Sunday, October 31, 2010


Results 31/10

Indonesia Super League

Persema v Pelita Jaya 2-2 (Mustapha Reza, Seme Pierre Patrick; Walter Brizuela, Abdul Rahman) 5,000)

Splish splash, I was talking a bath. Should the game have gone ahead? The pitch bore more resemblance to a pissy swimming pool in an underfunded 4* hotel. Probably not but Indonesian football operates under a different set of rules to most countires and for once I'm not being acerbic. In most countries teams travel to away games by bus because distances are short. Even in England there is no reason at all why Premier League teams cannot travel overland beyond the pose factor. In Indonesia nearly every away game is a two or three hour flight with the attendant costs of moving around upwards of 25 people.

As a fixture this is probably the closest Indonesian football can get to the SLeague. Two clubs that at least try and do the right thing. Well, they don't complain too much when they lose at home. It's all pretty polite stuff with polite challenges and polite greetings. Even the fans have an almost Singapore thing about them. Complain loudly when things go wrong, make unfunny jokes, that sort of thing. ISL Lite!

Oh, the game. Considering the field and the Discovery camera crew that were filming a newly discovered spieces of frog in one goal mouth it weren't that bad. Both teams went for the points and the match officials must have been dead chuffed to have drawn such an easy day at the office.

Reza gave Persema the lead with a neat diving header from a free kick. Pierre Patrick Seme made it 2-0 with 10 minutes left. Bima Sakti took a free kick from about 25 yards that bounced just in front of the visiting keeper. He spilled the ball and Seme was there, Ruud van Nistlerppy style, to slam home the rebound.

But Persema were not home and dry. In fact no-one was dry though some of the Persema players' shirts did look pretty fresh! Two goals in two minutes, dunno who 'cos even the commentators on TV got them wrong, meant Pelita Jaya had completed the biggest smash n grab since mabel, as a lairy teenager, accidently on purpose smashed a bottle of orange juice in a mini mart in Joo Chiat and her friends grabbed as many women magazines off the shelf as they could in the confusion.

Reza could have won the game in the last minute but he missed an open goal from a couple of yards out at an acute angle but twas not to be.

Arema v Semen Padang (Dendi Santoso, Yongki Aribowo, Pierre Njanka; Yu Hyun Koo) 10,396

Three up for the champions in 20 minutes. Semen Padang's first defeat of the season and, coincidently, their first away game of the season.

Persipura v Deltras 2-0 (Stevie Bonisapia, Paulin Pierre Bhio) 19,692

Two goals in the last 10 minutes for Persipura kept their fine start to the season going. No last minute penalties to save Deltras out in distant Jayapura. Wonder why that was?

Persiwa v Persela 0-0 14,325

Unbelievable! Back to back home draws for Persiwa, the team who were all but flawless at their Pendidikan Stadium for so long.

PSM v Bontang 1-0 (Korinus Finkreuw) 14,051

1-0 to PSM again but they won't care as they sit second in the table four points behind the leaders Persipura with a game in hand

Persiba v Persisam 2-0 (Robertinho, Eki Nurhakim) 6,750

1 - Persipura 7 6 1 0 22-3 19
2 - PSM Makassar 6 5 0 1 8-4 15
3 - Arema 7 4 2 1 16-6 14
4 - Persija 6 4 1 1 10-3 13


I'm A Lumberjack And I'm OK

Given the deforestation that afflicts Indonesia it is hardly surprising that the people who run the football clubs here should be lumberjacks. That is the only explanation I have for their penchant to sack coaches before they have had a chance to buy a new tube of toothpaste.

Expectations were high at Persiba, perhaps unreasonably so, after a 3rd place finish last season but already new coach Junaedi is feeling the heat after one win in their opening six games. Despite sitting 11th in the 18 team Indonesia Super League Persiba are only two points off an automatic relegation spot.

Despite boasting as fine a spine in the ISL with Wirawan, Dadi, Robertinho and Aldo Baretto as well as the talented Singaporean international Khairul Amri Persiba have struggled to find any kind of form this season and only escaped with a point at home to Bontang after Robertinho's last minute pen awarded in controversial circumstances.

Persib have big expectations period. One of the biggest clubs in the land, and potentially the region, it's been many a year since their support, Bobotoh, have had anything to cheer about and their poor start to this campaign suggests the drought ain't ending anytime soon.

Yesterday's defeat away to Persija sees them stuck in 14th with a risable 4 points from their five games. A poor return for one of the best squads in the country.

Coach Jovo Cuckovic only replaced the original coach Darko Janocovic on the eve of the season following a player revolt against the Serb/French coach's methods. Jovo, the assistant coach at the time, was promoted but has team his highly paid team of stars underperform so far. Only a 5-1 thrashing at home to Persiba has shed any light on the gloomy start to the season and a tricky trek to Pekanbaru next week to play PSPS is not what the doctor ordered.

After the Persija defeat the manager, H Umuh, said there was a chance they would change the coach but any evaluation would wait till after the PSPS game.



Full Coverage Persija v Persib

For a sense of the atmosphere inside the stadium yesterday check out these pictures on Asian Football Pictures. Some on the field action, including snaps of Singaporean internationals Precious and Shahril Ishak, can be found here.

I don't really do match reports but for a look at the juxtaposition between hi end shopping malls and football riff raff I have this piece while my analysis of the game can be found here.

And don't forget of course on Jakarta Casual TV a heady mix of action and colour on and off the field highlighting the passion that surrounds one of South East Asia's biggest games.


Results 30/10

Indonesia Super League

Persija v Persib 3-0 (Greg Nwokolo, Bambang Pamngkas, Aliyudin) 35,000
PSPS v Sriwijaya 0-1 (Keith Kayamba Gumbs) 18,250

1 - Persipura 6 5 1 0 20-3 16
2 - Persija 6 4 1 1 10-3 13
3 - PSM Makassar 5 4 0 1 7-4 12
4 - Arema 6 3 2 1 13-5 11

Malaysia Cup Final

Negeri Sembilan v Kelantan 1-2

Singapore Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg

Tampines Rovers v Young Lions (Aleksander Duric)

Tampines Rovers will play the winner of Etoile and Bangkok Glass.


Kelantan Win Malaysia Cup

Despite falling behind to a 13th minute penalty by Abu Saman Kelantan went on to win their first ever Malaysia Cup with a couple of second half goals. Hairuddin Omar equalised on 57' before Badri Radzi ensured the north east will party all night. Not with beer mind.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Bridging The Divide

I loathe shopping malls and the people who populate them. I loathe the Asian obsession with status and the status that is attached to certain brands and products.

The Bung Karno Stadium is situated along the main thoroughfare in Jakarta's CBD. It is close to two high end malls popular with the poncey bapak and ibu who judge a person's worth by the phone they carry and, I fear to say, the colour of their skin.

These vile, loathsome people were out in force today at their favourite malls. A new handphone was launching and tempted by the thought of saving $110 these fine folk were queuing for an hour or so to part with $660 just to be able to tell their mates they bought one on the first day.

Little did these buggers know that just a couple of hundred yards away Persija were playing Persib in front of 30,000 + fans. Kampung kids from all over Jakarta, who have probably never seen 6 million rupiah in one go, were converging on the Bung Karno. Lock up your daughter oh good burgers of Jakarta, the Jakmania are in town.

Getting a taxi after the game was difficult as they stayed away fearing the jams a Persija home game invariably brought. So I joined a queue. Among the moneyed and the credit carded at the mall. On the main street the Jakmania were going home, singing and dancing on their buses. The precious middle classes clutching their new hand phones and their dreams of increased status did what they did best. They ignored what was in front of them. They stared stoically ahead or examined their shoes.

When they get back among their own they will blame the traffic jams on the unruly scamps from the football. I know. I've seen and heard them. Their comfortable existence had been invaded by the great unwashed hordes and their prejudices were overflowing.

As if 20 or 30 people on one bus is the equivalent of one car with three or four people in it...


Persija v Persib 3-0

What a game this was. In a nutshell the first half was evens stevens. Hariono was able to keep a grip on Persija's attacks and the game flowed from end to end. Second half was a whole different ball game, Brain. Persija bossed the midfield with Syamsul and Oliver Markor first for everything. Down the left, Greg Nwokolo led poor Wildansyah a merry dance as Persija blitzed their bitter foes.

To be fair to Persib they were missing Eka Ramdani. Deprive Liverpool of Steven Gerrard and you deprive them of their heartbeat. Ramdani may not be as famous around the world but his presence is similar. He is Persib to the tips of his bootlaces and without him Persib will struggle. Indonesian football isn't equipped with the resources for teams to have two Ekas and Persib probably have the best squad in the islands.

Without Ramdani their midfield looked a pale imitation of itself. Hariono prowled and roared while Atep flattered to deceive and Shahril Ishak faded. But it is the defense, and not for the fist time this season, that will keep coach Jovo Cuckovic awake tonight as he ponders PSPS away next week.

Also missing today was former Persija defender Baihakki Khaizan. How sorely was he missed on the right flank?

Cuckovic may be able to call on Indonesian internationals Markus Horison between the sticks and central defenders Nova Arianto and Maman Abdurahman bit despite having played together for a good few seasons now they still look like strangers to each other. And Jovo's worries are Indonesia's worries as the three of them will expect to represent Indonesia at the AFF Cup in December. Thai striker Teerasil Dangda is going to run them ragged on this showing.

Wildansyah was given a torrid time, especially second half, as Persija encamped in the visitors half. It's not often you're going to see Hariono, Persib's midfield enforcer, battered into submission, as Persija's quick passing and movement had him chasing shadows.

Persija ended the game with goals from Bambang Pamungkas, Greg Nwokolo and substitute Aliyudin. The Jakmania will recall that their best side of recent years, in 2008/2009, featured these three and indeed perhaps only non-football reasons deprived them of the title that season.

Today Persija were impressive, especially second half. I've mentioned the slickness going forward and the efforts of the midfield but at the back they looked assured. New signing Eric Bayemi looked the part while Hendro Kartiko, also part of the Class of 09, looked in control and comfortable with his handling.

But I return again to the enigma that is Persib. That's three defeats in their last four games by my maths and they are just two points off the bottom place. With the players they have they just have to turn the corner. Or change that defence.


Singapore Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

Tampines Rovers v Young Lions 2-0 (Aleksander Duric, Aliff Shaffein)
Bangkok Glass v Etoile 1-1 (Sutee Suksomkit; Julian Deletraz)

Tampines are in the AFC Cup anyway. If either of the foreign teams win the Singapore Cup they can not enter international football. Can Young Lions?

Imagine the scenario. Etoile win the League Cup and the SLeague, Bangkok Glass win the Singapore Cup. Where does that leave Singapore football or is it all part of the strategic plan announced earlier this year?

Friday, October 29, 2010


Asian Football Stadiums

Nearly two years ago I started a semi ground hopping blog called Asian Football Stadiums. Not really a travel guide it is more a pictorial look at the stadiums in this part of the world. The reason why there aren't that many posts on it at the moment is one of laziness. If I take the camera to football I usually have the long lens attached for action shots when I really need a smaller lens to get in the whole stand. But enough of this technical shite...


Tangerang United?

No, this is not another team applying for the Liga Primer Indonesia. Instead supporters of the two Tangerang teams from the industrial city just west of Jakarta have joined forces to raise money for victims of Indonesia's very own double whammy the tsunami in the Mentawis and the Merapi explosion.

Persita and Persikota fans are best known for having it with each other or the neighbours near the Benteng Stadium so it's nice to see them in some positive news for a change.


300 Between Them

OK so Aleksander Duric has managed 300 by himself in Singapore but no disrespect the league in Indonesia is a tad more competitive and a tad more physical than the SLeague.

Tomorrow sees one of the fireiest games on the Indonesian football calender when Persija and Persib go head to head at the Bung Karno Stadium. There will be no away fans inside the stadium, at least will advertise themselves as so, but the atmosphere will still be as intense as anything the Newcastle v Sunderland game may throw up 24 hours later.

Gonzales has a bit of history against Persija. t the Manahan Stadium back in 2008 while he was still with Persik it was alleged he pushed Abanda Herman while challenging the ball. He got the ball, first time he'd had it all game, found space, first time he'd had it all game, and scored.

It looks like Gonzales may well be getting Indonesian citizenship and if that happens we could see these two up front for the national team.

Bambang Pamungkas 134 Goal

1999/2000 Persija 24 goals
20001 Persija 15
2002 Persija 5
2003 Persija 23
2004 Persija 12
2005 Selangor
2006 Selangor
2007 Persija 17
2008/2009 Persija 19
2009/2010 Persija 14
2010/2011 Persija 4 (29/10/2010)

Christian Gonzales 166 Goals

2003 - PSM 27
2004 PSM 6
2005 Persik 25
2006 Persik 29
2007 Persik 32
2008/2009 Persik 14/Persib 14
2009/2010 Persib 18
2010/2011 Persib 1


Indonesia Call Up 30

Indonesia have announced a squad of 30 players for a series of internationals that may or may not happen as well as the ASEAN Football Federation Cup in December. Included for the first time is one time Uruguayan striker Christian Gonzales who has been applying for citizenship.

Hamka Hamzah's fine start to the season has resulted in a recall while it's a bit disappointing not to see Atep in the squad. The Bandung midfielder has been in fine form for a couple of seasons now.

1.) Markus Horison Persib

2.) Ferry Rotinsulu Sriwijaya

3.) Kurnia Meiga Arema

4.) Made Wirawan


5.) Zulkifli Arema

6.) Benny Wahyudi Arema

7.) Ricardo Salampessy Persipura

8.) Nova Arianto Persib

9.) Maman Abdulrahman

10.) Hamka Hamzah Persipura

11.) Yesaya Desnam Persiwa

12.) M. Roby Persisam

13.) M. Nasuha Persija

14.) Slamet Riyadi Persela

15.) M. Ridwan

16.) Arif Suyono Sriwijaya


7.) Toni Sucipto

18.) Firman Utina Sriwijaya

19.) Eka Ramdani Persib

20.) Ahmad Bustomi Arema

21.) Hariono Persib

22.) Johan Juansyah Persijap

23.) Oktovianus Maniani Sriwjjaya

24.) Octavianus Persija

25.) Christian Gonzales Persib

26.) Irfan Bachdim Persema

27.) Boas Salossa Persipura

28.) Bambang Pamungkas Persija

29.) Yongky Aribowo Arema

30.) Budi Sudarsono Sriwjaya


Bogor Raya's Big Ambitions

The Liga Primer Indonesia isn't due to start until next January but Bogor Raya have laid their ambitions out. Top Skor, a local sports tabloid, has a Director of the club quoted as saying that as a minimum requirement they want a coach who has worked at the World Cup and goes on to suggest Bora Milutinovic would be an ideal candidate.

I can just see the likes of Franz Beckanbauer and Arrigo Saachi beating a path to the Rainy City, all eager to find out what players the club have given them to work with. Oh yeah, the players. This coach with World Cup experience, whoever he maybe, will be delighted to know that the new club will open trials for anyone in Bogor who loves a good kick around. Plus some foreigners plus some players from second tier Persikabo. And will be ready in two months.

Many see the LPI as being a great new dawn for Indonesian football but I have never shared that optimism. This story says why. A couple of days ago I fleetingly mentioned human resources...


PSM - The Chosen Ones?

Newly promoted Persibo are struggling. They currently sit bottom of the Indonesia Super League with just two points from their opening six games. With their own stadium in Bojonegoro unfit for top flight football they have been forced to play their home games at the Brajiwijaya Stadium in Kediri, several hours away.

It hasn't given them much luck as they have drawn two and lost two at home and the fans have been staying away. A couple of thousand did travel down for a recent home game but mostly they haven't bothered making the trek to cheer their team.

Pelita Jaya started the season brightly and after one game were top of the table. Not anymore. After five games played they are 16th in the 18 team league and have lost every game since that thumping of Persiwa. Their last two 'home' games were played at Semarang and Solo and they naturally enough lost both.

On the other hand, PSM's narrow victory last night against Persisam was their first home game of the season. With their stadium in Makassar undergoing renovation their fixtures were juggled around and they started the season with four straight away games. Why weren't they forced to play any games at a different stadium like Persibo?


LPI Website

The Liga Primer Indonesia has a website up and running. Much of it looks to be under construction but it's a start.


Results 28/10

Indonesia Super League

Persela v Persema 1-2 (Fabiano; Irfan Bachdim, Ngon Mamoun)
Persiba v Bontang 1-1
PSM v Persisam 2-1

Thursday, October 28, 2010


It's Not Our Fault Claim Thai Port

Thai Port FC have urged critics not to label their fans as "hooligans" following their brawl with Bangkok Glass FC supporters at a Thai Premier League match on Sunday.

Port fans confront Bangkok Glass supporters after Sunday’s match.

Several people were injured including Glass manager Supasin Leelarit after the game at Leo stadium, which was the last of the season.

The meaningless match ended in a scoreless draw and Thai Port complained that they had two good goals disallowed by the referee.

Critics were quick to point a finger at Thai Port, whose fans attacked Muang Thong supporters in the King's Trophy match earlier this year.

Thai Port bosses held a press conference yesterday at their PAT stadium to call for "fairness" from critics and concerned parties.

"We are not here to make an excuse," said Port FC chairman Pichate Mankong.

"We want people to understand that every team has "hot-blooded" fans. Many critics attack us although they do not know the facts."

He claimed several Port supporters were also injured and robbed in the incident.

"Some information is not true. We don't want people to see us as hooligans," he said.

Port vice chairman Jetsadaporn Na Phatthalung said only a small number of Port supporters were involved in the fight and they claimed they were provoked.

Bangkok Glass said there were more Port fans at the match than the number of the allocated tickets.

Port officials then asked Glass to allow their fans to sit in the home team zone and they promised to look after them, according to the club.

Supasin and Jetsadaporn gave their side of the story to Thai Premier League chairman Vichit Yamboonruang yesterday.

After the meeting, Vichit said the TPL was collecting information and evidence and that would be forwarded to the Football Association of Thailand's (FAT) disciplinary committee. A ruling is expected to be made next week

COMMENT - I'm usually fairly critical of this guy's work but this was a good piece. And fair play to that single Bangkok Glass fan fronting the visiting supporters


Results 27/10

Indonesia Super League

Persibo v Persipura 0-1 (Boas Solossa) 253

Persipura made hard work of beating a dogged Persibo leaving it until the 89' when Boas' used his pace to slip past his marker and finish well for his 9th goal of the season. A plus point from this game were the performances of Samsul Arief and Hamka Hamza, two Indonesians who have the talent to go on to bigger things.

Deltras v Arema 1-1 (Cristiano Lopez; Pierre Njanka) 19,323

Nine bookings in this fiery East Java encounter and guess what? Deltras came from behind with a pen!

Persijap v Persiwa 3-2

1 - Persipura 6 5 1 0 20-3 16
2 - Arema 6 3 2 1 13-5 11


D Day In SLeague

Albirex Niigata vs Etoile FC

Jurong East stadium


Wednesday 10 November 2010

Rescheduled from Monday 8 November 2010

Tampines Rovers vs Balestier Khalsa

Tampines stadium


Wednesday 10 November

Rescheduled from Tuesday 9 November 2010

Other game on Wednesday 10 November 2010:

Home United FC vs SAFFC

Jalan Besar Stadium


Wednesday 10 November 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


An Irrelevant Liga Primer Indonesia Post

If you have a few spare moments google Liga Primer Indonesia and guess what the first entry is on page one? I'll give you a couple of clues. It ain't an official website. It also ain't a massive local news portal.

Nope, as of 16.29 on this day it was little ol' me. Out of 366,000 entries.

Now that has to be worth celebrating so I'm off for a beer or 12.


The English Are Coming!

Lao's qualification to the ASEAN Football Federation Cup group stage to be hosted in Jakarta means three English coaches will be rubbing shoulders at the hotel coffee shop or by the pool.

Some guy called Bryan Robson is the head coach of Thailand while Steve Darby will be along to take care of the practise balls and bibs.

For Lao another Asian old hand, Dave Booth, will be on the touch line barking out instructions.

Press conferences will be an absolute hoot with players setting out their stall, attacking early doors, feeding it wide to Smiffy, stepping up to the plate and it was all the ref's fault anyway.


Thai Play Offs Confirmed

The Thai Premier League will be expanded to 18 teams next season and to celebrate the Thai authorities have come up with another batch of games for knackered players to take part in.

They will hold a play off between the three bottom TPL sides, Army, Bangkok United, Si Sa Ket, and the teams that finished 4th, 5th and 6th in Division One, Songkla, Nakorn Pathom and Air Force United.

Sri Racha, Khon Kaen and Chiang Rai United will still get promoted as they finished Champions, 2nd and 3rd respectively in Division One.

From the six teams competing in the Play Offs the top two will join the top flight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Mustafic & Bookings

After a lengthy three month break Singaporean international is back in Indonesia and raring to go. But while somethings have changed, he has moved from Persija to Persela, somethings haven't. His first two games have seen him booked both times meaning he will miss his new team's next game because of two yellows.

The daft thing is both yellows have come from the same bloody ref! And the same whistleblower got him a few times last season as well!


Results 26/10 - More Home Team Controversy

AFF Cup Qualifiers

Cambodia v Philippines 0-0

I think it's a fairly safe bet to suggest the Philippines have made it through to the AFF Cup proper after playing out a blank with cambodia. Doncha love ASEAN's love of compromise?! Why weren't both ties played at the same time I wonder? As it happens Laos play Timor Leste knowing they have to win by a three goal margin or more to go through.

Lao v Timor Leste 6-1

This result means that Lao will be heading to Jakarta in December to play Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia!

Indonesian Super League

Semen Padang v Persija 1-0 (Hengky Ardiles) 8,000

With all the controversy swirling round at the moment about alleged dodgy decisions favouring the home team the last thing Indonesian football wanted was yet more controversy. But of course that's exactly what it go. Bambang Pamungkas looked to have broken the offside trap and levelled the score with three minutes remaining the ref, responding to a linesman's flag, wiped out the Indonesian striker's effort.

Was it offside? I only got one glance, for some reason the TV company did not show a replay, and it looked like Bambang was at least in line with the last three defenders. Yep, three. Well, that's what it looked like. Like I say, no replays despite the promise, after the final whistle, of second half analysis there was none.

Moments later Semen Padang had a goal disallowed but by then the damage was done, at least as far as Persija were concerned. I may not be totally convinced by the proposed Liga Primer Indonesia but right now if the Tooth Fairy came in and promised to clean the game up I would support it.

Pelita Jaya v PSPS Pekanbaru 2-3 (Ramirez, Ardan Aras; April Hadi, Herman Dzumafo, Shin Hyun Joon) 570

1 - Persipura 5 4 1 0 19-3 13
2 - Arema 5 3 1 1 12-4 10
3 - Semen Padang 5 3 1 1 6-1 10
4 - Persija 5 3 1 1 7-3 10
5 - PSPS 5 3 1 0 8-6

8 - Boas Solossa (Persipura)
5 - Dzumafo (PSPS), M Riduan (Arema)


SAFFC v Beijing Guoan 4-2 (Park Tae Won 3, John Wilkinson; Wang Hao, Jiang Tao)


My Liga Primer Indonesia XI

Following on from my piece yesterday about some of the woes facing Indonesian football that the new Liga Primer Indonesia proposes to address I have a few of my own that I would like put on the table

  1. 1. Stop rolling round on the floor after the slightest knock. You may think you’re being professional but it’s humiliating to see.
  2. 2. Don’t stand on the ball at free kicks trying to stop the attacking team from taking a quickie. With foreign refs there won’t be any need to ‘cos they will clearly signal whether a quickie can be taken. Won’t they?
  3. 3. Don’t try shooting from 40 yards plus. You just ain’t good enough.
  4. 4. If you wanna watch foreign football try and learn a few things beyond how to celebrate when you have scored. Perhaps fair play would be a good start
  5. 5. Don’t lean back when you’re in the penalty box and whack the ball as hard as you can. A goal is still a goal whether it’s a Cristiano Ronaldo special or a tap in from one inch
  6. 6. Don’t get carried off the field on a stretcher
  7. 7. Don’t kiss the badge after you have scored. Chances are you have been changing club every year of your career and it’s tantamount to fraud. Better find a hundred dollar bill if you must kiss something, kiss something you really care about
  8. 8. Ever wondered why you huddle together before kick off? Does it build team spirit? How do you feel when you lose, was the huddle effective? Why just copy other countries?
  9. 9. Look up Fair Play in a dictionary
  10. 10. Copying Lionel Messi’s goal celebration does not make you as good as him. Walking round looking at the ground with your head enveloped by your I-Pod does make you as arrogant and spoilt as him.
  11. 11. If you’re a goalkeeper learn to use your mouth. You know, open it and give instructions to your defenders.
  12. 12. If you’re a defender don’t fall asleep at corners or free kicks. Everyone is on to you.



In England it’s the vote of confidence. In Indonesia it’s less democratic but just as fatal for coaches. Lose two or three games in quick succession and you can be sure it won’t be long before the football club management, abhorring the whole notion of defeat, will be sure to start mumbling about how they will soon evaluate the coach’s performance.

I’m not sure what goes on at these evaluations. Does the management sit round a big round table and watch videos of the previous games trying to highlight what has gone wrong? Do they look at the league table and think Oi, you’re shit fella? Do they take into account injuries, a referee’s whistle going the other way?

Buggered if I know. But all too often the result is the same. The coach packs his bag and wonders why he wasn’t born French then he could have got the Arsenal job.

It’s an illuminating thought but imagine some of the jokers who run clubs here, imagine if they were say running Manchester United in the late 1980s. Sir Alex would never have been round enough to have become knighted, under Indonesian football management he would have been axed before the end of his first season or just into the beginning of his second.

Arsene Wenger would have left Arsenal probably in the early months of 2006, none of this nonsense of five years without a trophy, the local boys demand instant success and if it don’t happen then there is always that axe and there is always a coach out there who is willing to do things their way.


Persikota Fret About Travel

The Divisi Utama isn't due to start for another couple of weeks, and I have yet to see a fixture list, but Persikota are already worrying about travel expenses. With a small budget promised, but not yet delivered, Persikota have some lengthy away games to look forward to three games on the far eastern island of Papua.

They are in Group Two alongside Perseman Manokwari, Persiram Raja Ampat and Persidafon Dafonsaro. Ordinarily away games are played in pairs meaning just one trip. But with three away games would that mean two expensive trips east?


More Pressure on Indonesian FA

Whenever anything happens in Indonesian football media, clubs and supporters automatically point their fingers at the FA, known as the PSSI, as the culprit. And often with good reason.

There have been regular calls for the current incumbents to step down over the last few years but the Teflon Crew hang on in there, rejecting all calls for their ouster.

With the advent of the Liga Primer Indonesia maybe now some of the clubs and players may start to re-find their balls and complain about the injustices that are seemingly a weekly occurrence here.

The FA may hold all the cards but the last thing they can do is appear to be too overbearing or too patronising or they will lose what little support they have left and with an election next year to elect a new leadership the canny political operators at Senayan will be battening down the hatches and looking for new friendships.

A couple of stories today in local tabloid Top Skor will have added to the pressure on the FA, already under fire from the LPI.

Persema Malang have threatened to withdraw from the Indonesia Super League. They cite the lack of any Fair Play and some shocking decisions during their last game away to Deltras when they lost the game to a late penalty. The referee blew the final whistle while Persema were on the attack with a goal scoring opportunity leaving the club feeling disgusted at the blatant, umm, thingy.

Deltras have a thing about late penalties. An article today in the same tabloid details five instances when the team from Sidoarjo got a late late penalty and went on to win the game by one goal margins.

Cold hard facts like that can look suspicious to cynics and of course I am a cynic. But perspective is good. How many penalties have Arsenal had this season? I dunno either but there have been plenty and Arsene Wenger would claim that is because they attack so much and move so quickly.

There is nothing to stop Deltras management saying exactly the same thing and without evidence to the contrary all we have are suspicions.

Interestingly Deltras, who haven't scored an away goal yet this season, have expressed an interesting in joining the LPI if it ever gets off the ground. The people behind the liga have been emphasising Fair Play and are looking to bring in foreign refs. If the Liga begins, and if the foreign refs do get games (would they even qualify for a work permit?) would Deltras get so many late, decisive penalties?


Pelita Jaya Move Home Again

The original hermit crabs of Indonesia are at it again. The privately owned Pelita Jaya must look with envy at teams in Thailand and ask what they have done to deserve a nomadic career that sees them move home with the frequency of a Craig Bellamay.

In the past they have played in Jakarta, Solo, Cilegon, Purwakarta, Soreang and Karawang. This season alone, after three home games, they have played at Karawang and Solo. And their next home game will be at Jatidiri Stadium in Semarang.

Now far be it for me to go out on a limb here but I reckon there ain't many Pelita Jaya fans out there who haven't missed a home game in say the last five years.

You wonder either how they survive or why they bother.


Manado United - No, Really

After mocking the propensity of some football clubs in this region to copy Manchester United, in at least one way, by blandly adding United to their name, now, finally, comes a team that can do so with impunity.

In 2006 when I took up my lap top to start this here cyber rant there were three teams from North Sulawesi plying their trade in the Eastern Division of what was then known as the Liga Indonesia. Persma Manado, Persimin Minhasa and Persibom Bolaang Mongadow soon faded when the Indonesia Super League and last season we were left with just Persigo Gorontalo as North Sulawesi sole representative in the second tier Utama.

Now, for the new Liga Primer Indonesia, the area will once more be sat at the top table, well one of them, of Indonesian football with the three entities merging to form a single Manado United.


Thanks to the Malaysian FA

PETALING JAYA: Will Kelantan play Negri Sembilan in the Malaysia Cup final? Let’s ask the great minds in the FA of Malaysia (FAM).

The FAM disciplinary board, headed by Datuk Taufik Razak, suspended Kelantan coach B. Satianathan for six months and fined him RM2,000 on Friday.

A letter was faxed to the Kelantan FA in Kota Baru the same day — despite the fact that Kelantan observes Friday and Saturday as their weekend.

Satianathan was deemed "guilty" of speaking his mind, for saying it was unfair to allow Terengganu to play their away match against Perlis in Kuala Terengganu in a Super League match. This was in July.

Isn’t it in the rule book that teams in the Malaysia Cup must have a registered A-licence coach at the sidelines?

Satianathan is the only coach in the team with an A-licence and could his absence from the bench mean Kelantan are "illegal" and thus, cannot play in the final?

Now, wouldn’t that be an interesting question for FAM to answer?

Let’s see how the fanatical Red Warriors supporters will react to this. Satianathan will not be able to participate actively in any football activity for the duration.

Does this mean Kelantan will scout for a new coach for the 2011 season?

Satianathan is in the running for Best Coach category in the FAM- 100Plus National Awards.

Having secured second spot in the Super League and with Kelantan in the Malaysia Cup final, he is tipped to win.

Wouldn’t that be a slap on the disciplinary board's face?

When Reduan Abdullah was suspended last year for allegedly "speaking against policy matters", he was asked to justify his actions in front of the board.

Why wasn’t Satianathan called up to answer charges? Why was a decision made based on his written explanation some three months ago? Why the double standards?

Many witnessed Selangor defender Khairul Anuar Baharom head-butt T-Team’s Haris Safwan Kamal in a Malaysia Cup group match.

Did the committee discuss the matter?

All Satianathan did was to state the obvious.

Judging from reports – Print, online and blogs – Satianathan is getting a lot of sympathy. If only the smart folks at FAM had thought about this.

But then again, do they ever think in the first place?

COMMENT - I was chatting with a friend today and we were both bemoaning the state of Indonesian football. 'Don't worry,' says I clutching at straws, 'things could be worse. We could be in Malaysia!'

I wrote a few days about logic and how people make decisions here because they can, not because they need making. The Malaysian FA are how I imagine the MCC to be about 50 years ago. Crusty old bores in cushty safe positions isolated from the real world.

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