Friday, May 01, 2015


The AFC And Indonesia

Football is odd. Not what happens on the pitch or the lengths fans go to following their team. For me as a fan I find it odd that for many people football is just a job. One where they go to work, tick a few boxes, shift a bit of paper from one tray to another and moan because the person opposite spends too long on Facebook. Odd because there is such a massive disconnect between one person's passion and another's for an early coffee break.

This last week has seen the great and the good of the Asian Football Confederation converge on Bahrain. For me these events seem to be no more than a back slapping extravaganza where a load of men tell each other how wonderfully they have done as their fingers grasp ever tighter round the handle of the blade.

It is interesting how the top jobs in the organisation have been doled out. We have important positions going to people from Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Timor Leste,  Malaysia and Philippines but not Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Singapore? Yeap that league where discussions have apparently been held to fold the SLeague. Guess that won't happen though will it...can't really go on all those junkets if you are not representing a league!

And then Indonesia. We really can't expect Indonesia to have a representative at the top table of regional football when they can't even organise a domestic league. Singapore can organise a league, they can't sell it. Indonesia cant organise it even though they finally managed to get a decent sponsor for the first time ever.

Of course Indonesia has long be unrepresented in the corridors of power. Check out the ASEAN Football Federation where a guy from Singapore is on the marketing committee (don't laugh). Just Joko Driyono. To be fair there was one guy, who had spent time in jail, who seriously wanted to put his name forward for one of the real top jobs at ASEAN...never happened of course!

You get the impression FIFA wants to keep Indonesian football as far away as possible. Witness their lack of activity during the numerous crisis in recent years. They are kept busy enough dealing with irate players demanding their contracts are honoured without having to get their heads around two leagues, two associations, two national teams, two players unions and sod all bloody development. Perhaps out of sympathy they have appointed some refs to their international list.

Despite the government 'disbanding' the PSSI the newly elected chairman was there in Bahrain pressing the flesh and having access to the movers and shakers.

While other member associations in ASEAN recognise the importance of rubbing shoulders with people of influence in Indonesia that world view is sadly lacking. Regional petty potentates are delighted to have their own fiefdoms with which to impress the locals, Looking beyond provincial borders is not considered a prerequisite and as for all that foreign stuff? Oh no, don't need none of that.

And there we have it. It matters not one jot who wins the latest spat between the government and the PSSI as there is no party involved that has any kind of vision to take football forward. Because for them football is just a vehicle, one of several they attach themselves to in a personal convoy designed to make them look big and powerful. The beautiful game is smashed on their egos and we all suffer.

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