Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Indonesia Honey Pot

For many years no football club would go near Indonesia. Scared off by terrorism and a perceived political instability overplayed by foreign embassies instead they concentrated their South East Asian efforts on the more visitor friendly countries of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Now, however, it appears Indonesia is once again open for business and everyone wants a slice of the pizza. Hot on the heels of Barcelona announcing they would be opening up academies here comes new that Inter Milan, due to visit the country later in May, would also be opening academies to tap into the expanding middle class.

With the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool already in the market it appears Europe’s elite clubs have found a new promised land and are falling over themselves to get established ahead of their rivals.

These academies are the language schools of football. Kids go in young, go through a number of levels and age groups and come out as, umm, footballers? Well, no, not quite. No amount of running round a football field in the newest boots wearing the latest replica shirt is going to turn a sparrow into a bird of paradise and parents throwing money at it won’t change that.

Of course no one is promising that little Johnny is going to come out of an academy playing like Lionel Messi. But parents, parting with hard earned cash, will be entitled to ask what they will be getting for their money. And the truth is not much really.

Every club that has dipped their toe in the Indonesian pool has talked about potential just as every multi-national looking to invest here. The potential of a burgeoning middle class with higher disposable incomes. They coo about Indonesia’s potential in football and point to a vibrant domestic league and sell out crowds at the Bung Karno as their proof.

Too often though they overlook the adjective that usually precedes the noun. Unfulfilled.

But what role do they envisage their academy playing in turning that around? It is very unlikely Indonesian football will find a Messi or a Ronaldo going through the ranks of a branded football academy. Instead they’re more likely to find kids with well off parents and a few bob to spend having their offspring live out their footballing fantasies. These kids from the top schools will in most cases have had their futures marked out for them by protective parents. Let the kids play football now because in the future they will be working in an air conditioned office, not getting drenched playing on cattle grazing surfaces with fans pelting rocks at them.

The European clubs of course care not one jot about that. Yes, it would be a marketing boon if a player does go through the academy and goes on to make a career professionally but the odds are sky high. Indonesia’s football future are playing barefoot in the kampongs far from the slick EPL or Serie A clubs’ watchful eyes. They are training with their local team, their local Persi- or learning the trade at one of many SSBs (Sekolah Sepak Bola or Soccer Schools) that are littered haphazardly around the country.

When the big clubs talk about developing the game that is where they should be focusing their efforts, not on ticking mummy and daddy’s list of must do’s for their kids.

Academies are cheap, low cost, low risk ways of getting the brand out there and that is their main purpose.

There are other ways clubs could give something back, to really help develop the game in their chosen backyard. They could, for example build a stadium or relay a turf. Even better. They could take some of the brightest young coaches in the league and place them alongside their own coaches working on youth development or with the reserves. Give the coaches a chance to earn new ideas and see how other countries go about improving the talent pool.

Won’t happen of course. Improving coaches’ ability is nowhere near as sexy as having a soccer school with your name getting regular mentions in the media. And even if one club did actually break the mould and try something so revolutionary it could have a detrimental effect on the coaches themselves.

Imagine spending 12 months with Ajax, Arsenal or Auxerre and returning to Indonesia brimming woth enthusiasm and ideas only to over ruled by a kretek smoking buffoon in batik telling you who which player to sign, who to substitute or a 14 kilometre run everyday does improve a player’s stamina.


Fandi's Part Time Job

Singapore legend returns to Malaysia. Fandi Ahamd has been appointed Technical Director of second tier Johor. He will only work two weeks a month because of commitments in Singapore.

He will get to meet English striker Richard Offiong who recently signed for the club.


Fowler's Future Questioned

After a few weeks of rumours it now looks like Muang Thong United coach Robbie Fowler will be playing in the new Indioan league thingy which is throwing plenty of cash at plenty of aging big names in the hope of boosting the game's profile.

Where does this leave Fowler's status as Muang Thong United player coach? How can he continue in the position when he is off in another country playing in a league that is not sanctioned by the local FA?

There's always been a feeling Fowler's appointment in the first place was little more than a publicity stunt by the club anyway. After a tophyless season perhaps now they can get back to concentrating on football and not bringing in big names for cameos and headlines.


ISL Weekend

The two top teams met last weekend as did two of the biggest teams and given the Javan centric nature of the country the focus was obviously on Persib and Persija. Played at the Jalak Harapat Stadium in front of 30,000 fanatic Bobotoh the hosts scraped through 1-0 thanks to a controversila first half pen by Miljan Radovic, his fifth goal of the season.

More action in West Java saw Pelita Jaya under new coach Rahmad Darmawan thump PSPS 4-0. Goals from Safee Sali, Greg Nwokolo and two from Alex Bajevski did the business.

Persiwa win just about all their home games and always have. Their 3-0 over Persisam saw them climb to second place in the table behind leaders Persipura who beat fellow title challengers Sriwijaya 2-1 in Jayapura. Former Sriwijaya midfielder Zah Rahan gave the home team the lead before Jufriyanto qualised on 81'. Brazilian striker Alberto Goncalves made it 2-1 moments later.

Arema's struggles continue, they were held 0-0 by PSAP and the famous Aremania seem to have deserted their heroes. Just 3,584 saw the game which is less than many Divisi Utama attendances.

1 - Persipura 10 7 2 1 30-12 23
2 - Persiwa 10 6 2 2 17-12 20
3 - Sriwijaya 10 6 1 3 22-10 19

8 - Keith Kayamba, Hilton Moreira (Sriwijaya)
7 - Alberto Goncalves (Persipura), Herman Dzumafo (PSPS)
6 - Marcio Souza (Arema), Safee Sali (Pelita Jaya), Mario Costas (Persela), Patrick Wanggai (Persidafon)

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Hendrie's Woes

Former Bandung FC, from the short lived LPI, striker Lee Hendrie has been declared bankrupt in England, owing the tax man a lot of money.

Two options for the lad. One is he could return to south east Asia. Singapore for example have appointed a French bankrupt to be their CEO. Or he could ask Harry Redknapp for financial advice. Old Teflon 'arry could be a wise influence on the player.

Reports suggest Hendrie was earning 24,000 GBP a week...more than I ever earned in a year when I lived in England and while he was with Bandung he was reportedly on $550,000 a year.

All that money and he's skint.


What Is The Connection Between FAS & Etoile?

Etoile FC were allowed to play two seasons in the S-League despite having failed to provide the full $500,000 banker's guarantee that foreign clubs have to put up, it is believed.

That is one reason why the club, facing debts 'a few times more' than the $100,000 that has been reported, has been struggling to repay money owed to players from last season.

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) normally requires foreign clubs to furnish a $500,000 performance bond when they join the league. The money can then be drawn upon if a club defaults on payments - from the rental of stadiums to player salaries. If a club pulls out of the S-League, like Etoile did on Jan16, the money will then be returned.

But the French club struggled to put up the banker's guarantee when it arrived in January 2010. The league's then-director of finance Tan Bong Him said at the time: 'All new clubs have the option to furnish their payments by instalments. Both Etoile and Beijing (Guoan Talent), have met their first instalment obligation and they have till March to complete their final payment.'

SOURCE - The Straits Times

COMMENT - First the former CEO of Etoile is appointed deputy CEO of SLeague. Then a newspaper discovers he is bankrupt back in France, his home country. The FA announce one of their investigations they love so much, the ones where they throw hefty fines, deduct points and talk tough at clubs and players, before announcing that in fact he is not bankrupt and will make an announcement 'soon'.

In Singapore business school speak 'soon' is synonymous with Indonesia's jam karet.

Anyway now we find this. That Etoile had not paid any bond up front like other foreign teams must do. The really funny thing, and I mean rolling on the floor kicking your legs in the air, tears flowing down your eyes hilarious, is that Etoile must make their final payment by March!

Or what? Whatcha gonna do? Kick em out the league? They've already gone. Fine them? They have no money.

You know what? A bit more transparency from the offices of the Football Association might go a long way. Because the way things are it appears everyone there is in damage control mode. Delay follows delay, obfuscation mixes with opaqueness and what you end up with is the image of people rushing round trying to hush things up and protect themselves rather than actually getting busy with running the game of football.


Malaysia Super League 28/01

PKNS v Sabah 2-2
LionsX11 v Terengganu 0-1
Felda United v Perak 1-2
T Team v Selangor 1-2
Sarawak v Negeri Sembilan 2-2
Kelantan v KL 3-0
Kedah v Johor FC 1-3

1 - Kelantan 5 4 1 0 11-3 13
2 - Terengganu 5 4 0 1 7-2 12
3 - Perak 5 4 0 1 6-3 12

Good day for the away teams with just a single home win. The north east continue to rule to roost while after an unbeaten three match run LionsX11 slipped up at another team from the north east

Saturday, January 28, 2012


ISL Catch Up

Handful of games played midweek in Indonesia. Persipura returned to the top of the table beating Persiram in an almost local derby while Sriwijaya dropped points at Persiwa where no team gets anything beyond fed up. Persiba, who also rarely drop points at home, won their second local derby on the spin, defeating Mitra Kukar 3-1 at their tiny Persiba Stadium.

Elsewhere Persib beat PSPS 2-1, Persidafon beat Deltras by the same score and Gresik United, who are also called Persegres (!) in some reports, drew 1-1 with Persisam.

Big game this weekend sees first against second. Persipura v Sriwijaya at the Mandala Stadium. Tomorrow has Persib hosting Persija at the Jalak Harupat; a truly firey affair!

Friday, January 27, 2012


No Stadiums In Jakarta

This weekend Persija IPL will host Bontang in Solo. Next week Persija ISL will play two home games either in Solo or Sidoarjo. Neither club it seems can get a game in Jakarta.

Persija ISL are being forced away from their home town because the grass at the Bung Karno is being relaid, apparently, and the other options available, Lebak Bulus or Soemantri Brojonegoro are not real options; Lebak Bulus is supposed to being demolished some time soon while the other one is even smaller.

Capacity isn't a problem for Persija IPL. They have no support in Jakarta. If they have then no one has seen them. They have yet to play a home game there instead preferring the Manahan Stadium in Solo.

They could play in a car park and no one would bother watching them!


Jakarta Globe Column

Indonesia Premier League latest
A look at some of the derbies played across the Indonesian leagues last weekend

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Maroon Is The Colour

I don't know how long Geylang United have worn green. Certainly for me I have always identified them as the team in green. Green befits them. So why change the colour to maroon for the new season? Apparently the club consulted with management and the Singapore FA before going ahead with the change.

They also, apparently, consulted with the fans. I guess in much the same way as Arsenal consulted with Arsenal fans before turning the cannon around.

So why the change? For luck? For commercial reasons? "Cos the club owner fancied it?

Who knows. Another mystery in the mysterious world of South East Asian football that will probably never be answered.


SLeague 2.0 Limping Along

In a new bid to attract more interest it seems the SLeague have come up with a novel way of releasing the fixture list for the new season. Taking a leaf from the harry Potter movies they are announcing them bit by bit. The logic, such as it is, is that if it's good enough for JK Rawlings' teen magicians it's gotta be good enough for the SLeague. And anyway, who he hell believes in wizards anyway?

I asked Mabel if she thought the drip drip approach to a new season had been modelled on Harry Potter but she wasn't sure. Instead she thought it was a crock of shit. The slow release of fixtures, not the Potter movies. She has always had a crush on those little guys who work in the bank.

Anyways, enough of my waffle. Here are the opening round of fixtures. Coming soon will be the dates they will be played. And then the complete fixture list will be announced. If anyone is still awake. 'Cos the Frenchies pulled out at the last minute there is an odd number of teams and Geylang United will sit out the opening round of games.

Young Lions v Woodlands Wellington
Albirex Niigata v SAFFC
Home United v Balestier Khalsa
Gombak United v Harimau Muda
Tanjong Pagar United v Hougang United
DPMM v Tampines Rovers

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Football Moves In Mysterious Ways

Arsene Wenger continues to stick by Andrei Arsharvin despite being a serial under achiever in his three years at the club. Kedah management seem to be thinking that after four games their two Brazilian imports aren't up to the mark. One hasn't played yet but I guess that's just a minor detail.

The manager says the team 'play well so far' but they can't find the goal. Perhaps some kind of map is called for? They are looking for new defenders and strikers.

The coach's response is for the players to work harder and avoid making mistakes. Which takes us back, rather neatly, to Arsharvin.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Results 21/01

Indonesia Super League

Persiba v Persisam 3-2 (Kenji Adichihara, Aldo Baretto, Shohei Matsunanga; Jerry Karpeh 2) 4,032
Gresik United v Mitra Kukar 1-2 (Warwan Mustafa; Erminano, Hamka Hamzah) 22,800

Busy day for the clubs from East Kalimantan. In the derby hosts Persiba needed a late goal from Matsunanga while on the road Mitra Kukar climbed to third place after their win in East Java; a fine riposte from Simon McMenemy's men after management claimed to be 'evaluating' the coach's position following their 3-1 defeat away to PSPS. Three straight wins since then.

Indonesia Premier League

Persiba Bantul v Persija 1-0
Bontang v Persibo 2-0

Divisi Utama (LPIS)

Pro Duta v Persikabo 0-0
Persis v PSS 1-1
Persipasi v Persikab 1-0 (Asian Football Pictures)
Persepar v PPSM 4-0
Persemalra v Madian Putra 2-2
PSBI v Persbul 3-1

Malaysia Super League

Selangor v Sarawak 0-0
Negeri Sembilan v Felda United 1-0
KL v PKNS 1-1
Sabah v LionsX11 0-1
Terengganu v T Team 2-1
Johor FC v Perak 0-1

1 - Kelantan 4 3 1 0 8-3 10
2 - Terangganu 4 3 0 1 6-2 9
3 - Perak 4 3 0 1 4-2

In keeping with recent years it is clubs from the north east who are leading the charge in Malaysia with even T Team in 4th place despite losing the Terangganu derby yesterday. Selangor continue to struggle and find themselves in unfamiliar territory while LionsX11 moved up to 6th and are unbeaten in three games.


Results 20/01

Malaysia Super League

Kedah v Kelantan 0-3 (M Ghadar, Norshahrul, Danny Antiwi)

Malaysia Premier League

Harimau Muda B v Johor 1-1
Sime Darby v ATM 2-1
PDRM v Malaysia Pos 2-2
NS Betaria v MP Muar 1-2
Perlis v Pahang 2-2

ATM suffered their first defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 away to Sime Darby in a game that was played on 21 January having originally been rained off. Perlis came from behind to score two goals in the last minute and injury time to save a point against leaders Pahang.

1 - Pahang 4 3 1 0 9-3 10
2 - ATM 4 3 0 1 11-2 9
3 - Sime Darby 4 3 0 1 7-5

Divisi Utama (LPIS)

PS Bengkulu v PS Padang 1-0
PSLS v Persikota 1-0
PSIR v Persik 2-2
Perseman v Gresik United 2-1

Saturday, January 21, 2012


The Referee Is A Bar Stud

People become match officials for many reasons. Illusions of grandeur; forget the fact their spouse abuses them by taking it out on players; uniform fetish; a love of thrusting out arms that came from watching Nurnberg rallies; chances of making more cash on the side; because they weren't good enough to play the game and still wanna be involved.

I saw one game recently and you have to wonder at this particular official's motivation. He was so biased to the home team it was embarrassing (these people usually don't have the word shame in their vocabulary). It wasn't just 50/50s. It was 60/40s and even 70/30s. If he was a traffic cop he wouldn't have given the visitors directions home.

Linesmen across the region are uniformally bad; it seems that knowledge of the offside rule isn't a prerequisite while the idea of advantage is as alien as giving way to pedestrians and turning off handphones in cinemas.

But refs. They have the final decision and in their hands literally are thousands of dollars of win bonuses, points and other stuff. Now we're not talking incompetence, the kind that gets TV pundits, players and coaches het up in Europe and other leagues. We are talking outright bias.

Where to complain? FAs are reliant on match assessors and the like and if they say nothing then nothing happened. A losing team whining about the ref is like Peter and the wolf. People stopped listening years ago. And the fans? come on, we don't even know the bloody rules. And so as everyone sticks their heads in their hands and pretend there is nothing wrong then nothing will be done about it.

The players are as much a part of the problem. After all if they are keen enough to accept outrageous decisions in their favour at home games how the hell can they get all uppity when the same happens when they are the away team?

This recent game, it was as fair and balanced as Fox news. Imagine a political debate between two polar opposites like, for example, Sarah Palin and Kim Jong Il (RIP). With Sean Hannity as the man in the middle.

It doesn't matter what foreign imports are brought into the game. Later tonight millions across South East Asia will stay up late to watch English football. Many will be wearing replica shirts. An affluent, expanding middle class, football daft. Exactly the demographic domestic football needs to be targetting if their game is to ever raise its profile.

But shoddy, incompetent refereeing performances like some I have witnessed in recent weeks will not have them rushing to support their local teams.

For some refs it is time they put their peas in their pockets and gave up. But they won't. 'Cos who knows what would be waiting to take their place!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Malaysians Settle On Yishun

Harimau Muda have announced they will play their SLeague home games at Yishun Stadium. Personally I would have liked them to use Larkin Stadium across the Causeway in JB but its floodlights ain't too good. Is it close enough to Malaysia to tempt supporters to cross the border for a game? Hope so...


Hilary Turns Up In Muar!

Any Deltras fans out there remember a Kenyan striker called Hilary Echesa? Had a short, very short, spell with the club a couple of years back and managed to impress no one. Admittedly a poor Deltras team that season, no fan who made the journey to Lebak Bulus to see them play Persitara (pictured) could have imagined they would now have the likes of Budi Sudarsono, Mijo Dadic and Sean Rooney in their team.

Anyway, pardon the digress. There I was with a few quiet moments at work mulling over the prospect of a long weekend in Malaysia when I somehow clicks on a page that comes up with MP Muar, a team in the Malaysia Premier League. And lo and behold they have Hilary!

Since playing for The Lobster he has played for The Lions and The Elephants. I kid you not...Wiki is your friend!


Thais Try To Curry English FA Favour

The Thai FA have more front than Brighton beach. A couple of years ago they promised to support England's World Cup bid and in return England agreed to their request to play a friendly in Bangkok earlier this year.

The Thais reneged on their promise and England, perhaps not surprisingly, cancelled their proposed trip to Bangkok.

Now the Thai FA, or Football Association of Thailand, are hoping the chairman of the English Premier League can attend a Thai Premier League game, Chiang Rai United v Buriram PEA to witness the TPL trophy being handed over to champions Buriram PEA.

If the chairman had any balls he would send a message to Bangkok saying 'sorry, fishing that weekend and the missus needs her nails doing and she is taking the car and anyway after what you did to our World Cup bid and the dodgy land deals you are involved in it's best we don't further taint our reputation by giving you the pleasure of yet more photo ops, love, Dave (but you call me Sir David).

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Khairul's Crocked. Again.

Football is supposed to be a glamourous career. Scoring goals in front of adoring fans and all that crap. Not if you're name is Khairul Amri it ain't though.

The poor bastard spends most of his time injured. He's 27 in March, should be at the peak of his powers but guess what? He's gonna be out for the next 12 weeks with another injury.

Some cruel sod has been calling him the Abou Diaby of Singaporean football which is almost a tad harsh.

The guy is an immensely talented footballer. I recall a game for his country against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. The Thais won 3-1 at the National Stadium but Amri certainly asked some questions in the second half.

Now with the LionsX11 it looks like he won't be pulling on a shirt for a while; at least not in anger and despite the seemingly harsh words above I do have every sympathy for the lad.


Oh PEA Off!

The idea of football clubs being little more than a license to be haggled over like a flapping fish at a riverside market before sun up is a difficult one for many to comprehend but it does seem an acceptable practice in this part of the world; as long as the right people are doing it of course.

Football clubs in England are licensed by the Football Licensing Authority but the idea that say Rotherham United could go out and buy an English Premier League license from Everton and take their place among thebig boys is a bit too much to take; though Everton fans would have a lot to say about being taken over by a team in red.

Nobody though in these parts seem to bat an eyelid. I guess when promotion/relegation issues are decided based upon guanxi, connections, then who can get excited about mere horse trading among other friends?

The current Indonesia Super League leaders, Sriwijaya, started life as Persijatim East Jakarta before switching to the city of Solo. The government of South Sumatra then bought the license and rebranded the club Sriwijaya to match local heritage and no one thought about any fans the club still had. In Jakarta or Solo!

Thailand is the hub though for this kind of nonsense. Bangkok Glass, for example, took over Krung Thai Bank while Pattaya United took their place from Bang Phra.

Trying to keep tracks of these maneuvers requires a form of mental gymnastics that would appeal to lawyers, serial loop hole finders and other pedants but leave the vast majority of us feeling cold and somewhat ignorant. What about the football we whine pathetically.

A team called PEA won the Thai Premier League back in 2008. Two years later a provincial godfather decided he wished to get involved in Thai football, which was invented in 2009, and having been banned from politics had the time, and cash, to make his wish come true.

He brought PEA to Buriram, re named them Buriram PEA and set about investing heavily in players and facilities, much as Sriwijaya had done. This gentleman is not accustomed to coming second, a careful political career saw him usually on the winning side no matter who won, so of course the team won the league in 2011.

Was it PEA’s second title in four years? For any traditionalists yes but this guy writes rules. He doesn’t worry about how a Thai Rothmans Football Yearbook would record the triumph. As far as he, and the legions of ‘new’ fans are concerned it was ‘their’ first title. There was nothing before 2010 when PEA headed north east.

Buriram’s other team, called Buriram, are in the hands of the same family and they won Division One at a canter meaning Buriram could well have a clean sweep on domestic trophies if PEA, sorry, Buriram PEA win the League Cup to join the TPL and the FA Cup in their newly constructed trophy cabinet.

So we have two teams from this provincial north eastern town? Well, no. the PEA part of the champions has been sold on, and what’s left has merged with the newly promoted team to form Buriram United. What was left? God knows and even he would have difficulties understanding the legalese and small print. PEA arrived, won the league, moved on yet left something behind?! What are they, a bloody cuckoo?

PEA, apparently, were sold off to the southern city of Songkhla who despite finishing fifth in Division One will go up a division. Who needs promotion and relegation, they’re just quaint old traditions and not necessary in the modern age when you can buy and sell among your friends as the mood suits. And Songhkla’s place will go to another team that gets to forsake the old way of doing things.

Is it a coincidence that one of the largest attendances in Thai football last season, which ain’t finished yet but that’s another soap opera featuring the same cast, was between Songkhla and Buriram played down south. Over 35,000 fans turned up out of a population of 154,000…Blackburn Rovers would cut their hands off for those kind of crowds!

Arsenal controversially stayed in Division One after the First World War thanks to the sterling efforts of Sir Henry Norris but even he must be looking down at the Thai way of doing things and nodding appreciatively, knowing he is watching masters at work.

Buriram United now claim Buriram PEA’s place in the AFC Champions League even though they have yet to play a game while PEA, now in Songkla? Didn’t they win the TPL? Shouldn’t they be in the ACL? Is this saga available on DVD yet?

In most countries, admittedly outside of south east Asia, they have Football Associations who rule on this kind of stuff. Thailand? I’ve said many times Thai football has failed to build on the boom it experienced in 2009, just like they failed to build on the Dream Team of 1994, and instead have just sold the game for cheap votes and increased exposure. The FA sits on the sidelines rubberstamping agreements made beforehand knowing that the phu yai they have access to are trumped by the phu yai arrayed against them.

It’s just business as usual of course. Football in these parts isn’t run for the prestige of the game or nation with the possible, occasional, exception of Malaysia. In these parts football is run for the glory and egos of individuals. The tawdry events in Thailand have nothing to do with the game many of us love so much but wrapped in the semblance of legality and hidden in the cloak of opacity there is little anyway in authority can do. And even if they wanted to do something, chances are they wouldn’t. Not for the first time the projection of power trumps logic and common sense.

Until this antiquated, feudalistic way of doing things is cast aside it is unlikely we will ever see a South East Asian nation make an impact on the Asian Cup, the World Cup or the Olympics. All the fine talk about passion and potential will continue to be the fine talk of dreamers and theorists.


Thai Striker Banned From National Team

Thailand are currently hosting the King's Cup, I'm not covering it, featuring teams from Scandinavia and South Korea and not doing particularly well it must be said. Anyway striker Sompong Soleb decided to go out for a few beers, breaking curfew, drove home, smashed up his motor and in fine Thai tradition, fled the scene.

He was later caught and sentenced to one month in the slammer, suspended for two years, fined some loose change and faced the wrath of German national team coach Winnie Schaefer who has banned him from the national team.

Is that in his remit though? Sompong plays for Buriram who were Division One champions in 2011 and will merge with Buriram PEA though it remains to be seen whether or not Sompong will be asked to stay on at the club.

Everyone knows though that Thai football is run by a certain influential individiual whose two teams have won three trophies so far and are on target to complete a whitewash when Buriram PEA play Thai Port in the League Cup Final.

These gentleman doesn't take disappointments lightly. Will he 'allow' Sompong to be banned for so long or will he consider that as a Buriram player, 'overseen' by his missus, he shouldn't get involved.

This case could be an interested test case in to how Thai football is run and for whose benefit.


Thailand Announce Friendlies

11 or 12/2 v Myanmar (A)
24/02 v Uzbekistan (H)
TPL All Stars (Yuck) v Sunderland (H)

New TPL begins March 17 with a charity shield type thing on March 11 between Buriram PEA now to be called Buriram United playing Chonburi for the King's trophy


Results 18/01

Indonesia Super League

PSAP v Persiwa 0-0 5,000
PSMS v Persipura 0-0 21,332
Persidafon v Persela 4-5 (Patrick Wanggai 3, Samuel Rumkabu; Gerry Setia, Dedi Sampurna, Mario Costa 3) 483
Deltras v Arema 3-3 (Qischil, Mijo Dadic, Shin Hyun Joon; Marcio Souza 3) 11,350

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Unstoppable ATM

Another daft name for a football club but then I'm English and what do I know? ATM, Angkata Tentara Malaysia, are the initials of Malaysia's armed forces and ATM, not a machine that dispenses cash, is their football club.

They went into the season flush with cash signing big names including striker Marlon Alex James who was so inspirational with Kedah when they won back to back trebles a few years back. He has continued his prolific form from those days by hitting six in the first two games though surprisingly not finiding the net against Harimau Muda B in their last game.

Coached by former national team coach Sathianathan they also boast familiar names like Zaquan Adha, Hairuddin Omar and Zaquan Radzak.

1 - ATM 3 3 0 0 10-0 9
2 - Pahang 3 3 0 0 7-1


Results 17/01

Indonesia Super League

Persiram v Gresik United 1-1 (JP Boumsong; Gaston Castano) 75 (Played 16/1 at Lebak Bulus, Jakarta)
Persisam v Persib 2-1 (Yongki, Jerry; M Ilham) 13,743
Mitra Kukar v Pelita Jaya 1-0 (Hamka Hamzah) 7,000

Divisi Utama

Persiku v Persitema 3-0 (Agus Santiko 2, Peter Kuoh) 6,764

Malaysia Super League

Felda United v Selangor 1-0
LionsX11 v KL 2-1 (OG, Shahdan Sulaiman; Fazuan Abdullah)
Sarawak v Terengganu 0-1
Perak v Negeri Sembilan 2-1
PKNS v Kedah 0-0
Kelantan v Johor FC 2-1
T Team v Sabah 0-0

1 - T Team 3 2 1 0 6-0 7
2 - Kelantan 3 2 1 0 5-3 7

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Guest Column - Frank Lakwijk


Recently the PSSI has adopted a Youth Development Program. Timo Scheunemann, Indonesia’s undisputed authority of youth development is appointed Director of this Program. It is a system of regional scouting of young promising players and bringing them into an intensive program of further development of their skills. It is expected that in a few years those academies will start to supply better than average players who will improve the Indonesian National Team selections.

Perhaps this will be the case but is it the solution for development of football quality in Indonesia? Will the quality of football in the stadiums across the country improve? According to the PSSI Plan the Football Academies are considered to be the solution for the quality standard in the country. Everybody points at the extreme high level of players that are delivered from academies of Arsenal and Ajax. Indeed, the academies of these clubs produce world class players but the question is: why?

In Europe football is organized in clubs. In the Netherlands there are almost 4000 clubs where young footballers can join to learn and play football. Every neighbourhood in the cities and every village in the country has its own club. Children join those clubs when they enter the age of primary school: 6 years, sometimes even younger. At least once per week they have a training session and every Saturday they play a match in locally or regionally organized competitions. They develop technical skills but also tactical and mental qualities from the tender age of 6.

Decisive factor in their development is the voluntary trainer who teaches them the first steps on their way to become a footballer. He has a trainer’s diploma or has played competitive football himself. In the Netherlands the first diploma is JVT (Youth Football Trainer), followed by TC (Trainer/Coach) 3, 2 and 1. The first diploma is sponsored by the club and the Football Association and is free for everybody who is willing to train young players between 6 and 10 years old. Each child has the opportunity to develop his or her skills under qualified guidance.

Professional football clubs have academies who scout the best talents from their region. They have an extensive network of tipsters and scouts. In many cases the small clubs tip their neighbouring professional club that they have an extraordinary talent who should be seen by the scouts. As a result of those qualified trainers at the lowest levels the academies can select players who are already prepared to a high level in their home clubs.

Of course, not all of the talents invited to the academies will reach the highest level. Most don’t reach the first team and will go back to their former local amateur club, adding quality to their squad. Some don’t reach the level of the national team but make a more than decent living from a professional club and add to the overall quality of the competition, pushing the top-end talents even further.

Take for example Irfan Bachdim. He played in the youth department of an amateur side together with the other kids from his neighbourhood. He appeared to be better than average and the scouts of Ajax offered him a place in their famous academy. But alas, after 3 seasons he was not good enough to reach to the top and our teenager went back to the amateurs. There he was one of the best again and the scouts of FC Utrecht asked him to play for them. Again he could not break through to the first team. He moved to second tier club Haarlem. This club went bankrupt and Irfan was without a club. Then he tried his luck in Indonesia and was offered an opportunity to play for Persema. The rest is history.

Why was Irfan in Holland rejected two times at Eredivisie level and is a star and topscorer in Indonesia? Because he has been groomed from a very young age in a much higher level football environment. He has learned what is important at training and in the match; he understands the system that the coaches want him to play in. He has developed technical skills that are important in the match. He developed tactical insight and mental skills. He knows that not circus acts count, but effectivity.

Persema Malang had this year 77 new applications to choose from. All of them could juggle the ball brilliantly. With difficulty the trainers could find 4 possible talents, the rest was absolutely useless. They lacked even the most basic elements.

Logging the best from the forest is not a solution to lift Indonesia from the bottom of the world rankings. Quality has to improve from the roots up. That means that every child with healthy limbs should be offered development of his potential. Only then scouting for the real gems will bare fruit. The best of nothing is still not much. Only those who stand out from high quality are talents worth scouting for.

In my opinion the budget for Youth Development should be spent on develoment of the grassroots. Give every child the opportunity to learn the basic skills of football and then the best of them will be worthy of an academy. As long as there is no structure of youth development on local and village level, the best are still far from good. The PSSI would do better to start educating he educators: the well meaning people who take care of training of children of under ten years old. Only when scouts can select from many proven talents, an academy can be usefull.


Another Singaporean Farce?

It doesn’t matter how honourable intentions may be at the Football Association of Singapore they always seem to put their foot in their mouth big time. The latest faux pas comes with the news that their newly appointed SLeague deputy CEO, and former Etoile chairman, is a declared bankrupt back in his home country of France and banned from running a business there for five years.

So what does he do? Up sticks to Singapore, sets up a football team, gives them big plans then jumps ship half way through their second season in the SLeague with allegations of unpaid salaries and large debts being left behind.

Now this.

His appointment was controversial in the first place and has led to Etoile pulling out of the competition; another poorly handled move from both sides.

Let’s look at perception. Businessman racks up debts he can’t pay off at home and does one to the tropics. He sets up a football club, promises all sorts of things that aren’t delivered, then quits. Next, he pops up at the SLeague tasked with turning a moribund game around.

With his track record that was always going to be a tough sell; perhaps one reason why people kept so quiet ahead of the appointment. Now financial impropriety is thrown into the mix.

I live in Indonesia where no most private companies refuse to get involved in the local game because they are unsure where their money will go. Actually, they know full well where the money will go, hence their reluctance to part with it.

With the SLeague due to begin in a couple of weeks time this is another headline the game could well do without.


Thai Coach Blames Lack Of Fitness

Thailand lost to a South Korea team yesterday in the King's Cup. I have no idea which South Korea, it certainly weren't the first team and they didn't even include the Arsenal striker Park, but anyone the Thais played them and got beat 3-1.

Coach Winnie Schaefer after the game said the Thai team weren't very fit.

Hmm. Let's see. A season that began last February. Intermininable FA and League Cup schedules. A frequently rearranged TPL schedule. A SEA Games disaster. Prehistoric training methods at some clubs.

God knows when the Thai season will end. And he will only now if the FA and or TPL deign to tell him in advance. The League Cup Final is scheduled for February. The end of that month sees a final WCQ with the Thais having an outside chance of going through to the next round.

And then the next season begins when? Early March?

Lack of preparation has hampered the Thai national team at every major international event for several years now and it doesn't look like ending any time soon.

If Thailand had a powerful animal protection lobby they would be protesting at the conditions players there operate under.

The King's Cup, a football tradition dating back decades, has surely run its course, at least in its current format. There are already too many demands on the players with the normal TPL/AFF/AFC/FIFA schedule without adding to it by playing kids from Scandinavia and South Korea.

Time to put it out of its misery.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Sarayoot Joins The Army

Thai international striker Sarayoot Chaikamdee is reportedly joining Army United. The former Thai Port player spent last season with Bangkok Glass where he scored 15 goals during the 2011 TPL.

Where that leaves Army striker Leandro is unclear. The Brazilian hit 18 goals last season for the team nicknamed The Gentlemen!


Results 15/01

Indonesia Super League

Sriwijaya v Persiba 5-1 (Hilton Moreira, Keith Kayamba, Firman Utina, Siswanto, Ahmad Jufriyanto; Aldo Baretto) 21,875
PSPS v Persija (Febriano, Bambang Pamungkas) 15,763
PSMS v Persiwa 1-1 (Sasa Zecevic; Habel Satya) 10,553
PSAP v Persipura 0-1 (Boas Solossa) 8,650

1 - Sriwijaya 8 6 1 1 21-7 19
2 - Persipura 7 5 1 1 15-10 16
3 - Persiwa 7 4 1 2 13-12 13

8 - Keith Kayamba, Hilton Moreira (Sriwijaya)
6 - Herman Dzumafo (PSPS)
5 - Safee Sali (Pelita Jaya), Alberto Goncalves (Persipura)

Divisi Utama (LI)

Persita v Persitara 1-0 (Hendra Bastion) 8,567
Persih v PS Bengkulu 3-0 (Febi Martika Chandra 2, M Husen) 3,851
Persekam v PSMP 2-1 (Rohman 2; Nur Rosid) 300
PSBK Blitar v PS Sumbawa Barat 1-1 (Alfred Ballah; Saddam Husain) 8,000

Indonesia Premier League

Persema v Bontang 2-0 (Irfan Bachdim, Emile Mbamba)
PSM v Semen Padang 1-1

1 - Semen Padang 6 3 3 0 10-3 12
2 - Persibo 5 3 1 1 10-4 10
3 - Persija 5 2 3 0 12-9 9

Sunday, January 15, 2012


India Next Stop For Fowler?

Muang Thong United player coach Robbie Fowler is being linked with a move to India. This story is very low on detail but big on headlines and also gives me a chance to use one of the pictures I took when I saw Fowler in action recently.

Despite a poor end to the season the club had said they would keep Fowler on but that still remains to be seen.

UPDATE - this story suggests it's a done deal but that remains to be seen. Interesting choice of locations for the franchises with a weighting towards Kolkota and Bengal.


A Racist Ticket Policy?

Despite a poor start to the season, a defeat and a draw, LionsX11 are still attracting plenty of interest among those who recall the 'good old days' of Malaysia Cup. Over 7,000 filled a newly expanded Jalan Besar Stadium for the opening game with Kelantan while this report suggests ticket sales are going well ahead of the next game against KL.

One though gets my goat. Advance ticket sales are only available to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. Which means that any casual fan wishing to go to the game, and indeed all home games, will have to hope that there will be ticket sales on the day. And if the poor start continues then it may not be an issue anyway.

Is this policy racism or a sensible security precaution? For example you would never see Liverpool or Manchester United, the two biggest teams in Singapore, limiting ticket sales to UK nationals; there would be an outcry from anti racist groups, and probably Singaporeans as well planning to take in a game.

Even with a new stand, Jalan Besar is a small stadium and there does need to be effective segregation. Singaporeans do have a nationalist element that has an ugly side; ask any Vietnamese who took a slap at the old National Stadium during the AFF Cup semi final back in 2008.

But surely there is a better way of handling advance ticket sales than just banning them to foreigners?

I get plenty of emails, well some, ok, one or two, from people asking for details of how to take in a game in this part of the world. Many folks on round the world trips get through Singapore on their journeys. My first game there was while waiting for a bus to Mersing in Malaysia in 1991. One guy responsible for merchandising sales at one SLeague club says that several replica shirts have been bought by tourists.

I guess the problems just highlights the shoddy way the whole National Stadium has been handled. It was due for demolition, it was postponed, it was delayed and now it's gone but there is still a lengthy wait before Singapore boasts a stadium with a capacity of over 7,000. Apart from anything else they missed out on Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea last year and this year could, if rumours are true, miss Manchester United and Barcelona.

I guess it just comes down to the simple fact that the government don't really give two hoots about sport and hosting the netball world cup is the limit of their ambitions.


Results 14/01

Indonesia Super League

Deltras v Persela 1-0 (Walter Brezuela)
Mitra Kukar v Persib 3-0 (Nemenja Obric, Marcus Bent, Lee Sang Min)

Indonesia Premier League

Persibo v Persiba Bantul 3-2 (Samsul Arif, Islander 2; Emmanuel Cristori, Anwarudin)
Persiraja v Arema 1-1 (Diallo; Roman Chmelo)

Divisi Utama (LPIS)

Persikabo v Persitara 1-0
PSIS v PSIR 3-0 (Han Ji Ho, Engkus Kuswaha, Khusnul Yakin)
PSCS v Persipasi 2-1 (Julia Mardianus, Indra Gunawan; Mansur) 7,000
Persikab v Persipar 2-2
PPSM v Persis 2-3 (Tinton Suharto 2; Javier Rocha, Ariyuganda, Ferryanto)
Perseman v Madian Putra 1-0
Persires Bali DeVata v Persewangi 1-0

Bit of a local derby when Persires BaliVata, mouthful or what, played Persewangi from just across the straits separating Bali from Java.

Malaysia Super League

Selangor v Perak 1-0 (Safiq Rahim)
Kedah v Daftly Named LionsX11 0-0
KL v T Team 0-3
Sabah v Sarawak 2-1
Terengganu v Felda United 3-0
Johor FC v Negeri Sembilan 0-2

To be fair it's unfair to keep labelling LionsX11 Daftly Named when you have a team called Terengganu PBDKT T Team without comment.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Results 13/01

Indonesia Super League

Persisam v Pelita Jaya 1-4 (Eka Ramdani; Bajevski, Safee Sali, Greg Nwokolo 2)
Persidafon v Arema 2-1 (Patrick Wanggai, Marcello Cirelly; Marcio Souza)

Safee Sali's fifth goal of the season took Pelita Jaya up to 6th place, leapfrogging Persisam who suffered their first home defeat of the season. The visitors were 3-0 up inside half an hour. Persidafon picked up their first win of the season against a woeful Arema who remain winless.

Divisi Utama (LI)

Persis v Persitema 2-1

Divisi Utama (LPIS)

PSBL v Pro Duta 0-1
Persikota v PS Bengkulu 3-0
Persik v PSS 2-2
Persepro v Persbul 2-0
Persemalra v Gresik United 1-1

Malaysia Super League

Kelantan v PKNS Selangor 1-1 (Badhri Radzi; Fauzan Dzulkifli)

Malaysia Premier League

Harimau Muda B v Pahang 0-4
Pos Malaysia v MP Muar 4-0
PDRM v Penang USM 2-0
NS Betaria v Johor 1-1
MBJB v ATM 0-5
Perlis v Sime Darby 1-2

Friday, January 13, 2012


Indonesia Premier League Standings

Nope, not ignoring it. Just not had the time recently to add tables etc. Persema are bottom of the 12 team league with just one point but yet to play a home game.

Tomorrow sees Persibo host Persiba Bantul, Persema v Bontang and Persiraja v Arema while on Sunday Persija host Persebaya...somewhere other than Jakarta! Leaders Semen Padang travel to PSM.

1 - Semen Padang 5 3 2 0 9-2 13
2 - Persija IPL 5 2 3 0 12-9 9
3 - Persibo 4 2 1 1 7-2 7
4 - Arema 4 2 1 1 7-4 7

3 - Edward Wilson Junior, Ferdinand Sinaga (Semen Padang), Samsul Arif, M Nur Iskandar (Persibo), Abdul Musawir (Persiraja), Emmanuel De Porres (Persija IPL)


Etoile Keep 'Em Guessing

Etoile have never been everyone's favorite cup of tea. A bunch of French journeymen pros parachuted into the tropics in the hope of kick starting their stagnant careers?

Since they arrived in 2010 the club have been involved in controversy after controversy, much of it of their own making. David Ginola for example or the mysterious case of the clubhouse that never was or their role in a brawl with Hougang United or even their Indonesian-esque late salary payments.

To be fair they have played some good football and of course they were the first foreign team to win the SLeague when they lifted the crown in their debut season and their leading scorer that season, Frederic Mendy, went on to play a lead role in Home United's assault on the title last season.

Now they are in the headlines again for the wrong reasons. This situation stems back to the middle of last year when the chairman quit and new backers got on board. As is often the case in changeovers at the top it was less than smooth and the recriminations seem to be echoing over to the new year now that the former chairman is now deputy CEO of the SLeague and charge with reinvigorating a product many feel has gone stale.

When Etoile arrived on the scene they spouted off about how they wanted to help develop Singapore football (the white man's burden?!), they were in it for the long term, words designed to win over a sceptical football fraternity accustomed to seeing foreign teams arrive, make lots of noise and disappear with nary a toodlepip. Or au revoir.

But now, on the eve of the 2012 season, they are throwing a hissey fit because their former chairman has a new job. Football in Singapore has been forgotten about while they pout and sulk, threatening to quit the league just weeks before it is due to begin.

In a rare moment of steely resolve the President of the FA has come out and said that the tail should not be wagging the dog and it is up to the FA to make a decision, not a team. He's quite right of course, yeah I know I can't believe I said that either.

The fixture list has yet to be drawn up because les drama queens are hogging the limelight so clubs have no idea yet of when their season will begin and against whom.

This sulking from a professional football club shows a distinct lack of respect to Singapore football and the FA needs to make a firm decision; not let themselves be dicked around like this.

Etoile's throwing the toys out of the pram like this, so close to the start of the season, shows how empty their words of two years ago really were. Develop Singapore football? Long term? What a load of bullshit. Fine words designed to mollify the hosts yet when some ego gets damaged they take umbrage and flout and bitch like some air headed model or celebrity.

Their delaying tactics, and the FA's less than robust response, leaves football in a pickle. With the SLeague being expanded to 14 clubs playing each other twice a season we now could be, should be, left with 13 clubs. Just one more than previously. Unless the FA have a club waiting in the wings to fill the void.

The AFC and FIFA are none too happy with odd numbers in domestic leagues but obviously Etoile don't give a shit about that. And they obviously don't care too much either if they cause problems for the SLeague and the other clubs either.

COMMENT - this post relates to the flapping around by Etoile and their 'look at me stance' in relation to their 'talk' when they first joined the league. There are serious questions to be asked about the appointment of their former chairman as Deputy CEO of the SLeague, and perhaps another post, but that does not excuse their actions.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Called Off At Last Minute

Football in South East Asia is full of new experiences. Take today for example. I bowledup at Lebak Bulus hoping to catch Persiram and Persiba in ISL action.Things seemed quiet when I arrived. Quiet as in no fans, no vendors and no ticket sales. Odd.

I got talking to a Persiram oficial and he said yep, no problems, kick off usual time. So I finally found an open gate and took my seat and waited.And waited. And the waited some more. 20 minutes after the first half hadn't started came the announcement tthegame had een postponed 'cos there were no security oficials available. Big trouble elesewhere in town.


Thai Team Interested In Malaysian Striker

Muang Thong United are reportedly interested in Pelita Jaya's Malaysian striker Safee Sali. The Thai team have promised to rebuild their team after a trophyless season and it is no secret the Malaysian FA would like Sali to play in a recognised league so he can be called up by the national team. Pelita Jaya play in a league not recognised by the Indonesian FA.


Results 10/01

Divisi Utama (LI)

Persiku v Persip 1-1 (Arip Rokim; Rozikin) 6,971

Thai FA Cup Final

Muang Thong United v Buriram PEA 0-1 (after extra time)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Results 10/01

Divisi Utama (LI)

Persita v PS Bengkulu 1-1 (Ade Jantra Lukmana; Rival Jandara) 8,235

Malaysia Super League

Negeri Sembilan v Selangor 2-2 (Effa Owona 2; Zainal, Safiq Rahim)
Perak v Terengganu 1-0 (Michael Kubala)
Felda United v Sabah 2-0 (Raimi, Yong Kuong Yong)
Sarawak v KL 2-0 (Krishnan, Mokhtar)
T Team v Kedah 3-0 (Faiz Subri 2, Zailani)
Daftly Named LionsX11 v Kelantan 1-2 (Baihakki; Norshahrul, M Ghadar)
PKNS v Johor FC 1-2 (Fauzan; Riduwon Maon, Azi Shahril)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Singapore Football Reinvented Today

Today's the day football gets rediscovered in Singapore with the Daftly Named LionsX11 hosting Kelantan at the Jalan Besar Stadium and all 7,500 tickets sold out.

One round of SLeague games, six games, would never have accumulated that many fans yet they come crawling out the woodwork for this game.

Surprising what a bit of marketing can do and makes you wonder why nothing gets done for the actual SLeague although to be fair when it comes to a bit of nationalist flag waving they do seem happy to reach for their flags. Before they lose and stop going!

The danger now is that with the media now discovering local football they will focus all their attention on the daftly named LionsX11 to the detriment of the domestic league and that would not be a helpful move.

It's gonna be down to the blogs and forums to make sure the SLeague isn't overlooked by people once the daftly named LionsX11 kick off their Malaysia Super League campaign tonight against Kelantan but when you get a team pissed off 'cos their ex chairman has got a new job and now they're threatening to throw their toys out the pram then you can understand while people don't give a crap.

Such childishness doesn't even belong in the playground because to accuse children of such nonsense would be to insult them. Indeed, now when parents and teachers see their children acting in a spoilt manner they will say 'ha...look at little Johnny, behaving like a French football club.'

For now the hype around the daftly named LionsX11 has revolved around Fandi Ahmad and 1994 as football writers rush to show off their knowledge of football on the island and bore us to tears with their inane drivel. One paper even has useful advise of how to get to Jalan Besar 'cos most people have no idea what or where it is.

The SLeague has had some exciting seasons in recent years. It is time the new people at the top start to promote the bloody thing seriously or the professional game may whither and die and we'll be left with the daftly named LionsX11 and loads of replica Liverpool and Manchester United shirts on the MRT and we really don't want that, do we?


Les Drama Queens

2010 SLeague Champions Etoile are sulking. They are apparently peeved 'cos their former chairman has been appointed deputy CEO of the SLeague and are considering pulling out of Singapore's top flight.

If they go it is no loss, if they stay it is no gain.

Monday, January 09, 2012


Dazza's At Balestier

It's probably the worst kept secret in Singapore football beyond the would DPMM rejoin in 2012 but Darren Stewart has moved to take charge of Balestier Khalsa after several years with Gombak United.

Stewart had built an exciting team at the Bulls a couple of years back and looked set to break the Uniforms monopoly on the SLeague when it was decided by the powers that be that Gabrial Obatala and Kingsley Njoku could no longer stay in the country therefore depriving the team of their first choice strikers with the seasons just 180 minutes old.

Joining Stewart at Toa Payoh will be some familiar faces including, I understand, Goran Subara, the Aussie utility man who had an unlucky time in Indonesia with PSM last year.

Also in is Patrick Pahan, a striker from Tanjong Pagar United.


Results 09/01

Indonesia Super League

Persib v PSMS 3-1 (Aliyudin, Herman Abanda, Moses; Osas Marvelous) 15,450
Persipura v Deltras 2-1 (Zah Rahan, Lukas Mandowen; Juan Revi) 15,273
Pelita Jaya v PSAP 5-2 (Greg Nwokolo 2, Safee Sali 2, Alex Bajevski; Camera Sekou, Lee Soung Yong) 2,752
Persiwa v Persidafon 3-0 (Eric Weeks Lewis, Eddy Foday Boakay, Jaelaniu Arey) 12,732

Malaysia Premier League

Sime Darby v Harimau Muda B 2-1
Pahang v Johor MPJB
ATM v NS Betaria
Johor v PDRM
Penang USM v Malaysia Pos
MP Muar v Perlis 7-2


The Dreaded Evaluasi

Simon McMenemy has only been with Mitra Kukar for five games but already the club are mumbling about 'evaluating' his performance...Indonesian football speak for the dreaded of vote of confidence.

Very often it's little more than the club owners speaking out in public, trying to head off any fan demonstration about poor performances on the field. Arema were caught out recently with fans voicing their disquiet following a disappointing 2-2 home draw against bottom table Persiram. Coach Wolfgang Pikal was gone the next day.

As of now newly promoted Mitra Kukar sit n the 18 team Indonesia Super League with two wins and two defeats. If my maths are any good that leaves one draw.

Mitra Kukar have gathered together an expensive squad featuring a lot of current internationals like Arif Suryono and hamkah Hamza as well as English import Marcus Bent.

A v PSMS 1-1
A v PSAP 3-2
H v Persiwa 6-1
H v Persipura 1-2
A v PSPS 1-3


Results 07-08/01

Indonesia Super League

PSPS v Mitra Kukar 3-1 (Herman Dzumafo 2, Patrice Nguenheu; Jajang Maulyana) 9,475
Persela v Persiram 5-1 (Roman Golian 2, Gery Setia, Jimmy Suparno, Mario Costas; Okta) 10,000
Arema v Sriwijaya 1-5 (Arif Ariyanto; Hilton Moreira 3, Keith Kayamba 2) 2,818

Divisi Utama (LI)

Perseru v Persepam 1-0 (Camera) 600
PSBS v Barito Putra 1-3 (Dwaramury; Sackie Dou 2, Nnengue) 1,723
Persid v PSBK 3-1 (Titus Johnson, Jaya Hartono, Ibnu Suhandak; Gatot Ismawan) 3,500
Sumbawa Barat v Persiss 2-0 (Saddam Husain 2) 8,000
PSMP v Persigo 2-0 (Abdul Rohkim, Catur Mardiyanto)
Persitara v Persiku 2-2 (Patricio Jiminez 2; Indra Lesmana, Joko Purnomo) 2,267
Bengkulu v Persis 0-0 3,000
Persebaya v Persih 2-0 (Richard Obiora, Muhammed Obora) 3,040
Persitema v PSGL 1-0 (Iwan Pratam) 5,167

Indonesia Premier League

Persija v Arema 3-3
PSMS v Persiraja 1-0
Persebaya v PSM 2-0
Bontang v Semen Padang 0-2
Persibo v Persijap 5-0

Divisi Utama (LPIS)

Pro Duta v PSSB 0-1
Bengkulu v Persikabo 0-0
Persikota v Persitara 1-1
PSS v PSIS 0-0
Persis v Persik 2-1
PPSM v Persikab 2-2
Persepar v PSCS 2-1
Persipasi v PSIR 2-0
Persiwangi v Perseman 1-1
Gresik United v Persipro 0-1
Persires Bali v Persemalra 1-0
Madiun Putra v PSBI 4-2

Thai FA Cup Semi Final

Muang Thong United v Songkla 4-3 (after pens)
Buriram PEA v Army United 2-0

Muang Thong meet Buriram PEA in the final next Wednesday with PEA on course for a domestic treble)

Thai Premier League

Bangkok Glass v Si Sa Ket 2-0
Khon Kaen v Thai Port 1-1
Osotspa v TTM Phichit 3-0
TOT v Police United 1-1

Thai Division One

PTT Rayong v Samut Prakan Customs 2-1
Phuket v Bangkok 1-4
Raj Pracha v Bangkok United 2-4
Air Force United v Saraburi 3-3

Malaysia Charity Shield

Kelantan v Negeri Sembilan 1-2 (Norshahrul Idlan Talaha; Effa Owana 2)

Friday, January 06, 2012


Malaysia Fretting About Safee

The Malaysian Football Association are worrying about the on going crisis in Indonesian football. Specifically they are concerned that they may not be able to call up their striker Safee Sali who plays for Pelita Jaya in the ISL.

FIFA only recognises the Indonesia Premier League and they have said that players who play in any non recognised leagues will not be eligible for national team call up.

The Malaysian FA have said that if a Malaysian club were interested in signing former Selangor striker Sali then they would allow a deal to go ahead despite the transfer window having closed.

Pelita Jaya last week lost their combatitive full back Diego Michiels after he decided to put country before club and walked out on the club, signing for Persija in the IPL.


Results 05/01

Indonesia Super League

Persib v PSAP 1-1 (Maman Abdurahman; You Wook Jin) 20,187
Pelita Jaya v PSMS 2-2 (Safee Sali, Alex Bajevski; Zulkarnain, Arie Supriyatna) 3,530
Persiwa v Deltras 2-1 (Eddy Foday Boakay 2; Qischil Minny) 12,537
Persipura v Persidafon 3-1 (Ricardo Salempessy, Boas Solossa, Alberto Goncalves; Patrick Wanggai) 18,352

Disappointing afternoon for the West Java sides with both Persib and Pelita Jaya taking the lead and losing it at home. Better for the Papuan teams but then they rarely drop points at home, especially Persiwa. Persipura's win puts them on top of the ISL, level on points with Sriwijaya.

Thai FA Cup Quarter Final

Army United v Chainat 6-5 (after pens)


More Singaporean Gobbledygook

Singaporeans love business school speak, even when it makes no sense at all. That's not the point. It makes them sound all grown up and modern. Take this piece of drivel...

"There is a high intangible value to this deal and StarHub has taken a holistic approach that is not just about cash,"

How the hell could you paraphrase that? All they have left out is the word leverage as a verb and it would be classic management consultant bullshit.

The complete story can be found here but you may want to put it through a translate software first.

Language is about communication and understanding. It ain't about showing off your knowledge of 'trendy buzzwords' that wax and wane like the moon.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


Arema Respond To Poor Start

It hasn't been the best of starts for Arema in the Indonesia Super League. Yesterday's 2-2 with bottom club Persiram was their first point from their opening four games and apparently after the game the Arema fans vented their displeasure at the team.

The club have responded by sacking coach Wolfgang Pikal.

I mentioned at the start of the season the Arema squad was hardly one to set the fans' pulses racing and obviously the 5,000 crowd at yesterday's game was an indication the Aremania weren't impressed. Indeed the IPL version of Arema have been pulling bigger crowds!

Presiram finished the last 10 minutes of yesterday's game with 10 men following JP Boumsong's red card but it was the visitors who looked like securing their first three points of the season when Nasution Karubaba scored with four minutes left.

It took full back Patrick Pierre Seme to save a point for the home team with two minutes left but it didn't lift the mood of the Arema fans who responded to the dropped points by causing some disturbances after the game.

The club who were ISL champions in 2009/2010 are second off the bottom while much of the team that won the ISL play in the IPL.

Arema's Results 2011/2012

Arema v Persela 0-1 14,000
Persiba v Arema 2-1
Gresik United v Arema 2-0
Arema v Persiram 2-2 5,000


Results 04/01

Indonesia Super League

Persela v Sriwijaya 1-1 (Gery Setia; Rizki) 10,000
Arema v Persiram 2-2

Divisi Utama (LI)

PSMP v Perssin 1-1

Thai FA Cup Quarter Finals

Loei City v Songkhla 0-4
Muang Thong United v Sri Racha 4-0
Buriram PEA v BEC Tero 2-0

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Hanging On The Telephone

I dunno how many football matches I've seen over the years in various countries; can't be far off a 1,000. But outside of a pub league game on a Sunday morning in brass monkeys weather I have never seen a professional footballer take a phone call just minutes before kick off in a vital top flight game.

But that is what happened when Bangkok Glass hosted Khon Kaen in the Thai Premier League before Christmas.

The coach was giving his final team talk ahead of the bloody huddle that all teams 'must' do when the phone was passed to one player, no doubt to receive instructions from some powerful person wanting to bypass the coach all together.

Khon Kaen are nicknamed T Rex, not after Marc Bolan's band but the dinosaur; an appropriate epitaph perhaps for the club's management style?


Doubling Up

The old adage is that everything has been done before, there ain't nothing new under the sun. I always believed that myself. That was until i started covering Indonesian football; now I expect the new or outrageous and I must admit I am disappointed when something normal happens.

You will be aware, no doubt, that Indonesia has two leagues up and running for the second consecutive season. One is recognised by the local FA, the other ain't. You may even recall there are teams in each league which share names, Persija, Arema, Persebaya among them, with varying degrees of acceptance among the local community.

This weekend sees Arema, the LPI version, take on Persija, the IPL version. Arema features the players from last season's ISL but with a new, IPL friendly ownership while Persija can't even play their home games in their home city of Jakarta yet; possibly aware of embarrassingly low attendances.

Arema and Persija will also meet later in the ISL; obviously different teams.

But recently there have been reports that there are two different Aremas preparing for the IPL game against Persija this weekend. Yep, two different squads.

I don't know how they do it and frankly at times I don't care. Indonesian football's value comes from the nonsense off the field far more than any action on it and long may it continue.


Michiels Moves Club

After sensationally walking out on Pelita Jaya last Friday, Indonesian international Diego Michiels has reported to have signed for Persija, the version playing in the officially recognised Indonesia Premier League.

He said he quit Pelita Jaya, who play in the unofficial Indonesia Super League because he was worried about his place in the international team following announcements from the PSSI, the FA, that only players with IPL teams could be called up.

Michiels came to Indonesia from the Netherlands as a naturalised player and impressed during the recent SEA Games with his commitment and performances.

The LPI doesn't have many big names or internationals and whether Michiels sparks an exodus remains to be seen. As ever the international calender is a big blank filled with plenty of hot air and there is nothing concrete until the ASEAN Cup in December, almost 12 months away.

A lot can and will happen between now and then!


Thai Memories

The face of Thai football has changed immeasurably over the years and mostly it's for the better. I first moved to the country in the early 90s and while I would often read the results in the local paper and I often promised myself I would get to a game I never did.

In them times Thai Farmers' Bank were the best team, they won an Asian club competition and they even had a club shop in Siam Square selling shirts and pennants and so on.

Then there was the dream team that impressed during the Asian Games in 1994 I think it was. featuring players like Kiatisuk, who had a spell with Huddersfield Town, and Tawan who did well in later years in Singapore.

1996 saw the start of the Johnnie Walker Thailand League, a first attempt to organise a proper national league and this is the final league table for that inaugural season.

Some familar names there including TOT, Rajpracha, Sinthana (later to become Chula Sinthana, Chula United and now BBCU United), RTAF (Air Force United), RTA (Army United), Royal Thai Navy (Siam Navy), Police (United), PAT (Thai Port), Singha Tero Sasana (BEC Tero), Tobacco Monopoly (TTM Phichit), Osotspa (now play in Saraburi) and KTB who were taken over by Bangkok Glass.

A far cry from what we have today in the Thai Premier League! Fair to say nobody could have envisioned crowds of 15,000 + and former England internationals playing in the country.

The table below and indeed the results from that season can be found on the excellent RSSSF website.

 1.Thai Farmers Bank                  34  18 10  6  56-25   64  [TFB]
 2.Telephone Organization of Thailand 34  17 11  6  61-35   62  [TOT]  
 3.Bangkok Bank                       34  17 11  6  54-34   62  [BBL]   
 4.Stock Exchange of Thailand         34  17  9  8  59-31   60  [SET]  
 5.UCOM-Rajpracha                     34  16 12  6  62-36   60  
 6.Sinthana                           34  17  6 11  45-45   57  
 7.Royal Thai Air Force               34  14 12  8  60-50   54  
 8.Royal Thai Army                    34  14 12  8  60-50   54  
 9.Royal Thai Navy                    34  13 12  9  44-29   51 
 10.Police                             34  13 11 10  53-39   50 
 11.Port Authority of Thailand         34   9 14 11  44-39   41  
 12.Singha Tero Sasana                 34   9 14 11  37-44   41  
 13.Thailand Tobacco Monopoly          34   7 14 13  37-44   35  
 14.Osotspa                            34   8 10 16  41-73   34  
 15.Bangkok Bank of Commerce           34   7 11 16  34-47   32  
 16.Rajvithi-Agfatech                  34   8  8 18  43-71   32 
 17.Krung Thai Bank                    34   5  9 20  32-54   24  
 18.Singha-Thamrongthai                34   1  6 27  26-111   9


Results 03/01

Indonesia Super League

PSPS v Persisam 2-1 (Herman Dzumafo, M Isnaini; Johan yoga Utama) 9,665

1 - PSPS 5 3 0 2 9-6 9
2 - Sriwijaya 4 3 0 1 7-4 9
3 - Persisam 5 3 0 2 8-5 9
4 - Persib 4 2 2 0 6-4 8

Divisi Utama (LI)

Persip v PSGL 3-0 (Wahyu Tri Harjanto, Nurcoyo 2) 5,215
PSIM v Persih 2-0 (Nova Zaenal, Emile Lingkers) 15,267
Persebaya v Persita 1-0 (Richard Obiora) 597
PS Bengkulu v Persiku 0-0 3,000
Persitara v Persis 4-1 (Michel Adolfo De Souza, Muhamed, Firman Septian, Ramli; Bahroni Fadli) 2,735
PSBS Biak v Persepam 1-3 (Rumwaopen; Sudirman 2, Martial Poungoue Nz) 2,015
Perseru v Barito Putra 0-1 (Amirul Mukminin) 600
Persid v Persekam 1-0 (Iswanto) 2,000
Sumbawa Barat v Persigo 2-1 (Andre Levandy, Saddam Husain; Wawan Bikin) 6,125


Offiong Off To Johor

Johor in the second tier Malaysia Premier League have reportedly signed English striker Richard Offiong. If true then the 28 year old striker is no stranger to playing overseas. Previously he has plied his trade in Scotland, Turkey, South Korea, Belgium, Australia and Sweden.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Jakarta Casual Awards 2011

Time now for the 3rd annual Jakarta Casual Awards. A little late this time so if your hols have been ruined by their non appearance you have my sincerest apologies.

It's been another mental year with mental goings on. One thing is for sure. The people who run football in this part of the world do not do it for football. Decision making is not about the beautiful game we love so much. Understand that and everything becomes so much simpler to accept.

OK, dim the lights, roll the drum, sip some water and away we go.


Last year's winners, the Pasoepati, were in with a shout again if only for being the only fans to fully embrace the short lived Liga Primer Indonesia along with Persebaya's bonek. Bangkok Glass support also came into consideration purely because of the bunnies with floppy ears who walk round the pitch and have their picture taken alot. But instead the award goes, for the second time in three years surprisingly, to Singapore. They got an honourary mention last year and they have built on that good work, giving up new years day to walk around Singapore promoting the SLeague, something the FA don't bother doing. So, for battling an apathetic public, an uninterested media and an FA too busy elsewhere the supporters of the year 2011 are Lions All The Way.


The usual suspects feature prominently again this year. Simamaung, Pasoepati, Ongisnade, Pusam and Balikpapaners continue to do a great job covering their team in difficult circumstances. Blogs aren't covered in this section so Singapore clubs are poorly represented as are Thais for the simple fact that the fan sites there tend to be in Thai! Understandable of course but no help to me; I can just about handle menus in restaurants! Anyway perhaps a dozen nutters following a foreign league in a foreign land where a foreign language is the default medium and what you have is Thai Football; a message board that manages to stay current with the flux in the kingdom with healthy amounts of banter and bitterness thrown in. The first message board to win the unofficial website of the year award!


Lee Hendrie came and went but the real story, the only story of the year can be the short lived Liga Primer Indonesia that ushered in a new level of Alice in Wonderland to football in the country with them now the official FA and managing to confuse everybody with their decisions and actions. You couldn't make it up and I'm not.


Buriram PEA have so dominated the Thai football landscape it seems daft to look beyond them. Yes, they have been dogged by controversy and some of the allegations surrounding what goes on behind the scenes leave a bad taste in the mouth. But in football terms they have proved near unbeatable. Next up is Asian club competition.


Another good year for Persipura coach Jacksen F Tiago, leading the Black Pearls to the Indonesia Super League in 2010/2011 but the winner of this year's coach of the year is Ong Kim Swee who led Malaysia to a second consecutive SEA Games title in the cauldron like atmosphere of a capacity Bung Karno Stadium. I dunno what he said ahead of the penalty shoot out but it worked. Malaysia approached them calmly and professionally while the hosts were shitting bricks.


Khairul Fahmie (Kelantan & Malaysia)
M Ridwan (Sriwijaya & Indonesia), Paul Cunningham (Balastier Khalsa), Nattaporn Pannarit (Muang Thong United & Thailand) Diego Michels (Pelita Jaya & Indonesia)
Greg Nwokolo (Persija/Pelita Jaya), Ahmad Bustomi (Arema/Mitra Kukar & Indonesia), Ahmad Latiff (Tampines Rovers), S Kunalan (Negeri Sembilan & Malaysia)
Aleksander Duric (Tampines Rovers & Singapore), Keith Kayamba (Sriwijaya)


Megia Kurnia (Arema & Indonesia), M Nusaha (Persija/Persib & Indonesia), Safuwan Baharudin (Young Lions & Singapore), Safiq Rahim (Selangor & Malaysia), Safee Sali (Pelita Jaya & Malaysia)


He was a close second last year but this year Khairul Fahmie picks up the young player of the year. Such a consistent keeper with a bright future ahead of him. Goalies, so we are told, don't mature till their 30s!


There must come a time when your body says enough is enough. Three players lead the race for the player of the year award this year and neither are spring chickens. One was runner up in 2009 and featured in both teams of the year so far. The other is also frighteningly consistent. Both are very fit and both are excellent role models. The winner, by the narrowest of margins is the timeless Aleksander Duric!

There you have it. Another exciting year in south east Asia behind us and more thrills and spills ahead in 2012 with, among other things, Thailand and Malaysia hosting the ASEAN Cup in December. As ever Jakarta Casual will be providing the latest new, opinion and even occasional match report.

Jakarta Casual Awards 2009
Jakarta Casual Awards 2010

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