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Friday, October 31, 2014

 

Fare Thee Well, Alex

Today marks the end of an era. Aleksander Duric will walk on to the pitch at Clementi Stadium for the last time as Tampines Rovers take on DPMM in what is effectively the title decider. If Duric leads Tampines to victory his last deed as a professional footballer could be to help one of his former clubs, Warriors, to list the SLeague. Just one of the many delicious sub plots to another thrilling title race in the city state.

Duric's story has been oft told and indeed I touch upon it in my book if I ever get the bloody thing published. Born in Yugoslavia, represented Bosnia at the Olympics, moved to Australia, making his Singapore debut, Duric is globalisation wrapped up in one tidy, neat package.

He deserves a massive send off at Clementi Stadium. He also deserves the FAS sitting him down, asking him about his future plans and trying to keep him involved in football on the island. There are few people better qualified than Duric after all to state the case for football.

He has won the SLeague eight times for Geylang United, Tampines and Warriors nee SAFFC. Singapore Cup three times. Charity Shield five times. Top scorer four times. Player of the year three times. And let's not forget the ASEAN Football Federation he won with Singapore back in 2012. Yep, he came to Singapore, he saw and he conquered the bloody lot. An impressive haul for a gangly youth who once hitched to Barcelona to represent Bosnia in the Olympics. In rowing.

So, Alex. Sorry I won't be there to see your final game tonight. Hope it goes well for you and I hope you stay involved in Singapore football. The game needs you.

 

Results 30/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Pelita Bandung Raya v Persiib 2-1 (Kim Jeffrey Kurniawan, Wawan Febrianto; Tantan) 5,000

Well well, a bit of a turn up. Many people were expecting Persebaya to clinch the final semi final berth joining Persib, Arema and Presipura but oh no, it is PBR. Persib have not enjoyed the best of luck against their Bandung 'rivals' winning just one of their previous league meetings this season and they were always chasing this game. An intriguing attendance don't you think?

Mitra Kukar v Persebaya 3-3 (Raphael Maitimo, Zulham Zamrun, Herman Dzumafo; Isaac Tuku Popo 2, Emmanuel Kenmogne) 1,594

Despite falling behind, at one stage Persebaya were leading 3-2 and at least for 15 minutes they were taking their place in the semi finals but 'twas not to be as Dzumafo levelled for the home side on 51 minutes. The Green Force end the play offs winless and with just one defeat but bottom of their group.

1 - Persib 6 4 1 1 11-7 13
2 - PBR 6 2 2 2 4-4 8
3 - Mitra Kukar 6 1 2 3 8-10 5
4 - Persebaya 6 0 5 1 7-9 5

SLeague 

Woodlands Wellington v Harimau Muda 3-2 (Moon Soon Ho, Fadhil Noh, Milos Jevtic; Nurshamil Ghani, Akhir Bahari)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

 

Results 28, 29/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Semen Padang v Arema 2-2 (Nur Iskander, Airlangga; Cristian Gonzales, Alverto Goncalves) 12,234

Seven yellow cards including four in the last few minutes, this sounds like firey fun but then what would you expect considering all the fireworks that have gone on during the play offs this season. Semen Padang miss out on a semi final spot by just a single point which is a shame as they have done wonderful things over the last season or two but I guess they just don't have the right, um, thingies.

Persela v Persipura 1-4 (Addison Alves; Boas Solossa, Ian Louis Kabes 2, Robertinho) 1,201

The Champions are through after finding some form late on but are we really surprised? Certainly it has been a disappointing play off series for Persela who garnered just one point from their six games and even their normally loyal support stayed home for this one.

Arema will play Persib. Somewhere. When you consider they still haven't met in the Inter Island Cup Final yet it could be fun deciding where the game will be played. Some suggestions Palembang. We will have to wait and see I guess.

SLeague

28/09 Albirex Niigata v DPMM 0-1 (Adi Said)
29/09 Hougang United v Tanjong Pagar 4-2 (Geison Moura 2, Firman Hanif, Igor Ferreria; Ramdani Kamel, Asraf Rashind)

Game on! DPMM are back on top of the SLeague, ahead of Warriors on goal difference. All will be decided tomorrow when Warriors host Albirex Niigata and reigning champions Tampines take on DPMM.

I would love it, just love it if Aleksander Duric, playing his last ever SLeague game before retiring, scores the goal that defeats DPMM and ensures his former side Warriors lift the title!

 

FAM "Praying' Malaysia Cup Final Goes Smoothly

In the absence of serious planning all the authorities can do is seek divine intervention. Yeap, a few days away from the Malaysia Cup Final, the oldest domestic cup competition in the region, organisers hope nothing goes wrong.

Well, what can go wrong? Apparently the on line ticket process has been a mess but that is almost a foot note.

The final is being held at Bukit Jalil and the date was brought forward because the FAM wanted to give the national team more time to prepare ahead of the AFF Cup that begins later in the month. Unfortunately the stadium owners had already made bookings for the rearranged dates in the venues around the stadium so now an estimated 100,000 fans from the competing sides, Johor Darul Tazim and Pahang, must rub shoulders with some religious expo and a show about Sarawak culture.

Why hasn't the game been switched to Shah Alam Stadium instead? That is also unclear with one official mumbling something about needing a bog stadium so 'the fans aren't disappointed.'

It is estimated 150,000 people could be converging on the stadium and its surroundings and it seems little has been done to prepare for them and their access.

The FAM has been told between 300 and 500 buses will be bringing the two sets of supporters...yep, between 300 and 500. No one seems to know how many exactly.

Other fans will no doubt want to drive...good luck on that one lads, and have been advised to arrive at the stadium two hours before the gates open and nearly seven hours ahead of kick off. At least they can learn about culture in Sarawak I suppose.

If anyone wants to use trains then  yes, there will be trains at the nearby station but no one seems to know when they will stop running. Anyway, 'those on duty at the station know what to do.'

One official is quoted as saying 'hopefully everything will go smoothly. We pray for that.'

 

Jakarta Globe Column

This week's column looks at the events surrounding this season's Divisi Utama Play Offs. Check it here

Monday, October 27, 2014

 

Results 25-26/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Persib v Mitra Kukar 2-1 (Firman Utina, Vladimir Vujovic; Herman Dzumafo) 27,500
Persebaya v Pelita Bandung Raya 1-1 (Emmanuel Kenmogne; Agis Indra Kurniawan) 2,246

Persib definitely through to the semi finals of the ISL but the big question is who will  join them? You can be sure they won't want to do their city neighbours PBR any favours when they clash. And what of Persebaya who have yet to impress during this stage of the competition?

Free scoring during the main season with Kenmogne and Greg Nwokolo seemingly scoring for fun, the goals seem to have dried up. Now, they must travel to East Kalimantan (or return if you follow the supporters' narrative) and win there if they are to have a chance. Mind you they won there 4-2 last time!

GROUP 2
1.PERSIB541010-513
2.PELITA BANDUNG RAYA51222-35
3.MITRA KUKAR51135-74
4.PERSEBAYA50414-64

Divisi Utama Play Offs

PSS v PSIS 3-2 (og, og; og, og, og)
Martapura v PSCS 1-0 (Henry Njobi Elad) 4,576
Pusamania v Persis (Persis stayed at home)

Ok so PSS, PSIS, Martapura and Pusamania go through to the semi finals...depending of course on what the PSSI decide after they investigate the PSS game!

GROUP 1
1.PSS642013-614
2.PSIS632116-811
3.PSGC51136-104
4.PERSIWA50141-121
GROUP 2
1.MARTAPURA FC63218-711
2.BORNEO FC52128-67
3.PSCS62137-97
4.PERSIS51225-65

Malaysia Cup 

Johor Darul Tazim v Felda United 3-1 (Luciano Figuero 2, Amri Yahyah; Raimi Noor) 30,000

JDT win 6-5 on aggregate and will play Pahang in next weekends final.

SLeague

Young Lions v Geylang International 1-1 (Iqbal Hussein; Felice Ezequiel)
DPMM v Balestier Khalsa 1-1 (Rodrigo Tosi; Zulkifli Hasim)

Just two points from their last five games, four of them at home, have left DPMM fans hopes of an SLeague hanging by a thread after it seemed to be their's to lose. Warriors are three points clear but the Brunei side do have two games in hand and they may be relieved both are away...with the final game at Tampines Rovers!

 

No Joke As Komedi Hits Late Own Goals

In many countries football is kind of dull. In England you know the richest teams will win the league for example. Oh yes, there may be some upsets along the way but you know how it will end up.

Indonesia? Aah, Indonesia, truly a land where a surprise is guaranteed around every corner.

We have seen two leagues, two national teams preparing for an international competition and two players' unions. We have teams travelling to away games which could take 24 hours door to door.

The play offs currently taking place in the Indonesian Super League and Divisi Utama have seen fans killed, mass brawls and the country's first choice goalkeeper get throttled by an official from the other side.

Despite the importance of the play offs, two teams have refused to travel to one of their away games!

Amid all this consider the game between PSS and PSIS, a game to decide who won their particular group..

The game was played behind closed doors after an earlier incident and ended in a 3-2 win for the home team. PSIS took the lead with an own goal by Agus Setyawan on 78 minutes. They doubled their lead on 88 minutes when Herman Putra Jati made it 2-0...with an own goal.

Moments later, M Fadli pulled a goal back for the home team. It was of course an own goal! Then things turned really funny when Komedi scored on the 90th minute to level the scores before netting an injury time winner to make it 3-2 to PSS. Komedi of course plays for PSIS!

So, five goals and all of them own goals!  I recall a game in England once when a player scored all the goals in a 2-2 draw, was it Chris Nicholl, then of Aston Villa, and not to long ago Jon Walters scored two own goals for Chelsea against Stoke.

But five own goals? And look at the timing of them; 78', 88', 89', 90', 91'. And interesting none of the foreigners on either team were involved in the starting XIs.

The game has proved so controversial, even the PSSI have been forced to admit they will investigate it...PSSI, PSS and PSIS!

How ironic. While the Indian Super League is wowing fans with a slick, well presented product backed by deep pockets, the game in Indonesia remains the preserve of petty potentates empire building.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

 

Results 24/10

Malaysia Cup

Pahang v Kedah 5-0 (Matias Conti 3, Gopinathan Ramachandra 2) 32,000

Pahang win 6-3 on aggregate and will defend their title in the 2014 Malaysia Cup Final against either Johor Darul Takzim or Felda United. For the neutral, ie me, it would have been great to have seen two sides from the Premier League but like anywhere else money talks and both Pahang and JDT do have wealthy backers.

SLeague

Albirex Niigata v Home United 2-1 (Kento Nagasaki, Kazuki Sakamoto; Lee Kwan Woo)

 

Persib Fans Given Warning Of Harsher Measures

In response to yet more unruly crowd behaviour during the play offs, Persib fans, known as bobotoh, have been told they can watch their next game in the stadium at Si Jalak Harupat but any repeat of the flares and racism that occurred at their last game against Persebaya will see a heavy sanction against the club including the possibility of having points deducted or even being relegated to Divisi Utama.

Ticket prices for their game against Mitra Kukar on Sunday have been released:

VIP - Rp 125,000 
Side VIP - Rp 60,000 
East -  Rp 40,000  
North / South - Rp 25,000

 

More Controversy Surrounding Johor Darul Takzim

JOHOR BARU: A Felda United football training session at Padang Seri Gelam here on Friday was disrupted by a group of rowdy fans, who lit flares and smoke bombs and hurled abusive language at the players.
The team, nicknamed The Fighters, were training at Padang Seri Gelam for the Malaysia Cup semi-final, second-leg tie against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) at around 5.30pm when the group, about 100-strong, started to provoke the players.
The group unfurled banners with the words “Welcome to hell” and “No Way Out” and started lighting flares.
They then started to hurl abuse at the Felda United players. The team had no choice but to cut short their training session due to security reasons, and the “fans” dispersed when police arrived at the scene at about 6pm.
Felda United have a 4-3 advantage over JDT in the Malaysia Cup semi-final, and the second leg will be held at the Larkin Stadium on Saturday.
COMMENT - apparently Darul Takzim means 'abode of dignity'! 

 

PSSI Acts Quickly Following Persipura Disturbances

In the wake of the ugly scenes that marred the recent play off between Persipura and Arema, whn one official looked to be throttling Arema's Meiga Kurnia (Indonesia's first choice goalie no less) with a number of suspensions and fines being handed down.

The two players who were red carded get suspensions and fines for their actions while another Persipura received a suspension.

And those involved in the attack on Meiga? They have been banned from the game for 12 months.

The scrap between the two players bordered on pathetic as this video shows but what kind of idiot tries to squeeze someone's throat like that?

 

The Guardian Discovers Indonesian Football

Indonesian football has made the sainted pages of the online Guardian. Unfortunately it is not good news, with a video showing the riot that followed the recent play off between Persis and Martapura at the Manahan Stadium.

The video also says the game features two Central Java sides...oh well.

So, Indonesian football. You have made the world's press sit up and take note. Perhaps next time it can be for something positive?

Friday, October 24, 2014

 

Disturbed Play Offs

Players throttled.
Fans battling police.
Fans dying.

No more play offs. I know they were deemed necessary this season as the league attempts to reconcile the clubs that had been competing in the IPL but given the stakes and the total lack of any serious crowd control or player control they are just to risky.

 

Palembang To Host Semi Finals

The presence of Persib in the Indonesia Super League semi finals has forced the league to reconsider their options when it comes to a host venue. Reports suggested the original venue was to have been Bung Karno in Jakarta but there is no way the security officials would have allowed tens of thousands bobotoh roaming free in the capital city.

So they hit on Palembang. Good news for Semen Padang if a bit of a trek but a lengthy journey for either Mitra Kukar or Persipura if they make it.

 

Results 22-23/10

Indonesia Super League Play Offs

Persib v Persebaya 3-1 (Konate Makan 2, Ferdinand Sinaga; Emmanuel Kenmogne) 25,500

1 - Persib 4 3 1 0 8-4 10
2 - Mitra Kukar 4 1 1 2 4-5 4
3 - Pelita Bandung Raya 4 1 1 2 1-2 4
4 - Persebaya 4 0 3 1 3-5 3

Persib have booked their spot in the semi finals...which means they at least won't be playing in Jakarta! The other spot remains up for grabs with all three teams still in with a shout!

Divisi Utama Play Offs

Persis v Martapura 1-1 (Dedi Cahyono; Isnan Ali) 18,702

This game ended in a riot with fans invading the pitch and battling the police. Disturbances continued outside with suggestions one supporter died.

PSGC v PSS 2-2 (Yana Mulyana, Rosian Indira Saputra; Guy Junior, Bagus Suwardi) 2,126
PSCS v Pusamania 2-1 (Haudi Abdillah, Andesi Setio Prabowo; Feri Aman Saragih) 6,364
PSIS v Persiwa 5-0 (Hari Nur Yulianto 3, M Yunus, Ahmad Noviandani) 8,620

So it looks like we have PSIS and PSS through to the next stage while there is all to play for in Group 2.

GROUP 1
1.PSIS532014-511
2.PSS532010-411
3.PSGC51136-104
4.PERSIWA50141-121
GROUP 2
1.MARTAPURA FC52217-78
2.BORNEO FC52128-67
3.PSCS52127-87
4.PERSIS51225-65

SLeague

Warriors v Tampines Rovers 2-1 (Agu Casmir, Miroslav Pejic; Noh Alam Shah)
Harimau Muda v Tanjong Pagar 0-5 (Asraf Rashid, Etiemble Gerard 2, Zerka Monsef, Hafiz Osman)

Advantage Warriors! They do have the points in the bag but Steve Kean's Brunei side will point to their games in hand to give them an advantage but is three games in six days an advantage? Again, the SLeague delivers an exciting end to the campaign.

1 - Warrriors 26 15 5 6 52-35 50
2 - DPMM 24 14 4 6 60-27 46
3 - Tampines 26 13 7 6 42-31 46

Remaining Fixtures

25/10 DPMM v Balestier Khalsa
28/10 Albirex Niigata v DPMM
31/10 Warriors v Albirex Niigata
31/10 Tampines v DPMM

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 red...watch 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

SLeague

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

SLeague

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.

PREPARE

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.

CHALLENGE

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: http://news.asiaone.com/news/sports/ongs-boys-back-s-

league#sthash.Jqvb1q6S.dpuf

 

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.

CLASH OF DATES

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."

UNHAPPY

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?

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