Monday, March 30, 2009


A little light reading. And plug..

With things pretty quiet, certainly in Indonesia, why not check out my other football blog about the game in England. And other places.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


SAF hit six

SAF v Albirex Niigata 6-0 (Ahmad Latiff Khamarudin, Aleksandar Duric, John Wilkinson) 2,084
Woodlands v Gombak United 1-1 (Zakaria Yousif ; Agu Casmir) 1,625
Super Reds v Tampines Rovers 1-1 (Choi Dong Soo ; Seiji Kaneko ) 2,543

1 - SAFFC 6 5 0 1 18-5 15
2 - Gombak United 6 4 2 0 8-2 14
3 - DPMM FC 6 4 0 7-3 14
4 - Tampines Rovers 6 2 4 0 8-4 10

Four teams unbeaten after six games but oh, where are the goals? Apart from SAF everyone does seem shot shy so far this season.

Richard Bok would have been happy to return to winning ways with a comprehensive thumping of Albirex. Likewise Duric who had missed a couple late against Young Lions but a hat trick would have him buzzing.

Woodlands Wellington followed up their surprise win at SAF by taking Gombak all the way. It took a last minute equaliser from Casmir to salvage the Bulls unbeaten start

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Thai Premier League standings

1 - Muang Thong United 3 2 1 0 5-1 7
2 - Bangkok Glass 3 2 1 0 4-2 7
3 - Chonburi 3 2 1 0 2-0 7
4 - Port 3 2 0 1 5-3 6
5 - PEA Ayuthya 3 2 0 1 3-1 6
6 - Osotspa 3 2 0 1 2-1 6

Another season and the goals are flowing on the TPL...leaders Muang Thong United and 10th placed TTM Samut Sakhorn, previously known as the Thai Tobacco Monopoly, lead the way with five each.

This weekend sees 2nd against 3rd at the Srindhorn Stadium in Chonburi while leaders Muang Thong United host Bangkok United


SLeague top scorers

4 John Wilkinson (Singapore Armed Forces FC)
3 Ashrin Shariff (Geylang United), Ojimi Gabriel Obatola (Gombak United), Indra Sahdan Daud (Sengkang Punggol), Aleksandar Duric (Singapore Armed Forces FC), Sutee Suksomkit (Tampines Rovers)


Young Lions climb seven places

Young Lions v Home United 1-0 (Obadin Aikhena ) 2,863

Young Lions climbed from 12th to 5th after a surprise win over Home United last night at Jalan Besar Stadium in front of another healthy crowd.

The Lions have lost two games this season, against high flying SAF and Gombak, by just a single goal margin. Last night was their first win and they now have six points from their six games.

Sivaji's Home United are having a poor start to the season. This was their second straight defeat, the other against Albirex Niigate was also a goal to nil, while their solitary victory came against Balestier Khalsa when they won 3-0.

With just five points Home are one point clear of bottom side Sengkang Punggol and already nine points behind early leaders DPMM.

But while it looks like the crowds are up in the SLeague where have the goals gone? After five or six games played only SAF have reached double figures with 12.


Sriwijaya go second

Sriwijaya v Deltras 1-0 (Ngon A Djam)
PSMS v PSM 2-2 (Martins, Costas; Pranilo, Lopez)


Indonesia and Malaysia prepare for SEA Games

Malaysia are looking to Harimau Muda to provide the bulk of the SEA Games squad. The Under 19s currently lead the Premier League, Malaysia's second tier. Once the season is over the SEA Games squad will spend a month preparing in Croatia for the bi-annual games that take place in Laos this December.

Meanwhile Indonesia will start their training next month in Palembang. Some clubs are unhappy about losing their young players for the final stages of the season, and probably the start of the next, but the target is gold in Vientiane and the FA's priority is to fully focus on the SEA Games squad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


DPMM top of the league

DPMM v Sengkang Punggol 1-0 (Shahrazen) 9,081

Pre season all the publicity from Singapore was about the free spending Sengkang Punggol. Everybody overlooked the last minute arrivals DPMM. But now the Brunei side sit top of the SLeague, admittedly having played a game more than their rivals, and still unbeaten after six games. But seven goals isn't title winning it?

1. DPMM 6 4 2 0 7-3 14
2. Gombak 5 4 1 0 7-1 13
3. SAF 5 4 0 1 12-5 12
4. Tampines 5 2 3 0 7-3 9

And Sengkang Punggol? Back in familiar territory second bottom with four points and five goals from their six games.

Oh, and check out that attendance! DPMM are putting the rest of the SLeague to shame with the crowds they are pulling.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


MSL standings

1 Selangor 9 7 0 2 21-8 21
2 Kelantan 9 7 0 2 25-17 21
3 Perlis 9 6 1 2 13-8 19
4 Negeri Sembilan 9 5 2 2 17-6 17
5 Kedah 9 5 1 3 11-9 16

The form team without doubt who have won their last 5(?) games and sit just waiting for Selangor and Kelantan to slip up. But can the side from the north really make it a 3rd consecutive MSL?


Indonesia Super League top scorers

17 - Cristian Gonzales (Persib), Ngon A Djam (Sriwijaya FC)
15 - Beto Goncalves (Persipura)
14 - Boaz Salossa (Persipura)
13 - Marcio Souza (Persela), Bambang Pamungkas, Greg Nwokolo (Persija)
11 - Cristiano Lopes (Pelita), Ernest Jeremiah (Persipura)
10 - Julio Lopez (PSM), T.A. Musafry (Persiba)
9 - Zah Rahan, Keith Kayamba (Sriwijaya FC), Rafael Bastos (Persib)
8 - Aldo Baretto (PSM), Rahmad Rivai (Persitara)

Names in bold are Indonesians


Kelantan's kids

IT is not just experience that Kelantan is banking on to finally land their first major trophy in their history.

While much has been made of their high-profile recruitment drive which saw the likes of Indra Putra Mahayuddin and Khalid Jamlus come onboard, coach Peter Butler also intends to give youth a chance to shine.

And his faith in the youngsters was repaid when 22-year-old midfielder Ramzul Zahini Adnan not only set up a goal but scored one as well in Kelantan's 4-1 Super League win over Penang in Kota Baru on Saturday.

Also on the scoresheet were skipper Badri Radzi, who bagged a brace, and Norfarhan Mohamad while Penang netted late on through Norhaslan Mokhtar.

The win enabled Kelantan to keep pace with Selangor, who edged Kuala Muda Naza 2-1 in Alor Star, to leave both teams locked on 21 points.

"I thought we played excellent football, although we were a bit rusty after the (three-week) break, but it was good to get back to action," said Butler yesterday.

"I gave some of the young players a run out and I was delighted with Ramzul, who scored and made a goal. He has a great work ethic and was exceptional last (Saturday) night. I'm gradually bringing in the young players and he's starting to get some playing time. He's just delighted to be part of the team."


Tottenham visiting Singapore

After being turned down by Indonesia Tottenham will be playing a one off friendly in Singapore at the National Stadium on 30 May.

I'm not sure who they will be playing though. The Uniform Derby between Home and SAF is scheduled for the next day. Perhaps they could take on Sengkang Punggol or Balestier Khalsa?

Oh, and aren't these kids getting excited?

Monday, March 23, 2009


Trinidad rejects racist claim

Persiba striker Adrian Trinidad has denied accussations by Persija's Cameroonian defender Pierre Njanka that he was racially abused during their recent Copa Indonesia tie.

Instead the Argentinian says he said 'goblok' to Njanka which translates to something like 'f*****g w****r.

So that's all right then.


Pelita Jaya in Singapore Cup

On my last trip to Singapore I did hear an interesting story that Pelita Jaya, coached of course by Fandi Ahmad, had been invited to compete in the 2009 Singapore Cup.

No news on whether they accepted or not.


Politics takes over

With political campaigning under way and the ISL consigned to outposts of the archiplago, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua, us poor sods on Java have nothing to look forward to until the second tier IPL starts again on 11 April.

In the mean time Bung Karno Stadium, where a possible World Cup Final would be held, yeah yeah I know, has been given over to political parties for their mass rallies. What happens is they bus people in, give them t shirts, a flag to wave and some food, provide them with music then bore them to tears with speeches concieved in hell, all the while damaging the pitch.

With five parties booking the stadium, which is owned by the state, who will relay the turf in time for the football eh?


Weekend results

Indonesian Super League

Persipura v PKT 3-1


Albirex Niigata v Home United 1-0 (Ryota Kobayashi ) 1,532
SAF v Woodlands Wellington 2-3 (Park Tae Won, John Wilkinson; Jamil Ali, Mojtaba Tehranizadeh) 2,248

Thai Premier League

Pattaya United v Chonburi 0-0
PEA Ayutthaya v Bangkok United 2-0
Nakhon Prathon v Osotsapa 0-1
Navy Rayong v Samut Songkram 2-0
TOT v Muang Thong United 0-0
Bangkok Glass v Sri Racha 1-0
Chula United v Port Authority 0-2
TTM Samut Sakhon v BEC Tero 1-2

Malaysian Super League

PDRM v Kedah 0-2
Kelantan v Penang 4-1
KL Plus v Johor 0-1
Terengganu v Pahang 3-0
Perlis v Perak 0-0
Kuala Muda v Selangor 1-2
My Team v Negeri Sembilan 1-1

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Another good crowd in Singapore

Geylang United v Tampines Rovers 0-2 (Qiu Li, Noh Alam Shah) 4,012


Nattaporn for Victory?

Muang Thong United defender Nattaporn Phanrit is rumoured to be interesting Aussie A League side Melbourne Victory.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Copa Indonesia tentative schedule

19/04 Persitara v Persebaya
20/04 Persikabo v Persijap
24/04 Deltras v Persih

No date yet for Persib v Sriwijaya.

As the title says, dates are to be confirmed after negoitiations with clubs, sponsors and TV


11 straight wins

Persiwa v Persiba 4-2 (Barkaoui 2, OK John, Habel Satya; Elisangelo, Musafry) 7,000

3. Persiwa 24 11 0 0 22-6 3 2 8 12-23 34-29 44 *

* Persiwa's home and away record this season


Kingsley returns Bulls to SLeague summit

Sengkang Punggol v Super Reds 2-3 (Murphy Wiredu 2; Kim Yoon Sik, Park Han Seok) 2,030
Gombak United v Young Lions 1-0 (Kingsley) 2,606
Balestier Khalsa v DPMM 0-1 (Oh Ddog Yi) 1,957

1. Gombak 5 4 1 0 7-1 13
2. SAFFC 4 4 0 0 10-2 12
3. DPMM 5 3 2 0 6-3 11
4. Tampines 4 1 3 0 5-3 6

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Cha Bum Kun

I was interested to learn that the coach of ACL aspirants Suwon Bluewings is none other that Cha Bum Kun.

I didn't know much about Korea when I was growing up beyond what I saw on MASH but I did know the name of Cha Bum Kun.

Primarily of course because he was the first geezer I ever came across called Bum. For a teenage lad living the suburban nightmare that was hilarious, like a real life character in a Carry On movie.

He also happened to be the first Asian player I ever saw play. At the time he was playing for Eintracht Frankfurt and one night played played a European game against that lot from the far end of the Seven Sisters Road in Middlesex.

For some reason now long forgotten, selective memory perhaps, I went to the game. And saw Bum.

Later, much later, the first fully Asian game I saw featured South Korea and inded my first ACL game also involved a South Korean team.

How about that for a bunch of useless facts? And the opportunity to write Bum alot!


100% Thais in AFC Cup

Chonburi v Eastern Athletic 4-1
Hanoi v Kedah 3-1
Kedah v Chonburi 0-1

1. Chonburi 2 2 0 0 5-1 6
4. Kedah 2 0 0 2 1-4 0

Johor v VB 0-0
South China v PSMS 3-0
PSMS v Johor 3-1

2. PSMS 2 1 0 1 3-4 3
4. Johor 2 0 1 1 1-3 1

Home United v Binh Duong 2-1
Valencia v PEA 1-3
PEA v Home United 2-1

1. PEA 2 2 0 0 5-2 6
3. Home 2 1 0 1 3-3 3


Copa Indonesia leading scorers

8 - Syamsul Arif (Persibo) +5 IPL
5 - Pablo Frances (Persijap) +3 ISL, Gaston Castano (Persiba) +7 ISL
4 - Jimmy Suparno (Persela) +3 ISL, Rachmat Afandi (PSMS) +4 ISL, Rahmad Rivai (Persitara) +8 ISL, Danilo Fernando (Deltras)
3 - Dicky Firasat +6 ISL, Varney Pas Boakay (Persibo) +7 IPL, Germain Bationo (Mitra) +6 IPL, Yongky Ariwibowo (Persik), Mauro Gaston Benito (Persikabo) +6 IPL, Leandro Martin Dineli (PSMS) +6 ISL, +1 AFC, Ezequiel Gonzales (Persiba) +8 IPL


Indonesian Premier League

The IPL starts up again 12 April so with it hibernating, again, now is as good a time as any to show who's done what to whom.

There are two regional divisions in the IPL, one western and one eastern, and I don't have a scooby how they promotion and relegation other than there is a play off which may well include one ISL side.


PSPS 21 13 4 4 43
Persisam 20 11 5 4 38
Persikab 22 21 4 7 37
Mitra Kukar 20 12 1 7 37


Persema 17 13 1 3 40
Persebaya 17 12 1 4 37
Persibom 21 12 1 8 37
Persiba Bantul 19 11 4 4 37

13 - Jardel Santana Da Silva (Persisam), Mardiansyah (Persikabo)
12 - JPC Boumsong (Persikad)
11 - Edward Junior Wilson (Semen Padang)
10 - Dzumafu Epandi Herman (PSPS)
9 - Niane Mamadou (Persikab), Zulkarnain (Persiraja)
8 - Tantan, Alejandro Tobar (Persikab), Agung Suprayogi (Persih), Ezequail Gonzalez (Persiba Bantul), Roberto Kwateh (PSIR), Javier Roca (Gresik United)


Pierre Njanka

Persija's Cameroonian centre back Pierre Njanka is claiming his was the victim of racist abuse during his side's recent Copa Indonesia tie away to Persiba where his side drew 2-2 but he was red carded.

Now he says he was racially insulted by Persiba's Argentinian import Adrian Trinidad.

Njanka turned 34 last Sunday and is one of the very few players in the ISL to have represented his country at the World Cup when he was involved in 1998 and 2002.


Dian wants a move

Pelita Jaya's promising young keeper Dian Agus Prasetyo is reported to be looking for a move at the end ofthe season. He impressed in 2007 but lately has been performing erratically between the sticks despite being a regular name in Beny Dollo's national team get togethers.

Dian is at the right age to consider a move abroad.He will only learn from the experience and hopefully could start a trend where Indonesia is seen as a valuable talent pool in places like Japan or Australia, both raising the profile of the game here and the players overseas.

The likes of Bambang Pamungkas and Elie Aiboy have done good jobs in Malaysia but there is little challenge in moving to a country that speaks the same language and has pretty much the same culture.

Results in the ACL recently and the AFF Cup have shown Indonesia's players to be talented but limited. By having some go abroad at relatively young ages can only better their careers and better the national team.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


SAF fall to second straight defeat

Two second half goals were enough for Suwon Bluewings as they defeated SAF earlier this evening at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Not a good start for the local sides in the ACl

SAF 2 0 0 2 1-6 0
Sriwijaya 2 0 0 2 2-9 0

It's certainly one big leap innit?


Good night for Thais in AFC Cup

Kedah v Chonburi 0-1
PEA v Home United 2-1

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Two reasons why Thai football continues to improve

Prior to the commencement of the season Muang Thong United were making bold predictions for themselves this season. Their first match in the premier league demonstrated that they may have the formula to surpass these expectations, on and off the field.

1. The standard of football. Last Sunday Muang Thong dominated their experienced opponents with an impressive 3-0 win. The club has some of Thailand's best players and impressive imports. In round 1 their stand out performer was Yaya from the Ivory Coast. They are expected to challenge for the championship.

2. Potentially a huge supporter base. The club is located in northern Bangkok which is home to millions of people. Their first round match attracted approximately 4000 spectators, previously the club has never played in front of more then 1000. Muang Thongs core fan base are as passionate as any in Thailand, it's difficult not get caught up in the excitement.

3. Professional management. The management seem to be customer, (fans) orientated. Outside the stadium several huge promotional banners are facing the passing traffic. At the entrance of the stadium is a merchandise shop, promotion booths and a ticket booth. Half time entertainment and competitions where fans win prizes and a new roof over the stand suggest that the management are responsive to fans needs. Probably what they need next are more seats.

4. Money. Muang Thong have the money needed to invest in the club with some high profile sponsors in Yamaha and Nescafe. Muang Thong Thani are in the business hosting international conventions, concerts and international sporting events. It's hard to imagine that their football club will continue to use a small stadium for much longer as they will almost definitely be a big club.

Taken from Thai Premier League

And Indonesia? Management with no commercial savvy reliant on hand outs from local governments. I was talking to one club official recently and I asked him when the club were going to open their first official store. Not necessary he said, the fans have plenty of places to buy gear. Yes, and the club benefits how exactly? Until they get a grip on these two factors they will continue to trail the rest of the region.


PSMS v Johor

Indonesia's bottom side host Malaysians Johor in the AFC Cup and their game plan was clear from the very start. Give the ball to Elie Aiboy then try and get up in support. The first part set in stone, the second optional.

21' and Johor take the lead with a diving header from Azuwad despite being 'tightly' marked in the box. We have to wait until 26' before PSMS have their first meaningful effort from Esteban.

We're now on 34' and I think that's the only chances on goal so far. To be honest I'd rather read a Tom Clancy book, useful for throwing at annoying people in airline departure lounges, than watch this dross.

Otto down the PSMS should dive for Indonesia in the Olympics, he's that good. Eboue in green!

Some sustained pressure now from PSMS but the only player troubling the Malaysian keeper is his own defender when he needlessly heads wide

44' and a PSMS striker guides the ball wide on a one on one with the Malaysian keeper.

Three goals in 12 second half minutes secured the points for the home side with two from Elie Aiboy and one from Leonardo Martins. They now sit second, three points behind South China after two games


Double headers in Palembang

Some ISL games continue to be played with PSMS moving to Palembang.


Sriwijaya v PSM 7pm
PSMS v Deltras 9pm


Sriwijaya v Deltras 7pm
PSMS v PSM 9pm


Oi, MC!

So there I was at Jalan besar on Saturday night for the Young Lions game with SAF and the ref blows the whistle and the MC kindly tells us the final score. Just in case we couldn't read the scoreboard or we had somehow lost count.

He then goes and tells us the half time score from Old Trafford! Like we gave a rubber duck! I mean, it's a well known fact that at Anfield and Stamford Bridge every week the fans there get told the latest scores from the SLeague.

Surely it is the job of the SLeague to promote their own competition and not games and teams from foreign lands?


Intercontinental Cup

Last year Malaysia hosted the above trophy for Under 23 sides with Nigeria beating Australia 2-0 in the final. Other competing teams were Chile, Ireland, Malaysia, Iraq, Togo and Croatia.

Now comes news of the 2009 edition to be held in the first two weeks of June. Also to be hosted by Malaysia, it is thought among the competing teams will be Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Nigeria, Japan and South Korea. No news yet of this on the Malaysian FA website.

Indonesia is also planning on hosting a five team tournament straight after the Malaysian shindig. Featuring Indonesia, Indonesia U 23 they have also invited Australia, Iran and Mexico.

Far be it for me to piss on anyone's parade but the ISL is scheduled to finish on 13 June. And that is before the most recent stoppage. Add to this the Indonesian competition falls slap bang in the middle of the presidential election campaign and I won't hold my breath on this one.

The Indonesian FA are also mulling over an offer from the Dutch to play a friendly here in October. Bollocks to mulling anything. Sriwijaya's results in the ACL shows how far Indonesia is behind the rest of Asia, they should be biting off the arm offering the friendly and giving them a week in Bali as well. Indonesia needs all the quality opponents it can get.

UPDATE - Indonesia will play China on August 15 at Bung Karno


Shandong Luneng v Sriwijaya 5-0

Missed the game this afternoon but saw the goals at the end of the broadcast. Thing is, I lost count of how many were scored!

16' - Li Jinyu
20' - Han Peng
26' - Li Jinyu
80' - Mrdakovic
84' - Mrdakovic

That's Sriwijaya's campaign over, two games played, nine goals conceded, goal difference of minus seven.

All that and they didn't even have a goalkeeper on the bench


Dutch players with links to Indonesia

The local tabloid Top Skor has come out with a whole list of players who, they say, have some kind of links to Indonesia. Players like Sergio van Dijk, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Irfan Bachdim we know about. But Denny Landzaat and Robin van Persie?

Younger players include: Christian Supasepa (Ajax), Tobias Waisapy (Feyenoord), Stefano Lilipaly (Utrecht), Jemayel Maruanja (Fortuna Sittard), Edinho Pattinama (NAC Breda), Jeffrey Leiwakabessy (Anorthosis Famagusta)

The list is almost endless.

Of course just because they have some family links to Indonesia doesn't mean they will necessarily want to play for the national team here. How many would want to apply for Indonesian nationality which would involve living here for five years?

It is also unclear whether people with an Indonesian parent or grandparent would be entitled to Indonesian citizenship. The country doesn't recognise dual nationality so it's unlikely that many would want to forego their cloggy passport.

There's also another, far more mundane, point. The football scene here is very inward looking. Would the players accept some 'foreigner' just fronting up and taking their place even if they could? Is there even a scouting network in place to check on the wannabes?

It's all pie in the sky at the moment and is likely to remain so for a long time to come. But the French and the Dutch are more than happy to draw on their former colonial subjects when it suits them. Why not reverse the trend if they're better than what's available locally?


Uzbekistan's footballing wealth

I remember seeing on TV last year somewhere people effusively praising Uzbekistan for investing serious money into their football because they had recruited Rivaldo and Zico.

At the time my suspicions were raised. Money just doesn't flow into football clubs in that part of the world. It comes from somewhere and it's being invested for a reason.

Some may say the ends justify the means. Do they?

This article in the Guardian makes for interesting reading. Should we just accept the noble intentions of the moneyed investors or are we right to be suspicious?


PSMS to play in Palembang

PSMS tonight play their first home game in the AFC Cup when they take on Johor from Malaysia at the Jakabaring Stadium in Palembang.

Their own stadium in Medan isn't fit to park bicycles while their adopted Siliwangi Stadium is unavailable after the local plod refuse to sanction games their due to the election campaigning.


In abeyance

The ISL has now bunkered down while politicians whip up the populace into what they imagine will be an election frenzy. And while the people in funny coloured jackets get themselves worked up football people and fans must keep themselves occupied somehow.

A new schedule won't be released until the end of March and the hope is that the season can be finished by 13 June which is the original, well second original, date for the last round of fixtures.

That coincides with the presedential election campaigning so who knows.

Every day brings different headlines but the bottom lines remains the same. Nothing has been decided.

Monday, March 16, 2009


A look at Sriwijaya

This most emphatically was not the start Sriwijaya coach Rahmad Darmawan wanted to his side’s AFC Champions League campaign. Before the game he would have been stressing the importance of home form and while his side traded punches with FC Seoul in the first half hour there was only going to be one winner.

Replacing Ferry Rotinsulu in goal again, Dede Sulaiman had as abject a first half as you are ever going to see and it was from his poor throw on the half hour that the Koreans took the lead. His handling and distribution all through the first half had the fans and his defence on edge and it was telling as the half wore on that Charis Yulianto and company avoided playing the ball back to their under pressure keeper.

But to blame a 4-2 home defeat on the transgressions on one individual is not only unfair. It is lazy. It also overlooks his contribution second half when a string of important saves kept the visitors at bay for long periods.

Darmawan sprang a surprise when he relegated the influential new signing Budi Sudarsono to the bench. Indonesia’s top scorer during the recent AFF Cup, Budi is the one player who could perhaps uinlock the Korean’s defence with his pace and drive. Yet he was sat on the bench for the whole game despite the chanting round the stadium for the former Persik striker to be introduced.

Three nil down during the second half and with fans heading for the exit, Cameroonian striker Claude Parfait Ngon A Djam took hold of the game and for a few minutes home fans believed. First a superb first touch brought the ball down which he drove home. Minutes later a towering header made it 3-2 and now, surely, was the time to introduce Budi when Seoul were rattled and the fans roaring their idols on.

But the moment was lost. Instead of pushing forward for an unlikely equalizer Sriwijaya were hemmed back and it was 4-2.

In a group where the top two qualify the knock out stage Sriwijaya are dead and buried. They needed results from their home games and, despite those few moments inspired by Ngon A Djam, they never really looked like getting anything from this game. All we have left is the post match analysis and one over riding question.

Why wasn’t Budi used? He was signed very much with the ACL in mind. He’s one of their best players. Why not use him? Darmawan has a small squad. He doesn’t have the luxury of rotation available to him.

There are also bigger questions to be addressed. About the game in Indonesia. We now have a time when Asian clubs can pick three foreign players plus one Asian for these competitions. Japan has a similar ruling. Given a shop window to parade their talents the only players to impress were Ngon A Djam and Zah Rahan. One is Cameroonian, the other Liberian.


Johor MBJB suspended

MBJB won their first league match, and scored their first goals, in a 2-1 win against Navy team Sinar Dimaja Mai Sarah in Batu Kawan last Friday but had their celebrations cut short after being informed of the ban.

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) barred MBJB from competing in the league until further notice following the team management's failure to settle players and officials protective insurance dues amounting to RM70,000.

FAM competitions committee gave MBJB until last Friday to resolve the issue and have suspended the team from all football activities pending resolution of the matter.

"The decision was reached by the competitions committee and until MBJB files an appeal or settles the insurance amount, they are suspended from the league," said FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad.

"All league fixtures will proceed as scheduled with the exception of those involving MBJB. They retain their place in the standings until further notice."

The league competition rules on expulsion states a team faces a fine and a five-year ban with all their previous matches being declared null and void.

UPDATE - they've been kicked out!


SAF win again

Richard Bok's Warriors beat Young Lions on Saturday at Jalan Besar Stadium to regain top spot in the SLeague with 12 points from their opening four games. They are two points clear of second placed Gombak United.

Images from the game can be found here.


Weekend's results

Indonesian Super League

PSIS v Persitara 1-0 (Teles) 5,119
Arema v Persela 1-0 (og) 25,000
Persipura v Persiba 3-1 (Ernest Jeremiah, Eduard Ivakdalam, Alberto Goncalves; Elisangelo) 17,500
Persiwa v PKT 1-0 (Weeks) 7,000

Copa Indonesia

Persiba Bantul v PSMS 2-0 (Setiawan, Suyanto) PSMS win 5-3 on aggregate


Young Lions v SAF 1-2 (Obadin Aikhena; John Wilkinson 3', Shaiful Esah 72') 1,455

Thai Premier League

Samut Songkram v TOT 0-1
Sri Racha v Port Authority 0-3
Muang Thong Unitd v Navy Rayong 2-1
Nakhon Prathom v Pattaya United 3-1
BEC Tero v PEA Ayutthaya 0-1
Chonburi v Osotsapa 1-0
Chula United v Bangkok Glass 1-2
Bangkok United v TTM Samut Sakhon 2-1

Friday, March 13, 2009


Aussie snatches Bulls draw

Home United v Gombak United 1-1 (Valery Hiek 54'; Goran Subara 82') 3,664

Another impressive attendance in the SLeague, Gombak United went top of the table after coming from behind against Home United. Saturday sees former leaders SAF take on Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium looking to keep their own 100% record


SLeague Update

Super Reds v Balestier Khalsa 1-1 (Yu Hyun Koo ; Bryan Soane) 2,194
Geylang United v DPMM 0-0 2,595
Albirex Niigata v Woodlands Wellington 3-0 (Akira Takase 8',14', Kenji Adachihara 69') 1,518

Super Reds successful run last season seems a very long time ago as a debut goal by Aussie Bryan Soame deprived them of their first three points of the season.

DPMM's fine form continued as their point at Bedok Stadium keeps them in 3rd place and unbeaten while the Eagles are 5th on five points.

Albirex's first win of the seaon lifted them off the bottom after three straight defeats.

Tonight sees Home United take on Gombak United. Sivaji's Protectors have struggled this season in the SLeague collecting just four points from their three games and sitting in 6th place, five points behind joint leaders Gombak and SAF.

Darren Stewart's Bulls are in fine form and this is something they have carried over from the last campaign. Indeed their 12 game run since they last lost to Home United is title winning form.

Gombak United 12 10 2 0 27-9 32

They may have bean Vietnamese opponents Binh Duong midweek in the AFC Cup but tonight you get the feeling it is the Bulls who are the favourites.


Another sodding delay

Indonesian football takes another bloody break. This time it is for the general election campaigning that begins next week. The police have decided they are not going to issue permits to allow games to be played while the electioneering is going on.

The season was due to end in May, then June, now god knows. Or perhaps he doesn't.

With this extension to the season, and figure on more breaks as the national team takes centre stage later on and the presidential election takes place in July, there is no end in sight for the ISL season and this must be a concern. Especially if Indonesia wishes to compete in Asian competition again next season.

We've had breaks for the pointless GRCC, the AFF Cup, the Asian Cup qualifiers and now the elections. Why, oh why, can't these people organise something and stick to it, taking all these other distractions into account?

Why should every club take a break because of one game against Australia? Why should the league come to a standstill because of a friendly competition in Yangon?

And what will happen if the police refuse to allow Sriwijaya and PSMS to play their Asian club games as scheduled in Indonesia? Games will have to be relocated to a neutral country entailing yet more expense for cash strapped clubs that lack any marketing nous.

Why dream of hosting the World Cup when it is so painfully difficult to organise domestic competition?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Pelita Jaya go goal crazy

They've been finidng it tough scoring goals this season. But 1-0 down from the first leg of their Copa Indonesia tie against Persibo Bojonegoro Fandi Ahmad's men did something they haven't done for what seems an age.

They netted three times.

Unfortunately Persibo hit four making it 5-3 on aggregate for the IPL side and a shock appearance in the quarter finals.

They join Persipura and Persija going in to the hat for the last eight.


Some Thai dates

28/03 Thailand v New Zealand
01/04 Thailand SEA Games v New Zealand
22/07 Thailand v Liverpool - to be confirmed

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Sriwijaya's goalkeeping troubles

Poor Sriwijaya, it seems they just can't keep their keepers out of trouble these days. Ferry Rotinsulu has been out for a couple of weeks and looks likely to head to Singapore for treatment soon with some local politico getting the bills.

Dede Sulaiman has come in for the last couple of ISL games and not really done a good job and last night he was replaced by Afriyanto but the third choice keeper was injured and on came Dede as an early sub.

I missed the first five minutes which is why I didn't refer to this earlier.

First half Dede was awful. The crowd was getting on his back and I wasn't expecting to see him second half. But the folks in the main stand gave him an ovation as he left the field at half time and second half the boy done good.

Later Sriwijaya coach Rahmad Darmawan revealed that Dede, recently called up for the SEA Games training, was carrying an injury and he was seriously considering registering his goalkeeping coach if he couldn't find anyone else.


Copa Indonesia

Persiba v Persija 2-2 (Persija go through 5-2 on aggregate)


Malaysian FA Cup Semi Finals


Kelantan v Negeri Sembilan
Perlis v Selangor


Negeri Sembilan v Kelantan
Selangor v Perlis

Everything pointing to a Selangor v Kelantan final which would be fun. In their ecent league game there was crowd trouble, red cards and god knows what else.


Have Deltras seen the back of Hilary?

He had been signed during the mid season break to bolster Deltras hopes of survival in the ISL. But now it is being reported that Hilary Echesa (no. 9 in picture) has gone missing. He had asked to return to his native Kenya to sort out some family business, promising to return last weekend. He hasn't.

People are always quick to moan about the way things go on in the game here and yes, things can be pretty chaotic.
However players also have responsibilities. You can't just up sticks like that. It shows a lack of respect to your club, your team mates and it makes you look unprofessional.

Deltras have reported the case to both the Indonesian FA and FIFA.


A mixed night in Asian competition

Asian Champions League

Sriwijaya v Seoul 2-4 (Ngon A Djam 2; Jo Gook, Kim Chi Woo 2, Kim Seung Yong) 20,000
Shanghai Shenhua v SAF 4-1 8,000


Johor v VB 0-0 350
South China v PSMS 3-0 3,207
Chonburi v Eastern Athletic 4-1 (Kraisorn, Kone Mohamed, Pibob On-Mo, Phanuwat; Wong Chun Yue) 3,000
Hanoi ACB v Kedah 3-1 (Goran Gajic, Pham Tanh Luong, Trung Huymh Diep; Baddrol Bahtiar) 1,000
Home United v Binh Duong 2-1 (Jumaat Jantan, Kengne Ludovick; Kesley Alves) 1,840
Valencia v PEA 1-3 (Shiyam; Falcao 2, Singto) 4,500

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Sriwijaya v Seoul 2-4

Seoul swept aside home side Sriwijaya last night in Palembang but they were nearly made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal.

Despite a jittery first half performance from Dede in the Sriwijaya goal the Koreans went in only a goal up despite all their possession and fine play.

Second half saw a goal feast but not before the home side had a couple of penalty appeals turned down. Dede was much improved second half and some vital stops kept his side in the game but not for long.

At 3-0 down all looked dead and buried for the side who won a domestic double last season and fans started piling out the stadium. But two goals in three minutes by Ngon A Djam turned the game on its head and had the early leavers looking like real dick heads.

Instead of building on their momentum Sriwijaya conceded again. It was that kind of game, end to end stuff and a credit to Asian football.

Match action can be found here while a preview of Sriwijaya's chances in the ACL can be found in my ESPN column this week.


Aah Seoul...

Tonight sees the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup begin in earnest with strong representation from teams in our region.

Pride of place goes to Sriwijaya and SAF who compete in the ACL and I am in Palembang to see the Sriwijaya game against Seoul later tonight. If I can get a ticket!

Tomorrow sees SAF travel to Shanghai for their first game.

Plenty of AFC Cup action as well with PSMS, Home United, Johor, Kedah, PEA and Chonburi starting this week.

More later ...

UPDATE - just returned from the stadium where I managed to get a ticket. Silly me, I went to the ticket office hoping to buy one there but nope, they just laughed at my naiviete. Had to pay 150,000 for a 125,000 ticket. There were touts outside carrying thick books of the tix...


Indonesia say no to Tottenham!

Sandy Pramuji
Bad Timing Spoils a Possible Tottenham Hotspur Visit in May
The steady stream of English teams touring Southeast Asia won’t be growing larger — at least not yet.
English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur last week contacted the Indonesia Football Association, or PSSI, and requested a friendly in Jakarta, but its request was rebuffed due to bad timing.
“The club’s agent from London called me last week and offered a Jakarta tour in May. We’re flattered by the offer, but unfortunately we had to say ‘no thanks,’?” PSSI general secretary Nugraha Besoes said on Monday.

“It’s not because of legislative elections. It’s because in May all Indonesian clubs will be very busy in local competition, so it will be hard to find players that will be willing to play in a friendly. And I’m sure the clubs will also be reluctant to release their players.”

The Spurs would have been the third Premiership team to visit Southeast Asia in the summer. Manchester United and Liverpool have already announced plans to tour the region in June and July.

The London club’s shirt sponsor — Mansion, an online betting company — is owned by Indonesian conglomerate Putra Sampoerna.

The Indonesian Super League halts play from April 5-16 due to the legislative elections on April 9. League play could take a longer hiatus, though, because police forces around the country have been reluctant to issue permits for matches during the campaign season.

Campaign concerns also caused a proposed friendly between Indonesia and New Zealand on April 1 to be cancelled.

In addition to the schedule squeeze, Nugraha said organizing another large event, in addition to Manchester United’s visit on July 24, would be difficult for the PSSI.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Saktiawan fires Persik

Persik v Persipura 2-1 (saktiawan Sinaga 2; Boas Solossa)


Do you wanna win the league?

There are probably three teams in the Indonesian Super League in with a serious chance of winning the title later this year. Impressive at home, titles here are decided on teams away form and before their recent tour of Kalimantan Persija had the best away record of anyone. But with Sriwijaya, Persipura and Persija all on the road recently results have been less than eyecatching.


v Arema 5-0
v Persik 1-2


v PKT Bontang 0-0
v Persiba 0-2


v Persita 1-2
v Persijap 2-2

1. Persipura 22 14 4 4 46
2. Sriwijaya 23 13 5 5 44
3. Persija 21 13 3 5 42


Two keepers see red

Has this ever happened before? Sengkang Punggol tonight had two keepers sent off in their defeat at Tampines. First Joey Sim saw red on 45' then Amos Boon, who replaced him, went on 77'!

Goals from Noh Alam Shah and Sutee Suksomkit gave Tampines their first win of the season and saw them climb to 4th but three points behind early pace setters SAF and Gombak United.


Weekend's results

Indonesian Super League

PSM v Pelita Jaya 1-0
Persiba v Persija 2-0
Arema v Persiwa 2-0 (Morales 2)
Deltras v PSIS 2-1
PKT v Persela 0-0

Copa Indonesia

Persebaya v Persitara 2-0 (Andi Odang 2)


Gombak United v Albirex Niigata 3-0 (Ojimi Gabriel Obatola 23'(p), 72', Ruhaizad Ismail 80') 3,117
DPMM v Woodlands Wellington 2-1 (Sairol Sahari (8'), Ivan Jerkovic (Pen 85'); Ismadi Bin Muhamad Mukhtar (3')) 6,451

Malaysian FA Cup

Selangor v Perak 2-0 (C.Premnath ,Rudie Ramli) ((Selangor go through 4-1 on aggregate)
Kelantan v My Team 3-1 (Mohd Zamri Ramli, Mohd Norfarhan Mohammad, Mohd Radzi; Norshahrul Idlan Talaha) (Kelantan go through 4-2)
Negeri Sembilan v T Team 0-0 (Negeri Sembilan go through 1-0)
Perlis v Harimau Muda 0-0 (Perlis go through 1-0)

Thai Premier League

PEA v Osotspa 0-1
Chonburi v BEC Tero 1-0
Bangkok Glass v TOT 1-1
Samut Songkram v Chula United 3-0
Bangkok United v Nakorn Pathom 0-0
Pattaya United v Sri Racha 1-1
Muang Thong United v Port 3-0
Navy Rayong v TTM Samut Sakhon 0-3

Friday, March 06, 2009


Tottenham coming?

It's the silly season. Manchester United are confirmed for July in Jakarta, Liverpool are being rumoured to visit Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. Now comes talk about Tottenham heading to Jakarta, possibly in June.

Nothing has been confirmed. However, back in December there was some seminar hosted here which featured some Singapore based expats and one of them was quoted in a local tabloid about being interested in bringing them over.

Now they're in town again for another seminar and the rumours surface again.

One reason given for why clubs now seem interested in coming to Indonesia after years of avoiding the place is given as the enthusiasm of the crowds here. Oh, and selling shirts of course.

Tottenham's sponsor has some kind of link with Indonesia as well but let's not go there...I don't know all the ins and outs of that


Asian Cup Qualifiers

Goodish news for Indonesia yesterday when Kuwait went to Canberra and beat the Australians 1-0 (sorry Bruce).

At least the AFC will be happy with the attendance

This is how the Indonesian group stands so far

Oman v Indonesia 0-0
Kuwait v Oman 0-1
Indonesia v Australia 0-0
Australia v Kuwait 0-1

1. Oman 2 1 1 1-0 4
2. Kuwait 2 1 0 1 1-1 3
3. Indonesia 2 0 2 0 0-0 2
4. Australia 2 0 1 1 0-1 1

Nothing now till 14 November when Indonesia play Kuwait and Australia play Oman.


A Full House

This weekend sees action in all four countires covered by this ere blog for the first time since the last time it happened. Which wasn't this year.

Indonesia has ISL action and Persija are in with a chance of going second. All they have to do is beat Persiba in Balikpapan. Easier said than done, Persiba have an impressive home record and defeated Persela last time out 1-0. They have been looking useful recently with Adrian Trinidad returning to his former club and Musafry back among the goals.

Persija go into the game short up front. Bambang, Fabio, Aliyudin and Melky Pelky are all unavailable. Coach Danurwindo could be forced to go with Greg Nwokolo and Agus Indra Kurniawan.

A few days later thay have to meet again in the Copa!

PKT play Persela and Deltras host fellow strugglers PSIS tomorrow. On Sunday PSM are at home to Pelita Jaya while Arema have Persiwa at home and on Monday leaders Persipura take on Persik.

In Singapore Gombak United look to continue their 100% start to the season when they take on Albirex Niigata at Jalan Besar tonight. Victory would put them level on points with leaders SAF though coach Darren Stewart will be hoping for something other than a 1-0. Or maybe not.

DPMM take on Woodlands on Sunday in Brunei and after a bumper 5,000 + crowd for their first game mid week there is much hope that more fans will turn up for this game.

Malaysia FA Cup action takes centre stage. My Team have a tricky task going to high flyers Kelantan knowing they have to score to go through. It was 1-1 in the first leg.

Selangor host Perak at the Shah Alam Stadium with a slight advantage having won the first leg 2-1. In other games Negeri Sembilan take on MPL side T Team leading 1-0 and Perlis have a similar narrow lead over Harimau Muda.

Oh, and the Thai Premier League kicks off tomorrow with many eyes on newcomers Muang Thong United and Pattaya United. Sorry, don't have the fixtures with me at the moment.

UPDATE - Thanks to Dale for providing tomorrow's TPL games


PEA - Osotsapa M150
Chonburi FC - BEC Tero Sasana
Bangkok Glass FC - TOT
Samut Songkram - Chula United


Bangkok United - Nakornpatom

Pattaya United - Sriracha
Muang Thong - Nong Chok United- Port Authority F.C.
Rajanavy Rayong - TTM Samutsakon


Results 05/03


Sengkang Punggol v Geylang United 2-2 (Indra Sahdan Daud 70'(p),88'; Yasir Hanapi 3', Ashrin Shariff 38') 2.083

Indonesian Super League

Persita v PSMS 1-0 (Agus Salim) 500
Persijap v Sriwijaya 2-2 (Ilham Hasan, Aji Nurpijal; Keith Kayamba, Ngon A Djam) 9,000

Sriwijaya stay second in the ISL after dropping more points on the road after taking the lead. Unlike against Persita when they took the lead then lost, this time against Persijap, they raced into a two goal lead within 12 minutes but a spirited comeback from Persijap with goals either side of the break gave them a share of the spoils. Though how can you share three points when each team only gets one? What happens to the other point?

Persita's second straight win sees them stay in 14th place but they are now four points clear of PSMS who they beat last night.

Poor results for both Sriwijaya and PSMS as they look forward to Asian club competition next week.


Kelantan missing key players for vital FA Cup clash

KELANTAN are hot on and off the pitch for the wrong reasons and it does not augur well for their coach Peter Butler as he prepares his team for the crucial FA Cup quarter-final second leg encounter against UPB-MyTeam in Kota Baru on Saturday.

Kelantan's unruly fans are not Butler's concern but not having two key players for the match worries the coach.

Goalkeeper Halim Napi was red-carded in Kelantan's 3-0 loss to Selangor in a Super League match last Saturday, while centreback Ahmad Azlan Zainal was sent off in Tuesday's 1-1 draw against MyTeam in the FA Cup quarter-final first leg.

Butler said his charges will need to be more disciplined on the pitch as of late it has cost them dearly.

"It's all about good discipline and I have to admit that Ahmad deserved the red card yesterday (Tuesday)," said Butler yesterday."However, I need to make some adjustments in defence but it should not be a problem as I have a few days to work on it.

"Goalkeeper Shahrizan Ismail also gave a good account of himself against MyTeam and he is an able replacement for Halim. He has the agility but needs more experience.

"On his team's chances in Kota Baru, Butler said Kelantan have always been strong at home."We have a slight advantage at home because of the fans. However, it's football and anything can happen. MyTeam are a solid team and their coach Bojan Hodak is an excellent tactician," said Butler.

"The strength of the team this season is teamwork. There are no stars in my team and I emphasise on getting my players going as a unit.

"Meanwhile, Hodak said his team will have an equal chance in Kota Baru.

"It's never easy playing there (Kota Baru) and I will need to tune my charges for it. Right now, my players are tired after playing seven matches in 18 days and a good rest will be the right medicine," said Hodak. --


Bangkok United step out


Thai Premier League side Bangkok United FC were officially unveiled yesterday.
Nicknamed 'Bangkok Angel,' Bangkok United were jointly founded by Bangkok University and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

Formerly Bangkok University, Bangkok United needed a new organisation and new name to be in line with the Football Association of Thailand's (FAT) new regulations that teams in the country's top flight must be registered as limited companies.

Former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin, who is now Bangkok United chairman, said the club aimed to win the Thai Premier League in three years.

''Bangkok United are ready for the new season. We aim to finish in the top five in the coming season and win the league in three years,'' Apirak said. ''We have good players and coaches who can bring success to our team,'' he added.

Bangkok University were once one of the country's top university teams. They won three titles in 2006 _ the U-League, Super U-League and University Games, but have since achieved very little.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who is the club's honorary adviser, said Bangkok United FC was established with cooperation between the BMA and Bangkok University.

''The BMA has been continuously supporting sports from the junior level. It is a good opportunity for the BMA to support Bangkok United,'' he said. ''I am confident that Bangkok United will become successful in the Thai Premier League.''

Bangkok United coach Somchai Supperm said he did not feel under pressure to guide the team to finish in the top five and win the league in three years.

Somchai said the club may not be able to sign Thailand internationals and would look for skilful students particularly those from Bangkok University.

Bangkok United use the Thai-Japanese stadium in Din Daeng as their home ground. They kick off their Thai league campaign at home against Nakhon Pathom on Sunday.

COMMENT - sorry but just looking at the names I have put in bold is enough to suggest this won't work as well as they hope. Politicians need to keep the hell out of football.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Results 04/03

Copa Indonesia 3rd Round 2nd Leg

Persema v Persipura 1-2 (Persipura win 5-1 on aggregate)


SAF v Home United 3-1 (Ahmad Latiff 39' Daniel Bennett 61' John Wilkinson 90'; Shi Jiayi 50'(p)) 3,242
DPMM v Super Reds 2-1 (Yusof Salleh 61' Abu Bakar Mahari 85'; Jeon B E 11'(p)) 5,457

Two good crowds in the SLeague with the Uniform Derby pulling in over 3,000 as they prepared for next weeks Asian club competitions. But that was trumped in Brunei at the first ever SLeague game played overseas which saw DPMM get their first victory.

Following last season's sterling efforts, Super Reds are struggling this time round with just one point from their three points.

1. SAFFC 3 3 0 0 8-1 9
2. Gombak 2 2 0 0 2-0 6
3. Home United 3 1 1 1 4-3 4
4. DPMM 2 1 1 0 3-2 4

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


New Zealand friendly cancelled

Indonesia's friendly against New Zealand on 1/4 has been cancelled as security officials will be stretched by the on going political campaigning in the lead up to the general election on 9/4.

The Kiwis will still play Thailand on 28 March and are looking for another game. A chance for Singapore or Vietnam perhaps? I would say Malaysia but at the moment they have no coach.


Another dressing down for the game in Malaysia

This article appeared in Malaysiakini (and I copied it from here) and provides some people in FAM the perfect setting to get rid of KJ. Will they have the guts to do it? Or is it just those without positions that will face the wrath of the newly created regulation in FAM?

Khairy: Own goals keeping local football down
K Kabilan Feb 27, 09 3:15pm
Talk to any local football fan and you will only hear regret in his or her voice about the standards of Malaysian football today.They will most probably reminisce about the golden days of local football in the 1970s and 1980s. And it is very likely that they would not be able to name any big football stars from the current batch.

Long gone are the days when football stadiums across the country and the Causeway - the likes of Stadium Merdeka, Likas Stadium, Stadium Larkin, City Stadium and the National Stadium - were packed with hardcore fans.

It is very common now to see these stadiums half-empty or with only a handful of supporters watching a match. No match today has the intensity of a Selangor versus Singapore game of the past.

For the man on the street, there are many things wrong with Malaysian football, and each would have his or her own suggestions to revive local standards of the ‘beautiful game'.

However, Football Association of Malaysia deputy president Khairy Jamaluddin has a rather simplistic, albeit controversial, solution.

"If I have a free hand, I would suspend the league for next year," he told Malaysiakini. "I will not waste money on the league. I would stop everything, tear everything down, and start building it back from the ground up," he added.

The FAM presently runs two senior competitive leagues - the Malaysian Super League and Malaysian Premier League. Both the leagues comprise 14 teams each.The FAM also runs two cup competitions - the Malaysia Cup and the Malaysia FA Cup.Players for the national team are drawn from the teams competing in the local leagues.

At present, the national football team is without a manager and stands at a lowly rank of 164 in international standings.

Khairy also listed five reasons for the abysmal standard of Malaysian football today - lack of money, no grassroots structure to pool young players from, no professional coaches, the scourge of corruption among players and losing supporters to the European leagues.

"Football today suffers from a lack of money. We have lost the tobacco sponsorship. So most of the money that we get is spent on the league and all the national teams, both of which are crap," he admitted.

It must be noted that about RM300 million was pumped into the FAM from 1997-2005 by then sponsor Dunhill. This funding has now dried up and the FAM is seeking fresh aid from the government to revitalise the local football scene.

The cash-flow problem is also a reason why local teams have been barred by the FAM from hiring foreign players.

Many teams have struggled to pay the wages of these foreign players, leaving them unpaid or worse still, having their contracts terminated without proper reasons.

Supporters and football pundits have argued that the presence of these foreign players would have added glamour to the league - like how it has done for the Japanese league.

The other view - which eventually won the day - was that the presence of foreign players would hamper the growth of local talent.

Several local teams too have been guilty of hiring questionable foreign players who are eventually let off due to their sub-playing standards.

Khairy, however, felt that it was not just the presence of foreign players that was hampering the growth of the local talent. He blames that squarely on a lack of opportunities for young local talents to be spotted.

"We don't have a grassroots structure anymore. There are no more (new) state-run academies or any local leagues for new talents to come up and be identified," he said.

Match-fixing still rampant. And in tandem with this, his third reason for the present malady appears - a lack of professional coaches in football academies or schools of excellence.

"The academies are not staffed with professional coaches. Coaches are not trained properly. And they are not licensed properly," he charged.

Khairy also did not mince his word when he said that corruption still existed in the game."There is still some element of graft in the game, which still affects the top level personnel throwing games and things like that (away)," he said, with his demeanour and body language suggesting that even those in the top echelons of FAM have no idea how to tackle the problem.

The golden era of Malaysian football came to a complete halt in 1994 when almost 100 players - including many household names and international players - were barred for life from playing, for their part in match-fixing in 1994-1995.

Ever since, the standard of Malaysian football has never been the same.

All league results are now viewed with a suspicious eye - be it a big-margin win or an upset defeat. And to make things worse, several players were hauled up last year for allegedly selling matches.

Khairy's admission of corruption in the game only adds confirmation to the suspicion that bookies are still controlling local football leagues.

Rounding up his fifth reason for the fall from grace of Malaysian football, Khairy blamed the popular European leagues of taking away supporters from local matches.Local media has a role too

He, however, said the European leagues alone were not responsible for the troubles plaguing Malaysian football. In fact, local supporters have turned to the European leagues as a result of troubles in local football.

"It's a vicious cycle. People are not interested in local football. "Simply because at the moment Astro decides to show games on a Saturday night, people don't go to the stadium anymore," he said.

He also blamed some of the local newspapers for a lack of coverage on local football.

"It's all about Manchester United, about Liverpool, about Arsenal, so how do you get out of the vicious cycle if Malaysians themselves couldn't care less?"

If I ask you to name five players from the national team, can you? Hard pressed, right?" he said.
Given such circumstances, he said, his remedy to solve the problem would be to suspend the local league for a year and try to start afresh from the grassroots level.

Khairy might be on to something as he has tasted success before with his MyTeam - a team playing in the Super League with unknown football players selected at trials held around Malaysia.

COMMENT - hmm. The golden days of Malaysian football ended when 100 players were convicted of match fixing! So Malaysia's best days were when games were fixed? Says it all really.

It's all about manchester United etc...the FA proved that by throwing their dummy out the pram when they weren't allowed to bring them to Malaysia during the Asian Cup which they co hosted back in 2007.

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