Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Can Persib Dare To Dream?

Is 2014 finally to be Persib Bandung’s season? They have been relentlessly consistent all season, 
have not lost since April and their three remaining play off ties all come in Bandung against 
Persebaya Surabaya (aka Persikubar), Mitra Kukar and Pelita Bandung Raya (nominally an away
game but played at Persib’s Si Jalak Harupat Stadium).

If Indonesian football was to follow the script then surely the Maung Bandung are odds on for the
title. Here of course it depends which script you are reading from!

During the regular season, Persib hardly put a foot wrong, losing just three games including home 
and away agaonst Semen Padang and they have contnued that fine form into the play offs, winning 
at Mitra Kukar and drawing away to Persebaya while narrowly defeating ‘local rivals’ Pelita 
Bandung Raya 1-0 at home.

Like all successful teams, Persib’s form comes from a strong spine. I Made Wirawan was one of the
finest keepers in the country while he was at Persiba Balikpapan but was often overlooked for the 
national team, perhaps in part because of his less than glamourous club.

Ahead of him come defenders Vladimir Vujovic, who has been on a goal scoring spree in recent 
weeks that Mario Balotelli would be envious of, and the tough tackling Tony Sucipto.

Of course to get to the defense, opponents need to get past the Persib midfield which boasts the likes of Atep, Firman Utina, Makan Konate and Hariono.

Atep has in the last couple of seasons started to fulfill the early promise he had shown when he
exploded on the international stage at the 2007 ASEAN Football Federation Championships when he scored twice against Laos. His tricky wing play gives Persib an option down the flanks and he has a 
happy knack, for Persib fans, of nicking priceless goals.

Hariono is the Roy Keane of the side...with hair. Tough tackling but blessed with skill and a large 
engine, to cause Persib problems opponents need to negate Hariono’s presence at the heart of the
 midfield. Pelita Bandung Raya did just that in their openong play off when the diminutive Kim 
Jeffrey Kurniawan took him out of the game. Think Raheem Sterling on Keane!

Up front Ferdinand Sinaga has proved to be a firey one man strike force; blessed with skill but 
always likely to go off one one!

As for the coach Djajang Nurdjaman, the former Persib and Indonesia international is proving the 
move from assistant coach to gaffer may not be the great leap into the unknown many pundits would have us believe.

Djajang spent six years working either as an assistant to the main man or working with the second 
team at both Pelita Jaya and Persib before somewhat surprisingly being given the nod at Persib in 
2012. They have undoubtedly shown patience in the proverbial number two and he has rewarded that patience by moulding a side that has the ingredients to go all the way in the title race in a quiet, 
unassuming manner.

With Persipura faltering, the title is up for grabs this season and while many eyes have been set on 
the East Java duo of Persebaya and Arrema, not many would rule out the chances of Persib tasting 
glory for the first time since the 1990s.


Results 21/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Persela v Semen Padang 1-2 (Arif Ariyanto; Airlannga, Osas Marvellous) 6,375

Semen Padang..the curious case of the buffalo that doesn't roar. I will do a piece about their exploits which are so far off the radar it is not true later.

Persipura v Arema 2-1 (Ian Luis Kabes, Robertinho; Cristian Gonzales) 17,872

The Persipura fans finally returned! They seem to have been staying away this season despite the team not doing too badly and performing well in the AFC Cup but here they were turning up for Arema in what was a fesity affair on th eday it was revealed their coach Jacksen F Tiago would no longer be around.

A little play ground slappy slappy saw Ruben Sanadi and Dendi Santoso saw them both get the video and they should be ashamed of themselves for such kindergarten aggression. Pictures also show Arema keeper Meiga Kurnia getting throttled by what appears to be an official.

Mitra Kukar v Pelita Bandung Raya 1-0 (Eric Weeks Lewis) 1,519


Woodlands Wellington v Young Lions 1-2 (OG; Iqbal Hussain, Anumanthan Kumar)

That's four wins in their last six games for the Young Lions...a pretty good run by any measure. Woodlands? They haven't won a league game since June though that came against Warriors, a team they usually seem up for.

Geylang International v Hougang United 0-4 (OG, Firman Hanif, Geison Moura 2)


Wall Of Silence Surrounds Jacksen's Persipura Exit

As stories go it is probably the biggest one of the Indonesia Super League season. Apparently just ahead of Persipura's play off game at home to Arema it was revealed their Brazilian coach Jacksen F Tiago would no longer be in charge of the club he had led to three ISL titles.

Rumours, and wikipedia, suggest Jacksen has signed for newly promoted Penang in the Malaysian Super League. I went to their website, down, and their twitter account, just five tweets, and found nothing. I checked a couple of Malaysian newspaper websites and came up short. I went to a fan face book page and yep, nothing except a rumour Robertinho may sign for the club. You know Robertinho, plays for, um, Persipura!

The Persipura management are saying don't ask us, ask Jacksen while Jacksen himself is saying yes he has left but he is not going to say anymore, better ask Persipura!

After running round in circles for a while I came across a tweet from the Brazilian where he said 'A Bright future is just around the corner.....God keep giving me guidance & direction' ... ooh the tease!

In the absence of any official confirmation, we are left with rumour and hints. Wiki is suggesting Jacksen has signed for Penang ahead of next season and taken Titus Bonai with him. (Interestingly it seems Bonai wasn't included in the line up against Arema yesterday in the play off aganst Arema). If this is true it is a massive statement of intent from the newly promoted season and when you consider Patrich Wanggai, Bonai's strike partner at the SEA Games in 2011, spent last season with T Team a whole new range of options open up.

Not the least of which is will Boas Solossa follow Jacksen to Malaysia?

Like I said, this is a sensational story with a number of implications - if it was in England it would be along the lines of 'hold the back page' - but this is a Champions League week and Malaysian papers at least seem more interested in that than they do in the managerial go round in their own backyard.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Jakarta Globe Column

I'm happy to say I am back at the Jakarta Globe! My latest column looks at reigning champions Persipura and their chances in the play offs.

Catch the story here.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Recent Results

Bloody hell, it's been a while!

AFF Championship Qualifying

16/10 Timor Leste v Cambodia 2-3
16/10 Brunei v Myanmar 1-3

18/10 Cambodia v Myanmar 0-1
18/10 Laos v Timor Leste 2-0

Today sees Myanmar meet Laos for the right to finish top of the group while Cambodia take on Brunei.

Divisi Utama Play Offs

18/10 Martapura v Pusamania 3-2 (Brima Pepito 2, Adam Setyano; Fernando Soler, Febri Setadi Hamzah) 4,582
18/10 PSIS v PSGC 2-0 (Julio Acorse 2) 10,342
18/10 PSS v Persiwa - The visiting team never turned up!
18/10 PSCS v Persis 3-2 (Robert Kwateh 3; Robbie Fajar, Dedy Cahyono) 8,125

Malaysia Cup

16/10 Johor Darul Tazim v Terengganu 3-1 (Safiq Rahim 2, Luciano Figuero; Ashan Samsuddin) 30,000
19/10 Kedah v Pahang 3-1 (Namkung Woong, Farhan Roslan, Kyrul Muhymeen; Matias Ruben) 27,000


17/10 Home United v Warriors 2-3 (Song Inyoung, Fazli Ayob; Nicholas Velez 2, Miroslav Pejic)
18/10 Young Lions v Hougang United 2-0 (Faris Ramli, Sahil Suhaimi)
18/10 Tampines Rovers v Balestier Khalsa 3-1 (Jacob Butler, Shahdan Sulaiman, Miljan Mrdakovic; Emir Lotinac)

1 - Warriors 25 14 5 6 50-34 47
2 - DPMM 24 14 4 6 60-27 46
3 - Tampines 25 13 7 5 41-29 46

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Results 14/10

AFF Cup Qualifiers

Brunei v Laos 2-4
Myanmar v Timor Leste 0-0

1 - Laos 2 2 0 0 7-4 6
2 - Timor Leste 2 1 1 0 4-2 4
3 - Myanmar 1 0 1 0 0-0 1
4 - Cambodia 1 0 0 1 2-3 0
5 - Brunei 2 0 0 2 4-8 0

International Friendly

Macau v Singapore 2-2 (;Khairul Amri 2)

AFC Championships

United Arab Emirates v Indonesia 4-1 (;Dimas Drajad) 400

4 - Indonesia 3 0 0 3 2-8 0

Well, that particular little story can be put to bed. All that travelling, all those games against provincial selections for the national games, those trips to Spain. Indonesia return with nothing and lets face it, we shouldn't be surprised.

People have tried to prepare the team but it was the wrong kind of preparation. Criss crossing the country on long bus journeys is not good preparation for anything other than being a bus driver.

It's pointless having a good engine if the guy doing the driving isn't a good driver. The coach and the players deserve second chances but I fear the only way they can improve is by going abroad and playing within a more professional set up.

Bambang Pamungkas has called his generation, one that includes the likes of Ponaryo Astaman, Friman Utina and Budi Sudarsono the failed generation. Before that came the Sampdoria lot; Bima Sakti, Kurinawan DY etc.

Then we have the likes of Rahmat Affandi and Samsul Arif; for years overlooked because coaches preferred the same old names or throwing in foreign imports.

And now Megia Kurnia, Yongki Aribowo, Jajang Maulyana.

A litany of names who failed to produce their best on a consistent basis because the football environment here is not designed to develop players. In fact it is not really designed for football.

Nope, don't blame Indra, Evan and all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Singapore Players Join Criticism Of Stadium's Pitch

SINGAPORE — Former Lions captain Baihakki Khaizan and current national team player Khairul Amri have criticised the management of the National Stadium.
In a strongly-worded post on his Instagram account on Sunday (Oct 12), Baihakki said that the new National Stadium, which opened in June, “look(s) prettier now”, but has “sold out”, hashtagging “#stadiumforconcerts”.
“You’re (the National Stadium) all fancy these days, with all the bells and whistles, but I remember the plain you, and they are wonderful memories,” he wrote. “We won championships on the platform you provided, I became a Lion on your lawn.
“Hey, you made many legendary Lions who inspired the young me, and roused the nation. And not just Lions, C Kunalan, James Wong, Glory Barnabas, all names that shine form our sporting past shone on your lap. Let’s not forget all the National Days we celebrated on your hallowed ground – a sacred battlefield for everyone that wore our flag.”
But, “you’re different now,” Baihakki said. “And I’m not convinced by how you’re behaving now. You don’t seem to know your priorities anymore, and I don’t see how new stars will be born in you again. You’ve sold out, haven’t you? You’re more about money, moving in a direction I don’t understand.”
Khairul on Twitter yesterday also posted an image of the stadium with the caption: “Impressed by what you can do.But, hate the one (that) manages you.”
Both Baihakki and Khairul were in Hong Kong last Friday (Oct 10) representing Singapore in a friendly game.
Yesterday, it was reported that a concert by Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou at the National Stadium on Nov 8 would go ahead, despite concerns from the Asean Football Federation (AFF) that the stadium’s pitch would not be in proper shape for the start of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Nov 22. An exhibition rugby match between the Maori All Blacks and Asia Pacific Dragons on Nov 15 has also added to concerns.
Brazil’s coach Dunga yesterday criticised the state of the pitch ahead of a friendly game against Japan on Oct 14.
“The field... raises the possibility of having injured players because there is a lot of sand and I hope the sand doesn’t create holes in the pitch during the match but it’s a risk we are going to have to take,” he said.
On Sunday, AFF Secretary-general Azzuddin Ahmad told TODAY: “The state of the National Stadium pitch is our main concern right now. We understand that the pitch is not in perfect condition.
“We will be meeting officials from the FA of Singapore on Oct 14 and a final decision will be made on whether the Suzuki Cup will proceed at the National Stadium.”
COMMENT - I can imagine the seething going on now in some quarters in Singapore. Players aren't encouraged to have opinions! Respect to Baihakki and Khairul...


Weekend Results

AFF Cup Qualifiers

Timor Leste v Brunei 4-2
Laos v Cambodia 3-2

AFC Under 19 Championship

Indonesia v Australia 0-1 628

All that build up, all that hype, all those miles travelled and Indonesia's Myanmar adventure is ended after two defeats in their opening two games. What next for the coach I wonder given how blood thirsty those who run the game, and ultimately decided the Under 19s should go on such a gruelling schedule ahead of the event?

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Arema v Persipura 3-0 (Samsul Arif 2, Cristian Gonzales) 27,077
Semen Padang v Persela 4-2 (Rudi, Nir Iskander, Osas Marvelous 2; Addison Alves, Srdan Lopcic) 6,232

1 - Arema 3 2 1 0 7-3 7
2 - S Padang 3 2 0 1 6-4 6
3 - Persipura 3 1 0 2 2-4 3
4 - Persela 3 0 1 2 4-8 1

Divisi Utama Play Offs

PSGC v PSIS 2-4 (Ganjar Kurniawan, Achmad Abdul Basid; Franky Mahendra, Hari Nur Yulianto 3)
Persis v PSCS 1-0 (Yanuar Ruspuspito) 17,147
Pusamania v Martapura 2-0 (Febri Setiadi Hamzah, Danilo Fernando) 5,127
Persiwa v PSS 0-1 (Agus Setyawan)

Malaysia Cup

PDRM v Pahang 1-2 (Fauzi Abdul Majid; Zesh Rehman, Fauzi Roslan) 10,000

Pahang win 3-2 on aggregate

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Harimau Muda A Plot SLeague Return

They came, they saw, they almost conquered.

And now, Ong Kim Swee's Harimau Muda "A" team that managed a top-four finish in their debut season here in 2012 will be back in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League.

Malaysian media reported last Friday that the "A" Team, which comprises the top Under-23 players from Malaysia, will return to the S.League next season after two years away.

Confirming this with The New Paper, Ong said, "I will be flying to Singapore soon to discuss a few things with (S.League) officials about next season, because there are so many things going on next year.

"There's the SEA Games, AFC Under-22 qualifiers, and so on.

"I hope we get to play our home games at Yishun Stadium again, like in 2012, and if we can't, we have to come up with alternatives.

"These are all things I have to discuss with people in Singapore first."

The return of the "A" Team is a boost to the S.League.

They competed in the league in 2012, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the football associations of Malaysia and Singapore.

Ong's charges impressed with their swashbuckling brand of attacking football and were in the running for the title until the last four games of the season, eventually finishing fourth.


However, the former Malacca midfielder pulled his team out of the 2013 season so that they could prepare for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar at the end of that year.
The team subsequently went on training camps in several European countries. Harimau Muda B, Malaysia's national Under-21 team, took their place in the S.League instead.

But Ong's side failed to defend the SEA Games gold medal Malaysia had won in 2009 and 2011, eventually losing to Singapore in the play-off for third.

This year, the "A" Team spent six-months in Australia playing against Queensland National Premier League teams as preparation for the Incheon Asian Games, but they didn't shine at the Asiad.

They were knocked out at the group stage, beating Laos 4-0 but suffering 3-0 defeats at the hands of South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Criticism is mounting on Ong, and he admitted the last two years have not been easy.
While he said next June's SEA Games in Singapore will be his last, he is looking forward to the S.League test.


He said, "More than half our players will be different (as compared to 2012). So, it's a new challenge, and a difficult one because our team is young, but it's one I'm looking forward to.
"If I had a choice, of course, I would go far away again, but I understand it's not cheap to train overseas and Singapore is ideal because it's so close.

"In terms of exposure for our boys, it's very, very good for us to play in the S.League again because we get to taste that competitiveness again."

- See more at:



Singapore's National Stadium Embarrassment

The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup is slightly over six weeks away.

All eyes will be on national coach Bernd Stange and his Lions to see if they can retain the regional crown they won two years ago in Bangkok, this time on home soil at the spanking new National Stadium at the $1.33 billion Singapore Sports Hub.

But, in a stunning development, The New Paper has learnt that holding matches at the National Stadium venue could be in jeopardy.

The reason?

A Jay Chou concert and an exhibition rugby game.

The New Paper understands that the AFF has strict guidelines on the usage of venues for the Suzuki Cup before the tournament, insisting stadiums should not be used for any other matches or events a minimum of 15 working days prior to the first match at the stadium.

Singapore and Vietnam are co-hosts of the Suzuki Cup.

The Lions have been drawn in Group B, alongside Thailand, Malaysia and the team that win the qualifying tournament - Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Timor Leste - while Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and the runners-up from the qualifiers will battle it out in Group A.

All Group B games have been scheduled at the National Stadium (except for one, to ensure the final two matches of the group kick off at the same time) and the Lions play their first match on Nov 23.


This means the Nov 8 date for Taiwanese Mandopop king Chou's "Opus 2 Jay 2014 World Tour" concert and the Nov 15 date for an exhibition rugby match between the Maori All Blacks and Asia Pacific Dragons (a Singapore-based invitational side comprising Asian and Polynesian players) at the National Stadium contravene the AFF regulation.

Acknowledging the issue, AFF general secretary Datuk Azzudin Ahmad told TNP yesterday: "We are addressing the issue and will come to a conclusion by Oct 14.

"Whether (the hosting rights change hands) is not for me to decide, it's for the AFF committee who will sit down at discuss this matter.

"But we won't close one eye... It's an undertaking by all host countries, not just Singapore, to make sure the tournament venues are ready for the competition."

In response to queries, a Sports Hub spokesman said: "SportsHub Pte Ltd is working closely with FAS and AFF to resolve any potential issues that may arise."

If there is a compromise, then it is believed the Jay Chou concert would go on while the rugby match will be postponed. The worst case scenario is for matches to be played at the 7,500-capacity Jalan Besar Stadium.

The state of the pitch at the National Stadium is the concern.

The Desso pitch has hardly bedded in and much of the playing surface for the Juventus friendly with the Singapore Selection on Aug 16 was sand, leading to many complaints from fans.

Brazil play Japan in a glamour friendly there on Tuesday and, with the Jay Chou concert and the rugby match, there is concern the pitch will not be able to hold up for a football tournament just a little over a week later.

When contacted yesterday, the Football Association of Singapore said that "it will work closely with all stakeholders while awaiting the AFF's decision and will issue a statement at an appropriate time."

Stange, who took over the reins of Singapore's national team in May last year, is hopeful that there will be a compromise.

Speaking to TNP before the national team left for a week-long trip to Hong Kong for two international friendlies, the 66-year-old German said: "I think they will make sure it happens (at the National Stadium).

"There are contracts involved... But I take it as it is.

"I cannot change what will be decided. And if I can't, I'm a man, I have to face the challenge."


The former Hertha Berlin coach also expressed his frustration that his team have not been able to train regularly at the National Stadium.

Said Stange: "It seems like we cannot practise there before the Suzuki Cup. Japan and Brazil can practise there, we cannot.

"But... I'm happy to have the stadium, a big home crowd, and my dream is that the stadium can take our boys to the next level."

SOURCE - AsiaOne

COMMENT - well, isn't this embarrassing? All that hype and hullabaloo about the new 

stadium in Singapore being a world class facility seems to be just that doesn't it? 

Singapore seems to be prioritising some Taiwanese pop singer over hosting an international

event; Brazil and Japan over its own national team.

Mind you there is form when it comes to Singapore and its national stadium. Remember 

when they were to close the old one and they held a farewell match only for it not to be a 

a farewell after all but games continued to be held there. And once that stadium had shut its

doors the city state missed out on hosting the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal because they 

had no stadium that could meet the demand of fans?


No One Happy With JDT, Terengganu Compromise

PETALING JAYA: The standoff between Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and Terengganu over the postponement of their Malaysia Cup quarter-final return-leg match has been settled.
Hariss Harun in action for JDT against Terengganu in the Super League
The match will now be played on Oct 16 – instead of Oct 17.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) had called both parties to attend a table-talk at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya on Friday in a bid to find an amicable solution. Neither party seemed satisfied with the compromise despite reaching an agreement after more than three hours of deliberations.
FAM secretary general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin and FAM deputy president Datuk Seri Affendy Hamzah, who is also chairman of the local competitions committee, looked tense and even advised the media to leave in anticipation of a delay because of the uncompromising parties.
“Life is full of challenges and we are doing our best to find a solution. Please don’t wait here. We will send a press release on the outcome once we reach an agreement with both parties,” appealed Hamidin.
The media refused to leave.
On Tuesday, the FAM secretariat approved JDT’s request to postpone the return-leg match scheduled at the Larkin Stadium on Oct 11 to Oct 17 – without consulting the Terengganu FA (TFA).
The late decision did not go down well with the TFA. The east coast side lodged a protest with FAM and even threatened a no-show if the match is fixed for Oct 17.
TFA deputy president Marzuki Sulong slammed the national body for not handling the matter professionally.
“All we request is for ‘Fair Play’ and to treat all parties equally in future,” said Marzuki before leaving the Wisma FAM on Friday.
The TFA were represented by Marzuki and secretary general Arpin Deraman while Johor FA (JFA) were represented by honorary secretary Mohd Fahmy Yahya.
JFA president Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail said in a statement, which was read by Mohd Fahmy to the media: “Any party wanting to call for a postponement of matches must have a strong foundation before doing so. If anyone needs any more clarifications, they can see the JFA president ... any time.”
JFA had requested for the postponement citing midfielder Hariss Harun’s call-up to the Singapore national team for two friendlies – against Hong Kong (on Friday) and Macau (Tuesday).
Initially, the two teams were supposed to meet in the return-leg match at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Baru on Friday after the first leg in Kuala Terengganu last Friday ended 0-0.
The FAM had revised the original fixtures for the second-leg matches of the quarter-finals from Oct 17 to Oct 11 to give the national team more time to prepare for next month’s AFF Suzuki Cup.


Results 10/10

AFC Under 19 Championship

Uzbekistan v Indonesia 3-1 (;Paulo Oktavianus Sitanggang) 625

I guess all those games against the likes of West Java National Games Select haven't really paid off as Indonesia began their adventure in Myanmar with a loss. The coach said it took some time for his players to get started!

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Mitra Kukar v Persib 2-3 (Herman Dzumafo, Eric Weeks Lewis; Makan Konate, Atep, Fedinand Sinaga)

Pelita Bandung Raya v Persebaya 0-0

1 - Persib 2 2 0 0 4-2 6
2 - Persebaya 2 0 2 0 1-1 2
3 - Mitra Kukar 2 0 1 1 3-4 1
4 - P Bandung Raya 2 0 1 1 0-1 1

Malaysia Cup

Kedah v Kelantan 3-0 (Hanif Zahir, Baddrol Bakhtiar, M Shafiq) 26,000

Kedah win 4-3 on aggregate

Felda United v Selangor 3-3 (Edward Wilson Junior 2, Indra Putra Mahyuddin; Paolo Rangel 2, Andik Vermansyah) 10,000

Felda United win 7-3 on aggregate

Thursday, October 09, 2014


Persija's Search For A New Coach

After a disappointing season when they missed out on a play off place, Persija acted with uncharacteristic haste to announce they would not be retaining coach Benny Dollo for next season.

2014 was just the latest in a long line of disappointing campaigns for the Kemayoran Tigers as they have struggled to impose themselves on the top clubs in the Indonesia Super League despite boasting one of the largest supports in the country; their game against Persib attracted more than 66,000, the biggest of the season.

In recent seasons Rahmad Darmawan, Sergei Dubrovin, Danurwindo, and Iwan Setiawan have all tried, and failed, to bring some silverware to the capital city club and management must be thinking carefully about their next appointment.

Will they go foreign? The trend around the country does seem to be leaning towards more local coaches with the likes of Arema, Persib and Srwijaya opting for Indonesian coaches in recent season while Jacksen F Tiago has spent so long here he is almost considered a local!

A number of coaches have impressed this season including Pelita Bandung Raya's Dejan Antonic and Jafri Sastra at Semen Padang while the highly rated Indra Sjafri with the national Under 19 team may well come into consideration once his commitment to the national team ends.

Other names that are apparently being considered are Robert Alberts (Sarawak), Aji Santoso (Indonesia Under 23), Nil Maizer (Pusam) and Bojan Hodak (Johor Darul Takzim).

Whoever does take the hot seat in Jakarta will be taking on one of the most pressurised jobs in the game with the fans desperate for success but also a club where funds are all too often in short supply!


Durakovic Feeling Selangor Heat

MEHMET Durakovic’s future with Selangor will be decided next week if the coach fails to steer his team to the Malaysia Cup semi-finals with success against Felda United.
But that is a tall order, as Selangor had lost the quarter-final first leg 4-0, leaving them with a mountain to climb in the second leg at Temerloh Stadium tomorrow.
Selangor had allegedly produced a half-hearted performance in the first leg rout by Felda last weekend following a dispute over match bonuses.
The FA of Selangor (FAS) promised a bonus pay-out of RM20,000 to their team for reaching the quarter-finals but it has yet to be fulfilled.
However, the association has been excellent paymaster this season while the bonus pay-out has been delayed due to technical reasons (A contradictory sentence if ever there was one but what does 'technical reasons' mean exactly? They have no money in the bank?).
Durakovic, who met the Super League target by guiding his team to second place, has a three-year contract with the 32-time champions.
His contract, however, has a clause which states that FAS can review and terminate the agreement if he does not meet targets.
FAS is also said to be unhappy with several players, who have been causing disharmony in the dressing room.
Some players, who have one-year left on their contracts, are demanding for a pay rise and want FAS to comply before the end of the Malaysia Cup.
National winger S. Kunanlan and goalkeeper Farizal Marlias are said to be heading to Darul Ta'zim next season.
“I do not want to comment about other issues apart from the match on Friday (tomorrow). As a coach, I need to prepare my players the best possible way for the challenge,” said Durakovic in Shah Alam on Tuesday.
“I am a big Selangor fan and I want the team to do well. Nothing is impossible in football. I believe we still have a chance of progressing.”
Durakovic, however, is expected to drop several big names, who failed to inspire last weekend, in tomorrow’s match.
Despite the team’s internal problems, FAS has yet to issue an official statement about the issue.
FAS secretary Rosman Mohd Ibrahim and other office-bearers do not want to comment, and are waiting for deputy president Datuk Mokhtar Ahmad, who will return from overseas on Monday, to decide on the team.
COMMENT - I wonder where all this leaves Andik Vermansyah?


Results 8/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Semen Padang v Persipura 1-0 (Nur Iskander) 15,000
Persela v Arema 2-2 (Addison Alves, Taufiq Kasurun; Alberto Goncalves, Samsul Arif) 11,157

1 - Arema 2 1 1 0 4-3 4
2 - Persipura 2 1 1 2-1 4
3 - S Padang 2 1 0 1 2-2 3
4 - Persela 2 0 1 1 2-4 1

Divisi Utama Play Offs

Pusamania v PSCS 2-0 (Febri Setiadi Hamzah, Arie Supriyatna) 2,439
Martapura v Persis 1-0 (Brima Pepito) 3,276
Persiwa v PSIS 1-1 (Robert Elopere; M Yunus) 214
PSS v PSGC 2-0 (Saktiawan Sinaga 2) 17,985)

1 - PSS 2 1 1 0 4-2 4
2 - PSGC 2 1 0 1 2-2 3
3 - PSIS 2 0 2 0 3-3 2
4 - Persiwa 2 0 1 1 1-3 1

1 - Pusamania 2 1 1 0 3-1 4
2 - Martapura 2 1 1 0 3-2 4
3 - Persis 2 0 1 1 1-2 1
4 - PSCS 2 0 1 1 2-4 1

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Warriors Reignite SLeague Title Race

Another year and the SLeague fails to disappoint. For so long it seemed the title was DPMM's for the taking under former Blackburn Rovers coach Steve Kean.

With Rodrigo Tosi (22 goals) and Roy O'Donovan (15) leading the way, DPMM have scored the most goals and conceded the least. Defeat Warriors last night in Brunei and they would have been six points clear of nearest challengers Tampines.

It didn't happen though. Despite falling behind to a goal from O'Donovan half way through the first half, Warriors showed their metal and two goals either side of half time by Nicholas Velez and Kevin McCann had the Warriors believing they still had a role to play in the title race.

Hafiz Rahim made it 3-1 and although the home team pulled one back in the final minute through Shah Razen Said they held on for a famous win that puts them well and truly back in the mix.

1 - DPMM 24 14 4 6 60-27 46
2 - Warriors 24 13 5 6 47-32 44
3 - Tampines 24 12 7 5 28-28 43
4 - Albirex N 24 12 5 7 49-37 41
5 - Home United 24 12 5 7 48-36 41
6 - Balestier Khalsa 24 11 6 7 44-29 39


Under 19s Looking Ahead To Myanmar

It's been a long journey but finally Indonesia's Under 19s are ready for the AFC Championships in Myanmar which begin today. How long a journey? Well, it began in Sidoarjo, was moved to Jakarta and since then has taken in all points of the compass in Indonesia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Spain and Vietnam.

Since qualification was earned in Jakarta back in October 2013 at the expense of South Korea, Laos and the Philippines, the Young Garuda as they are known have played some 40 games with mixed results.

When it comes to playing their peers on the road they have struggled. At the Hassan Bolkiah Trophy in Brunei they lost to the hosts, Vietnam and Cambodia while drawing with Malaysia and defeating Singapore in a dead rubber final fixture.

In Vietnam they were comfortably defeated by Thailand and Myanmar.

They did fare better in the Middle East, beating UAE twice, as well as winning and losing against Oman in a double header in Muscat. Needless to say they were well beaten on their trips to Spain when Luis Suarez, who I believes played for Liverpool, scored for Barcelona in their 6-0 win.

They haven't fared much better at home against international opponents, recording a single victory in five games against Myanmar, Lebanon and Yemen.

But for a team with aspirations of international glory, their home form against local club sides and select teams, while seeing lots of victories, has been less than stellar. They lost just once on their so called Nusantara(s) Tour, 1-0 against Villa 2000 in their final game, but scraped many another victory along the way and were often held by sides that had little preparation; for example 1-1 against West Java National Games Selection. Or what about a narrow 2-1 victory over amateur side Persiter?

Like I said, hopes are high and some people have even taken time out to book flights to Myanmar to catch the team when they come up against Uzbekistan, Australia and UAE.

But do they have a realistic opportunity of getting out of their group? Coach Indra Sjafri has had an unprecedented build up for an international competition with the team given lots of opportunities to gel both home and abroad and many in the country are expecting success. Forget that these age level events are not really about lifting trophies but more about nurturing the next generation and early hype does not always translate into sustained success later on down the line. We only have to look at the Sampdoria experiment back in the 1990s which spawned the likes of Bima Sakti, Kurnia Sandy and Dwi Ilham Jayakusuma and see what happened to them.

Or we have the generation of Bambang Pamungkas, Firman Utina, Budi Sudarsono, Ponaryo Astaman and their ilk, given numerous opportunities to thrive at national level only to fall short.

Indonesia's football future does not rest on the shoulders of those teenagers who have built an impressive number of airmiles over the last 12 months. We know there are some talented players within their squad. No, what will determine them fulfilling their potential in years to come is the people who run the game and my concern, ahead of Indonesia's first game against Uzbekistan on Friday is these kids have already been run into the ground in a haphazard schedule that has been high on travel and low on developing skills and understanding on the field.

I do hope I am wrong.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Title Chasing DPMM Offer Free Admission

STEVE Kean is expecting a tough challenge when DPMM FC entertain Singapore League (S-League) title contenders Warriors FC tonight in a game in which entrance will be free.
S-League DPMM FC, who are on 46 points, will be looking for victory after three-time defending champions and second placed Tampines Rovers cut the lead at the top to only three points - while the trio of Warriors FC, Albirex Niigata (S) FC and Home United FC are all locked on 41 points.
Balestier Khalsa are only a further two points back after a Goran Ljubojevic brace lifted them to a 2-0 win over Albirex at the Toa Payoh Stadium in Singapore last night.
Brunei’s only professional team have been cut short on firepower with league top scorer Rodrigo Tosi, who has 22 goals to his name, serving a one-game suspension for his fourth yellow card of the season.
DPMM FC head coach Kean knows it will be an uphill task but believes his charges can produce a positive result at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
“It will be another difficult match. Rodrigo is an influential player and is big part of why we have done well this year,” said Kean in a post-training interview with The Brunei Times at the match venue last night.
“But it is unfortunate that players pick up suspensions at this stage of the season. I didn’t pick my side just the day before but we have been working hard for the past 10 days.
“They are looking really sharp and energetic. This is an opportunity for someone else to step up and they have to enjoy taking part in the games with the pressure that goes with it.
“I’m confident after seeing the way we trained and we have done a lot of work on aspects that were not well in last game
“Preparations have been good and we are ready for this game,” continued the Scotsman.
DPMM FC are coming off a 3-2 loss at the hands of Home United in the second leg of the Singapore Cup semi-finals on Friday, the result ending their chance of a treble this season.
Kean has assessed the weaknesses and is hoping they will be able to do better defensively.
“Defensively we have really been working on a lot of set plays. Against Home we conceded five from set plays from the league match to the Singapore Cup,” said the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
“As that happens we lose a bit of confidence but we have tightened up. I don’t think we can have any lapses in concentration against a team like the Warriors.
“They have got good height, good technical delivery and set plays will be very important,” continued Kean.
Warriors head coach Alex Weaver is focused and knows that they cannot afford another defeat after coming off a 1-0 loss at the hands of Balestier Khalsa FC on Wednesday.
“We need the three points for a chance to win the league,” said Weaver.
“We were quite unfortunate in the last game as we had a goal disallowed even though it was onside, and we had a penalty decision turned down and one against us.
“It was very harsh for us and I believe Balestier fans would agree. The players performed well and we are expecting to keep the same standard tomorrow (Tuesday night),” he added.
“DPMM FC are a good team, but we have beaten them before in the season and we will try to do it again.
“Rodrigo’s absence is a big loss for Brunei but we know Steve Kean will organise his team very well. We’ll be ready and looking forward to it,” he concluded.
The Warriors will be missing defender Zulfadli Zainal Abidin and midfielder Thomas Beattie due to suspension but they will welcome back the duo of forward Miroslav Pejic and defender Ismail Yunos from suspension.
Kick off is at 8.15pm and fans are encouraged to wear red.
The Brunei Times


Results 6/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Persebaya v Mitra Kukar 1-1 (Onorionde Kughegbe; Herman Dzumafo) 2,675

Having done the double over Mitra Kukar during the regular season, including a exciting 4-2 win in East Kalimantan, Persebaya were denied another win after Dzumafo's late equaliser cancelled out the home team's opener.

Persebaya fans continued to stay away despite the importance of the game and some cynics would have seen the match up as a Kutai derby!

Not the start big spending Persebaya would have wanted in their opening play off tie but surely a great point for Mitra Kukar.

Persib v Pelita Bandung Raya 1-0 (Achmad Jufriyanto) 13,500

When is a derby not a derby? When it involves Pelita Bandung Raya. Once upon a time there was a Bandung Raya and indeed they even won the Liga Indonesia one time. But that was yonks ago and today Bandung is most definitely blue.

Be that as it may, Persib have struggled against PBR this season, picking up just one point from the regular season games.And they struggled in this game as well even when PBR were down to 10 men after Hermawan received a second yellow card just before half time.

There was one delightful moment in the first half that would have delighted fan around the world when Persib's midfielder Firman Utina picked up a poor clearance on the edge of the box and curled a delicious effort with the outside of his right foot that keeper Deniss Romanov was forced to clear, flinging himself to his right and plaming the ball round the post.

The goal came from one of the worst corners in history that was allowed to bounce three times before it reached Jufriyanto at the back stick and he couldn't really miss.

The game was also memorable for PBR's Kim Kurniawan taking out Hariono. Imagine a bulimic Aleksander Hleb taking out Roy Keane and you get the idea!

The fans may  not have embraced the concept of a derby match yet but on the field it had all the thrills and spills you would expect with nine yellow cards all coming in the first half and yes Ferdinand Sinaga got one as well.


Balestier Khalsa v Albirex Niigata 2-0 (Goran Ljubojevic 2)

Albirex could have gone second had they managed to win this game but they didn't. They lost. 2-0. Ljubojevic now has 20 goals for the season, a pretty impressive return for his first season in Singapore and a campaign that surely would have made other clubs in teh region sit up and take notice.

Monday, October 06, 2014


Singapore Squad


Izwan Mahbud (LionsXII) 25 caps
Hassan Sunny (Warriors) 42 


Ismadi Mukhtar (Tampines) 0 
Al Qaasmiy (Young Lions) 2 
Baihakki Khaizan (LionsXII) 106/3
Amirul Azmi (Young Lions) 1
Safuwan Baharudin (LionsXII) 35/1
Afiq Yunos (LionsXII) 8
Shaiful Esah (Tampines) 37/2
Hafiz Sujad (LionsXII) 9


Gabriel Quak (LionsXII) 6/2
Fazrul Nawaz (Home United) 66/7
Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Takzim) 40/2
Zulfahmi Arifin (LionsXII) 6
Shahdan Sulaiman (Tampines) 36/1
Faris Ramli (LionsXII) 5


Shahril Ishak (Johor Darul Takzim 2) 112/11
Shafiq Ghani (LionsXII) 12/2
Khairul Amri (LionsXII) 84/19
Sahil Suhaimi (Young Lions) 5/1
Khaiul Nizam (LionsXII) 5

10/10 v Hong Kong
14/10 v Macau


Aleksander Duric Testimonial

Singapore. To mark his retirement from competitive football, Duric, who is into his final season with S.League club Tampines Rovers, will feature in the Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters - a friendly match between the Liverpool Masters and a Singapore Selection.

The game, to be played at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Nov 15, will double up as a testimonial match for the Bosnia-born Singaporean, who will be part of the local legends team led by Fandi Ahmad and V Sundramoorthy.

Among the names pencilled in for the Liverpool Masters are former Liverpool stars Patrik Berger, Vladimir Smicer, Steve McManaman, and player-manager Ian Rush.

Duric, who made 54 appearances for the Lions, scoring 27 times, said he is "really honoured".
"I'm an Arsenal fan, but I don't think there's a better way to end my career than sharing a pitch with so many great players. "I grew up watching Ian Rush play for Liverpool and Juventus, so this is exciting for me.

"Believe it or not, this will also be the first time I will be playing with Fandi and Sundram. I can't wait."

Duric, the only player to pass the 300-goal mark in the S.League, was part of the Singapore side that lifted the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup. He announced his international retirement last year.
He has not decided if he will stay in football in another capacity. He said: "One thing for sure is that Singapore is my home, and it's where I'm staying.

"I grew up here in many ways; as a man, as a player, and as a father (of three children)."


Singapore Selection v Liverpool Masters
Nov 15 (Sat), 7pm
Jalan Besar Stadium
Tickets, priced from $7 to $30, are on sale at Fans who purchase tickets online before Nov 11, 12pm, will get the chance to win opportunities to dine with the teams, travel with them on the team buses and even sit beside the players on the team benches during the match. Winners will be picked during a lucky draw on Nov 12 when the Liverpool Legends arrive in Singapore.


Fandi Ahmad, Steven Tan, V Sundramoorthy, Nazri Nasir, Malek Awab ,Rafi Ali, Shahri Rahim, Rezal Hassan, Lim Tong Hai, Dalis Supait, S Subramani, Zulkarnaen Zainal, Aide Iskandar, Aleksandar Duric, Nahar Daud and Syed Faruk


Jerzy Dudek, Vladimir Smicer, Stephane Henchoz, Steve McManaman, Steve Harkness, David Thompson, Markus Babbel, Michael Thomas, Phil Babb, Jari Litmanen, Bjorne Tore Kvarme, Robbie Fowler, Patrik Berger, Dietmar Hamann and Ian Rush

- See more at:

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