Friday, September 19, 2014


Indonesia Super League Play Offs

04/10 - Persipura v Persela, Arema v Semen Padang
06/10 - Persib v Pelita Bandung Raya, Persebaya v Mitra Kukar
08/10 - Persela v Arema, Semen Padang v Persipura
10/10 - Pelita Bandung Raya v Persebaya, Mitra Kukar v Persib
12/10 - Semen Padang v Persela, Arema v Persipura
14/10 - Persebaya v Persib, Mitra Kukar v Pelita Bandung Raya

Second round of fixtures to be announced later.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Flight Plans For Persipura's Opponents

So with Persipura trailing from the first leg against Al Qadsia by 4-2 it will be important they get off to a good start in their second leg in front of their own supporters.

Jakarta Casual is offering to help!

By using our exclusive contacts within the airline industry, Mabel has a second cousin whose friend is a cleaner at a travel agent opposite Peninsular Plaza, we have come up with this easy, seamless flight schedule for our Kuwaiti friends.

d Kuwait 23.40 a Bangkok 10.50
d Bangkok 14.10 a Jakarta 17.30
d Jakarta 21.30 a Bali 00.30
d Bali 01.15 a Timika 05.55
d Timika 07.35 a Jayapura 08.40

As I am sure you will agree this route offers the Kuwaiti team a chance to see something of Indonesia...hell, they could even stay longer in Bali then fly on to Jayapura via Makassar or Darwin or something like that.

This way they can improve their air miles and see a bit of Indonesia rather than just travel all this way for a football match.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Cilegon Stay At Home

There was talk that the Division One final, between Cilegon United, pictured left, and Persibat, was to be a home and away affair.

Well, it's not. Instead it will be a one off winner takes all at Krakatau Steel Stadium in Cilegon which no doubt will be good news for the home team and the home fans!

I have seen Cilegon United a couple of times this season and they have looked a decent side. No idea about Persibat mind! Only thay they face a long drive there and back...


Results 16/09

AFC Cup Semi Finals 1st Leg

Qadsia SC v Persipura 4-2 (; Titus Bonai, Boas Solossa) 3,000

Ok so it is a defeat and it does look like a difficult margin to overcome but Persipura will take heart from a couple of things. First, that they came from behind to lead 2-1 before half time and, secondly, the way they crushed Kuwait SC on home soil. Coach Jackesen F Tiago will be hoping for more of the same in the second leg.

Divisi Utama Play Offs

Pro Duta v Persikabo 3-2 (Gozali Siregar, Fwi Dwipan, Yusuf Effendi; Rudi Widodo, Munadi) 1,014

Game was played Monday. Big spending Persikabo stay bottom of the group with just one win to their name while Pro Duta may feel a late winner balanced out the points lost away to PSIS.

PSCS v PSIS 3-1 (Taryono, Roberto Kwateh, Setyo Prabowo; Andhik Rahmat) 9,976

This feisty Central Java derby saw SIS fall to their first defeat of the play off stage though they remain top with none points from four games, three points clear of Pro Duta and PSCS.

PSGC v Persis 1-1 (Arozi; Bayu Nugroho) 9,810

Another feisty affair saw crowd trouble as some 2,000 Persis fans crossed the border int West Java. Apparently windows on the buses that brought some of the travelling support to Ciamis were smashed in which wasn't nice, was it?

PSPS v PS Bangka 2-3 (Ahmad Ihwan, Firman Septian; Riko Simanjuntak 2, Nanang Asripin) 987

It wasn't that long ago PSPS were in the top flight and drawing crowds in excess of 10,000. Those days must seem sepia tinged to the hard core support that remain.

PSS v Martapura 1-0 (Dicky Prayogo Fahhmi) 21,543

Yep, you read that crowd correct!

Persewangi v Persigubin 0-0 2,315

The last time these two teams met...they didn't! Persewangi didn't travel and we are still waiting to find out their punishment.

Persinga v Pusamania Borneo 1-1 (Slamet Hariyadi; Fernando Soler) 5,789

Another game marred by violence...on the pitch this time as a couple of brawls stopped the game. Pusamania's point keeps them top of the table with a three point lead over Persiwa

Persebo v Persiwa 2-3 (Aiman Zul Azmi 2; Sengbah Kennedy 2, Yao Ruddy Abblude) 1,291

Yao Ruddy keeps rattling in them goals. This win for the Highlanders condemns Persebo to Divisi Utama for another season at least.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Persija Seek New Coach

Persija have responded to missing out on a play off spot in the Indonesia Super League by releasing coach Benny Dollo. This is unusual for them. They normally leave decision making until the very last minute possible. Which probably means they will announce their coach for the 2015 season in, umm. 2015.

Despite attracting the largest crowd of the season, more than 66,000 against Persib, the Kemayoran Tigers have not looked convincing all season.

In typical style they allowed Emmanuel Kenmogne to leave before the season began; apparently he was content to stay in Jakarta but the club never came up with an offer so he was off to Persebaya once they stepped in.

For years now Persija have struggled to make an impact on the ISL and for years they leave their recruiting to the last minute. It is almost their default mode.

They have flattered to deceive at times this season but usually against the weaker teams. Ramdani Lestalahu has been one shining light for them on a consistent basis but Persija risk losing him if they don't move quickly to secure next season.

Probably the usual thing will happen. The club will sit there and wait for money to fall from a tree, because that's what there business model is, before doing anything about preparing for the new campaign.

You wonder what would happen if they managed to surprise everyone and win the title, guaranteeing a season in the AFC Cup.

In the professional football era sticking plaster management gets what it deserves.


The Day The Lions Were Saddled

I must admit I don't know much about Walsall. Only that I don't like them very much. Ask any Arsenal fan about 1933 or, to a lesser extent, 1983 and they will likely grimace. Yuck...let's just not go there.

Anyway, not too long back I was idly surfing ebay and somehow I came across a football programme from a game between Walsall and the Singapore national team and obviously my interest was piqued. I never knew they had met, what was all that about?

So I bid and I won and excitedly awaited delivery of this piece of history. I asked a few Singapore contacts about the game and they knew nothing about it. At least they answered! Walsall never bothered reply to my request for any info about the game.

The game was played 26 April 1972 at Walsall's ground Fellows Park. I love these old programmes. It cost 3p...England hadn't been decimal for a long time and many were no doubt still getting used to this new fangled money. 3p? Not worth anything these days!

On page 5 of the eight page programme there is a Welcome Singapore column. Yipee thinks I...until I read the first words. 'The vagaries of the postal system seem to have deprived us of any details of our visitors tonight but they are nonetheless welcome and we thank them for agreeing that proceeds from this game be devoted to local charities.

It then goes on to talk about how the game was to serve as an opener for Walsall's tour of Singapore, Malayia, Thailand and Indonesia! Does anyone know anything about that?

Normally I hate programmes that have been written on but in this case I was happy to make an exception. Plus, an added bonus, it had a newspaper report inside which added some more precious information.

The game ended 7-1 to Walsall (Beresford 3, Woodward 2, Shinton, Gregg; Kua Kim Lye)

Walsall were 4-0 up at half time before substitute Brian Beresford, then a 17 year old apprentice, hit a second half hat trick to make sure Singapore felt well and truly whacked!

According to the gentleman who had patiently jotted down the team changes, goal scorers and substitutions for posterity, Singapore wore all tangerine kit, not all red as mentioned in the programme. The black and white photo of the two teams sat together in the paper clipping is not conclusive but the Singapore players appear to have a large flag where a club sponsor may expect his logo to be and the red in the flag is easily recognisable from the shirt colour.

For those who follow Singapore football today, a glance at their line up back in 1972 may be of interest

1 - Lim Chiew Peng
2 - Amat
3 - Jitta Singh
4 - Sugat
5 - S Rajagopal
6 - Kumar
7 - Omar
8 - Othman Baharom
9 - Kua Kim Lye
10 - Abdullah Kassim
11 - R Krishnan

Subs - Jitta Singh is also named as a sub as is Jaafar Yacob.

If anyone does know more about this game I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Kamu Siapa?

What's it like to be a foreigner at Indonesian football? Check out my piece for Prediksi90!

Friday, September 12, 2014


Halfway Through Divisi Utama Play Offs

Group J

1 - PSIS 3 3 0 0 5-1 9
2 - Pro Duta 3 1 0 2 4-4 3
3 - PSCS 3 1 0 2 3-4 3
4 - Persikabo 3 1 0 2 1-4 3

Group K

1 - Persis 3 2 0 1 10-6 6
2 - PS Bangka 3 1 1 1 4
3 - PSPS 3 1 1 1 4-6 4
4 - PSGC 3 1 0 2 5-8 3

Group L 

1 - Martapura 3 2 1 0 6-4 7
2 - Persigubin 3 2 1 0 5-1 7
3 - PSS 3 1 0 2 5-5 3
4 - Persewangi 3 0 0 3 0-6 0

Group M

1 - Pusamania 3 3 0 0 10-1 9
2 - Persiwa 3 1 1 1 9-6 4
3 - Persinga 3 1 1 1 5-8 4
4 - Persebo 3 0 0 3 0-9 0

With eight teams to go through to the next phase I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest Persebo will not be one of them! Pusamania and PSIS are almost there if not mathematically while who joins them remains anyone's guess though PSS may struggle if they drop points in their next game at home to leaders Martapura next Tuesday.

The next stage will be made up as follows:

Group N - Winner J, Winner L, Runners Up K, Runners Up M
Group P - Winner K, Winner M, Runners Up J, Runners Up L


Divisi Utama Top Scorers

13 - Yao Rudy Abblude (Persiwa)
12 - Bissa Donlad (PSBL)
11 - Victory Yendra (Persih), Nanang Asripin (PS Bangka), Slamet Hariyadi (Persinga)
10 - Toure Moctar (Madiun Putra), Oguadimma Charles (Kalteng Putra), Brima Pepito (Martapura)

Not many local lads featured there! Mind you, they haven't made much of a mark over the years either.

2008/2009 - JP Boumsong (Persikad), Mardiansyah (Persikabo) -17
2009/2010 - Edward Wilson Junior (Semen Padang) - 15
2010/2011 - Fortune Udo (Persiba Bantul) - 34
2011/2012 - Sackie Doe (Barito Putra) - 18
2013 - JP Boumsong (Persebaya), Oliver Makor (Persik) - 18

*taken from a piece in today's Top Skor


ESPN FC Launch Party

So there I am groaning under the after effects of a half baked hangover. The night before I had witnessed Singapore v Hong Kong at Hougang Stadium; the first half was so poor I took to deleting photographs from my tab. Luckily things improved second half.

Anyway I am flicking through twitter as is my wont when I saw Jason Dasey talk about ex Arsenal striker Paul Mariner. Me and Jason got chatting and to cut a long story short I ended up being invited to the ESPNFC launch party that night. It was a smart casual affair and all I had with me was shorts and t shirts...I still had to google smart casual mind!

ESPNFC are looking to provide a lot more content about South East Asian football, a subject close to my heart obviously, so obviously I was keen to get involved so I jumped on the bus in a bid to track down some threads. Memo to self, Peninsula Plaza isn't the best place for shopping!

I had only met Jason once before, at a golf tournament in KL, so I wan't sure if he would recognise me; he had been sat with former Spurs striker Darren Anderton then so I didn't stick around! Anyway, then I had been dressed in my usual stuff, now I had spunked several hundred dollars would he recognise the smart casual look?! He did.

Paul Parker was also there and seemed happy enough to answer questions about Manchester United but when I asked him about a goal he once scored for Fulham against Aldershot in the League Cup at Craven Cottage, his memory failed him!

Anyway, a good time was had by all, fuelled by regular top ups of cold beer, and I for one am looking forward to checking out on a regular basis for news on football in the region.

A couple of pictures can be found on my Instagram account.


Asian Games Stops Leagues

Thai football is on hold until the 8 October even though there are just six games to play. The Malaysia Cup ended the group stage on 3 September and doesn't return until 3 October. The SLeague proper ended 5 September, it returns with the top half, bottom half fixtures on 17 September, stops again after the games 19 September and returns 1 October!

And Indonesia? As ever, Indonesia is worthy of a paragraph of its own. If the national team makes it out of the group stage of the Asian Games then the play offs begin 6 October. If they don't then 3 October. The final may be played on 2 November or 9 November. At Samarinda. Or Jakarta. Or Palembang. It all depends really.

So why are there yet more lengthy breaks in the domestic season. Simple. The Asian Games being held in South Korea, an Under 23 event not recognised by FIFA. Remember, each time there is a break it means clubs, especially those in Indonesia, are not taking any money at the gate and therefore have one more excuse not to pay salaries.

It wasn't that long ago there was an Under 23 event in Brunei. Next year sees the SEA Games in Singapore. And last year saw the AFC Under 22 tournament.

Is it really necessary to impose another tournament into an already squeezed calender. If it is then is it necessary to stop the bloody leagues? It is after all an Under 23 event.

Singapore travel to Korea without Haris Harun after his club Johor Darul Takzim refused to release him ahead of their crucial Malaysia Cup ties; and they are well within their rights to do so.

By all means have these tournaments but there is absolutely no reason why the domestic leagues must go into shut down for them.

Monday, September 08, 2014


Division One Fixtures

An own goal by Pidie Jaya against Cilegon United.
08/09 Persibat v PS Badung, Persatu v Cilegon United
10/09 PS Badung v Perserang, Persatu v Persibas
12/09 Persibat v Perserang, Cilegon United v Persibas
All games to be played at Sultan Agung Stadium in Bantul, Yogyakarta. If you are around and have the time then get down may be pleasantly surprised!


The City State Derby Preview

After once going 24 years without meeting, tomorrow night sees Singapore and Hong Kong go head to head at the Hougang Stadium for the fourth time in three years!

2013 Hong Kong v Singapore 2-0
2012 Singapore v Hong Kong 2-0
2012 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-0
2006 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-2
2006 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-1
1982 Hong Kong v Singapore 1-1

The Lions will go into the game buoyed with confidence after defeating Papua New Guinea 2-1 though the words of the PNG coach, former Norwich City, Werder Bremen and New Zealand striker, who said he felt the hosts underestimated his team, will act as a warning against complacency.

Hong Kong on the other hand lost 3-1 away to Vietnam over the weekend in their own friendly.

I can't help thinking this meet up should have a better build up rather than the usual anonymity. After all what we have here is two city states founded by the British empire which have now become two of the most thriving economies in the region.

Perhaps we could call it the City State Derby? Or even the Two Trading Hubs Founded By British Colonialists But Now Doing Pretty Well Without Her Maj Thank You Very Much Derby?!

Many years ago I contemplated writing a book about a rail journey between the two cities, starting the journey in Singapore and heading up into Malaysia, Thailand, cheating a bit in Cambodia before riding the Vietnamese rails north via Hue and Hanoi and on into China. It would be a great journey; imagine combing it with football?!

You would have to start of course with a game at Woodlands, close by the new rail terminal in Singapore before crossing the causeway. First stop would be Johor Bahru, home of course to Johor Darul Takzim and Johor Darul Takzim. Next up would be Seremban, from where you could catch a Negeri Sembilan game, before the capital city Kuala Lumpur where you could catch, um, KL.

Continuing north you would reach Ipoh, home of mighty Perak and Butterworth...catch a ferry across the island for a Penang game while Alor Setar (Kedah) and Kuala Bangsar (Perlis) are on the line that heads to Thailand.

Of course these days there are football teams all over Thailand; every province has at least one but most of the southern teams seem to be stuck in the regional league with the possible exception of Songkla United...ok, there is no rail service there these days but the evidence is still to found for the keen.

Closing in on Bangkok and the next team would be Ratchaburi and then of course Bangkok where you could catch Bangkok United. Be warned, Bangkok Glass strictly speaking ain't in Bangkok!

There used to be a couple of trains east to Aranyaprathet, I don't know if they still run but they stop at more hotbeds of Regional League passion like Kabinburi but from Aran where the train ends the border with Cambodia is just a few short kilometres away.

You have to cheat once you get into Cambodia and use other transport to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam but from their you can plug into their network and make your way leisurely up the coast to Hanoi and from there on to China and Hong Kong itself.

What has this got to do with football? Nothing really but would be a fun way for Hong Kong fans to travel home after the game!

Sunday, September 07, 2014


Results 6/9

Divisi Utama Play Offs

PSCS v Persikabo 2-0 (Heru Nerly, Roberto Kwateh) 8,463
Persebo v Pusamania 0-2 (Danilo Fernando, Febri Hamzah) 1,477
Persigubin v PSS 1-0 (Jean Ba Isson) 250
Persewangi v Martapura 0-1 (Brima Pepito) 3,435
PSIS v Pro Duta 2-1 (Ronald Fagundez 2; Romi Agustiawan) 13,200
Persiwa v Persinga 3-3 (Yao Ruddy 2, Sengbah Kennedy; Slamet Hariyadi 2, Zuhri Dwi) 422
Persis v PSPS 4-1 (Bayu Nugroho, Febrianto Hamsyah 2; Andrid Wibowo; Novrianto) 10,539
PSGC v PS Bangka 1-0 (Emile Lingkers) 5,321

International Friendly

Singapore v Papua New Guinea 2-1 (Sahil Suhaimi, Fazrul Nawaz; Raymong Gunemba) 1,748

Saturday, September 06, 2014


Indonesia Super League Final Day Action

Persita v Pelita Bandung Raya 1-3 (Kenji Adachihara; Bambang Pamungkas, TA Mushafri 2) 1,567

So it was PBR who secured the final play off place on offer and in the process consigning Persita to Divisi Utama for next season. Bambang had given them the lead with a penalty on 56 minutes but Kenji replied 12 minutes later. Former Persiba Balikpapan striker Mushafri hit twice in the last 14 minutes to set off ecstatic scenes among the PBR players and officials and the odd supporter they have.

Persija v Barito Putra 3-1 (Fabiano Beltrame 3, Ngurah Wahyu; Dedi Hartono) 22,774

In a bid to keep the TV stations happy, this game was played in the evening despite the fact Persija were, in theory, going head to head with PBR for a final play off spot. With PBR winning, this match up was a dead rubber, Persija knowing their season would end no matter what the result. How ironic that in a season when they have struggled for goals they should score three in their final game and that all three should come from defenders!

After the game elements of the Persija support went on the rampage which  no doubt will be looked down on with little affection by the authorities. This was the first season in a long time that most games were actually played in Jakarta...but crowd disturbances could see security officials reluctant to give permission for games to go ahead in the future.

Sriwijaya v Persib 2-3 (Syakir Sulaiman, Rizky Dwi Ramadhana; Tantan, Konate Makan, Atep) 2,148

Sriwijaya have been off colour all season. With perhaps the weakest squad they have possessed in the last few years, it was always going to be difficult for the team from South Sumatra to mount a sustained bid for the play offs and so it proved with their support having long since given up on them. They finished the season in 6th place but 11 points behind 5th placed Persija and it is going to take some tough love to revive their fortunes for next season.

For Persib, their legions of Bobotoh are now looking forward to their first play off spot since goodness knows when having finished second in the western division behind Arema. This was their fifth win on their travels, a record only bettered by Arema (7) and Persebaya (6) and they will look to the next stage full of confidence.

Persik v Gresik United 3-0 (Ngon Guy Bertrand, Syaiful Indra Cahaya, Rendi Irawan Saputra) 14,147

An East Java battle of the cellar dwellers saw Persik hold on to their ISL place after brushing aside Gresik at a passionate Brawijaya Stadium in Kediri. Their three points sees them finish in a heady 8th place, just ahead of Gresik in 9th.

Persijap v Arema 0-8 (Alberto Goncalves, Ahmad Bustomi, Cristian Gonzales, Sukadana Pratama, OG, Samsul Arif, Thierry Gatthusi, Ahmad Al Farizi) 4,742

I saw Persijap play PBR in the Inter Island Cup back at the start of the season but even though they drew 1-1 and had even taken the lead I mentioned back then they were an abject side. And so it has proved and this humiliation on the final day of the season puts the seal on an awful season.

Arema were roared on by some 3,000 fans who had made the 12 hour journey and they won't have enjoyed much easier away days.

1 - Arema 20 14 4 2 49-13 46
2 - Persib 20 12 5 3 42-20 41
3 - S Padang 20 11 5 4 30-17 38
4 - Pelita BR 20 10 5 5 30-21 35

5 - Persija 20 9 7 4 27-15 34
6 - Sriwijaya 20 6 5 9 22-29 23
7 - Barito Putra 20 6 4 10 23-31 22
8 - Persik 20 6 3 11 29-36 21
9 - Gresik United 20 4 9 7 20-32 21

10 - Persita 20 4 3 13 21-35 15
11 - Persijap 20 2 2 16 11-55 8

Persela v Perseru 1-3 (Roman Golian; JP Boumsong, Ali Kaddafi, Arthur Bonai) 9,703

Persela made it through to the play offs but they made their fans sweat for it as Perseru raced into an improbable three goal lead inside 21 minutes. It was Persela's first home defeat of the season and came just days after they had inflicted Persipura's first defeat of the season but the win confirmed Perseru in the top flight for next season and that was probably what it was all about.

Persiba Bantul v Persiba Balikpapan 3-2 (Ugik Sugianto 2, Sunni Hizbullah; Ansou Toure 2) 502

The hosts clawed back some modicum of self respect as they came from behind to defeat a Balikpapan side who had an outside chance of claiming a top four spot but they fought  back well to claim the points. A shame their fans had long since deserted them! Nine yellow cards kept the ref busy!

Putra Samarinda v Persebaya 0-0 4,144

A rare goalless for Persebaya but they finish top of the eastern division!

Mitra Kukar v PSM 2-1 (Reinaldo Lobo, Herman Dzumafo; Bah Mamadou) 1,530

Hosts Mitra Kukar came from behind to defeat a plucky PSM in front a sparse crowd. It was PSM's second successive loss in East Kalimantan and the second successive game when their keeper Markus Horison picked up a booking.

Persepam MU v Persipura 1-2 (Eduard Valuta; Yohannes Pahabol, Robertinho) 4,013

This loss and that unexpected three points for Perseru consigned Persepam to Divisi Utama for next season. Robertinho's last minute winner confirmed second place for the champions.

1 - Persebaya 20 14 4 2 47-13 32
2 - Persipura 20 10 9 1 29-15 39
3 - Mitra Kukar 20 11 4 5 34-18 37
4 - Persela 20 8 4 8 28-33 28

5 - Persiba BPN 20 7 4 9 21-28 25
6 - Pusam 20 6 7 7 29-22 25
7 - PSM 20 7 4 9 22-26 25
8 - Perseru 20 6 5 9 21-29 23
9 - Persiram 20 6 5 9 17-21

10 - Persepam 20 6 5 9 28-35 23
11 - Persiba BTL 20 2 3 15 17-53

Top Scorers

22 - Emmanuel Kenmogne (Persebaya)
14 - Greg Nwokolo (Persebaya)
10 - Samsul Arif, Cristian Gonzales (Arema), Guy Bertrand (Persik), Esteban (S Padang), Ilija Spasojevic (Pusam)

Play Offs

Arema, Persipura, Semen Padang, Persela
Persebaya, Persib, Mitra Kukar, Pelita Bandung Raya

Cynics are already predicting a Persebaya v Arema final! If that happens, will the Bonek return or will they continue to boycott their games? Anyway, a schedule will be released on Sunday,which is tomorrow, The semi finals will see the champions in one group meet the runners up of the other.

Friday, September 05, 2014


Wasit Tidak Adil Boo Hoo Sob

The last few games I have seen have been great fun but not because what happened on the field. Oh no, the fun has come from the losing team whose players and officials have not exactly taken defeat with a great deal of grace.

First up was Persiba Balikpapan against Persiram and oh what joy that was to be hold. At one stage the Persiram bench was signalling for the team to come off, so upset were they by the compete injustice, as they saw it, going on. They felt the ref was favouring the home team, a common enough accusation in these parts, and they may well have been right.

However, from the start, they had been rolling in the floor at the slightest bit of contact, trying to eat up valuable seconds and possibly get a fellow pro booked.

Next came Putra Samarinda v PSM. A vital game for PSM as they hoped to crown a late run with a top four spot, their hopes were dashed with a penalty awarded in the last minute. Oh, the number of times this happens! Check the video, was it a pen? And see how the PSM players reacted!

I was back in Samarinda the following night for Pusamania v Persiwa. No when it comes to spitting the dumb when things go wrong away from home, Persiwa have what you could call form and sure enough they were at it again especially when a penalty was given against them.

It seemed one of their tactics was to whine so much, no one would tackle them or give a free kick against them. It didn't work cos they lost 3-0!

To be fair, they weren't as bad as the other teams on the previous nights but then PSM and especially Persiram had raised the bar pretty high!

On one level you can't help but have some sympathy for PSM and Persiram as they both have been unable to play any games on their home turf, PSM playing in Surabaya and Persiram in Sleman but Persiwa can have no excuse. The idea of a team whining about the ref being a homer is quite ludicrous when the team whining never has its games shown live on TV and when the team went some four and a half years with just two defeats at home...yet were crap away from home!

One more thing about Persiwa. Among their protestors and pushers at Pusamania was a certain Pieter Rumaopen who was banned from football for life in 2013 for punching a ref! I can only assume the former international has been reincarnated into a new life but just continuing on from his old one!

But  it gets me how these players can summon the rage when decisions are so blatant because they know for a fact the chances are they will be the beneficiary on another occasion!


Banten Revival

There was a time when the port of Banten on the north coast west of Jakarta, was the premier trading hub of South East Asia. Yep, even more so than Melaka or Singapore.

Cilegon United line up before their game with Pidie Jaya

Much has changed of course since then and today Banten is just another province in Indonesia suffering from a creaky infrastructure thanks to the heavy goods vehicles that transit on their way to and from Sumatra.

Even the football there has been long in the doldrums. But that could be changing.

Perserang fans at Cilegon for their game with Persikota
Division One, more a cup competition than a functioning league thanks to the size of the country and the spread of the teams, is down to the last six teams and two of them are from Banten; Perserang and Cilegon United.

Under Bambang Nurdiansyah, Cilegon have played some exciting football; I saw them brush aside Pidie Jaya in Sleman the other night with nonchalant ease and they look to have the quality to make the step up.

With Persita seemingly heading for relegation and Persikota struggling to make an impact in their Division One games there has been little to cheer for fans in Banten, many of who have a soft spot for Persib! But with the possibility of three teams in next seasons Divisi Utama that could change though of course the local constabulary may not be so keen!


Indonesia Squad For Yemen, Malaysia Friendlies

Indonesia squad for Yemen and Malaysia friendlies

Goalkeeper :

1.       I MADE WIRAWAN                             PERSIB BANDUNG         
2.       DIAN AGUS PRASETYO                     MITRA KUKAR             

Defender :                    

4.       ZULKIFLI SYUKUR                              MITRA KUKAR  
5.       SUPARDI NASIR BUJANG                   PERSIB   
6.       HAMKA HAMZAH                               PKNS. FC                                            
7.       MUHAMAD ROBY                              PUTRA SAMARINDA       
10.     RIZKY RIZALDI PORA                         BARITO PUTRA 
11.     TONY SUCIPTO                                  PERSIB 

Midfield :

12.   DEDI HARTONO                                  BARITO
14.   HENDRO SISWANTO                          AREMA INDONESIA       
15.   HARIONO                                            PERSIB BANDUNG
16.   AHMAD BUSTOMI                               AREMA
17.   ZULHAM MALIK ZAMRUN                    MITRA KUKAR
18.   FIRMAN UTINA                                    PERSIB BANDUNG
19.   VICTOR PAE                                       PERSIJA JAKARTA

Forward :

21.   MUHAMMAD NUR ISKANDAR              SEMEN PADANG          
24.   SAMSUL ARIF MUNIP                          AREMA INDONESIA   

COMMENT - good too see Semen Padang's Nur Iskandar earn a call up...a reward for his good work over the last few seasons and also perhaps proof there is life outside of the usual places in Indonesian football.

But why Bachdim? No disrespect to the lad but he has hardly set the football world alight, has he? He had a year in Thailand which never worked out and is now in Japan as some sort of tourist ambassador yet he is in the national team?

It is a bit of a smack in the mouth for players like Yongki Aribowo and Jajang Maulyana, local lads whose careers began promisingly but have been constantly overlooked by domestic teams who nearly all seem to prefer a big strong foreign striker and therefore have seen their careers basically stagnate, moving from club to club and spending way too much time on the bench.

In England, as in Indonesia. Focus too much on foreign players and your national team will suffer. Something to remember bearing in mind all the hype over the current Under 19 team

Thursday, September 04, 2014


Divisi Utama Play Offs

Pro Duta v PSCS 3-1 (Fajar Handika, Hidayat; Eka Wijayanto) 1,317
PSPS v PSGC 3-2 (Ifrawadi 2, Richie Pravita Hari; Emile Lingkers 2) 1,264
Persikabo v PSIS 0-2 (Fauzan Fajri, Nari Nur Yulianto) 5,820
Pusamania v Persiwa 3-0 (Febri Hamzah, Danilo Fernando, Fernando Soler) 3,547 (Asian Football Pictures)
PSS v Persewangi 2-0 (Wahyu Gunawan, Anang Hadi Supatra) 15,987
Persinga v Persebo 1-0 (Zuhru Dwi) 3,589
Martapura v Persigubin 1-1 (Brimo Pepito; Paul Yohanes Yukey) 2,075
PS Bangka v Persis 3-1 (Adolphus Marshall, Sackie Doe, Nanang Asripin) 4,125


Football And Yogyakarta

Apparently, Yogyakarta is the most visited destination in Indonesia, second only to Bali. 
With its nearby temples, handicrafts and neatly packaged spiritualism it appeals to many
foreign visitors as it is what they like to consider an authentic Indonesian experience. 
Kuta beach in Bali isn’t an authentic Indonesian experience according to these folk while incense, 
wellness and having someone dig your toe nails out in Yogya is.

I was sat in one of my favourite cafes in a popular tourist area of Yogyakarta, sorry, they aren’t tourists,
they are travellers even though any subtle difference may be wasted on their hosts, watching the
identikit travellers strut their stuff in their flip flops, baggy cotton trousers and ethnic accessories 
which help them blend in man and I wondered what they would make of the Yogyakarta I had come to 
experience for a few hours today. How would it rate on their authenticity scale?

My ride turns up and helps me escape my revere. Harry is one of the local becak riders but he has
found fame if not fortune by taking to social media in a big way and can be found across the major
platforms under his moniker Harry van Yogya and has a following of thousands. 

He is on everything, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and has even written a book. For a while it had even 
become a contemporary Art of War for keen business types who wished to think out of the box. 

Harry was most recently in the news for taking his rickshaw, known in Indonesia as becak, from 
Yogya to Jakarta in support of presidential candidate Joko Widodo, a fair old distance that took
him 12 days to complete!

Today though was all about football and because of the distances involved we took to a motorcycle 
and headed south to Bantul. As Yogya’s sprawl receeded, we were offered glimpses of classic
Java; farmers in conical hats working the paddy, perfectly shaped mountains looming large and menacing 
and horse drawn carriages carrying children home from school. Don’t get me wrong, it was no rural idyll 
but for those with the time and patience, they were only a short ride away down 
the narrow side roads.

Set off the main road and next to what was once a main road, Sultan Agung Stadium is a fairly
large arena by local standards, holding perhaps 30,000 + and is home to side Persiba Bantul, 
who have been deserted by their fans after facing relegation from the Indonesia Super League! 
Goats were grazing in the car parking area as we pulled in and parked right behind the main stand.

Although there were three games on today, none feature the local heroes. Instead, the focus was 
on Division One with teams from Aceh, Banten, Java and Papua competing. The game I had 
decided to take in was the first of the day featuring Perserang and Persibas Banyumas. 

There were perhaps 100 people plus or minus inside the stadium including a few fans who had
made the journey from Banyumas. I say made the journey. They could equally have been students
at one of the local universities. Whatever, they were there and they were making a noise while Perserang’s goal was 
celebrated by less than half a dozen folks!

It took me a while to realise, once the game had kicked off, I didn’’t actually know which team 
was which despite having seen Perserang earlier in the campaign when they had drawn 2-2 with provincial rivals Persikota at Cilegon! It wasn’t till they took the lead I realised they were
the ones in yellow and the ones making the noise were the Banyumas massive!

The game ended 1-1 with Persibas getting a late equaliser which calmed the emotions of their players as they had been 
getting increasingly riled with the match officials as the game had worn on. Still, at least they had 
the consolation of scoring the goal of the game, a nice effort from outside the box.

We headed back to the hotel for a bit of a nosebag. The goats had gone from the car park while 
there were some horses enjoying a stroll around the track. The sunset was spectacular, a massive 
orange ball reflecting on the rice fields was a photographers dream as well as an artists but I had little time.
I needed some food and drink before the next game so Harry dropped me, he went off to natter with his mates nearby and I did my thing.

‘How long will it take to get to Sleman,’ I asked Harry when he returned.

‘About 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the traffic.’

It took 40 minutes and I had a numb bum for my pains but we still arrived in good time despite going 
round the houses to get there in a bid to avoid Yogya’s traffic jams. At one junction we were serenaded 
by a travelling gamelan with its very own Bez ala Happy Mondays!

I had been looking forward to visiting Maguwoharjo Stadium, home of PSS, for bloody yonks even 
though it appears in no guide books or has no spar facilities. Many have told me it resembles a mini 
San Siro though I am unsure how many had been to both. The sole justification for that claim seems 
to be the circular ramps on each corner!

It is though a decent arena, a proper football stadium as opposed to those cavernous places with 
running tracks et all. But tonight, for Cilegon United and Pidie Jaya from Aceh, there was no bugger 
there, in fact even fewer than the first game I had seen.

Cilegon have spent some serious money in a bid to get into Divisi Utama including bringing in coach 
Bambang Nurdiansyah and it showed. They were set up like a team, had shape and purpose and 
even an element of discipline. And they were playing well though to be honest in those first
45 minutes, Pidie Jaya were south of awful.

Playing in yellow, Cilegon were 1-0 up in seconds and comical defending made it two nil (left) within minutes. 

That set the tone for the first half and the sides trooped in with Cilegon
four up. Pidie Jaya had created some chances and worked the keeper but their naivety at the 
back had cost them big time.

At half time I quizzed Harry about his ride from Yogya to meet Joko. He had gone with a friend 
which made sense in deeply traditional and superstitious Java; Joko’s number on the voting 
sheet was two! With no money for hotels, they slept for 10 nights in mosques, at bus stations
or in their becaks on their journey west. 

By the time they reached Bekasi, they were contacted by Joko’s people who asked them to 
rest up a couple of days until he was back in town. Finally reaching Jakarta, they met the man 
himself and had a couple of nights in a hotel allowing them the chance to clean up finally!

Second half and Banur had withdrawn a couple of his most potent striking options. 
Pidie Jaya were also playing much better, pressing higher up the field and restricting the 
space for Cilegon’s midfield to release their strikers. On the rare occasion the yellows
could get wide the final ball was invariably awful and although the game ended 5-1 with Pidie scoring in the very last minute, they could emerge from the game with some respect
for their efforts after a very poor first half.

The journey back was quicker as we used the main roads but I still got a numb bum. 
Back on backpacker street, a few places remained open but most spiritual seekers had retired
to their air conditioned rooms, no doubt dreaming of tye dye, flowers and the pungent odor of 
kretek. It was time too for me to get my own rest.

No doubt the Yogya I enjoy won’t be appearing in to many guide books. I can’t imagine a flock 
of backpackers earnestly seeking out the fixture lists of local side PSIM as well as Persiba and 
PSS but those who do would get to enjoy an experience far more ‘authentic’ than bathing in scented
soap or have someone cleaning their ears out with a candle!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


International Friendlies

09/09 Indonesia v Yemen (Sleman)
06/09 Singapore v Papua New Guinea (Hougang)
09/09 Singapore v Hong Kong (Hougang)
14/09 Indonesia v Malaysia (Sidoarjo)
20/09 Cambodia v Malaysia (Phnom Penh)


Players Angry With Match Officials Shock

Indonesia Super League

Persepam MU v Perseru 1-1 (Diego Zarza; Fred Mote) 2,401

Umm. This game was stopped in the 70th minute apparently after the ref did not give the home team a penalty. The fans started throwing plastic water bottles on the field, why always the water bottles, as players and officials jostled the match officials before security officials sprang into action and escorted them to their changing room.

After the match the manager of Persepam said it wasn't their, the club's fault, the disturbances had happened, he blamed the ref saying he wasn't fair! So there.

Putra Samarinda v PSM 2-1 (Ilija Spasojevic, Naser Al Sebai ;Syamsul Haeruddin) 3,354

Umm. This game suffered a lengthy delay in injury time when the home team were awarded a penalty. PSM players took exception to this decision and mobbed the ref and the linesman. One PSM ran on to the pitch to politely ask people to restart the game because he had a late bus to catch but the security services misunderstood his public transport concerns and charged on the pitch with batons raised.

PSM players protested for blood ages while at the other end the Pusam keeper sat down and did some fine needlework. At the core of the protests was PSM keeper Markus Horison, the former national team player well known for his diplomacy skills. Alas and alack, his talents went unappreciated and he got a yellow card for his troubles.

Despite all that brouha, the ref did not change his mind. Fancy! Pusam took the spot kick and scored to secure their ISL future.

More brouha. The official ISL website and another website state this game was played at Segiri Stadium. I was at the game, I wasn't at Segiri Stadium!

Some pictures can be found on Asian Football Pictures.


Malaysia's New TV Deal May Come At A Price

Short term thinking is a way of life for many except, perhaps, for Arsenal's Arsene Wenger. The now matters and the future can take care of itself. It is something I have often moaned about on these pages and the classic example, for me at least, is Arema back in 2009/2010.

They had a good coach in Robert Alberts and they had a good team including Singaporean imports Noh Alam Shah and M Ridwan and promising goalie Kurina Meiga coming through. They won the ISL for the first time in their history and all was set fair for some sustained success in Malang.

Of course the storm clouds started gathering towards the end of the season with rumours players were being owed money. One of the biggest clubs in the country with a support to match, they had problems paying the bills!

Of course the stars of that title success got fed up waiting and the team was soon broken up. It has taken Arema four years to mount another sustained title bid.

I was reminded of the Arema experience recently as I watched the unfolding drama in Malaysia over a new TV deal. Let's face it, Malaysia on the world stage is still pretty much a basket case. Humiliation has piled on humiliation be it the 5-0 loss at home to UAE to a farcical friendly against a Zimbabwe national team that wasn't a national team via all those KL players being banned for match fixing.

That makes the headlines. The step by step successes don't. Yes, Malaysia needs to be commended for the progress it has made in some areas. They won the AFF Cup in 2010 for the first time in their history between back to back SEA Games triumphs for example and their attempts to raise a new generation of players by having them compete in places like Slovakia and Australia shows an out of the box thinking rare in this region.

But that kind of stuff doesn't sell papers. It just ain't sexy.

A few years back, a private TV operator, Astro, came along, offered the Football Association of Malaysia a barrel full of cash and proceeded to show more live games and with better coverage. Football fans were getting world class coverage, with Shebby Singh punditry, for a fair to middling league blighted by allegations of match fixing and corruption. It seemed a pretty good deal.

The MSL has come on over the last few seasons with the infusion of cash that has benefited clubs like Johore Darul Takzim and Pahang but there are still too many games that have all the appeal of taking your least favourite aunt, or uncle to a Michael Bolton concert. Even me! I was in KL a few months back and there was a game on but after weighing the alternatives, football, sleep, football sleep, I decided to sleep. The prospect of going to see the two teams involved didn't really get the juices flowing.

That TV deal is to end soon and the FAM has now awarded a new deal to a company that has come in with a higher price. It wasn't always like that though...earlier in the year Astro were considered hot favourites to keep broadcasting Malaysian football. A tie up with Murdoch's promised the lure of increased overseas exposure. Imagine, people actually watching Malaysian games rather than just reading the shock horror headlines.

My understanding is the companies were keen to promote the MSL throughout South East Asia. Imagine, sitting in Chiang Mai, Hanoi or Balikpapan and switching on the old box and catching Safiq Rahim pulling the strings for JDT or a packed stadium roaring Kelantan on.

But the heady excitement of a few months ago soon passed. The attraction of Malaysian football being seen in a new, positive light around the region and, possibly, further afield, faded in the face of rival, higher, bids.

At the end of the day, the TV rights were sold to a different player as Astro decided to explore different opportunities. The FAM got more money, not much more but more, so the bean counters should be happy. It's business and we all seek to get the highest price we can.

But what price the image of Malaysian football? The likes of Selangor have a long and proud history yet they are little known outside of their home country. Would the FAM have been better going for a slightly lower bid and building on the experiences of the three previous years while expanding the appeal of the game?

This looks like an opportunity wasted.Football in South East Asia will continue to be looked upon by the rest of the world as the place to send big European teams on lucrative pre season tours, a place to sell replica shirts and a place where the local game is riddled with match fixing because no one will be seeing any different.

Better the guarantee of rice today than the hope of fish tomorrow.

Monday, September 01, 2014


Persela Implosion Opens Play Off Door For PSM

What to say about Persela in recent weeks. A team that has become a byword for consistency over the years have folded as the race for play off places increases. At one time considered a dead cert for a top four place in the eastern group, they are now tied in a three horse race with PSM and Persiba.

After an explosive run of six wins in seven games which saw them topping the table at one stage, they have been in freefall, winning just one in the last nine,and even that came against hapless Persiba Bantul.

Today sees PSM travel to Samarinda to play Pusam. Win that and the four legged feline will be right among the pigeons, putting all the pressure on Persela for their game tomorrow against the relentlessly efficient Persipura at their Surajaya Stadium.

Persiba Balikpapan may have the same number of points as PSM and Persela but they have played a game more and their goal difference is weaker

Everything will be decided on Friday. Persela will be confident as they host Perseru while PSM face a tricky trip to Mitra Kukar. In fact, if results go their way, it could be Persiba who are feeling the most confident ahead of the final round of fixtures; they travel to their namesake Persiba Bantul; a team that has lost their last eight games!

Persipura, Persebaya and Mitra Kukar are assured of their play off spots in the eastern division. Who will join them?


Persija & Pelita Bandung Raya Play Off Battle

Would you call Pelita Bandung Raya a surprise package this season? With just one game left to play in the Indonesia Super League, they sit fourth, a point ahead of Persija knowing victory against relegation threatened Persita this Friday could secure them a play off spot ahead of the supposedly more illustrious neighbours.

Both teams are unbeaten in their last four games but you would expect Pelita Bandung Raya, coached by Dejan Antovic, to go into Friday feeling more confident. They are certainly a team in form. Yesterday's win over Sriwijaya in Palembang, courtesy of two goals from Bambang Pamungkas, was their third straight three pointer. Indeed, they have lost just twice in their last 11 games, a remarkable turn around having lost three of their first eight games.

Contrast PBR's recent form with that of Persija who look back on three consecutive draws with just a single goal scored in those 270 minutes of football and it is easy to understand why there may be a few more nerves hanging around their training ground these next few days.

Persija's opponents are Barito Putra and they are assured of a mid table position so really have little to play for beyond new contracts of course! But PBR come up against a Persita side who will be gunning for a win in their bid to escape relegation. They will also have half an eye on East Java where Persik, their rival for that last relegation spot, go against Gresik United. A draw would be enough to save the White Tigers.

Mind you, the Persita camp doesnt seem to be a happy place these days what with the coach going public over management apathy and outstanding salaries; he is now of course the ex coach!

Friday promises to be a day of excitement and squeaky bum time as Persija and Pelita Bandung Raya seek to join Arema, Persib, Semen Padang, Persebaya, Mitra Kukar and Persipura in the play offs


Crowd Trouble Mars Sarawak's Cup Exit

There had been problems last week in Ipoh apparently between Perak and Sarawak supporters with accusations of racism being bandied around. Following that game, Perak advised their fans not to travel to Sarawak for the following game.

The game ended in a 1-1 draw, ending Sarawak''s interest in the Malaysia Cup for another season and after the game some of their fans went on the rampage, smashing up police vehicles, invading the pitch and throwing advertising hoardings.

An FA spokesman says the disturbances came as a surprise as there was no history of trouble between the two sets of supporters!


Indonesia Friendlies

06/09 Indonesia v Yemen (Sleman)
14/09 Indonesia v Malaysia (Sidoarjo)


Jakarta Casual Podcast

The latest podcast is out now. Among the topics being discussed are:

Plus all the results from a weekend of action in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore!

Catch it here...

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