Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The SLeague Challenge

The SLeague this season has been great fun with import side Super Reds challenging the more traditional Uniform (SAF and Home United) domination.

My column this week on ESPN looks at the challenges the SLeague faces putting bums on seats for the games. The players are doing their bit...

I'm back this weekend and if the games are half as exciting as last week's Home United v Balestier Khalsa it should be a good 'un

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Super Reds go clear

Super Reds, the surprise package in the SLeague, took advantage of recent slips by Home and SAF when they beat Dalian Shide 1-0 at Yishun Stadium. The goal came halfway through the first half from Seo Su Jong.

1. Super Reds 12 10 1 1 24 10 31
2. SAF 11 8 2 1 32 11 26
3. Home United 11 8 2 1 32 13 26

Monday, April 28, 2008


Indonesia v Yemen Pictures

Pictures from Indonesia's win can be found here



Malaysian muslims aren't too keen on Chelsea visiting their precious land because they will be bringing Israelis Avram Grant and that defender fella who rarely plays. Israelis are banned from visiting Malaysia while jews can come and go.

It's a daft policy bred in ignorance...Israeli Christians and Muslims are banned while American and British Jews can enter!

Anyway these beards have sent a petition to the Malaysian Home Minister saying

'If the Israeli footballers are allowed entry, the government would be seen as being insensitive to the feelings of the Palestinian victims of Israeli ethnic cleansing and atrocities, and the majority of the Malaysians who sympathise with them and support their struggle for justice and peace,' the petition says.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, a spokesman for the group, said on Monday that the signatories would consider staging protests during the tour if the government refused to back down.
'People are very, very angry with the decision, so we are going to have discussions on this,' he said.
The last time Israeli athletes were allowed in Malaysia was for the 1997 ICC Trophy cricket tournament, which resulted in street protests in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia - Truly Asia.

Chelsea had arranged a friendly against a Malaysia Select in July but whether they go ahead with it now remains to be seen. Certainly if the mad mullahs win it will damage the Malaysian tourist industry!


Weekend wrap

'Cos I was away at the weekend no time to do a proper look at the games in the region so here are the results.


Geylang United v Sengkang Punggol 2-0

Thai Premier League

Chonburi vCoke Bangpra 0-0
Bangkok University v PEA 0-1
Bangkok Bank v Nakhon Pathom 1-1
Army v Tobacco Monopoly 1-1

Malaysian Super League

Kedah v Pahang 1-0
Penang v PDRM 0-1
Sarawak v Terengganu 2-4
Johor v Selangor 3-2
Negeri Sembilan v DPMM 3-2
Perak v MyTeam 2-1


Home United v Balestier Khalsa 1-2

What a game!

When you get the unbeaten top of the league side hosting the bottom of table side there is, you would expect, one winner.

Home United started on the attack with midfield play maker Peres de Olivera controlling things exqusitely but apart from a flurry of questionable free kicks on the edge of the area Home rarely threatened the visiting keeper Daniel Ong.

For all their possession it was Balestier who looked lively on the break with Paul Bekombo and Mba Vitus Onyekachi being ably supported by their hard working midfield.

With Home squandering chance after chance from set plays it was perhaps no surprise when Po Yi Feng gave the Tigers the lead 3' before half time.

Second half the pitiful crowd of just over 1,000 settled back for the Home onslaught but what we got was more of the same. Ludovick finally did equalise after Ong had fumbled a corner with 8' to go but this game wasn't over.

After a mix up in the Home defence from a corner Khalsa, attacking in numbers with 5' on the clock got an unlikely winner when Farhan Musbah turned home after captain Haruki Seto injured himself stretching for the ball.

The travelling support went mad as did the players and the bench while the Home fans looked on distraught. Smash and grab!

The ref added 6 minutes as first Seto then Ong recieved treatment but the points and the glory belonged to Balestier Khalsa.

Inspired by Robbie Savage lookalike Seto at the back Khalsa never stopped going for the three points in this pulsating game that was evidence indeed the SLeague is becoming an attraction in it's own right.

The only downside was the attendance and I will be looking at some of the challenges the SLeague faces in attracting the paying punter in this week's ESPN column I hope!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Indonesia v Yemen

Living in Indonesia is brilliant! Just had a few beers with the missus and a mate and I have forgotten the fact that earlier this evening we had no power so couldn't see the Yeman game!

Indonesia won 1-0 at Siliwangi Stadium in Bandung, a stadium not yet ready for Liga Super but deemed fit for a FIFA friendly.

Bambang scored the winner in front of 15,000.

Marcus Horison
M. Ridwan, Charis Yulianto, Nova Arianto, Fandi Mohtar
Mahyadi Panggabean, Firman Utina, Ponaryo Astaman, Syamsul Haeruddin, Arief Suyono
Bambang Pamungkas


SAF slip again

SAF made it four games without a win as they were surprisingly held 2-2 by Gombak United in tonights SLeague game which leaves Super Reds two points clear of the military giants with a third of the season played.

Murakami gave SAF the lead on 24 minutes and it took the Bulls a while to get back in the game with Obatola getting a pen on 70'.

Therdsak the experienced Thai gave the Warriors the lead on 89' minutes but seconds later Jalal secured a point for Gombak.

Tomorrow we see Home take on Balestier with three points giving them top spot but for SAF is it a season too far as Paul Masefield has said a few times on Top Corner recently?


Super Reds back on top

In last night's games Albirex Niigata lost 2-1 at home to Woodlands Wellington at Jurong East.

In the other game Super Reds went goal crazy as they beat Tampines Rovers 5-0 and returned to the top of the SLeague. Goals from Seo Su Jong 21',64', Kim Jae Hong 66',90', Choi Young Min 82' sent sorry Tampines packing.

The Stags went into the game eight points behind 3rd placed SAF and desperate to force their way back into the top three but it wasn't to be as the Koreans finally found their goal touch.

Super Reds are two points clear of Home and three clear of SAF. Tonight SAF, without a win in three games, play Gombak while tomorrow unbeaten Home host winless Balestier Khalsa.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Saturday's games

I'm away for the weekend so here is a quick rundown of what we can look forward to this weekend in and around South East Asia.

Home United will look to extend their unbeaten start to the season when they take on winless Balestier Khalsa at Bishan Stadium but the visiting Tigers will take heart from their point against Super Reds last time out. It's top v bottom with 23 points between them, it's a no brainer isn't it? Isn't it?

In Thailand the top tie is probably TOT at home to BEC Tero while the Chonburi derby between Coke Bang Phra and Chonburi could also be fun. Last week Chonburi took 500 to much for a local game?

Selangor still need points to secure third spot in Malaysia but they may not fancy a trip to Johor while their nearest rivals Negeri Sembilan host DPMM. Champions Kedah host Pahang while Sarawak will need something from their home game against Terengganu if they are to avoid the drop this season.


Friday action

Apart from the Indonesia v Yemen game which I cover elsewhere Persija host Persibom in a pre season friendly at Lebak Bulus.

In the SLeague SAF have the chance to return to winning ways when they travel to Gombak


Indonesia v Yemen Preview

Tomorrow sees Indonesia play their first game under the tutelage of new coach Benny Dollo as they host Yemen at Siliwangi Stadium in Bandung.

With ticket prices ranging from 5,000 rupiah to 50,000 hopes are high that Bandung's fanatical football fans will support the national team in large numbers.

Indonesia's record against Yemen isn't bad with two wins and three draws in their last five meetings but their recent form causes concern with just one win in their last five and that against Bahrain during last year's Asian Cup.

Dollo has had the team together for a couple of weeks and it will be interesting to see what kind of line up he goes with. The feeling is he will favour an all Persija strike force of Bambang and Aliyudin but we won't know for sure till tomorrow.

Yemen coach Mohsen Mohammed Saleh has already started the mind games by saying the pitch in Bandung is like a rice field. Yeah I know it ain't really a mind game, just trying to hype the game! He goes on to say it's the same for both teams but why use the whole quote when you wanna push an agenda?

Last 5 Meetings

87 - Indonesia v South Yemen 1-0 Jakarta Asian Cup Qualifier
97 - Indonesia v Yemen 0-0 World Cup Qualifier
97 - Yemen v Indonesia 1-1 Sanaa World Cup Qualifier
03 - Indonesia v Yemen 3-0 Jeddah Asian Cup Qualifier
03 - Yemen v Indonesia 2-2 Jeddah Asian Cup Qualifier

Indonesia Last 5 Internationals

v Syria 0-7
v Syria 1-4
v South Korea 0-1
v Saudi Arabia 1-2
v Bahrain 2-1


Standing by...

With more than a couple of clubs in real danger of losing their Liga Super status before a ball is even kicked, all applicant clubs must reach standards for finance, law, stadium, management and something else, a few clubs are waiting in the wings.

Persebaya, Persis, PKT Bontang and PSIS are among the clubs who have reached the benchmarks and are just salivating at the thought of a PSMS, Persiter or Persitara failing to make the grade.


AFC Champions League update

Chonburi v Chunnam Dragons 2-2

A last minute equaliser from Pipob On Mo secured a remarkable comeback by Chonburi at the Supachalasai Stadium and effectively knocked the Koreans out of this season's tournament.

Gamba Osaka visit Thailand next month favourites to qualify being five points clear with two games remaining. Victory for the Thais would not only upset the apple cart, it might also overturn the khao man gai stall.

The Korean coach of course was not a happy bunny, blaming the rain.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Sengkang score shock horror!

Sengkang Punggol came from behind to secure their fourth point of the season this evening at home to Gombak United.

Actually, that's slightly misleading. Gombak did take the lead through Obatola with a seventh minute penalty and the home team did equalise on the 13'. Through an own goal by Bah Mamadou.

The unfortunate Bah is now the Dolphins joint top scorer alongside Yamamoto who also has one goal but at least he has the decency to play for the club.

The not quite free scoring Sengkang, from the north east of Singapore, climb off the foot of the table ahead of Balestier Khalsa who play Home on Saturday.


Super League sides cruise through

Kedah v Melaka 6-2 (10-3 on aggregate)
Sabah v Pahang 0-1 (4-1)
Selangor v Kuala Muda 4-1 (4-2)
Felda United v Terengganu 1-1 (2-4)

The big boys eased through to the semi finals of the FA Cup earlier this evening with Kedah leading the way. Already 4-1 up from the first leg Marlon Alex James hit four to show the northern's side seriousness in winning the cup back to back.

Former Persib striker Barkaoui hit Pahang's solitary goal in Sabah but the job had been done in the first leg. Selangor overcame a first leg deficit to crush Kuala Muda with Frank Seator among the goals.

Semi finals in June.


Corruption in Malaysia

Rumours are rife that match fixing still persists in the Malaysian game. Rumours are all well and hunky dory but hard evidence is needed. This story comes from the Malaysian paper The Star.

Tuesday April 22, 2008
Sign of corruption in Malaysian game?
PETALING JAYA: Are the bookies back at work?
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have got to crack the whip as there are clear indications of the unhealthy practice making a return to the Malaysian Super League (MSL) this season.
It seems to be an “open secret” but none have been bold enough to come forward to report any match-fixing incidents to enable the authorities concerned to open up police investigations and to take action against the culprits, who bring disrepute to the game.
Last month, the Sarawak FA (FAS) suspended two players suspected of fixing a match.
Sarawak's Borneo Post reported that the FAS would conduct investigations into alleged match-fixing following the suspension of the two players.
Sarawak coach Kunju Jamaluddin admitted that two players had been suspended but did not to wish to elaborate on the offence.
“All I can say is that they were punished for indiscipline,” said Kunju when contacted in Kuching yesterday.
However, according to reliable sources, other players in the team were also suspected to be on the take and that each player had received RM20,000 to fix the result of a game.
Sarawak are languishing at the bottom of the 13-team Super League with 14 points.
With two more matches to go they are likely to be relegated to the Premier League next season.
The last nationwide crackdown on bookies and match-fixers in 1994 saw more than 100 players hauled up by the Police and many were subsequently banned.

And this story came from NST but the link I have is FAM.

Police probe nine players
Date: 22/04/2008, Source: NST
THE Police FA has hauled up nine players for poor performances while a coach has written to the FA of Malaysia (FAM) on at least two occasions stating his suspicions that bookies could be rearing their ugly heads in Malaysian football again.
Police, Premier League champions last year, conducted an internal inquiry on the nine following their poor performance in a season which has seen them only collect 18 points from 22 matche s.
“We conducted a domestic inquiry because these players have simply not been up to mark. We have not taken any action just yet though,” said Supt Mohd Annuar Othman, the executive secretary of the Police FA The management of the team is privatised with a budget of RM1.5 million.
Police were already in the limelight earlier this season when they signed Singaporean strikers Ahmad Latif Kamaruddin and Noh Alam Shah.
Noh Alam was subsequently released as he was serving a one-year suspension imposed by the Singapore FA while Ahmad Latif failed to impress.
Meanwhile, a coach is waiting for FAM to investigate his complaints about undesirable elements approaching his players.
In another development there is talk that bookies have made a comeback to the Malaysian Super League.
While some state or clubs penalised players based on poor performance it is learnt a local coach has written twice to the FA of Malaysia about his suspicions and about his players being ap - proached.
According to sources, a foreign national has made contact with players from the coach’s team.
He has been sighted at a house occupied by one player and also at the team training ground.

By : Christopher Raj

Monday, April 21, 2008


Samut Songkram win away

In a game held over from Saturday Samut Songkram beat Customs 3-2 at Ram Klao. Excuse my Thai which may be a bit rusty but from what I can make out the visitors took the lead on 25' through Chaipaen. Sorry, can't do his first name!

Naret equalised on 39 minutes, this time his surname is a handful. Dioue Bireme made it 2-1 in injury time of the first half for the visitors.

Worawat made it 2-2 on 90 minutes but Customs had little time to savour the point as Bireme scored his second moments later and the points belonged to Samut Songkram who may lie in 8th spot with 12 points but they are second top scorers in a league where goals are hard to come by. Just five teams have reached double figures while Bangkok Bank have scored just four and concede four in their eight games.

The Thai Premier League now looks something like this:

1. BEC Tero Sasana 9 5 3 1 18-7 18
2. TOT 8 6 0 2 10-4 18
3. Chonburi 8 5 3 0 10-4 18

The top scorer as far as I can make out plays for PEA and has netted six times thus far. His name you ask? I'm glad you asked me that...Ranchai?


FA Cup action hits Malaysia

Kedah tomorrow night host Melaka in the FA Cup knowing that with the Super League already theirs a 4-1 first leg victory has as good as assured them of a semi final place and they aim to regain the FA Cup.

Wounded giants Selangor welcome second tier Kuala Muda knowing they will need to score early as they seek to overturn a slender 1-0 deficit from the first leg. In the other games Pahang travel to Borneo to play Sabah with a 3-1 advantage from the first leg while Terengganu have a similar advantage as they take on second tier opponents Felda United.


Uniforms tie in Singapore

In what looks like a right old ding dong affair at the Warriors Arena Singapore giants SAF and Home United fought out a 2-2 draw in front of an impressive crowd of 3,700.

SAF took an early lead on 3' when Fukasawa scored and Thai international Therdsak made it 2-0 on 35 minutes.

Home United came out second half all guns blazing and within seven minutes were level as first top scorer Ludovick then Peres De Olivera kept their unbeaten record intact.

For Richard Bok's SAF that is three games without a win while Home have a one point cushion over their rivals and upstarts Super Reds

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Kurnia heads east

Kurnia Sandy, former Indonesian national team goalkeeper, has headed east again, this time to Persebaya. Kurnia, who I interviewed recently for ESPN, last season played for Persik and before that Arema.

He told me he wanted to stay in the Jakarta area if possible but his move to Persebaya who will play in the Liga Premier, one step down from the Liga Super, shows the ambition of the team from the City of Heroes.


The Uniform Derby

Another big clash in Singapore tomorrow sees Home United take on Singapore Armed Forces at the Warriors Arena.

As well as dominating the SLeague this season they have traditionally been the teams to beat in the newish (began 1996) SLeague with SAF winning the title 6 times and Home twice.

SAF of course have won the title in the last two seasons while Home last tasted success back in 2003 but this season it is the Protectors who are setting the pace unbeaten after 9 games with a one point cushion over their bitter rivals.

Kengne Ludovick is the League's leading scorer with 10 goals so far this season while SAF's own goal predator Aleksander Duric isn't far behind with 9.

SAF have wobbled of late losing 3-2 to the Super Reds while being held 1-1 at Jalan Besar by Victory in the AFC Cup while Home have won 12 of their 13 games this season, just Gombak United getting anything from the side from Bishan drawing 3-3.

Clubs backed by various arms of the government may not be as sexy as the likes of Liverpool or Arsenal but these guys are raising the standard of football in Singapore and it is up to the other clubs to try and match them as Super Reds are trying.

The world is not yet ready it seems for live coverage of the SLeague but you can find out how the game pans out here and of course Top Corner on Tuesday will hopefully have some coverage on Star Sports!


Tampines beat the Lions

Despite taking the lead last night at Tampines Stadium Young Lions threw the game away in a couple of minutes just before half time.

Khairul Amri scored on 34' but Sutee Suksomkit on 43', Aliff Shafaein a minute later made sure it was the Stags who went in at half time the happier of the two teams. Rafi Ali made the win secure on the hour making it 3-1.

Tampines are fourth seven points behind third placed SAF who play Home on Monday evening


BEC Tero goal feast

Leaders BEC Tero beat Chula Sinthana 5-1 yesterday to cement their spot at the top of the Thai Premier League all be it with a superior goal difference. Chonburi also won, beating Osostpa 1-0 in a game where the ref dished out six yellows and two reds. The Sharks were roared on by 500 travelling fans!

The hapless Army were beaten 3-1 by Champions League contenders KTB while TOT beat Nakorn Pathom 2-0.

Bangkok University beat the Tobacco Monopoly 1-0 which proves studying is better than smoking kids!

In the other games PEA and Coke Bang Phra secured 1-0 victories over Port and Bangkok Bank respectively.


Kedah lose

PDRM surprisingly beat newly crowned champions Kedah 2-1 in last night's Malaysian Super League. Indonesian international Elie Aiboy was among the scorers as Selangor found winning form thrashing Sarawak 4-1.

Penang also sprung a surprise beating Terangganu 4-2. Pahang beat Perlis 1-0 while DPMM lost 2-0 at home to Johor and Negeri Sembilan beat UPB MyTeam by the same score.

1. Kedah 22 17 2 3 54 23 53
2. Selangor 22 14 3 5 44 30 45
3. Negeri Sembilan 22 12 6 4 42 28 42

*Selangor have yet to have their 3 point deduction imposed as the club appeal the decision.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Persma and Persigi

Two clubs have withdrawn from the Liga Premier. Persma Manado and Persigi Bali have decided they are not able to compete in the second tier of Indonesian football and the FA have announced they can compete in the third tier as amatuers.

Persigi had problems last season with Coach Henk Wullems not getting paid for a few months. With no omey forthcoming from the local government they decided there was little they could do but not enter the new era of football in Indonesia.

Given the relative wealth on the island of Bali it's a shame there are no private investors willing to put something together to promote the game on the region. With many European clubs tapping into Asia and Bali a world class brand it ain't rocket science. Teams, and not just European, will want to come to Bali...for now no Indonesian sides will be making the journey.


Mark Redshaw must try elsewhere

Young English striker Mark Redshaw, who has spent time with Manchester United and LA Galaxy, will not be allowed to ply his trade in the Liga Super that commences in July.

As part of their move to improve the standard of the game here the FA have decreed imports must have played the game at a high level elsewhere. Redshaw's last club was Rossendale United who play in the Unibond Northern Premier League which is a long way down the pyramid.

This comes from a Rossendale United website

Posted: 18 September 2007 at 4:04pm IP Logged

Rossendale United have taken the opportunity, early in the season, to strengthen their squad. First to arrive is Mark Redshaw who has just returned to the UK after a spell in the Belgium league. Mark is no stranger to Dark Lane having previously been with club in 2004. He is an experienced forward whose previous clubs include both Manchester City and United. Derek Egan, Rossendale’s manager commented “Mark’s a positive signing. He made an immediate impact at the Mossley match on Saturday when he came off the bench and his goal clearly showed his quality and pedigree”.

Mark Redshaw first signed for Rossendale in the 2004/5 season and was one of Mark Molyneaux’s initial signings. He made eight appearances for the club, scoring once in a League Cup tie away at Kendal Town.

Mark is one of 16 players so far who have tried to play here and been rejected because they are deemed to have come from a level lower than where the Liga sees itself.


Juventus to avoid Indonesia

A short while back I announced that Juventus were looking at visiting Indonesia as part of the Asian tour this year but the FA baulked at the asking fee.

The Italian club have now announced their schedule as they chase the Asian buck:

22/5 - South China
24/5 - Shanghai Shenhua
30/5 - Melbourne Victory

Good news for any fans of Brunswick Juventus who may still be milling around!


It's all over in Malaysia

Champions Kedah play PDRM while Selangor have a battle on their hands for second place. They host Sarawak while the other contender Negeri Sembilan go to UPB MyTeam.

Most interest will be on Alex James, Kedah's lethal striker, who has hit 22 goals so far in the Super League. With the title done and dusted will he be rested ahead of next week's FA Cup clash against Melaka or even for the AFC Cup?


BEC Tero and Chonburi fight for top spot

The Thai Premier League returns after a rest over Songkran with BEC Tero and Chonburi sharing top spot on 15 points with Chonburi a game in hand.

Today BEC host Chula Sinthana while Chonburi travel to 4th placed Osotsapa. TOT also have 15 points but have slipped up recently and will hope to find some form when they travel to Nakorn Pathom today.

Thai Tobacco Monopoly have 13 points in 5th place and could go top if results go their way. They play Bangkok University.

Three points separate the top seven clubs in the TPL while at the bottom Army have just one point and today play Champions League contender KTB who won 9-1 last time out against Vietnamese opposition. 1-0 anyone?


Intercontinental Cup

This grandly named new cup will be played for the first time next month in Malaysia. Featuring the Under 23 squads from eight countries it promises to showcase the best in young talent.

Taking part are Malaysia, Australia, Argentina, Ireland, Nigeria, Ghana, Iraq and Croatia.

It runs from May 15-25 and will be played at KLFA Stadium in Cheras and the MBPJ Stadium in Petaling Jaya.


Super Reds held by cellar dweller

In possibly the biggest surprise of the season so far the high flying Super Reds missed the chance to go top after being held 1-1 by lowly Balestier Khalsa last night at Jalan Besar.

Haruki Seto gave the Tigers an early lead on 6', their 6th goal in 10 games, and it took the Reds until the 55th to draw level through Choi Young Min.

1. Home United 25 points from 9 games
2. Super Reds 25 points from 10 games
3. SAF 24 points from 9 games
4. Tampines 14 points from 9 games.

Tampines tonight host the Young Lions but must feel that with less than a third of the season gone they are out of the race. But stranger things have happened!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Indonesia host Oman?

The FIFA website shows Indonesia play Oman 26th May.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


FA promise to work towards AFC/FIFA demands

This comes from the AFC website.

Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) vice-president Nirwan D. Bakrie said he would convey the importance of amending the association’s statutes as per FIFA’s directives to the stakeholders of Indonesian football.
Bakrie was speaking to on Tuesday after meeting AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam at AFC House where he made an appeal for maintaining the same number of voters in the statutes, which are to be amended soon.
“We requested AFC/FIFA to consider maintaining the number of voters in the amended statutes but we understand their stand for a rationalisation of the number of voters,” he told “There are no issues with other amendments sought by the governing bodies, except the voters’ list. Now we will call all the stakeholders to Jakarta because we need their help and understanding to sort out this issue,” he said. “We also need some time from AFC and FIFA before adopting the amendments,” added Bakrie.
Regarding football development projects in his country, Bakrie said that the PSSI had signed a four-year contract with Uruguay to send their youth teams for training. “Our under-16 team is already undergoing training in Uruguay as we have qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship,” he said.
“We are also setting up a School of Football Excellence to train budding footballers. Hopefully, this centre will begin operations this year.” About reintroducing football in schools, Bakrie said that the association would seek assistance from the education ministry on this issue. “Football was part of our school curriculum before but shortage of grounds has seen the schools losing interest in the game,” he explained.

They have of course had plenty of time but have been dragging their feet ever since FIFA first made the announcement.


Persija want 2 million dollars

It started out as a story on an unheralded website and it's interesting that outside there no one else has run with it beyond a few Indonesian site but while Persija deny any contact has taken place they say 1 million pound would tempt them to do business.

As with the recent Max Vieri story you can't help but think some agents are at work here.

I would post links but I can't open Jakarta Casual!!!


AFC Cup scores

Victory v Home United 1-3
Kedah v South China 3-0 (James, Arriagada 2)

1. Home United 4 4 0 0 13-5 12
2. Kedah 4 3 0 1 8-6 9

Kitchee v Perak 2-2
SAF v New Radiant 1-1 (Wilkinson)

1. SAF 4 3 1 0 14-2 10
2. Perak 4 2 1 1 8-10 7

Not a good night for SAF as they went a second game without a win after losing to Super Reds at the weekend but they should hav eenought to still qualify while Home United are looking over their shoulder at Kedah. Everything will depend on the next time these two teams meet

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Newcastle United to Indonesia?

You can't fault the officials for not trying this year. While last year Indonesian fans got to see mighty Hong Kong and a Liberian Select play on these islands in international friendlies this time round the bars seems to be raised.

Confirmed are Bayern Munchen which is under a DFB initiative as well as Yemen next Friday, Tajikistan and New Zealand Olympic squad.

Now there is talk of Newcastle United! I have heard about the Toon Army going to Hong Kong but now there is a chance KK wants to touch the island of the gods itself, Bali. No direct quote there...

An FA official has also thrown Parma into the mix reasoning they will be cheaper than Juventus who were offered earlier but were deemed too expensive.

Talk of course is cheap but I think at least airing these ideas keeps the game in the public domain during the close season; ain't nothing worse than being ignored!


Bambang and Derby County

One rumour starting to do the rounds regards Persija and Indonesia captain Bambang Pamungkas interesting relegated Premier side Derby County.

I first sensed something was in the air when someone googled Bambang and Derby yesterday and ended up here...I know too much time.

I heard over the weekend the striker had been unhappy at the behind the scenes bickering at Persija and was contemplating a move but I understand he has signed a contract and is more content now coach Danurwindo has settled things down.

Both coach and player deny any knowledge of a bid which as far as I can make out comes from a story first aired here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


How good is Asian football?

Tonight's Top Corner highlighted the best of Asian football. Snippets of action from Gamba Osaka's thrilling victory in Melbourne; Super Reds beating mighty SAF in the SLeague; Kedah securing their second consecutive Super League; quality goals from Home United.

Some controversy as well with Selangor being deducted three points.

Quality stuff on your own doorstep but hey, better pray Manchester United or Chelsea come a calling eh?


Batistuta coming to town

Following Carlos Bilardo's coaching clinic earlier this month fellow Arentinians Gabriel Batistuta and some geezer called Goycochea (sp?) will be over early May.

Contrast these seminars held during the close season with Malaysia bringing Ian Rush over mid season and sending young players to Chelsea.

Rumour has it Diego Maradona is coming in June as well.


Where next for the Indonesian FA?

Jailed FA head continues to sit in jail and refuses to step down in accordance with AFC and FIFA demands that Indonesia organise new elections. Today the FA flew to AFC and asked to keep the status quo. This piece comes from the AFC site.

KUALA LUMPUR: AFC has turned down the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI)’s request to maintain the status quo in terms of the number of voters in the new statutes, which is to be re-drafted to benefit the development and organisation of football in Indonesia on a long term basis.
Currently, there are 627 members eligible to vote in the PSSI elections but with the proposed amendments to the statutes, the number is set to be reduced considerably. A PSSI delegation, headed by its vice-president Nirwan D. Bakrie, met AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam and appealed for the current number of voters to be maintained.
The AFC chief, however, emphasised the importance of bringing the statutes in line with FIFA’s Standard Statutes which would also mean a rationalisation of the number of the current voters. “It is important for all the stakeholders in Indonesian football to understand that amending the statutes and having a proper structure of football administration in place will benefit their football,” Bin Hammam said, underscoring the need of a pyramidal model of football administration.
“We want the regional and provincial associations to have more powers than before and ideally only they should represent their province in the national association.” “This will result in a reduction in the number of voters.” In the meeting, it was also made clear to the Indonesian team that only the PSSI Congress had the right to elect the President and the members of the Executive Committee. The current statutes give the rights to the President to appoint the members of the Executive Committee but with the new statutes in place these positions would be filled by an election in the Congress. AFC also rejected membership and voting rights for the Executive Committee members, honorary president, independent auditor and General Secretary in the Congress.
AFC also suggested the renaming of regional boards to regional associations. Bin Hammam insisted that PSSI statutes must follow full democratic and transparent procedures. The visiting delegation, which also included PSSI General Secretary Nugraha Besoes and AFC Executive Committee member Dali Tahir, also apprised the AFC chief of their grassroots and youth development plans.


Pelita Jaya fail to snap up Rivaldo

It made for good headlines for a while but Pelita Jaya, in announcing they were interested in recruiting Rivaldo, overlooked the small matter of Brazilian's contract which has two more years to run in Greece.

Undeterred they are now thinking about Jay Jay Okacha, Marcio Amoroso and Jimmy Floyd Hassailbank.


Yemen change again!

Indonesia v Yemen will now be played 25th April at Siliwangi Stadium, Bandung.


Lions leave it late

Young Lions left it late but they finally overcame Balestier Khalsa with two goals and leave the visitors winless at the bottom of the table.

The highly rated Khairul Amri scored first on 86' before the promising Hariss Harun sealed it on 88'


Our away support

While the last few weeks have been disappointing our support away has been impressive. You might excuse people for losing a bit of enthusiam but oh no. Indeed listen to the interview with Rio after the game on Sunday and all you can hear is the Arsenal support. Remember, this was a game that confirmed our title race was over; in truth it had been since Birmingham away.

In my day I always prefered away games. We used to take thousands to places like Villa, Leicester, United while there were also days like Everton and Leeds when we had just hundred but still great days.

During Sunday's game the noise I could hear wss mostly Arsenal's. The Indonesian United fans made more noise than the 'fabled' Stretford End while only someone who has never been there could sing "Oh Manchester is wondeful' with so much passion.

This clip comes from after game when United fans should have been celebrating and we should have been crying in our beer. We weren't were we?

Monday, April 14, 2008


SAF are human!

Singapore Armed Forces lost a five goal thriller at Yishun last night against Super Reds which sees the Korean side move within a point of the uniform giants at the top of the SLeague.

SAF took the lead through Manzur on 17 minutes only for Sin Hyun Ho 40' to equalise with a penalty. Moon Soon Ho gave the home team the lead on the hour mark but three minutes later a Kim Sang Eun own goal made it 2-2.

Super Reds sneaked the victory when Yun Bo Young scored deep into injury time.

Following the defeat SAF coach Richard Bok was mangnaminous saying “Well this is part and parcel of football. It’s a long season, and it’s better to get this out of our system early on. Now we need to regroup, and look forward to the Home United game. I thought it was quite even, we both came out to play good football. The difference was that they took their chances, and we didn’t. But it was good entertainment for the crowd.”

Last year's whipping boys Super Reds have a steely determination about them this time round and despite all the doubts are hanging on in there. It looks like we have a genuine three horse race in Singapore and next up is SAF v Hone United! 2nd v 1st...

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Home keep winning

In the three way game of leap frog at the top of the SLeague it's now the turn of Home United to sit at the pinnacle of Singapore football after brushing aside an inept Sengkang Punggol 4-0 last night at Bishan Stadium in front of 1400 fans.

Home took the lead courtesy of an own goal by Yamamoto before Ludovick, his tenth, and Jantan made it 3-0 at half time. They eased off second half with just Peres de Oliveria netting his sixth of the season on 52'.

They get to stay top for 24 hours before SAF and Super Reds meet head on tonight in a fixture that will give us a real indication of the Reds title winning abilities.

Sengkang Punggol have scored one goal in their nine games this season but are kept off the bottom by Balestier who have a point less.

Home are one point clear of SAF and four clear of Super Reds having played a game more than their nearest rivals.


Selangor implode

Selangor's season goes from bad to worse. Having lost to Kedah in a top of the table clash then go down 1-0 to lower division opposition in the FA Cup this last week has seen the Red Giants lose three points on a disciplinary matter and now they got thumped 4-1 at lowly Penang.

Kedah are champions after a 2-1 victory at home to Terengganu put them 11 points clear, 14 if Selangor lose their appeal. James and Huggins scored for the champions elect.

Former PSMS playmaker Gustavo Chena score his forst goal for new club Perlis as they went on to beat PDRM 4-1 in Kangar. DPMM won the Borneo derby beating Sarawak 1-0 in Kuching while Perak lost 3-1 to Negeri Sembilan. In the other game Johor beat MyTeam 2-1

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Lenglolo heads east

After failing to impress new Persija coach Danurwindo Cameroonian striker Christian Lenglolo who helped lead Sriwijaya to a domestic double last season is heading for Persema Malang.


Liga Super 2000/09

Two clubs are struggling to meet the benchmarks set by the FA for Liga Super participation next season. Persiter Ternate are finding it difficult to attract funds and sponsorship as are PSMS Medan. The latter is a bit of a surprise given that they are one of the grand old names in Indonesian football but last season they faced financial difficulties and several players went a while without getting paid.


Tampines slip up again

Tampines Rovers lost the Eastern derby last night 1-0 at Jalan Besar in front of the biggest SLeague crowd of the season and without sounding all Alan Hansen like you gotta wonder whether their chances of winning the title this year are gone for good.

Brazilian Junior scored the only goal for Geylang after 35 minutes to settle the match and leave Tampines wondering what they have left to play for. This defeat, their third in nine games leaves them 10 points behind leaders SAF who have played a game less and have yet to drop a point this campaign.

Geylang's victory takes them up to 6th spot. The two sides from the east of the island are the only clubs outside of SAF and Home United, also known as the uniform clubs because of their background, to have won the SLeague.

* Home are the team of the police and other civil defence units while SAF are the armed forces club.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Adebayor's goal at Anfield

As I simmer down and reflect on our defeat at Anfield two things spring to mind. One is that though we played better than we did at OT and WHL in previous knock outs we didn't really give their keeper much to do.

The second thing is our second goal that for 30 seconds had us in the semi finals. That was old skool Arsenal, counter attacking at pace and getting bodies in the box. Something we ain't done regularly since we left Highbury.

That is how we dominated before and that is how we will dominate again. Enough of this pussy footing around, it's like trying to sprint through mud.

Now if only Wenger starts with Theo and sends Eboue off an some gap year somewhere very very far away


Indonesian round up

PSM have confirmed the signings of both Julio Lopez and Claudio Pronetto. That completes their quota of five foreign players, the others being Aldo Baretto, Ali Kadaffi and Sakibou. The rest of the squad hail from South Sulawesi.

Persik have announced they will extend the deal with their kit manufacturer Lotto. They will also increase the ticket prices for next season and are looking into the possibility of allowing fans to buy tickets on line.

Daniel Roekito, former Persik coach, has been installed as the new coach of PSIM Yogyakarta who will play in the Liga Premier next season.

Double winners Sriwijaya are considering changing their name. No more details beyond that but they are used to new names. They started life as Persijatim in East Jakarta before moving to Solo. Palembang is their third home!

Persik lost 5-1 to Persija in a friendly at Lebak Bulus. Two goals from Robertinho plus efforts from Abanda, Suprinyo and Bambang doing the damage. Monday sees Pesik, from Kuningan, take on Persitara.


Singapore Cup Draw 2008

The draw for the Preliminary Round was made earlier today.

Super Reds FC vs Geylang United FC
SAFFC vs Balestier Khalsa FC
Dalian Shide Siwu FC vs Home United FC
Sengkang Punggol FC vs Tampines Rovers FC
Gombak United FC vs Thailand Tobacco Monopoly FC
Woodlands Wellington FC vs DPMM (Brunei)
Albirex Niigata (S) FC vs Bangkok University FC
Young Lions vs Phnom Penh FC (Cambodia)

Games some time early May


Super Reds

But Manchester United or the SLeague high flyers?

Sunday sees SAF take on Super Reds in a crucial top of the table clash that could see the Warriors move six points clear of the Reds. But will many fans bother turning up for this intriguing clash?

It does after all clash with the small matter of United v Arsenal.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to predict what Sunday's papers will be all about; give you a clue, you won't find Alexander Duric's name in bold letters on the back page. Instead the media will tap into Singapore's love of a team most of them will never see in a city they will never visit.

SAF are probably the best team in ASEAN at the moment but when you consider most fans in ASEAN countries have no idea who the 'big' teams are in other countries then perhaps it's time the ASEAN football federation got serious about a club tournament featuring the best in the region.

Asian football may not be 'cool' but I see no reason why teams like Chonburi, Selangor, SAF and Persija can not become recognisable brands in the region. Just takes a little vision...and a lot of money!


Selangor's bad week

It started last Saturday when they lost teh vital top of the table clash with Kedah at home 1-0. They then lost 1-0 to Premier League side Kuala Muda in the first leg of the FA Cup. Can things get worse?

They have just been stung 34,000 RM and deducted three points!

They withdrew four players from a coaching clinic run by Ian Rush the other week to prepare for a cup tie with Perak but this action is in breach of FA rules hence the punishment.


Kedah and MyTeam are losing a player at a vital time of the season so they can spend two weeks with Chelsea's youth team. Now this. It is commendable that the FA are looking at ways to improve quality but surely they need to think about the timing?

Yet again this smacks of 'oh look at us, we're sending players to Chelsea, we have Ian Rush coaching our forwards, Manchester United are coming to town.' These headline grabbing gestures come at the expense of the domestic football scene and perhaps shows where priorities lie.

As it stands now Kedah need one point from their final four games to secure back to back championships but it has been soured somewhat by Selangor's points deduction. The title was as good as the Canaries anyway but one can't help but think that in future nothing but nothing takes priority over the dignity of the national competitions.


Arema squad

01 M Yasir , 02 Dadang Sudrajat , 03 Kurnia Mega, 04 Richi Pravita Hari, 05Dodik Wahyudi
06 Alexander Pulalo, 07 Ahmad Jufrianto 08 Sroso 09 JefriPrasetyo, 10 Eick Setiawan
11 Ahmad Bustomi, 12 Ronny Firmansyah 13 Arif Suyono, 14 Ahamd Dambring, 15 Fandi Mochtar 16 Bachtiar 17 Hendra Ridwan 18 Zlkifli 19 Ali Usman 20 Emile Mbamba

They are still looking for more foreign players to add to the squad


Duric hits a hat trick

A hat trick in 9 second half minutes from Alexander Duric sent SAF back to the top of the SLeague last night as they brushed aside Young Lions.

Their eighth straight win of the season is an SLeague record beating the previous one held by SAF back in 2002.

The Warriors are two points clear of Home United in second and three points clear of Super Reds. With eight games played it is difficult to see any other team challenging for the title won last year by SAF and indeed it is probably only a matter of time before Super Reds fall away.

In the 12 years of the SLeague SAF have won it six times and come second on four occassions. Home have won it twice as have Tampines and Geylang.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Rahmat Rivai to Persitara

Given the current doubts regarding the future of Persiter Ternate top scorer from last season Rahmat Rivai has signed for Persitara and will lead new coach Richard Azreg's revolution in North Jakarta.

The 30 year old striker, who incidentally replaces his hero Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, may not be the only departure from the side in Maluku whose stadium is struggling to meet new FA guidelines.


Pre season tournaments

With the season still the best part of three months away clubs are now turning their attention to warm up games. PSIS will host the Tugu Muda Cup (Monument to Youth) in Semarang featuring Persija, Persik, Persita, Persipura, Persiwa, Arema and PSS. The tournament kicks off 10 May and runs for 10 days.

Later in the month Malang and Kediri will host the East Java Governor's Cup with games also being played at Sidorajo and Surabaya. Among the featured teams are Persik, Deltras, Arema, Persema, Persela, PSM, Persib, Persija, Mitra Kukar, PSIS plus some others. Organisers no doubt will be hoping Arema don't get to play Persik given the recent history between the sets of supporters.

There has been talk of the Bang Yos Cup, traditional curtain raiser in Jakarta but last I heard they were looking at holding it in Medan given that PSMS had won it the last three times. Not sire how much money PSMS have mind...


PSM add Pronetto

Stylish midfield player Claudio Pronetto has been snapped up by Sulawesi giants PSM. The Makassar club, who last season failed to reach the play offs for the first time in the history of Liga Indonesia hope the silky Argie will provide the bullets for Chilean import Aldo Baretto.

PSM are also looking at Julio Lopez who so impressed last season with the struggling PSIS but it remains to be seen whether JLo fancies another spell in Indonesia. Second choice is Osas Marvelous who club officials describe as 'though not as good as Lopez he isn't a bad player.'


Yemen switch to Bandung?

Indonesia's friendly with Yemen may be switched to Siliwangi Stadium in Bandung from Gelora Sriwijaya in Palembang. The Yemen FA apparantly didn't fancy a second flight after the long haul into Jakarta so the officials here are considering moving the game to Bandung.

The prestige friendly against Bayern Munchen will take place in Jakarta at Bung Karno Stadium while venues for the Tajikistan and New Zealand games are yet to be confirmed though the likelyhood is either Jakarta or Solo.

New coach Benny Dollo begins the teams first training session on 14th April with the Yemen game 27th April


Pelita Jaya think big

In the old days of the semi professional Galatama Pelita Jaya were possibly the biggest name in Indonesian football. Indeed much of Persija's older support cut their footballing teeth following one of Indonesia's first privately owned clubs in the early 90's when they were winning trophies galore and attracting aging imports like Roger Milla and Mario Kempes.

Krismon, the financial meltdown that hit South East Asia back in 1997, slowed football down but there are now signs that the country, despite numerous off field shenenigans, is flexing its muscle one more time.

With a new stadium, Jalak Harupat, Pelita Jaya are now looking at filling the vast open terraces and are looking to some famous names to help them do so. Three names mentioned so far are Rivaldo, Marcelo Salas and Mario Jardel.

Obviously these guys won't come cheap and all three are unlikely to be strutting their stuff in the Liga Super but the Pelita Jaya manager, Rahim Soekasah, says 'If one of these players wants to come here and the price is reasonable then sure we will take him. Our priority is Rivaldo.'

Could such a signing Beckhamize Indonesian football? That of course remains to be seen but the fact that a club is thinking along these terms is evidence that football here needs to be run by professionals and not political appointees.



Home United go top

It is the turn of Home United to lead the SLeague in the private three horse race that is threatening the other nine clubs with the status of also rans before we are a quarter of the way through the season. Home comfortably beat Woodlands last night 3-0 with goals from Shi Jiayi 19' Kengne Ludovick 57'(p), his 9th in the Sleague, and Shahril Ishak 59'.

Fourth placed Tampines are seven points of the leading pack. Tonight SAF could return top as they play Young Lions at home in their game in hand looking for an eigth consecutive victory. The full table can be found here.

In Thailand Bangkok Bank beat Army 2-0 to keep the soldiers at the bottom of the table.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


KTB hit 9 in ACL

KTB, Krung Thai Bang, thumped Vietnamese side Nam Dinh 9-1 in the Asian Champions League earlier this evening. A hat-trick from Nantawat Thaensopa, four goals from Kassim Kone plus goals from Pichitpong Choechiu and Thanut Wongsuparak gave the Thais victory and their first points after three games.

Cynical bugger me but 9-1? KTB lost their first game against Kashmia Antlers by 9-1 at home. They lost 4-2 in Beijing as well in their only away game so far.

But 9-1 in two consecutive home games?

The second Thai team competing, Chonburi, lost 1-0 to Chunnam Dragons in South Korea.

In Australia Melbourne Victory lost 4-3 at home to Gamba Osaka in a barn storming affair.


New pictures

Just uploaded heaps of stuff on to Asian Football Pictures. None Asian, most are from England and Europe mid 80's back when football was football, not footy, the menu was bovril, panda pops and wagon wheels and Sunderland was 12 quid return...


We just ain't good enough

Witness Torres' goal midway through the second half. The way he controlled the ball and turned, the way he struck the ball, the signs of a quality striker. Ok he was given space but even so...Contrast with Adebayor. Now I may not have the tactical nous of a Wenger but surely when you want to have one man up top alone he needs certain attributes. Like a first touch. The ability to bring someone else onto play. Adebayor struggles to do the latter because all too often he fails in the former.

It's pointless moaning about the penalty. It's Liverpool and they have been getting away with that kind of shit for years. Two dead certs at ours rejected, Babel falls and they get one. Get used to it, Liverpool get the rub of the green on pens and that won't change.

Of more concern should be this:

Tottenham Carling Cup 1-5
Man United FA Cup 0-4
Liverpool Champions Lge 2-4

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Wenger? This team has developed a losing habit and I don't see any sign of that changing any time soon. Not with this current squad. It started in Paris against Barcelona, continued against Chelsea in last year's Carling Cup and it still flows through the team. They expect to get beaten whether they take the lead or not and Wenger has done nothing about it.

Instead the French manager whines about penalties and feeling hard done by. Me, I'd have a long hard look at his team and get ruthless. As it stands too many of these players are not good enough. People say it takes three years to build a team, this has been three years and we have won nothing.

We're Arsenal. We want trophies not pretty football. Leave that nonsense to serial underachievers like Tottenham and Newcastle.

We ain't even playing good football anymore. Teams have sussed us, pack the area in and around the penalty area and suffocate us. Wenger hasn't risen to the challenge. Can he?


Golly, the Kop

Oh no, listen to the Kop. Arsenal don't stand a chance, the Liverpool fans are like a 12th man...


The Arsenal Way

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Paul Shipwright who is the Business Development Manager for the Arsenal Soccer Schools.

We discussed Arsenal's approach to developing grass roots support in other countries rather than fly in on high profile short tours. You can find the interview here.


Persija to play friendly

Persija have lined up a friendly this Friday against Persik. Not the East Java giants, these are the guys from Kuningan in West Java. New signing Ade Suhendar, from PSPS, may get his first run out in this game which kicks off at 3.30.


Singapore Cup

The draw for the Singapore will be made later this week. The 12 SLeague teams will be joined by four foreign clubs this season. DPMM from Brunei who compete in the Malaysian Super League, will join as will Phnom Penh Empire. Two Thai clubs complete the 16, Thai Tobacco Monopoly and PEA.


Dalian crush Geylang

New boys Dalian Shide showed last night their early season woes are behind them as they crushed Geylang United 3-1 at Bedok Stadium.

Wang Dongqing gave Dalian the lead on 25'. Geylang equalised through Masturi on 55' but Dalian responded quickly with Jiang Jihong restored the lead on 65' and Wang Liang made it three on 68'.

Dalian move up to 5th but they have played more games than anyone else while Geylang surprisingly, well not suprisingly in that they have just won twice all season, are third bottom.


Malaysian FA Cup action

In last night's quarter finals first leg Selangor surprisingly fell 1-0 to Premier League side Kuala Muda in Alor Star. Kedah thumped Melaka 4-1 with Marlon Alex James getting a pair while Terengganu, playing their second game in three days, beat Felda United 3-1. Pahang beat Sabah by the same score.

The second leg will be played in two weeks time.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Tampines hit six

Tampines sent out a stark warning to the likes of SAF and Home United last night. After falling behind midway through the first half at Jurong East Stadium against Albirex Niigata the Stags hit their hapless hosts for six without troubling their own keeper again.

After the Japanese side had taken the lead on 22' Fahrudin Mustafic 24' hit back almost immediately. Aliff Shafaein scored minutes later before an Takatoshi Uchida own goal on 33' gave them a 3-1 half time lead. Qiu Li scored twice in the second half before a second from Fahrudin made it six.

Tampines are seven points off the place set by SAF and Super Reds but after some iffy results this will boost their confidence as well as their goal difference.

Monday, April 07, 2008


You read it here first

(Reaches for own trumpet)

A while back I mentioned that I would like to see Cardiff play Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final I think on the Guardian possibly back in February but I can't find it now!

Having lost that link I repeated the comment on here last month. And that was it. I never troubled any on line bookie about it, never put my money where where mouth was.

Dunno what the odds were back then...oh well


Watching Manchester United

It's not often I bother watching Manchester United. Or Chelsea for that matter. Watching our bitterest rivals is never a lot of fun as I go into the game knowing only one outcome will suffice. Ronaldo's red hot season has past me by 'cos every game I have been hoping he receives a career threatening challenge. Sad, but true.

Belatedly deciding the Arsenal will not be winning the Premier this season, for so long I thought we would because our last home game was Everton (98, 02), I succumbed to the inevitable and decided to give United a go from a neutral perspective, not caring whether they won or lost.

I came away from the game thinking that if I was a Boro fan I would be one pissed off bunny. How can they perform so well against the likes of Arsenal, United, Liverpool and even run Chelsea close the other day then perform so risably against the trash down the bottom of the table?

Supporting a team is frustrating, see my recent comments about our implosion, but we are in the Champions League next season and have lost twice all season. Boro fans are fighting relegation yet have taken four points from us and yesterday did a bloody good job against United that they deserved three points.

Tuncay and Alves up front looks an enticing option when they have been given time to bed and I do like the look of Wheater; a crusty centre half who Wenger should take a look at. (Forgot, the guy's English.)

United are beatable and their defence, like any in the country, is vulnerable to sustained pressure. If only we had beaten Liverpool. And Birmingham. And Boro...we'd be top!


It's catching

Goals rarely come about for no reason. Somewhere along the line an error has been made be it one team or another. Or an official. But it does get boring when someone does hit the net and straight the voice in the box gets on to the defence for not clearing, picking up or covering.

On Saturday I was watching a Jakarta Schools match in the Under 15's and I was mentally preparing a report when what happens? The ball rolls down a defender's chest, down his leg. He swings a boot, scythes it to an opponent who pounces and makes it 1-1.

Mentally, instinctively I recorded ' a defensive error...'

I guess at the end of the day there is very little that can be done to describe a game despite all the hours and inches devoted to analysis. My gut reaction is always to be positive, even on Saturday when a ref again failed to give a penalty against Liverpool, it's just too easy to say someone is at fault.

People will always err but instead of concentrating on that why not credit the other team for taking advantage of the slip up?

Martin O'Neill had it right the other week when asked about a goal his side conceded. He said every goal his team lets in comes from a mistake. Accept it.

That Under 15 year old got away with it. Despite losing the lead his team mates came back to win 2-1 and I don't doubt the winning goal was caused by an error somewhere along the line. But I prefer to look at how the striker was able to react quickly and capitalise on the opportunity he had been given.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Roma and their blades

The Guardian is reporting yet another football fan getting a stabbing in Rome. That Brutus sure started something didn't he?

Kick 'em out of Europe before someone dies...


SAF win again

Just 2-0 coach Richard Bok will be scouring the transfer market for a new striker after SAF managed just two goals in this evening's SLeague clash with Balestier Khalsa. Second half goals from Duric and Kenji were enough to put SAF back on top on goal difference from Super Reds


It's raining it's pouring

It's pissing down and our sooper dooper Malaysian cable company cannot provide the football for us. Indonesian TV manages to show the Dutch...

Malaysia boleh eh?!


Johnson's red

What's the difference between the challenges by Johnson and Diaby that brought them both red cards. Diaby plays for Arsenal, Johnson Birmingham. Both were bad challenges and both deserved red, as did Taylor's against Eduardo, but Johnson doesn't seem to get the oppribrium his mate got.

The reason is simple. Johnson's red came in a fixture between Bormingham and Wigan. Two pissant clubs of no interest to anyone outside the big 4.

Don't think he'll be receiving too many death threats from irate Wigan fans. To be sure the Monday media will have moved onto another big 4 related story. Johnson will slip from the memory...I bet Taylor envies him...


Bloody Selangor!

So there I was down the travel agent and in a rare moment of extravagance I booked a flight to Singapore. The reason being I hoped to take in the MSL game between Johor and Selangor. After all I reasoned Selangor were going to beat Kedah and that would set the fixture up nicely with just one more game each to play.

Trouble is I omitted to tell Selangor of my plan and they only went and lost last night leaving Kedah eight points clear with four games to go.

Johor v Selangor now is a pretty aimless end of season fixture with Selangor as good as assured second spot and Johor resting nicely in mid table anonymity.

The other option would be to stay on Singapore and take in Home United v Balesiter Khalsa in the SLeague. Home are bubbling along nicely and looking extremely potent up front while Balestier are fast becoming the whipping boys of the league though not as bad as Sengkang.

There is of course one other option. Just sit in a bar and get merrily shit faced!

What would you do eh?

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