Thursday, March 31, 2016


Houllier To Be Stags Ambassador

There is so much money swirling round in football no big name pro need be out of the limelight for long. Football has this capacity to invent jobs for people, jobs that essentially are all about a name and keeping that name out there.

English clubs have been going down the ambassador role for several years now. The idea is pretty simple. They appoint a 'name' who fans around the world can identify with and then send him around the world, at great expense to local sponsors as these people won't sully themselves in cattle class or even business class, so they can provide some photo opps for the desperate and devoted. Arsenal for example have Robert Pires a phone call away from dusting off his passport in the name of the club.

Now Tampines Rovers have got in on the act by appointing former Liverpool coach Gerard Houllier as their ambassador. Ok I am not sure what link the Frenchman has with Singapore football or whether he knows the difference between Warriors and SAFFC but then I don't think that is the point. Tampines are paying for a big name who, they hope, will open further doors for them in the places where Houllier hangs out. They are paying for the contacts in his rolodex.

Apparently they are hopeful Houllier will come to Singapore in September, or is that December, to visit the football club and give his opinions on the local game. And no doubt local Liverpool fans will be buzzing at the prospect at seeing someone up close and personal who has actually touched the famous This Is Anfield logo in the players tunnel.

But you wonder what Tampines really expect from the deal beyond a few more column inches once in a while as Houllier tells everyone how brilliant Singapore is and what good players the Stags have like Jermaine Pennant and Billy Mehmet (do you think he will make the effort to swot up on the local players?) Will Houllier be given KPIs to meet? Or is this just another example of the football gravy train looking after its own and keeping people in employment after they have reached their sell by date?


Short Sighted FAS Ignore Fandi Credentials

Bernd Stange stepping down as coach of the Singapore national hasn't come as a surprise to anyone. It was announced yonks ago. Putting aside the debate as to whether he was a success or not, and the evidence or popular opinion seem to be in the latter camp, why has no successor been identified or lined up by the apparatchiks at Jalan Besar?

The rest of 2016, from an international calendar viewpoint, is pretty quiet with  nothing on the horizon until the ASEAN Football federation Championships at the end of the year beyond a four team tournament with hosts Myanmar, Vietnam and Hong Kong in June. And after failing to get through to the next round of the World Cup Qualifiers the Lions go into hibernation until the 3rd round of Qualifying in March 2017; by my maths 12 months away.

A busy 12 months but a 12 month period that doesn't get going for nine months. Ample time surely for a new coach to get their feet under the desk and get around looking at players and getting an understanding of players' strengths and weaknesses should a foreign coach be appointed. But it seems FAS are not thinking along those lines. Indeed one story suggests during this lull the national team will need only a coach and not an assistant. Makes sense financially but then football and finance have long been unreliable bedfellows.

With Stange departing surely the opportunity was there for his assistant Fandi Ahmad to take the reins of the national team? There is surely no one better suited than Fandi given his knowledge of the local players and of course his recent experiences with LionsXII in Malaysia. Such a seamless transition would have meant a level of continuity at the top level going into the AFF Cup.

But it seems Fandi is stepping down next month, seven months before his contract is due to expire. Apparently the FAS are unhappy he turned down the opportunity to coach Young Lions. Is that really a surprise? Having worked with LionsXII and the national team why would any coach welcome the prospect of coaching an age group side in a league where expectations are low for results but sky high for developing players?

Yet again the FAS have been unable to plan for a succession in the national team. Perhaps they are waiting for 'super agent' Jorge Mendez to come up with a big name to bail them out? Allowing Fandi to slip through their fingers is careless but perhaps the one time striker knows something we don't. Gary Neville was recently sacked by Valencia, owned by a Singaporean businessman. Perhaps Fandi has eye on the hot seat in Spain?!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Bhayangkara Cup Semi Final Draw

30/03 Persib v Bali United (Si Jalak Harupat Stadium)
31/03 Arema v Sriwijaya (Kanjuruhan Stadium)

Both first named sides enjoying home advantage in the semi finals then. The final is slated for 3 April in Jakarta.


Kuwait SC Threat Ensures No Title Shoo In For Qadsia

1 - Qadsia 20 17 2 1 66-10 53
2 - Kuwait SC 19 14 4 1 42-12 46
3 - Al Salmiya 19 14 3 2 43-18 45

With the Kuwait Premier League returning after a two week we are now in the final run in and it is difficult to see anyone other than Qadsia lifting the shield come the end of April. If they are crowned champions it will their 17th success, a record, putting them one ahead of Al Arabi in the history books.

The best teams are those that dominate in all the categories and Qadsia definitely do that. Most wins, most goals scored, least goals conceded, they sit seven points clear of reigning champions Kuwait SC though the holders do have a game in hand. But Qadsia don't necessarily have an easy run in.

02/04 Qadsia v Kazma
09/04 Khaitan v Qadsia
16/04 Qadsia v Kuwait SC
TBC  Qadsia v Al Jahra

On their day Kazma are capable of scoring against anyone, their 43 goals this campaign is second only to Qadsia and they are unbeaten in their last five games. They also went to Kuwait Sports Stadium and defeated the champions 1-0, no mean achievement. Of course the leaders are on a run of their own, winning their last 10 straight!

Khaitan are a fair to middling side that should present little in the way of a challenge but the biggie as far as Qadsia is concerned is the game against Kuwait SC and it is fair to see the team from Kaifan have the advantage in the recent past. While Qadsia have the flair there is something relentless about Kuwait SC and the way they just grind out results, not least in their recent Emir Cup tie when they edged Qadsia 1-0.

That was just the latest in a long line of successes for Kuwait SC. On New Years Eve they won 3-1. They won the Super Cup 3-1. And last season they whitewashed Qadsia, winning b oth league games, their meeting in the Crown Prince Cup and the Super Cup. With Kuwait SC having a game in hand this game will be pivotal in deciding where the Premier League will go and you can be sure for Qadsia fans it will be squeaky bum time in Hawally.

Their final game of the season sees them go up against Al Jahra, a team with a troubled season that has seen them banned from playing games at their home stadium after an unseemly incident involving club and match officials and then losing 10-0 against Qadsia.

31/03 Al Fahaheel v Kuwait SC
09/04 Kuwait SC v Al Shabab
16/04 Qadsia v Kuwait SC
23/04 Kuwait SC v Al Sulaibhikat
TBC  Khaitan v Kuwait SC

Apart from the Qadsia game Kuwait SC do appear to have the gentler run in although they do have the small matter of the Emir Cup Final on 5th April against Al Arabi to contend with. Their last two games have been disappointing, albeit against strong opposition. Draws with Al Salmiya and Al Arabi have left them somewhat off the pace but they do have that game in hand and should they win at Qadsia, as history shows they usually do in recent years, that could put them a point behind the leaders.

Oh yes. A couple of banana skins lie in wait for Qadsia before they can be crowned champions and I for one am looking forward  to their game with Kazma on Saturday!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Madura United Like The Look Of Lama

First a word about Madura United. Once upon a time there was a football club called Pelita Jaya, I won't go into all their name changes or the home grounds they have used, life is too short, Suffice to say they were bought by Bandung Raya and the name changed to Pelita Bandung Raya.

They then had some kind of deal with Persipasi Bekasi so relocated, rebranded to Persipasi Bekasi Raya. That didn't last long and the owner of Persepam MU sold his club and decided to buy the PBR one. move them to the island of Madura and name them Madura United, thereby keeping their spot in the top flight of Indonesian football. Keeping up?

Brazilian coach Mario Gomes de Oliveria is now busy building a team ahead of the ISC due to begin in the middle of April and has been trialling Nepali Bikram Lama and it seems he has been impressed by what he has seen. Lama, a 27 year old midfielder, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Nepali international Rohit Chand who impressed during his time with Persija.

Lama has been competing with Japanese Shohei Matsunaga, once of Persib and more recently Gresik United but it is Lama who seems to have won the heart of the watching coach. 'Matsunaga is a good player with good quality,' says the coach, 'but looking at the needs of the team we prefer to choose Lama.'

Lama of course is just the latest in the long line of international footballers who have a name that comes from the Indonesian language! Lama means a long time. Mutu, th eex Chelsea gyy, means quality, the significance no doubt would not be lost on him if anyone actually told him, while another ex Chelse player, Mata, means eye.

Sigh. You live and learn...


PS TNI 'Takeover' Persiram

On the map at least Persiram Raja Ampat are based in one of the most spectacular parts of the country. The Raja Ampat area is renowned for its diving and natural scenery for example. The football team however lacks such a scenic heritage. In recent years, in a bid to cut down on running costs, the club have been based in Jakarta (Lebak Bulus) and more recently Sleman (Maguwoharjo).

If they moved to attract fans it hasn't really happened as they have struggled to pull punters through the turnstiles and any attempt to appeal to migrant Papuans flounders as many support Persipura.

That may all change now. A business group has reportedly bought Persiram ahead of the new Indonesia Soccer Championship which starts 16 April and it so happens this business group have been sponsors of PS TNI.

While there has long been a PS TNI they were a military team that got together to play occasional friendlies against the national side and Persija among others. They seem to have been set up on a more formal basis last year to enter the General Sudriman Cup. Drawing on a close connection to PSMS, they started well enough, cruising through the group stage unbeaten, beating the likes of Persib, Persebaya and Persela along the way before coming unstuck in the quarter final stage losing all three games against Semen Padang, Persija and eventual winners Mitra Kukat.

Buoyed by their success in the GSC, PS TNI went on to compete in the Kaltim Cup and now the Bhayangkara Cup where they finished mid table, winning one, drawing one and losing two of their games to finish on four points behind Persib and Sriwijaya.

As part of the 'move' to become rebranded as Persiram, the coaching staff have been instructed from on high to not use foreign players. Following their final game in the Bayangkara Cup, a 1-1 draw with Mitra Kukar, assistant coach Edy Syahputra said the players would be given a week's rest while the coaching staff do one of those evaluation things so beloved of South East Asian football masters. The club will also look to strengthen the side ahead of the ISC.


Indonesia Soccer Championship Clubs

Ok so we are a couple of weeks shy of the kick off of the Indonesia Soccer Championship which is almost similar to the Indonesia Super League but not quite. The ISC doesn't have any promotion or relegation. Just to muddy waters there seems to be ongoing talks hoping to hold the ISL. Whether it would replace the ISC or not is as you may imagine unclear.

The top flight of the ISC is known as ISC A and apparently kicks off 16 April with Persipura hosting Sriwijaya. These are teams slated to be in ISC A and most of them are pretty familiar.

Semen Padang, Sriwijaya, Persib, Persija, Surabaya United, Persela, Arema, Madura United, Persiba, Mitra Kukar, PSM, Persipura, Gresik United, Bali United, Persiram, Barito Putera, Perseru, Pusamania Borneo.

For those who have been hibernating the last two years; Surabaya United are the Persebaya the Bonek are boycotting (I stand to be corrected once and for all on that particular soap opera); Madura United used to be Pelita Bekasi Raya nee Pelita Bandung Raya nee Pelita Jaya; Persiram is the latest identity for the military side PS TNI; Bali United used to be Persisam; Pusamania bought out Perseba Super Bangkalan.

I hope that clears that up...

Now, ISC B or what used to be Divisi Utama and most of the names should be familiar. Some notable absences including Persitara, Deltras, Persikab, Persikota, PSAP, PSSB, Persma, Persimin among them. Persires are now based in Sukoharjo are previous spells in Bali, Kuningan and Cirebon. The erstwhile owner of Persepam MU seems to have sold them and now owns Madura United. As you were with most of the rest I believe with four of the six groups centred on Java. The last group involves some pretty serious travel for the clubs concerned in a part of the country where the infrastructure ain't the best

Persiraja Banda Aceh, PSBL Langsa, PSMS Medan, Pro Duta FC, PS Bintang Jaya, PSPS Pekanbaru, Persih Tembilahan, PS Bengkulu, PS Bangka

Cilegon United FC, Perserang Serang, Persita Tangerang, Villa 2000, Persikabo Bogor, Persika Karawang, Persikad Purwakarta, Persires Rengat, PSGC Ciamis, PSCS Cilacap

Persibangga Purbalingga, Persibas Banyumas, Persibat Batang, Persip Pekalongan, PSIS Semarang, Persijap Jepara, Persipur Purwodadi, PSIR Rembang, Persis Solo, PPSM Sakti Magelang

Persiba Bantul, PSIM Yogyakarta, PSS Sleman, Persinga Ngawi, Persatu Tuban, Madiun Putra FC, Persik Kediri, PSBI Blitar, PS Mojokerto Putra, Persepam MU

PSBK Blitar, Laga FC, Persida Sidoarjo, Perssu MU, Persekam Metro FC, Persekap Kota Pasuruan, Persebo Bondowoso, Persewangi Banyuwangi, PS Badung, PS Sumbawa Barat

Persipon Pontianak, Kalteng Putra FC, Martapura FC, Persbul Buol, Persigo Gorontalo, Yahukimo FC, Persigubin Gunung Bintang, Persiwa Wamena, PSBS Biak, Persifa Fakfak

Monday, March 21, 2016


Terengganu's Online Footprint

A pet peeve of mine over the years is how reluctant clubs in the region have been to communicate with their supporters on line. Indonesia is a case in point. If you wanted to know about Arema for example the best resource is probably the fan website Ongisnade although the official website has been improving of late. Likewise fan sites like Persija's Jak Online have long filled a void left by the club's lack of attention to PR.

It is only belatedly that clubs have seen the merit in have a strong online presence and it is perhaps ironic that two of the Indonesian clubs that lead the way are 'newer' clubs. Both Bali United and Pusamania Borneo have worked hard to raise their club's profile on line in the last year or so and have not just focused on the social media side. Both seem to realise the importance of an attractive website and the fact the social media is there to drive traffic to the site and not just be a means to the end. Clubs that see Facebook as their official website are missing a trick or two.

Unfortunately, but perhaps understandably so, the Indonesian club websites tend to be in Indonesian language only. Given the lack of attention paid by mainstream media that is perhaps understandable. There are some unofficial accounts that try and provide English language news, again Persib and Arema seem to the lead the way but they are in the minority.

But Thai clubs have long embraced a multi language on line presence and many people in the region know that little bit more about clubs like Muang Thong United because their English language footprint enables them to reach a wider audience.

Malaysian club Terengganu are one side that seems to be taking a leaf from the Thai club's experience. They started tweeting in English not to long ago. They have now added Chinese language to their tweets so each time they do tweet it appears in three languages.Malaysia of course has a multi racial society with most people speaking at least one of the three languages but why have so few clubs been slow to take on this approach and be inclusive to the whole country as well as people beyond the borders of the country?

Is it important to have clubs provide news in more than one language. Of course it isn't. The world won't end just because Persija's idea of being online is to only communicate in Indonesian. After all that is their supporter base. But if clubs want to expand their supporter base and generate a presence in different countries, which is what the likes of Arsenal, Muang Thong United and FC Tokyp do. And let's be brutally frank. If the story ain't in English, it ain't a story is it?

Terengganu's approach is hardly novel but in a sense they are torch bearing for the country and surely other clubs will start to see the benefit of having an online presence that speaks more than one language.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Perfect 10 For JDT

As starts to the season go this ain't bad for the Malaysia Super League Champions and AFC Cup Winners

16/02 MSL T Team (a) 0-2
19/02 MFA UiTM (a) 0-5
24/02 AFC Ayeyawady (h) 8-1
27/02 MSL Terengganu (a) 0-2.
01/03 MSL Felda United (h) 2-1
04/03 MFA Negeri Sembilan (h) 4-1
09/03 AFC Bengaluru (a) 0-1
13/03 MSL PDRM (a) 0-2
16/03 AFC Lao Toyota (h) 3-0
19/03 MFA PDRM (a) 0-1

10 7 3 0 30-3

Not bad is it. And to think some people felt they were below par in India the other night. I think they can afford the luxury of an off night once in a while when you look at their schedule since the season began.

In fact they have played one other game. It was against Selangor in their first Malaysia Super League game of the season and they drew 1-1. But as this was the Charity Shield it went to penalties and yep, JDT won that as well!


Cup Romance Takes A Hit In Malaysia

Sabah v Kedah 1-2 (Igor Cerina; Seungwhan Bang, Baddrol Bakhtiar) 10,000
PDRM v Johor Darul Ta'zim 0-1 (Juan Martin Lucero) 12,000
Sime Darby v PKNS 0-4 (Matias Nicholas, Juan Manuel Cobelli 2, Nazrin Syamsulbahri) 334
Perak v Kuala Lumpur 1-0 (OG), 7,800

Oh well. The fine FA Cup runs of Sabah and KL have come to an end and we are looking at some familiar faces in the semi finals with a rampant JDT leading the way. They have won their last 10 games conceding just three goals along the way.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Kiko Lashes Out At Arema Coach Milo

Remember how Kiko Insa went and signed a five year deal with Arema? It looks like the honeymoon is already over with a series of tweets less than complementary about Milomir Seslija, coach of Arema. Kiko has since joined Bali United

Milo I wish u all best, just try this time no get fired to ok? This u 3 time working in Indonesia if u get fired again.. No good for CV.

Then..If they can't teach players in Spain,England..Why them can teach Indo players? haha is amazing... Who bring this people to Indonesia?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


PS Polri Announce Squad For Bhayangkara Cup

Following the success of the army side, PS TNI, in the recent General Sudirman Cup the Indonesian police are now seeing the potential of their own higher profile football club.

As well as organising the upcoming Bhayangkara Cup, the police will be entering their own team, PS Polri, and in keeping with the current trends in Indonesian football there is a mix of itinerant foreign boots for hire and local players.

Among the foreign legion who have discovered a sudden liking for uniforms for Robertino, ex Persija and James Koko Lommel, once of PSMS, Pelita Jaya and too many others to mention.

The local contingent includes well known players like I Made Wirahadi, Ade Suhendra, Gerald Pangkali and the naturalised Bio Paulin.

The club are targeting the semi finals but hope with the support of policemen around the country to do better than that!

PS Polri have been drawn alongside Arema, hosts Bali United, Persija and Persipura and kick off their campaign against Persija 19/03.

The full squad is as follows:

Indra Kahfi, Robertino Pugliara, Renzo Omar, Sandy Firmansyah, Gerald Pangkali, Dedi Hartono, Hansamu Yama, I Putu Gede, Zulfiandi, Maldini Pali, Paulo Sitanggang, M Ridho, Ahmad Hari, Abdul Majid, Ikhfanul Alam, Erenzimus, I Made Wirahadi, James Koko Lomell, Bio Paulin Piere, Ade Suhendra, Alsan Sanda, Ilham Udin Armaiyn, Muchlis Hadi Ning, M Fatchu Rochman, M Hargianto, Alfredo Hidayat, Iswar Fajar, Isnur Tiro, Martinus Rontini, Antoni Agustinus, Anggra Bratama.


Dedi Hopes More Indonesian Players Will Follow Him To Malaysia

With Indonesian football still carrying the burden of a FIFA suspension following allegations of government interference, it is perhaps surprising there aren’t more players trying their luck overseas. Selangor’s Andik Vermansyah leads the way of course. The flying winger is in his third season with the Malaysian giants.

Perhaps lesser known, Dedi Gusmawan is in his second season with Myanmar’s Zeyar Shwe Myay while Boas Solossa, Okta Maniani and Immanuel Wanggai are lining up for Carsae FC in Timor Leste this season.

So when Malaysia Premier League side Sabah made a move for Persib midfielder Dedi Kusnandar it was no surprise he turned to his international team mate Andik for advice. ‘When Sabah came in for me, I knew nothing about Malaysian football beyond what I had read on the internet,’ said Dedi. ‘He told me to give my best and to take care of my attitude both inside and outside of football.’

With similar language and culture, Malaysia has long been a popular destination for Indonesian players to venture overseas and it is perhaps no surprise Dedi is the latest to head north.

He started his career with Pelita Jaya when they were coached by Singaporean legend Fandi Ahmad and recalls the positive influences he took from someone who had played in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Netherlands. ‘He was my first foreign coach. I studied a lot from him about modern football, attitude as a player and how to be a professional. I really respected coach Fandi.’

That word attitude again. It was Dedi’s attitude that saw him earn moves from Pelita Jaya to Arema, Persebaya and on to Persib Bandung and while he arrived just after they won the Indonesia Super League in 2014 he was on hand to play in the AFC Cup campaign a year later, sadly cut short by the FIFA ban.

‘That was wonderful,’ he recalled. Dedi was born and raised in West Java, the heart of Persib land and the chance to play for his boyhood side on the international stage meant a lot to him. It also gave him a taste for football beyond the 17,000 island nation. ‘When I started my career I wanted to have an international career. I wanted to play overseas to improve my skill and to learn new experiences as I believe this can make me a better player.’

Dedi has only made one appearance for the national side in a friendly against Dominican Republic in 2014 but at the age of 24 is still young enough to be able to look forward to many more chances to read the red and white. ‘Someday I want to play for Indonesia again and I want to help Indonesia improve in an international event.

For now though the focus is on Sabah. It hasn’t been the best start to the season for the team based in Kota Kinabalu with four losses in their opening four league games leaving them at the wrong end of the table. That miserable run came to an end last weekend when Sabah held Melaka United to a 2-2 draw. It was a special game for Dedi as he came up against former Persib team mate Ilija Spasojevic for the first time.

Dedi feels more of his compatriots want to try their luck overseas but aren’t being given the opportunity. ‘Many players from Indonesia want to play abroad,’ he says ‘but they have little opportunity. They definitely have the skills to do so and I hope others can get the chance I have had.’

Malaysia has played host to many Indonesian greats over the years. Players like Bambang Pamungkas, Ponaryo Astaman and Eli Aiboy set the trend a decade ago and in more recent years Hamkah Hamza and Patrich Wanggai have had short stints there. With Andik and now Dedi making their mark in Malaysia’s increasingly competitive league who will be next to join the exodus north.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Qadsia Take Full Advantage Of Kuwait SC Slip Up

Do Qadsia have one hand on the Kuwait Premier League? It seems so after they managed another convincing win over the weekend while champions Kuwait SC were held to a 1-1 draw by an Al Arabi side fallen on fallow times.

On Friday Kazma were made to work hard for the 90 minutes before they overcame a plucky Al Shabab. The home side had the advantage of an early lead on seven minutes when Alex Lima hit home from close range. Ali Ashkanani doubled the lead with 11 minutes to go to half time before Abu Kone pulled one back for the Students with a spectacular overhead kick from close range.

Al Shabab asked a lot of questions from Kazma but ultimately it was the hosts experience and quality that told with Saeed Morhjan and Mohamed Al Hadoud putting some distance between the two sides. Quick on the break and with Timor Leste international striker Patrick Fabiano up front Kazma are always likely to score goals and are on a nice little roll at the moment with 12 in their last three games seeing them climb to fourth above Al Arabi. Only leaders Qadsia have scored more goals this season than Kazma.

Winless in their last nine games, Al Yarmouk were always going to find it difficult against Al Sulaibikhat, going down 2-1 in Amadhi. All the action came in the last 15 minutes with Mishen Deyab giving the nominal home team the lead. Abdullah Coulibaly made it 2-0 with five minutes left before an own goal on 90 minutes set u the Kuwaiti equivalent of squeaky bum time.

In the big game on Friday night Kuwait SC were held 1-1 by a previously out of sorts Al Arabi. The champions appeared to be coasting after Yassine Salhi had given the lead from the spot early in the second half, pictured left, but Al Arabi, without a win since the controversial game against Al Sahel when they had three points deducted and the game awarded 3-0, fought back and thoroughly deserved the point after Fahad Al Rashidi had levelled the scores with three minutes left.

With heavy droplets of rain falling both sides went all out for the victory with both sets of fans yelling themselves hoarse but at the end a draw was probably the fairest score. The champions though have dropped points in their last two games having been held 1-1 by Al Salmiya a couple of weeks back forcing them to lose ground on the leaders Qadsia. The true extent of the damage was clear for all to see the next day.

The first games Saturday saw Al Jahra draw 2-2 with Al Sahel and Al Fahaheel edge Khaitan 2-1 thanks to Badr Badah late, late winner.

And so to Qadsia. At home to bottom side Al Nasr they took the lead in the first minute of the second half through Rashid Sumaila before a 12 minute hat trick by local hero Bader Al Motawaa boosted their goal difference and opened up a seven point gap ahead of Kuwait SC.

1 - Qadsia - 20 17 2 1 66-10 53
2 - Kuwait SC 19 14 4 1 42-12 46
3 - Al Salmiya 19 14 3 2 43-18 45

This weekend sees Emir Cup Semi Final action with all Premier League games postponed.

18/03 Al Arabi v Al Salmiya
19/03 Qadsia v Kuwait SC

Monday, March 14, 2016


Kuwait WCQs Cancelled Shock

FIFA has informed the AFC, Kuwait Football Association, Laos Football Association and Korea Republic Football Association that, taking into account the suspension of the Kuwait FA, the Kuwait-Laos and Korea Republic-Kuwait 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying matches, scheduled for 24 and 29 March 2016 respectively, cannot take place as things stand at the time of writing.

They were also informed that these matters are to be referred to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee for its consideration. Further information will follow in due time.


COMMENT - Why has it taken so long to give this decision? Having missed a couple of games already and with no attempt apparently made to rearrange those fixtures surely it was obvious these games would not take place. Indonesia were kicked out straight away, why the dithering over Kuwait? What am I doing, expecting logic from those people?

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Thriller In Manila Back On The Cards

This years sees the highlight of the ASEAN football calender with the ASEAN Football Federation Championship. Back in 2014 the trophy was hosted by Vietnam and Singapore with the masterful Thais cruising to victory despite a valiant effort by the Malaysians in the final.

The plan this year was for Myanmar and Philippines to host the competition. Noble indeed as neither had been selected before and it would make for an interesting away day for any fans interested in travelling.

With Indonesia perhaps boasting the largest number of fans willing to travel surely the budget airlines would have been gearing up for a bumper December. 'Tis not to be of course with Indonesia's FIFA suspension keeping them away.

At one stage it looked like the Philippines would drop out as host citing the old we don't have a stadium that meets the requirements excuse. Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam were reportedly considering taking over hosting duties but one by one they fell by the wayside and woe and behold the Philippines suddenly met the requirements. Wow, if improvements can be carried out that quickly the organisers can come to Jakarta and fix the MRT.

Let's put aside any snide comments about organising an ASEAN Super League, Ok just one! If they can't organise a competition that has been going on for decades what chance d they have of starting a club event from scratch?!

Myanmar and the Philippines will provide the participating nations a different environment with an unfamiliar culture and cuisine to challenge players and officials. Everyone knows their way around Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok. Yangon and Manila offer different challenges.

I guess the big remaining question is whether Indonesia get invited or not. And if they are not will they be replaced? Or will we end up with a competition like the SLeague? Just nine clubs taking part.

Mind there has been talk of the group stage being played on a home and away basis. I hope that doesn't happen. We now have an ASEAN Economic Community. Group stages in different countries promote greater integration and understanding at the same time as offering the chance of an upset and that is surely the romance of cup football.


Malaysia Squad For Final WCQ, Macau Friendly

Goalkeepers: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan); Mohd Farhan Abu Bakar (Kedah); Mohd Izham Tarmizi (JDT).
Defenders: Yong Kuong Yong (Terengganu); Matthew Davies (Pahang); Shahrom Kalam, Mohd Azrif Nasrulhaq (Selangor); Shahrul Saad (Perak); Mohd Aidil Zafuan, Mohd Fadhli Shas, S. Kunalan (JDT).
Midfielders: Wan Zack Wan Haikal, Brendan Gan (Kelantan); Joseph Kallang Tie (Terengganu); Hafiz Kamal, Nazmi Faiz (Selangor); Baddrol Bakhtiar, Mohd Amirul Hisyam (Kedah); Mohd Fazly Mazlan, S. Chanturu, Safiq Rahim (JDT).
Forwards: Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Terengganu); Mohd Amri Yahyah (JDT).
Standby: Ahmad Fakri Saarani (Kedah); K. Gurusamy (Sarawak); Adam Nor Azlin (Selangor); Mohd Farizal Marlias, Mohd Nazrin Nawi (JDT).

24/03 v Saudi Arabia
29/03 v Macau

Friday, March 11, 2016


Pahang Coach Quits After Poor Start To Season

The last few seasons have been quite exciting for fans of Pahang. Traditionally never one of Malaysia's big boys, serious investment has seen the club punch above their weight culminating with a domestic treble in 2014 as they won the FA Cup, Malaysia Cup and the Charity Shield. They also reached the quarter final stage of the 2015 AFC Cup and finished 3rd in the Super League.

However that was not enough to keep the squad together and pre season saw a  number of significant departures with Argentine striker Ruben Conti leading the way as he returned home. He was followed out of the door by central defender Damion Stewart and Dickson Nwakaeme while four players, including R Gopinathan followed coach Zainal Abidin Hassan to Selangor.

The 2016 season has started poorly. A 2-2 draw with T Team opened the campaign but things have gone downhill since then with successive defeats against Penang (4-1), Selangor (1-3) and Terengganu (1-2) with just 6,023 watching that final home humiliation...a smaller attendance than any last season.

There was to be no solace in the FA Cup either. Having won the trophy in 2014, Pahang suffered a surprise loss at home to second tier Sime Darby, going down 1-0 in front of 3,500 fans.

And now coach Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi  has paid the price. He will take charge of the game against Felda United this weekend but he has already announced his resignation with the club saying “We did not blame them for the poor results. But they wanted to take responsibility so they have left it for us to decide on their fate and we have accepted their resignation letters”.

Bit of a mealy mouthed statement that. The club don't blame the coach, the coach wanted to take responsibility and wanted the club to decide their fate. So the club said good bye!

There is no such thing as patience in football eh? Especially Malaysian football...

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Kuwait Host Freefall Al Arabi

Heading into the weekend and Qadsia sit atop the Kuwait Premier League with the luxury of a five point cushion over champions Kuwait SC and surprise package Al Salmiya as the wins keep piling up. The latter two fought out a 1-1 draw last weekend, more good news for Qadsia and last season's champions face a tough ask this weekend when they host Al Arabi. Now the Mansouriya based team may be so far off the pace in 5th place but 21 points behind the leaders but they can be relied upon to raise their game against one of the big clubs.

Al Arabi's form has taken a nose dive since they defeated Al Sahel 5-2 early last month. They were found to have fielded an unregistered player and saw the result overturned, going down in the records as a 3-0 win for Al Sahel. There were recriminations at board room level and since then the team has recorded one win, two draws and a defeat.

Kuwait SC on the other hand have a knack of grinding results out with five victories coming with one goal margins. They remain second, a game in hand on Qadsia and they know anything less than three points against Al Arabi will be a disaster.

Qadsia have a relatively easy home game against bottom side Al Nasr on Saturday evening. They have won their last nine games, conceding just two goals along the way and their free scoring strikers must fancy their chances against a youthful, inexperienced Al Nasr side who have collected just six points all season and only managed nine goals in their eighteen games. Qadsia of course will not take their opponents lightly but won't have forgotten how they thrashed Al Jahra 10-0 not too long agon. With an already superior goal difference of +52 it must feel like they already have one hand on the title.

Weekend Games

11/03 Kazma v Al Shabab, Al Sulaibikhat v Al Yarmouk, Kuwait SC v Al Arabi
12/03 Al Jahra v Al Sahel, Al Fahaheel v Khaitan, Qadsia v Al Nasr

1 - Qadsia 19 16 2 1 62-10 50
2 - Kuwait SC 18 14 3 1 41-11 45
3 - Al Salmiya 19 14 3 2 43-18 45

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