Monday, June 06, 2016
Soetjipto, Indonesia & The First King's Cup
Yesterday marked the anniversary of Indonesia's debut in the World Cup. Ok, so it wasn't quite Indonesia, more the Dutch East Indies but you know what I mean. Yesterday also saw Thailand win the annual King's Cup, defeating Jordan 2-0 in the final.
With all that background today seems a good a time as any to recall when Indonesia were not only invited to take part in the King's Cup...they won the bloody thing!
The year was 1968 and just a couple of hours away from the warzone in Vietnam Thailand was experiencing its first pains as a tourist destination as GIs decided they liked the beaches and the beer and the temples. Bangkok however looked like this.
The Thais thought it would be a good idea to host a football competition. This at a time when no nation in the region had a particularly strong domestic league with the possible exception of Malaysia and their Malaysia Cup.
As well as Indonesia, Thailand invited Laos, then in the process of being bombed to hell and back by the Americans, Malaysia, Burma and Singapore. An ASEAN Football Federation Championship lite if you like.
The tournament kicked off 20 November in the cool season and the first games were played to decide how the groups would be allocated.
20/11/68 - Burma v Laos 3-0, Thailand v Singapore 3-0
21/11/68 - Malaysia v Indonesia 0-1 (Abdul Kadir 85)
Ok, from those opening games they somehow came up with the following groups:
Group 1 - Thailand, Malaysia, Laos
Group 2 - Indonesia, Burma, Singapore
I have no idea where the games were played, history doesn't tell us that information but I think we can guess Supachalasai Stadium was the host and two games were played each day.
The competition proper got under way on 22 November with Thailand edging Laos 1-0 and Burma beating Singapore 2-0. How ironic as the two nations met in Yangon last week and it was the Lions who won, 1-0.
After a couple of days rest Malaysia thumped Laos 5-0 while Indonesia defeated Burma 3-1 with goals from Soetjipto Soentoro and two from Abdul Kadir. And this after Burma had taken an early lead.
Two days later and Indonesia thrashed Singapore 7-1 with Soejipto scoring a hat trick. Iswadi Idris scored two while Kadir and Waskito finished the scoring. In the other game that day the hosts beat Malaysia 3-0 to set up the semi finals that were played on separate days.
First up was Indonesia against Malaysia and the Indonesians continued their free scoring ways winning 6-1 against their biggest rivals. Jacob Sihasale scored two while Soejipto hit another hat trick. Mulyadi with a penalty was the other contributor to the rout. With Burma beating Thailand in the other semi final 24 hours later the final was set for Indonesia v Burma on 2 December.
Soetjipto scored the only goal of the game to ensure Indonesia would win the first ever King's Cup. 48 years later on and the King's Cup is still going strong. Thailand continue their World Cup Qualifying campaign when they travel to Saudi Arabia early in September. And Indonesia? Having just had their FIFA suspension lifted they still can't decide on who will coach their team for the AFF Championships in November.
And what of Indonesia's goal scorers from this sepia tinged tournament? Soetjipto scored eight goals and in all 1968 was a pretty good year for the Persija striker as he scored 15 goals in 17 games for his county. After retiring he went on to coach Persiba and Persiraja. He also coached in the national Under 20s at the World Cup in 1979, a side that included players like Subangkit (now coaching Mitra Kukar), Mundari Karya (Barito Putera) and Bambang Nurdiansyah. They lost all three games there including a 5-0 loss to Argentina for who some lad called Diego Maradona scored a couple of goals.
Abdul Kadir is another legend from those days. Apparently after a game against Santos Kadir was invited on TV with Pele to show off their ball skills. He later coached Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian and was also at the helm, alongside fellow 1968 King's Cup veteran Iswadi Idris for Indonesia's unsuccessful 1990 World Cup Qualifying campaign. Iswadi later had a spell on loan with Western Suburbs in Melbourne, the club where coach Angie Postecoglou started his coaching career.
Don't you love the journey of writing? I started off in 1968 at the King's Cup in Thailand and we end up learning three present day Indonesian coaches played against Maradona when he was a spotty teenager!