Monday, November 13, 2017
FIFA Congratulate Bali As Bhayangkara Lift Title
I received a message from my brother yesterday. 'Why,' he wanted to know 'weren't Bali United champions?' Long story I replied.
It wasn't only a West Ham United fan with no knowledge of Indonesian football who was asking questions about Bhayangkara's surprise title success.
The game's world governing body was caught out as well. They congratulated Bali United on winning Liga 1 and showed a screenshot of the final table.
The ASEAN Football Federation followed suit, congratulating Bali United.
Even Bali United got in on the act. They defeated already relegated Gresik United 3-0 and held a party after the game with the players wearing t shirts describing themselves as The Real Champions! The flares and smoke bombs won't go down well with the league and the club could face sanctions.
Meanwhile in Bekasi the actual champions Bhayangkara took the lead against Persija through the prolific Ilija Spaosjevic only for the visitors to fight back with two goals from Ramdhani Lestalahu to give them the three points and cementing their spot in the top four and the AFC Cup next year.
While the league have been clamping down on pyrotechnic displays inside stadiums they seem less concerned with people being involved with more than one team and some social media wags described this game as the GW Derby.
Despite winning the league Bhayangkara won't be playing in Asian football in 2018 despite sharing the same stadium as Persija. Why? I don't know...As for my brother? He shrugged his shoulders and went to see Wimbledon play Peterborough United.