Monday, January 31, 2011
Indonesian FA Report LPI Players, Coaches
Sunday, January 30, 2011
NJ Mania's Divided Loyalty
A Tale Of Two Reactions
Friday, January 28, 2011
A Family Affair
The Bakries, Indonesia’s most influential family, recently chalked up another headline following allegations of having turned the national soccer team into a political commodity.
Aside from having tentacles in the political sphere and business associations, the family has a long standing record as financier of several major sports organizations, particularly ones that organize events for sports that have the potential to attract huge crowds.
Aburizal Bakrie, the family’s patron and chairman of the powerful Golkar Party, is an aficionado of badminton, tennis and cycling, while his younger brother Nirwan Dermawan is a soccer fanatic and a benefactor of volleyball and swimming associations.
The family’s youngest, Indra Usmansyah, is an active backer of basketball and horse riding organizations and clubs.
Despite engaging in sports development since the early 1980s, it was not until 1986 that the family began to seriously invest in sports by setting up the Pelita Jaya Sports Association, overseeing sports loved by the brothers.
Among the association’s flagships is the Kerawang-based Pelita Jaya soccer club, which gained fame
after importing retired World Cup soccer stars, including Roger Milla and Maboang Kessack of Cameroon, and Mario Kempes of Argentina.
Aside from building the Lebak Bulus soccer stadium in South Jakarta, the Bakries also built a 15-hectare sports training complex in Sawangan, Bogor, West Java, in 1987 to support the development of its athletes.
“Back then, Lt. Col. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono [now president] regularly used the Sawangan facilities to train his Army volleyball team,” said Bakrie family spokesman Lalu Mara Satriawangsa.
“But now his [Yudhoyono] supporters often criticize the family for turning sports into a political commodity. Look, we were involved in sports long before anyone became interested in spending money to help develop our athletes.”
Since 1986, the family is estimated to have donated at least Rp 1 trillion (US$110 million) to sports organizations, clubs and events, according to Lalu Mara.
The family, Indonesia’s 10th richest with a net worth of US$2.1 billion, according to Forbes Magazine, was the first to donate heavily to sports, in which during the 1980s and 1990s was also largely financed by proceeds from a government-sponsored lottery.
The Bakries played a role in Indonesia’s first Olympic gold medal for badminton in 1992 in Barcelona when Aburizal was deputy chairman and backer of the badminton association. Badminton is Indonesia’s second most favorite sport after soccer.
Despite their long record in the sports world, the Bakries have recently been under spotlight for what people consider as riding on the coattails of the national soccer team’s success to boost both the family’s and the Golkar Party’s image.
The debacle started when the family hosted the national team at Aburizal’s private residence in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Dec. 20 after it defeated the Philippines for a ticket in the finals.
The visit, covered widely by the media, was made at the height of the soccer fever following the team’s astonishing performance during the 2010 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, although it eventually becoming the runner up after being beaten by Malaysia.
Before the squad, Aburizal pledged Rp 3 billion to be paid out as bonuses to the players, and donated 30 hectares of land in Sawangan for the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) to be used as a training center.
“Giving instant rewards to national team players gives political leaders higher value for their rupiah,” said capital market analyst Lin Che Wei of the Independent Research & Advisory Indonesia.
Lin said using soccer as a platform for promotion was cheaper than spending money on sufficient training infrastructure and youth development in the game.
“These politicians try to take the easy route instead of really improving soccer infrastructure. My heart sinks when I see players being treated like commodities by politicians,” he said.
After the trip to the Bakries, PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid, who is also a Golkar politician, thanked the family for its extensive generosity in helping finance PSSI-initiated activities and the national team.
He also claimed that 80 percent of PSSI and the national team’s annual budget of around Rp 100 billion comprised Bakrie donations.
“The family is where PSSI can always turn to for every penny. It has been going on for ages so I don’t see why people are making a fuss about the family’s financial assistance to the organization,” said Lalu Mara.
Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Andi Mallaranggeng welcomed the family’s financial contribution to national sports, but voiced hope that it was done in all sincerity.
“We always support anyone who donates money for sports development. However, we hope nothing is expected in return for their contribution,” said Andi, who is a Democratic Party politician.
Andi, a harsh critic of the way Indonesian soccer is managed, also urged politicians to refrain from meddling in sports so that athletes could be managed professionally.
“I don’t buy the claim that 80 percent of PSSI’s annual budget comes in the form of donations from the Bakries,” said Andi.
“The government always gives 20 percent of the needed budget while the remaining 80 percent comes from proceeds from tickets, sponsorships and donations from various parties.”
Despite the critics, Yudhoyono and his Democratic Party have also been accused of not being sincere in efforts to improve soccer management.
Analysts believe political rifts between the Democrats and Golkar have now spilled over into soccer, with the stake being a chance to win over soccer fans — a huge public relations audience targeted to promote any political agenda ahead of the 2014 elections.
However, the Bakries and Golkar are unlikely to give up any of their stake during the upcoming PSSI congress in April, which will see a shake up in the association’s management, particularly when the family has had a strong presence in the organization for decades.
Compared to other sports, soccer is probably the crown jewel of the Bakries, besides its coal business. The PSSI has been traditionally managed by both Golkar politicians and family associates and company executives.
Nirwan, a prime mover in Indonesian soccer, has been active in PSSI since 1986, and is now PSSI deputy chairman. Many call him the “real PSSI chairman”.
PSSI secretary-general Nugraha Besoes, who has held the position largely since 1983, is also a Golkar politician and former executive of the Pelita Jaya Sports Association as well as Nirwan’s associate in managing the volleyball association.
National soccer team manager Andi Darussalam Tabusalla is an executive at PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya, the Bakrie company handling the Lapindo mudflow disaster.
The PSSI’s technical deputy for National Team Agency, Imam Arief, is an executive of PT Bumi Resources, a coal company associated with the Bakries. Imam is the key figure behind the hiring of Austrian Alfred Riedl as the national soccer team coach.
The family’s love of soccer also extended to foreign land when it purchased a 20 percent share in Leicester City FC in November through Cronus Sports Management Pte. Ltd.
Imam, the Bakries’ trusted lieutenant in the sports, represents the family’s interests in the club, which is 80 percent owned by Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn.
Leicester, which is coached by former England squad manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, is now playing in the Football League Championship — second-highest division in the English football competition system after Premier League.
Nirwan’s eldest son Adika “Aga” Nuraga Bakrie, who is the assistant manager for the national under
23 team, is also active in managing the club, particularly its soccer academy.
In the long run, Leicester is slated to function as one of the training and scouting grounds for national team players.
The Bakries were also behind the international program of grooming future soccer players held recently in Uruguay and previously in Italy and the Netherlands.
However, the national team has won no international trophy since 1991 when it won the SEA Games gold medal.
COMMENT - the story I've been wanting to write. Well, it doesn't go far enough but it's a pretty good piece from an unlikely source, the Post, and one I have overlooked 'cos I never check the thing for football stories.
A read through this, add in some of my comments over the last few months and perhaps my doubts about the LPI come a little clearer.
The reason I've not done something like this before? It needs to be Indonesian I think. There is a danger at times that foreigners, when writing on a subject, can come across as a tad domineering or perhaps even colonial. Plus the overtly political nature of this would have meant way too much research for me!
Ou Est Les Champigons?
Hong Kong Lined Up. Maybe.
Foreign Refs For ISL
- Home teams who have benefited from an inordinately large number of late winners or goals or penalties.
- Home teams with near perfect records who can't get anything when they play away from home.
- Middling games with nothing at stake not being shown on TV.
- Persiwa home games.
Young Lions Press Release
Singapore, 27 January 2011 – In what can only be described as a major development in Singapore football, regional retailing giant Courts announced today that it has signed on to become the official title sponsor of Young Lions Football Club, a team currently featuring in the S.League. With immediate effect, the team will be known as the Courts Young Lions. The landmark sponsorship deal signifies a major shot in the arm for the S.League and at the same time, a major change in the face of investment in local football.
Courts, Singapore’s largest electrical, IT and furniture retailer, will commit S$1 million in cash and activation over a period of two years. Under the deal, Courts will acquire naming rights to the team. In addition, its logo will be emblazoned across the front of the team jerseys and throughout Jalan Besar Stadium on match days for the next two years.
Courts Young Lions are an under-23 side comprising mostly national players and is the world’s only age-restricted football team competing in a professional league. With Jalan Besar Stadium as its home ground, the team was set up in 2003 by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to expose young players to top-level competition and to help prepare the team for international tournaments.
Describing the deal as one that is aligned with Courts’ history of supporting football, Terry O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer, Courts, said, “Our partnership with the Courts Young Lions is truly unprecedented in local football. The deal represents forward thinking on the part of the S.League, and that is aligned with our own philosophy of innovation at Courts. Being highly passionate about football ourselves, we are committed towards using our resources, networks and expertise to add value to the team and the S.League. This partnership shows that brands and the league can work hand-in-hand to create a win-win situation. We hope that this will give other potential sponsors the impetus to show their support for the local sports scene as well.”
Courts’ involvement with the Courts Young Lions is the culmination of its sustained support of football in Singapore. Over the last 10 years, Courts has continually engaged the local football loving community through initiatives such as its title sponsorship of Manchester United’s Asia Tour in 2001 and a two-year partnership with Liverpool FC which involved amongst other activities, bringing Liverpool players to Singapore and sending fans to Anfield to catch Liverpool matches from 2008-2009.
Courts will work closely with Vanda Sports Group (VSG) to ensure that the support goes beyond monetary benefits for the Courts Young Lions. The main objective is to produce a sustainable fan base and to generate attendance at matches by creating an unrivalled match day experience. Activities are also being planned to engage the community at a deeper level and to promote youth development in local football.
Zainudin Nordin, President of FAS, said, “The FAS is delighted that Courts will support local football and the S.League through the inception of Courts Young Lions with this significant sponsorship deal over the next two years. The S.League needs as much support as possible from Singapore’s private sector to continue development and will ultimately benefit from more corporate involvement.”
Ian Mullane, Chief Executive Officer, VSG, added, “Appointing a committed and dynamic sponsor for our club was a priority for us and represents a major milestone for Project Tribe. Courts will offer tremendous value as the driver for Courts Young Lions and we are pleased to have them on board. We also want football fans in Singapore to know that watching the Courts Young Lions at Jalan Besar Stadium will be a wonderful experience. We are committed to building a community, encouraging fan club membership, keeping fans up to date with all the latest news and engaging with them on various fronts.”
The Courts Young Lions will make their first appearance of the season against eight-time champions Singapore Armed Forces FC on 12 February at 5pm. The match timing has been brought forward from the usual 7.30pm kick-off time for the first time with the intent of attracting more fans to watch the games on weekends. All of the Courts Young Lions’ six Saturday home fixtures will be played at that time this season.
For more information, please visit www.courtsyounglions.com.sg which launches today.
You can also follow the Courts Young Lions on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Walking The Talk Part One
One of the rewards I’ve enjoyed since beginning Jakarta Casual has been the opportunity to run into familiar names and faces from my time down under following St George in the now defunct National Soccer League. Steve Darby, Abbas Saad, Darren Stewart, Scott O’Donell, Scott Ollerenshaw, Les Murray, Francis Awartefe etc were known to me, though I wasn’t to them, through the NSL.
I arrived in Sydney in July 1987 after a month or so backpacking through South East Asia. I was looking at 12 months or so before returning to England, mortgages and following the Arsenal over land and sea. Not surprisingly I have never made any plans since then!
Just about the first thing I did on landing was check out a newsagent. There had to be some football stuff! And there was. Australian Soccer Weekly was a, umm, weekly, about Soccer. In Australia! Perfect for me! I had access to fixtures, I was set. Thing is no-one had a Scooby what I was on about or where I wanted to go. They is couldn’t figure out why this Pom (Pride of Mother England) seemed so keen to watch a game no-one else did.
I had a couple of choices that opening weekend, well my opening weekend, and my options were limited when the staff at the Sydney tourist office had no idea where Edensor Park was. Shame really ‘cos in that Sydney derby between Sydney Croatia and Sydney Olympic John Kosmina was playing and he was the only name I knew after a spell with Arsenal 10 years earlier and an appearance with the Socceroos against Arsenal at Highbury.
In no way dispirited by the tourist office’s singular lack of knowledge, I managed to find out that St George were playing Marconi at the St George Stadium which didn’t look too far away. I went, I found the stadium, an anchor’s throw from where Captain Cook had landed 199 years earlier, and hey presto, my first game.
One name stood out that afternoon among all the unfamiliar Greek and Balkan names and that was Frank Farina and the boy done good in later years I think.
I moved to Brisbane where I took to following the unimaginately named Easts, they were my local team, and the biggest news there seemed to be a teenager named Scott Playle moving to Rangers. I took a taxi one night to see Rochedale Rovers because they had aging Scotsman Danny McGrain playing and I took in the XXXX final at Perry Park between Olympic United and, umm, someone else.
I was back in Sydney in time for the NSL play off final which St George won 4-0 against APIA after beating Preston Makedonia in one of the play offs, a system that left me bewildered.
My first impressions of Australian football was that apathy ruled, there was little info available and there was always a good chance of a row breaking out. I was hooked.
I spent the next few years following a St George who could never repeat that Grand Final triumph of 1987. Who cared? We had Zoran Ilic and we had Don Parkes. The rest could go rot. We had Brighton Le Sands Fishing Club before kick off, we had the police chase us back to Banksia after the game and we had away days in Wollongong. Life was pretty good for a transplanted Anglo with an unkickable football habit.
Memories from them days are legion. Getting drenched watching St George lose 2-0 to APIA with a 40 yard screamer from pint pot Joe Watson. Police refusing to let us use trains back from an away game and John Filan giving me a lift home. Lambert Park hedge burning down. Pele doing a lap of honour at St George and the massed ranks of the Saints Sunday Service yelling ‘You’ll Never Play For St George’ and ‘We All Agree, Ilic Is Better Than Pele.’
You had to be there and I was there. In many ways my experiences down under changed the way I viewed football. in England there was guaranteed anonymity among the thousands but in NSL Australia you were quickly identified as being part of the scene and we all like to belong, don’t we? Players became more accessible and the whole thing was much more of a laff.
More memories. Giving John Kosmina stick at Sutherland during a NSW State League game and him giving it back. Australia beating Hajduk Split 1-0 at Parramatta in front of about 10,200 and the 200 were Aussie fans. Tony Krslovic getting a hat trick in State League. Andy Harper giving me his shirt. Frank Arok arranging lifts back to Sydney with the players after police banned us from the trains. MM methodically removing chairs from the upper deck while I was chatting up a sole passenger. Thousands of Swedish backpackers heading west when 1FK Gothenburg came for a friendly.
Western Samoa playing Chinese Taipei in an Olympic Qualifier. Seeing Arsenal in a 6 a side in Brisbane. Reading about players like Abbas Saad make the move to Singapore, then a football magnet for Aussies attracted by higher salaries and bigger wages I guess. Seeing Zvonomir Boban for the first time as a teenager with Partizan. Watching England win 1-0 at the SFS and losing my voice. Seeing South Melbourne Hellas beat Wollongong Macedonia 7-3 at Middle park. Heidleburg Alexander v Preston Makedonia with a police presence to match Millwall v West Ham.
It had to come to an end of course. All good things do. i finally left in July 1991 just a few days after seeing Adelaide City play Blackwood in the South Australia State League at Hindmarsh Stadium and I’ve never been back.
Football down under has changed beyond recognition. No more games against Fiji and New Zealand for the national team, the Socceroos have an Asian Cup Final date this weekend and the biggest and brightest no longer gravitate to Singapore or Malaysia. Instead the likes of Tim Cahill have become established names in England while Indonesia has seen promising young players like David Micevski try their luck.
My Australian experiences have also shaped many of my attitudes to football in the region I know cover with Jakarta Casual. Apathy in the SLeague? Seen if before. Crowd trouble and awful pitches in Indonesia? Show me something new!
Football is the world’s game because it is so bloody simple. And because it so bloody simple someone somewhere will soon put it right. Football belongs to everyone. The guys who run it for now, they won’t be around forever.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
It's Official. Hendrie Signs For Two Years
It's All Gone Quiet Over There
PSSI Deny Cheating Allegations
The Ugly Face of Indonesian Soccer
Monday, 24 January, 2011 | 15:47 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Chief of the All Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) Nurdin Halid has denied cheating is rife within the PSSI. While opening the PSSI Congress in Pan Pacific, Bali Nirwana Resort, Tabanan, last Friday, he claimed the quality of the soccer league had improved.
This, he said, was proven by the high interest of the audience, sponsor trust and the birth of new idol players. However, an investigation by Tempo magazine found otherwise. The report said PSSI competitions were tainted by match fixing and bribery.
During the 2009-2010 Indonesian Soccer League, the host team women 196 out of 250 games, detailed the article. Proof of the host’s power could be seen from its performance at the Persisam Putra Samarinda when it won the Indonesian League Main Division during the 2008//2009 season. Most of the wins were achieved through penalty goals. Out of 15 matches, Persisam got 20 penalty kicks.
The club manager rejected the assumption that “non-technical factors” contributed to the team’s victories. “We had the drive to win. All clubs want to win their homes games.
Penalty kicks are just part of soccer,” said Aspian Noor, Persisam’s manager.
A dirty play usually involves 3 to 5 players, which are bribed through a scalper. The rate ranges from Rp5 to Rp25 million per player in division I and II matches. The players on this level are easier to be influenced because their paychecks are often late. In the Main Division and Super League, a player can cost at least Rp25 million.
A player bought by the opponent’s team normally pretends to be emotional, ending up with a red card. Another method is to bribe a player to play rough in a penalty area. A club can also fix a result that benefits his club by requesting a certain referee. The rate for this is between Rp20 and Rp50 million, depending on the bargain and the importance of the match.
PSSI deputy chairman Nirwan Dermawan Bakrie stressed the PSSI already had a Discipline Commission to supervise such practices. “But it is difficult to manage bribes because they are hard to prove,” he said.
Another malpractice uncovered Tempo’s investigation is the obligation for clubs to pay PSSI managers if they want to go up a higher level. The report also claimed the Super League’s financial reports did not meet accountancy standards.
Out of 16 clubs participating in the 2009/2010 competitions, only four are legal bodies. Out of the four, only Arema Malang and Persebaya have Tax Payer Identification Numbers (NPW)
COMMENT - Tempo is a highly respected news magazine in Indonesia that was frequently closed down during the Suharto era.
Jakarta Globe Column
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Funds Available In ISL & TPL
Good Old FAM
With the SLeague due to start in a couple of weeks fans in Singapore expecting great changes following a disappointing 2010 are likely to be disappointed. Tanjong Pagar have returned to replace Beijing Guan but that’s about it. Weekend games aren’t being scheduled because they clash with English premier League, talk about an insecurity complex emanating from FAS headquarters!
With a usual 12 team league, games spread across the week plus the Singapore Cup and the League Cup there will be plenty of football to keep us occupied in the city state. But for just 12 teams it’s a long old season, starting in February and only ending in November. Throw in internationals and the SEA Games in November and it’s gonna be a strain.
Time for me to return to one of my favourite bugbears. The 12 team league with each team playing each other three times is too cumbersome and too familiar. SAFFC and Home United maybe undertaking foreign tours ahead of the season but most teams will be playing friendlies against each other before the season kicks off. Throw in the possibility of Singapore Cup and League Cup clashes and these guys are gonna be heartily sick of each other.
With Tanjong Pagar returning to the SLeague it seems everypne has forgotten last years’ golden boys, the team that never was. Yishun Super Reds. Originally known as the Korean Super Reds the team had gone local and applied to join the 2010 SLeague. There was much gnashing of teeth and thumping of keyboards when their bid was rejected for that of Beijing Guoan.
If someone is willing to pump money into Yishun Super Reds then let them and let them enter the league. Expand the SLeague to a 14 team league and welcome back DPMM Brunei once the FIFA ban is lifted. Their short spell in 2009 was colourful and controversial. And every football competition needs a bit of that to keep the interest flowing.
With a 14 team playing just home and away that would reduce the number of league games for each team from 33 to 26 and free up some space so the Singapore Cup can be revamped and the league Cup consigned to the history books where it belongs. If you wanna blindly copy the English then sell beer at the stadiums and have clubs shops selling merchandise to them what wants it.
With 14 SLeague teams in the Singapore Cup they can be joined by four foreign teams and six National Football League teams. Instead of Balestier Khalsa playing Geylang United in friendlies, league and cup games have them mix it with the likes of SCC and Eunos Crescent. Give the smaller teams a chance to take on the big boys in a cup and we all know what a great leveler the Cup can be don’t we? Say it all the time in England they do.
That’s it. Another one of my Singapore rants over and done with. Gotta say though i’m really looking forward to this season there. Interesting signings at SAFFC, Home looking to add to last year’s progress and will Etoile suffer from the second year syndrome? Fascinating year ahead!
Persib Bandung are considering their options after disturbances marred their game against Arema at the weekend. Fans, incensed by what they perceived as a string of refereeing decisions going against them rioted and chanted LPI, a reference to the breakaway Indonesian league. If I was Persib fan I would be just as furious at a couple of missed chances when the goal was at the striker’s mercy but that’s just me.
As Persib consider whether they should join the LPI or not there will be one factor that looms large in their discussions. Where would such a move leave their internationals? The PSSI have already dropped Irfan Bachdim from the Olympic Qualifiers because he plays for Persema in the non sanctioned LPI.
Persib are filled with internationals. Markus Horison, Maman Abdurahman, Nova Arianto, Eka Ramdani, Atep and Christian Gonzalez have all appeared on the national team radar over recent months. And of course where would a move leave Singaporean internationals Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak? Given their youth and status would they be willing to risk FIFA opprobrium by playing in the LPI?
Big Names Provide Headlines But Little Else
Supposing former Lee Hendrie does decide to come and play for Bandung in the Liga Primer Indonesia. How would Indonesian football benefit from his presence? It won’t of course beyond an aroma of glamour through having a fairly recognizable face linked with the unofficial league.
Given Indonesian fans’ devotion to Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea it’s highly probable that Hendrie would have long slipped from the public consciousness and it is highly inlikely there are a significant number of Villa fans in Bandung who would make him feel welcome in the city of factory outlets and Brownies.
The Australians used to try attract big name players down under back in the 1970s and 1980s when all we knew about football there was what we read on the pools coupon during the European summer. Players like Kevin Keegan and Charlie George both had spells down under where their presence added a few thousand to the gate for their guest spell but they were soon gone and the fans never returned.
I got to see former Ipswich Town and Scotland striker Alan Brazil play for Woollongong Wolves in the old National Soccer League back in 1988. He guested for the Wolves for a couple of games including one away to APIA Leichhardt at a greyhound stadium. Having seen him play in England I was probably the only daft bastard who made the trip out for the game as in those days, despite relative success APIA always struggled for support and the Italian fan base would not have been interested in a ginger haired Sweaty.
Brazil, like Keegan and George, came and went and left no lasting legacy for Australian football except perhaps a hole in the clubs’ bank balances and it’s difficult to see players like Hendrie, if they come, having a greater impact.
It’s always going to be difficult to attract players to the LPI given the lack of official recognition by the game’s governing bodies both here in Indonesia and at FIFA but one path open to the clubs has been a steady source of young Australian talent filtering north to try their luck including David Micevski and Alex Vrtevski at Solo Ksatria. (Check their interviews on Jakarta Casual TV)
The local FA, known as PSSI, has huffed and puffed about deporting foreign players in the league but even if they do take drastic action it is highly unlikely the stuffed shirts at FIFA would apply the bans worldwide. To do so would be to risk upsetting the players’ union and could open a whole tin of beans most would like kept well and truly sealed.
UPDATE - LPI Twitter reporting Hendrie arrives Jakarta tonight.