunnit. They have a verification process before the season starts, don't they check the club's finances?!

In the Sidoarjo derby, Persida came out on top and moved top of the group after a 2-1 win over their bigger, brasher rivals Deltras. Just 4,300 bothered attending. Makes you wonder about all that loyaltis tanpa batas you keep reading and hearing about doesn't it?

Finally Cyril, Persis  defeated Persip 1-0 in front of just shy of 8,000 with an injury time penalty. Who'd have thought that, eh?


Persik's Mini Revival Hits Skids

It has certainly been a funny few days in the Indonesia Super League. Persik, for example followed their win over Persija, their first of the season, by thumping a strangely off colour Sriwijaya 5-1 at the Brawijaya Stadium.

Guy Bertrand gave them an early lead from the spot and a second Rendi Irawan Saputra made it 2-0 at half time. The visitors pulled one back just before the hour mark through Asri Akbar. But three late goals from Syaiful Indra Cahaya, Qischil Minny and Faris Aditman completed the rout.

After the game, Sriwijaya were less than complimentary about the match officials and perhaps for good reason. They had two players sent off!

But the White Tigers were unable to continue their improved form when they travelled to Barito Putra. The Banjarmasin side defeated them 3-0after a 15 minute burst halfway through the first half. Sahroni hit two while James Koko Lomell hit the other.

Pelita Bandung Raya won the Bandung derby, overcoming Persib 1-0 at Jalak Harupat Stadium thanks to a goal from TA Mushafry early in the second half. I am guessing PBR's attempts to find new supporters must be paying off as the game attracted 9,000 fans and let's face it. Persib fans are banned from travelling to away games so they wouldn't have gone, would they?!

Arema returned to winning ways after defeating Semen Padang 1-0 away thanks to Thierry GGatthueiss second half goal while in the eastern conference, leaders Persela were defeated 3-0 at Pusam but remain top after Persipura were held 0-0 away to Persiram in the Papua derby that was played in Yogyakarta!


DPMM Claim Another Victory

The DPMM juggernaut shows no sign of easing up. Last night, they defeated Woodlands Wellington 2-0 up in the wilds of north Singapore with goals from Rodrigo Antonio Tosi, penalty, and Azwan Rahman.

The three points puts the Brunei side five points clear at the top of the SLeague with an almost unassailable goal difference of plus 21.

Unfortunately, I missed the game having been put through the industrial world of a local hospital in the morning. I went in a normal human being and came out a quivering automaton shorn of independent thorn and minus several hundred dollars from my wallet.

For Steve Kean's men though, the future is rosy as they gallop towards their first ever SLeague title. And for Kean, perhaps vindication of his decision to join a team in the unfancied league after a harrowing spell at Blackburn Rovers.

Before taking the reigns in Brunei, the Scots coach says he was approached by Chelsea to work as an assistant to the then incoming Jose Mourinho but he opted for the sultry climes of South East Asia rather than the dour reality of Jose's 19th century interpretation of the game.

With Tampines dropping points last time out, DPMM, despite having played a game more, sit comfortably five points clear of their nearest challengers and in their current form will take some stopping.

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