Saturday, June 28, 2014


Asia's World Cup Flop

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The winless World Cup showing by Asia's four teams is a wakeup call for the region, the head of AFC said on Friday, but the lacklustre showing has not deterred calls for extra places at the finals from his members.

South Korea exited on Thursday after a 1-0 loss to Belgium condemned them to last place in Group H, the same position Japan, Iran and Australia managed in their four team pools as the region managed only a collective three points in Brazil.

It was the first time since the 1990 tournament in Italy that Asia didn't win a game at the finals, with the AFC the only Confederation competing in Brazil not to have a representative make the last 16.
"This World Cup serves as a lesson to all Asian nations," Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement.

"Asia must acknowledge its shortcomings, but at the same time we must believe in our own ability.
"The AFC is determined to unlock the full potential of Asian football, and that can only be achieved through hard work, dedication and unwavering support in AFC’s efforts to have equal and sustainable football development across the continent."

Asian teams have won just 14 matches at the World Cup since Indonesia - then the Dutch East Indies - first competed at the 1938 tournament in Italy. In comparison, South America's six representatives in Brazil have 13 wins already in the 2014 edition.

Only six Asian sides have made it through the first stage of a World Cup, with South Korea's fourth place at their home 2002 tournament looking a distant memory after the Brazil showing.

However, FIFA Vice-President Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, who has accused Sheikh Salman of playing politics in trying to take his role at the world governing body, believes Asia should see an increase to their four-and-a-half slots.

"Asia definitely deserves more spots for many reasons," the Jordanian Football head told Reuters earlier in the tournament.

"Two thirds of the global population and footballers are from Asia, it's the largest continent, we have 46 Members Associations and, most importantly, Asian football has taken impressive strides towards development. The future of football is Asia."

Those beliefs are not shared by all, though.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz stepped down after their campaign ended with a defeat by Bosnia, with the former Real Madrid coach long bemoaning the amateur set up as a hindrance to progress.

Queiroz said Asian policy of copying European practices was also a mistake and that training, competition and organisation in the region was wrong.

"You cannot copy Europe because the day you think you are close, they are one step ahead because they also progress," the Mozambique-born coach said.

"But the officials persist in copying Europe and year after year the gap is higher and higher. It is a pity because 60percent of the money in football comes from Asia and they have the worst conditions."

Sheikh Salman, who was elected last year, said he hoped that new initiatives in the administration of the game in Asia would result in an improved showing at the next World Cup in Russia.

"We must bring our game to the next level and there is no time to wait," he said.

"Football will not slow down and nor will the rest of the world. We look to enhance the overall quality of our football, from infrastructure, commercial, competition to administration."


Juventus Ticket Prices - Indonesia

Ticket Prices 

VVIP West - Rp 2,500,000 ($208)
VIP West - Rp 1,600,000
VIP East - Rp 1,000,000
Category 1 - Rp 650,000
Category 2 - Rp 350,000
Category 3 - Rp 150,000

For a comparison, check out the prices when the Arsenal came to Jakarta in 2013.


Singapore League Cup Draw 2014

The Fixtures of the Group Stages
Stage Day Date Time Home Away Venue
Group A Monday 7 July 8.00pm Tanjong Pagar United Albirex Niigata Queenstown
Group B Geylang International Tampines Rovers Bedok
Group C Tuesday 8 July Woodlands Wellington Home United Woodlands
Group D Balestier Khalsa Hougang United Toa Payoh
Group A Thursday 10 July Albirex Niigata Police SA Jurong East
Group B Tampines Rovers Warriors Clementi
Group C Friday 11 July Home United S’pore Recreation Club Bishan
Group D Brunei DPMM Balestier Khalsa Jalan Besar
Group A Sunday 13 July Tanjong Pagar United Police SA Queenstown
Group B Warriors Geylang International Choa Chu Kang
Group C Monday 14 July Woodlands Wellington S’pore Recreation Club Woodlands
Group D Hougang United Brunei DPMM Hougang

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Jakarta Casual Podcasts

Sorry not much has been added recently. I am wandering around South East Asian trying to catch some football and sometimes failing spectacularly at great cost!

Anyways, added some podcasts so if you are stuck in a traffic jam, why not check them out.

An Interview With Mustafic Fahruddin
Singapore Legend R Sasikumar
A Look Behind The Scenes at Albirex Niigata

They can all be found at the Jakarta Casual soundlcoud page


Johor Darul Tazim Edge Closer To Title

Johor Baru: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) inched closer to the Super League title with a convincing 3-0 win over Kelantan. 
The Southern Tigers took command of the match from the start last night, knowing that a victory would boost their hopes of emerging champions. 
JDT can secure the title by beating Sarawak in their final match in Kuching on Wednesday. If they falter, second-placed Selangor can snatch the title from them if they win today’s match against Sarawak the Shah Alam Stadium and the last match against basement side PKNS FC at home on Wednesday. 
The Johor club side did not disappoint the sell-out crowd at the Larkin Stadium with Amirulhadi Zainal (26th), Mohd Nazrin Mohd Nawi (53rd) and Luciano Figueroa (88th) netting the goals.  
Amirulhadi gave JDT the perfect start by latching onto a through pass from captain Safiq Rahim to put the ball beyond Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat for the opening goal.
Kelantan-born winger Mohd Nazrin made it 2-0 for JDT in the second half when he stabbed the ball home after a goalmouth scramble. 
Kelantan’s Mohd Khairul Izuan could have reduced the deficit but squandered the two chances in the 78th and 79th minutes. 
Figueroa then put the game beyond Kelantan by connecting a cross from Mohd Nazrin two minutes before full time. 
In another match at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, Armed Forces boosted their chances of beating the drop by holding hosts Terengganu to a 1-1 draw. 
The Turtles took the lead through Mohd Norfahan Mohd in the 60th minute, but Forces equalised through Fabrice Noel in the 64th minute to move up a rung to ninth in the 12-team league.


Indonesia v Pakistan Ticket Prices

VIP West Stand: Rp 100.000,-
West Terrace: Rp 75.000,-
East Terrace: Rp 30.000,-
North & South Terrace: Rp 30.000,-

The game is being played at Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo 21 June 

Monday, June 09, 2014


Mekong Club Championship

YANGON  – Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker will sponsor the inaugural TOYOTA Mekong Club Championship which will be played at the Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam on 31st October and 2nd November this year. 

The football tournament will feature the winning teams representing Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

As the sponsor of the FIFA Club World Cup presented by TOYOTA, the AFC Asian Cup and other local football tournaments such as the Toyota Thai Premier League, this latest sponsorship is another show of support for the development of football globally and in the Mekong region by Toyota.

“We are proud to sponsor what promises to be an excellent tournament demonstrating the unifying spirit of football, arguably the world’s most popular sport,” said Kyoichi Tanada, Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation.

“We feel that the passion and energy of football resonates with Toyota’s constant pursuit in innovation to bring ‘ever better’ cars to our customers. In conjunction with the title sponsorship, we are also launching the ‘Toyota Mekong Football Challenge’ to inspire and groom young football talents. We are also grateful for the tremendous support from the local football federations and associations from participating countries to help make the tournament a success.”


Russian Footballer Left To Rot In Indonesia

Here we go again.

Have you heard of Sergei Litvinov? Nope, nor have I. He first came out to Indonesia for the IPL, remember that thing, where the league promised to change the game and honour players' contracts?

Litvinov signed for Solo FC, joined Persikab in 2012 before playing at PSLS last year.
Litvinov (58) lining up for Solo Ksatria in 2011

Now he is stuck. In Solo. With no money. Because PSLS refuse to honour his contract and pay him his money.

We have been here before. Solo has been here before. Remember Diego Mendieta, the Paraguayan striker who was left to go from hospital to hospital because he couldn't afford to pay for the treatment? He eventually died in Solo, all but forgotten by the world except a few fans of the local team.

Now we have this Russian lad who can't go home to see his family because he has no money and is left to sell drinks at a road side stall.

I wonder what the 'official' Indonesian players' union, known as APSI, are doing to help him? Because the union recognised by the rest of the world, APPI, are not recognised by the PSSI here. So, can we expect to hear from APSI on this matter?

More about Sergei...on You Tube (in Indonesian) and on a local website (in Indonesian).


Persita Forced To Move Persija Clash

You can't help but feel sorry for fans of Persita. Kicked out of their Benteng Stadium by a fatwa that followed years of crowd disturbances, the team was forced to play its home games in Kuningan in 2013 which is bloody miles away.

This season saw them move to Karawang which is a bit closer but still a fair old trek for the die hard.

Now comes news their game with Persija for later this weekend has been shifted to Bantul near Yogyakarta over concerns of crowd trouble.

Persija fans tend to travel to some away games in numbers, they took something like a dozen bus loads to Sriwijaya for their game yesterday, leaving Jakarta on Friday for the 16 hour plus drive, including ferry crossing, and with Karawang being in West Java, and Persib land, officials were no doubt concerned over possible disorder.

Earlier, Persija fans had hired something like two dozen buses to take them ti Bandung for their game with Persib. Police stopped them on the highway and forced them, after a bit of a row, to return home rather than continue their journey.

Playing in Bantul is hardly likely to stop the Persija hard core but Persita will be punished by missing out in a lucrative gate take as well as home advantage.


Pahang Lift FA Cup

SHAH ALAM: Pahang staged a magnificent second-half fightback to beat Felda United 2-1 for their second FA Cup title at the Shah Alam Stadium.

Felda surprisingly raced ahead last night through Edward Wilson Junior in the 22nd minute before Pahang substitute Mohd Faizol Hussain equalised in the 79th minute. Dickson Nwakaeme struck the winner in the 89th minute.

Favourites Pahang struggled to gain a foothold and were outplayed by the hardworking Felda players, who chased every loose ball.

The Elephants’ central midfield pairing of Mohd Hafiz Kamal and Azidan Sarudin were the biggest letdown as the duo looked lost and could not create the chances for strikers Matias Conti and Dickson Nwakaeme.

Felda goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Harun was also in his element as he kept a clean slate in the first half. Felda’s attacking trio of Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Wilson and Zah Rahan Krangar were a threat throughout the first half.

And it was Wilson and Indra who combined to create Felda’s goal. The duo played a one-two at the edge of the box before the former put the ball beyond the reach of Pahang goalkeeper Khairul Azhan.

The goal woke Pahang from their slumber but, despite their hard work, the equaliser was hard to come by. Their best chance came from Azidan’s diving header which hit the cross bar in the 37th minute.

Zah Rahan could have put the game beyond Pahang four minutes after the restart but his effort from outside the box hit the upright.

Two inspired substitutions in the second half by Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan – bringing on Zesh Rehman and Faizol – paved the way for the fightback.

Midfielder Faizol blasted in a screamer from outside the box after receiving a pass from Nwakaeme to get Pahang back into the game while Rehman set up Nwakaeme for the winner in the dying minutes.

Pahang were also FA Cup champions in 2006 when they edged Perlis 4-2 in a penalty shootout. Last night’s victory also earned them a slot in the AFC Cup competition next season.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


Singapore's Class Of '94

50,000 Singapore fans travelled to Shah Alam Stadium for the Malaysia Cup Final in 1994. A further 1 million watched it on TV back home. Singapore won the game 4-0 against Pahang, Abbas Saad netted a hat ytick while Fandi Ahmad hit the third.

The Lions returned to Singapore and there crowds waiting for them at the airport. A further 20,000 filled the old national stadium to celebrate their success.

Talk to anyone from those days and they will compare unfavourably the current football set up with the Class of '94. The idea that 50,000 Singaporeans would even cross the road to see their team play these days seems laughable. Manchester United, yes. Liverpool, yes. But Singapore? Forget it.

What went wrong? Where have those fans gone? What level of mismanagement has caused Singaporeans to turn their back on their own game and adopt teams from thousands of miles away?

The names of '94 are etched deep in the Singapore psyche... David Lee (goalkeeper), Terry Patmanathan (sweeper), Borhan Abu Samah (left back), Malek Awab (right back/winger), Lim Tong Hai (center back), V. Selvaraj (midfielder), Fandi Ahmad (striker), Sundramoorthy (right winger), Lee Man Hon (left winger), “Supersub” Steven Tan (right winger), Nazri Nasir (midfielder), together with the foreign imports in Abbas Saad (striker), Alistair Edwards (striker) and Jang Jung (sweeper).

Their names and their deeds live but their successors are frankly ignored or mocked. Players like Noh Alam Shah. Baihakki Khaizan, Ahmad Latief, Indra Sahdan Daud, M Ridwan are lucky to receive a fraction of the respect directed towards those who overcame Pahang. Lionel Lewis, an international keeper considered good enough for trials with Manchester City and Grasshopper Zurich, was forced to leave the game because there was no money.

Tha fans have dried up. Those who are left just want free tickets and clubs have resorted to giving away tubes of potato crisps to try and get people through the gate!

Singaporeans will get behind their national team, especially if they are in with a chance of winning something, but they have yet to feel the same emotional attachment to their club sides these days.

Singapore football has a long, proud tradition going back decades through its efforts in the Malaysia Cup. The passion for the game is there; just see the English Premier league shirts on the MRT or the buses. But you must go some to see people wearing local teams' shirts.

This is the 20th anniversary of what many people see as the pinnacle of football in Singapore. Yet what is being done to commemorate it? Where are the books, videos, t shirts or othe rmemorabilia to recall that magical day? Beyond a few whiny letters to the local papers, where is the official recognition of '94?

You cannot have a present or a future until you recognise the past and it is quite shocking that no one seems willing to step forward and recognise that team, give it the respect it deserves and, perhaps, use it as the moment Singapore decided it needed its own league.

By giving '94 a status of its own, perhaps people can then start to afford the current generation the respect it deserves. Things ain't too bad these days...2012 ASEAN Cup Champions, 2013 LionsXII won the Malaysian Super League.

On the 20th anniversary it is right to remember the past. But it is also right to look forward to the future.

Malaysia Cup 1994 video
Personal memories

Monday, June 02, 2014


Jakarta Casual Podcast

The latest lookback at the week in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore as well as a peek at Thai football...bit of a ramble this time but the content is there.

Check it out on Soundcloud


Kelantan Officials Upset Over Transfer Policy

A Kelantan official has lambasted the decision by some quarters in their Super League team for dropping foreign duo Obinna Nwaneri and Mohammed Ghaddar during the mid-season transfer window in April.

Nwaneri was Kelantan’s pillar of strength in the centre-back position while Ghaddar, though, selfish, was quite a lethal striker.

But Kelantan replaced them with an ineffective Hussein Alaa Magsoosi and former Ghana international Prince Tagoe.

Hussien, who was signed from Bangkok United, has failed to strengthen Kelantan’s back-line while Tagoe is injured.

Tagoe has been complaining of multiple injuries during training and according to team officials, the local strikers are better than him.

None of the team officials wants to take the blame for signing poor quality players. Some key members of the team were not consulted before Nwaneri and Ghaddar were dropped.

“Hussien is nothing like Nwaneri. Tagoe has claimed he got injured during training. The Ghana striker’s condition does not look good,” said the KFA official yesterday.

“I was surprised when Nwaneri and Ghaddar were dropped from the squad in April.

“They were not great but at least they added depth to our game. Instead of signing better players, the team have brought in very weak options.

“Kelantan can forget about winning titles this season.”

Tagoe was an unused substitute in Kelantan 2-2 draw with Felda United in the FA Cup semi-final return leg in Shah Alam on Saturday. Kelantan were ousted from the competition on away goals.
Kelantan coach George Boateng explained that Tagoe did not have the fitness to play on Saturday.
“I pick players based on fitness and their performance in training.

“Tagoe hasn’t been able to train all week due to fitness problems. He has a slight injury. He needs to work harder and improve before I can select him.”

The coach is optimistic Kelantan will achieve their top four target in the Super League and also pose a serious challenge in the Malaysia Cup.

Kelantan are now fifth in the league with 26 points with five matches left.

Read more: Kelantan pay price of bad decision - Soccer - New Straits Times

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