Sunday, October 30, 2016


PSIM In Hot Water After Perssu Game Called Off

Are PSIM fans about to have their dreams of glory dashed?

After crowd fan violence marred their last Indonesia Soccer Championship B Round of 16 tie at home to PSCS the team from Yogyakarta were told by local security officials they would not be allowed to use the Sultan Agung Stadium in nearby Bantul for their next game at home to Perssu.

PSIM's own stadium is undergoing renovation and they have been forced to play their home games in Bantul for the season and had been attracting decent crowds.

However violence flared in their last home game when rival fan groups of PSIM squared off against each other, a fairly common event in Indonesia where supporting your team does not necessarily preclude beating the crap out of other fans who support your team but are part of a different supporters group.

PSIM officials approached AAU Stadium and were given the green light to play the game their but local police weren't so keen, saying the venue was deep in rival PSS territory and they didn't want to take the risk of any trouble.

There have been a couple of incidences this season of disturbances between fans of PSS and PSIM one of which led to the death of a PSS fan.

In a nutshell, PSIM were forced to find a new stadium after brawling among their own fans saw them banned from their borrowed stadium. A plan to play at another ground was knocked on the head after concerns PSIM fans might get involved with rival fans.

To compound their difficulties, PSIM could now face being kicked out of the ISC B for failing to host the game. They are currently second in the groupd after three games, level on points with Perssu. PSIM could find they forfeit the game and see the result awarded 3-0 to the Madurese side which would see them go top and PSIM slip down to 3rd in the four team group.

Next weekend they are slated to host bottom side Persiraja and their fans will be hoping this messy situation can be sorted one way or another or the hopes and dreams of a promising season will be dashed.


Mitra Kukar Rediscover That Winning Feeling

Don't bother trying to get an angle on the Indonesia Soccer Championship. You won't succeed. The only consistency lies in its inconsistency and for this who get their jollies from watching the near monopolies in leagues like Germany, Spain and Scotland this surely has to be a good thing.

Let's look at Mitra Kukar for example. The team from East Kalimantan started the season in fine form, unbeaten in their first six games before going down 2-1 to Persib. They then followed this with a nine game run where they managed just one win. From contenders to chumps in record time and as you would expect it was coach Subangkit who paid the price despite the football club only losing three games in that run and always by a single goal margin.

Football can be ruthless. Marlon da Silva had started the season on fire but his goals dried up and the club felt they had no choice but to bring in a new face so they turned to Jafri Sastra, an MK old boy who had recently been replaced by Persipura after their perceived poor start to the season.

Winless for two months, Mitra Kukar rediscovered that winning feeling towards the end of Augusr when da Silva got back on the scoresheet as they defeated Semen Padang 2-0. Yesterdays win over table topper Madura United made it seven victories in their last 11 games and it does seem as those the Naga Mekes have found their mojo at the right time of the season.

Mitra Kukar are now 6th in the Indonesia Soccer Championship nine points off the leaders Madura United and Arema. How they must be ruing those 10 draws that seem destined to consign them as also rans in a season that promised so much

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Harsh Lessons For Kelantan & Tampines Rovers

Recent events at a couple of South East Asian clubs have shown just how far the region is from fully embracing a professional culture from top to bottom. While the likes of Johor Darul Ta'zim and Muang Thong United attract praise aplenty for their efforts to build something substantial and sustainable that looks beyond the short term bling of a media friendly name, and we can add Indian side Bengaluru to that all too short list, most of the rest of the clubs are mired in short termism at the behest of perhaps well meaning officials who lack the resources to drive a club forward.

Tampines Rovers are perhaps the nearest thing Singapore has to a glamour club. Successful in recent years, at the start of the 2016 they recruited heavily adding Jermaine Pennant and hoovering up many players from the LionsXII side that competed in Malaysia. Unfortunately while the investment looked to have paid off early in the season with some healthy attendances by local standards out in Jurong little was done to build on that momentum and halfway through the season the club was issuing warnings about cash flow problems.

Unfortunately despite the wealth of talent available the Stags were unable to mount a sustainable bid for the title and without the results on the pitch the fans, inconvenienced by the trek across the island, decided to stay away and by the end of the season the club was saying they wouldn't be able to pay player more than $2,500 grand next season in salaries. Hardly the best preparation for the upcoming Singapore Cup Final, their only chance of snatching some sense of glory from the season and some local pride in a league where Albirex Niigata have been picking up trophies at will.

There is no point in buying a super car if you can't afford even the basic maintenence and the new chief at the club, a lawyer, maybe ruing the day he opened up his luxurious house to the cameras while bemoaning the lack of cash in the club coffers.

Traditionally Tampines have been a well run club but a change of ownership has seen the new lot struggle to come to terms with football as a business and not a selfie opportunity. For a club in the North East of Malaysia however, mismanagement has become a synonym.

For a couple of years Kelantan were the biggest club in the country. From 2010 to 2013 they won  the Malaysia Super League twice, Malaysia Cup twice and the FA Cup twice. It was a good time to be Kelantanese for sure as the football club took on the established powers of the game, Selangor, and came out triumphant. But nothing lasts for ever, along came JDT with these new fangled ideas like vision, resources, professionalism and all too quickly Kelantan were yesterdays heroes.

After a poor start to the 2016 MSL season Kelantan, under new coach Velizar Popov rallied and finished in a credible fourth place. Well, it sounds respectable but they were 29 points behind the champions JDT and just 10 ahead of bottom lace Terengganu.

The Red Warriors season though was played out againstt a backdrop of an extrovert businesswoman who promised to pump untold riches into the football club, got a seat in the dug out and promised a playing kit that would turn players skin whiter! Surely this was not the dawn of a new era, an era when Kelantan would make headlines for its football off the pitch and not its inability to honour contracts. Surely no one believed that for a moment?

Because it was never going to happen. Over the season club and sponsor bickered about money and hey presto tales came out of Kota Bahru of late payments of salaries. The club's feisty owner, a local politician of course, would come out guns blazing saying it was never his fault and nobody understood the pressures involved without ever once offering to step down and allow professional people to come in and run the club.

well now skin cream lady, the sponsor, has decided she wants to pull the plug and the head honcho is warning the futire may not be plain sailing for the club going forward which I guess is a clue this particular individual doesn't get irony. 'Inshallah we've always pulled through due to our sincerity and honesty in overseeing matters of football in the state of Kelantan,' he said before adding, perhaps ominously for Kelantan fans, 'we will not give up.'

Aussie Jon McKain has just come to end of his two year spell in Kelantan, an experience he describes as 'draining'. 'The management of the club is not very good,' he said in a recent interview with the A League website.

As Kelantan lurch from one disaster to another it is going to be interesting to see who they manage to coax north to get involved next season. Their record of not honouring contracts is bound to count against them, what do you thing footballers talk about, and they may struggle in the 2017 season on the pitch as well which would be a great shame. The fans are among the most passionate in the region and deserve better.

Not every football has royalty, JDT, or a successful company, Muang Thong United, to bankroll them and no one expects that. But there are lessons to be learnt from how those football clubs run themselves, it just needs someone to take a look in the mirror and decide for themselves the problem is much closer to home than they are having us believe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Stop This Fucking Madness

According to Save Our Soccer, a football action group in Indonesia, 51 fans have died either going to or watching football over a 21 year period. 51 fans have gone to see their favourite team never to return home alive. As statistics go that is fairly damning. While politicians and military types vie for votes ahead of the much delayed PSSI elections nothing is said about the death of young Indonesians.

Just last weekend a Persib fan was attacked and beaten to death as he was leaving the stadium in Cikarang after seeing his team defeat Gresik United. As the above chart shows he is the fourth Persib fan to die over the period.

6 fans were trampled to death including two at the SEA Games Final in 2011
7 fans fell from trains or buses. It is an all too common sight to see fans riding the roof of trains or buses and nothing seems to be done to stop them.
12 fans were stabbed
1 fan was shot

Some fans were killed after fighting between rival groups who supported the same team. Five were killed at the same game!

These numbers are shocking. A disgrace. Yet people grow immune to them. It happens so often.

What is being done about it? Nothing. PSSI candidates are spouting meaningless platitudes, Alfred Riedl is being given nonsensical targets ahead of the ASEAN Football Federation Championships next month. Words are cheap and all we get are words.

One of the attractions for me of Indonesian football is the similarities between what we see now and what I grew up enjoying in England. Unfortunately the violence is another similarity but one we could do without. In England you pretty much could tell where something might kick off and while bystanders may have taken the odd slap, as I did, they were not the target. Firms would target rival firms to get their jollies and they grew quite sophisticated how they went about it.

Fans would try to take another team's end, railway stations were likely venues for a toe to toe. Violence was organised, fans would meet up, go for a beer and hope for a row. Things are a bit different in Indonesia. Fans can travel around the country in relative safety, PS TNI v Persija not withstanding, as the fans themselves do the organising and coordination with various forms of transport, security official etc. Where there is a risk of serious disorder away fans will usually stay home or travel incognito in small numbers. At the other extreme league officials do their best to ensure clubs with especially fierce rivalry are placed in different groups. This is what happens in Central Java, including Yogyakarta, for example or with the Tangerang duo of Persita and Persikota.

Indonesian violence is less organised, more spontaneous. The latest fatality was attacked by a mob was he was heading home from the stadium. A Persija fan was attacked near a top hotel on the way to the stadium. And while there was a feeling in England back in the day that once a guy was down and done it was over, move on, in Indonesia a mob frenzy takes over and when someone is down they become fair game for others who may not want to start a row but don't mind getting involved when the odds are on their side and they won't get hurt.

The dynamics and demographics of Indonesian football fans means an English style approach, ie club membership schemes, will not necessarily work. All Indonesians already carry an identity card. In theory they could be used as a mechanism for controlling movements where there is a risk of violence but while the idea of a firm may be evolving they are not necessarily the ones who carry out the excesses and as we have seen with the fatality last weekend the attackers probably weren't even at the game.

Match day is too haphazard, too messy for any kind of serious crowd control. Police and security officials are out in large numbers and maintain a visible presence inside and immediately outside the stadium but the approaches to and from the stadium are often seen as a problem of traffic rather than potential sites for violence. If something kicks off it can take a while before any security officials can get to the scene as the video shows.

Without wishing to sound too gloomy it is difficult to see anything changing in the near future unless there is a cultural shift. Indonesia faces other troubles, maritime issues, extremism, haze, developing infrastructure; sitting back and saying the government must do something is an argument on a par with the old 'it is what it is'. Nothing more than an absolution of responsibility. Fans, clubs, security and government have roles to play in making the football watching experience less fraught with danger and if we all do nothing then nothing will change.

*The chart above and the table below come from Save Our Soccer, an Indonesian football action group.

Suhermansyah (Bonek)
PSIM vs Persebaya
Terhimpit dan jatuh
Tiga Bonek
Tour Jakarta
Jatuh dari kereta api
Sembilan Suporter PSIS
Tour Jakarta
Terlindas kereta api di Lenteng Agung
Imam Iswanto, 17 (Panser Biru)
Persija vs PSIS
Pengeroyokan di Stasiun Manggarai, Jakarta
Tri Sadono  (Pasoepati)
Persijatim vs Persema
Terlindas truk
Beri Mardias (Semen Padang)
Persija vs Semen Padang (10 Besar LI)
Indonesia vs Filipina
Jatuh dari bus
Rahmat Hidayat (Bonek)
Persela vs Persebaya
Terlindas truk
Dimas Aditya (Bonek)
Persija vs Persebaya (PialaEmas Bang Yos)
Pukulan benda keras
Ahmad “Mat Togel” Dani  (Aremania)
Persekabpas vs Arema
Pukulan benda keras
Fajar Widya Nugraha (Aremania)
Arema vs Persija
Terhimpit penonton
Fathurrahman (The Jakmania)
Persija vsPersipura
Makarius Puji Sulistyo (Panser Biru)
Perjalanan ke Jakarta mendukung PSIS di Piala Bang Yos
Jatuh dari kereta api di Batang
Mince (Persipuramania)
Persipura vs Persiwa
Fathul Mulyadin (The Jakmania)
Persija vs Persipura
Dian Rusdiana, 16 tahun, (NJ Mania)
Persitara Vs Pelita Jaya
Ditusuk senjata tajam
Fauzan, 19 (Persikmania)
Persik vs Persib
Handoyo, 24 tahun (Panser Biru, PSIS)
Gresik United vs PSIS
Terjatuh dari kereta api
Muhammad Tommy, 17 (Viola, Persita)
Bentrokan suporter Tangerang: Persita – Persikota
Dipukul rantai besi, kayu, dan batu
Ahmad Hariri, 15 (Viola, Persita)
Bentrokan suporter Tangerang: Persita – Persikota
Dipukul rantai besi, kayu, dan batu
M. Aziz, 12 tahun, (Pelita Jaya)
Pelita Jaya vs Arema
Bacokan samurai
Gilang, 24 tahun (LA Mania)
Insiden di Kereta Api dengan Bonekmania
Tusukan di leher kiri
Reno Alvino Arena, 21
Final Sea Games
Kusmanto, 29
Final Sea Games
Kunto, 30 (Bonek)
Kisruh Deltamania dan Bobotoh Deltras vs Persib
Pukulan benda keras
Ovick Arangga, 19 tahun (SNEX Semarang)
SNEX vs Panser Biru
Ditusuk senjata tajam
M. Nurul Huda, 16 (Maiden Brajamusti PSIM)
Bentrok antar suporter PSIM
Empat luka tusuk bagian dada
Sudarmadji, 27 tahun
Persibo vs Persebaya
Luka lemparan batu di Kereta diserang suporter Persela
Miftahul Huda, 15 tahun (Bonek)
Persibo vs Persebaya
Luka lemparan batu di Kereta diserang suporter Persela
Abdul Farid, 15 (Bonek)
Persibo vs Persebaya
Luka lemparan batu di Kereta diserang suporter Persela
Soimul Fadli, 15 tahun (Bonek)
Persibo vs Persebaya
Luka lemparan batu di Kereta diserang suporter Persela
No Name (Bonek)
Persibo vs Persebaya
Luka lemparan batu di Kereta diserang suporter Persela
Rangga Cipta Nugraha, 22 tahun, (Bobotoh)
Persija vs Persib
Tusukan senjata tajam
Lazuardi, 29 tahun (Bobotoh)
Persija Vs Persib
Dani Maulana, 17 tahun (Bobotoh)
Persija Vs Persib
Purwo Adi Utomo
Persebaya 27 vs Persija
Gas air mata dan terinjak
M. Ikhwanuddin (Lanus/PSCS)
Perjalanan pulang usai Persis Solo vs PSCS
Tusukan benda tajam suporter Sleman
Erik Setiawan, 17 (Bonek Gresik)
Bentrok suporter di luar  lapangan
Dikeroyok rombongan Aremania
Tegar, 15 (PSPS)
PSPS Vs Persepam Bentrok sesama suporter PSPS
Luka pukulan benda tajam di kepala
Wisnu, 16 (Macz Man, PSM)
PSM vs Persepar
Ditikam senjata tajam
Jupita (Paserbumi)
Bentrok antar suporter Persiba Bantul saat menjamu Persiram Raja Ampat
Pendarahan di otak
Andika (Singamania)
Sriwijaya vs Persijap
Ditusuk benda tajam
Joko Riyanto (Pasoepati)
Persis vs Martapura
Kerusuhan. Tembakan di bagian dada.
Khoirul Anam, 21 (Aremania)
Bentrok Aremania dan Bonek di Tol Simo
Udin Zaenal, 32 tahun (Aremania)
Bentrok Aremania dan Bonek di Tol Simo
Ahmad Fadila, 28 tahun (Aremania)
Bentrok Aremania dan Bonek di Tol Simo
Eko Prasetyo (Aremania)
Piala Jenderal Sudirman
Dipukul batu
Slamet (Aremania)
Piala Jenderal Sudirman
M. Fahreza, 16 (The Jakmania)
Persija vs Persela
Stanislaus Gandhang Deswara, 16, (BCS, PSS Sleman)
Bentrok dengan suporter PSIM yang baru kembali dari Semarang
Luka bacok di kepala dan tusuk di badan
Muhammad Rovi Arrahman alias Omen, 17 (Bobotoh)
Persib vs Persegres Gresik United (Stadion Wibawa Mukti)

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