Monday, July 29, 2013


Pekita Bandung Raya Striker Suffers Heart Attack

Sekou Camara, a Mali striker who played for Pelita Bandung Raya (PBR), died from a heart attack during a practice session in Bandung, West Java, on Saturday.

Camara, 27, reportedly fell during the practice session and died on the way to the hospital.

"Camara was pronounced dead at 11:48 p.m. due to heart failure," PBR chairman Marco Garcia Paulo said early Sunday, as quoted by

Camara joined PBR in May 2013 after several months of playing for Persiwa Wamena. He had moved to Indonesia to join the Soccer Association of Aceh Pidie (PASP Sigli) in 2011.

Camara is now among a list of players who have died during or after a training session, or a match.

On March 15, 2009, Jumadi "Pele" Abdi, center back for soccer club PKT Bontang, died after undergoing surgery and intensive treatment for an abdominal problem he developed during a match against Persela Lamongan a day before.

On April 3, 2000, Eri Irianto of Persebaya Surabaya died from a heart attack during an Indonesian League match.

SOURCE - Jakarta Post

COMMENT - none really. It would be easy to point the finger of blame but sometimes these things do happen unfortunately. Thoughts go out to family and friends

Friday, July 26, 2013


From Guarding The Goal To Guarding Other People's Money

PSMS are one of Indonesia's traditional powers. There is a certain aura about the name of the football club. Well, there used to be.

Now, they are just one of many laughing stocks within the game of football.

The players haven't been paid for several months. But when they tried to protest the club tried to sue them! It took the sports minister to step and say something before that little nugget was forgotten about. Or has it?

No doubt FIFA would have preferred the sports minister say nothing and allow the club to sue the players, such is their slavish devotion to political interference in football. When it suits them.

Anyway PSMS players are having to find other jobs to make ends meet. Like working as a security guard at a bank. Or cycling a rickshaw.

Indonesia's big holiday is coming up next month, Id ul Fitri at the end of the fasting month. Companies are obliged by Indonesia law to pay their staff a month's salary and most companies do. Some football clubs of course don't. They don't feel the need to pay even a weekly or monthly wage.

So I wonder as those English clubs on their private jets and five star hotels. I wonder if they got to hear about the plight of their Indonesian brethren?


Bachdim Loaned Out By Chonburi

Remember a couple of year's ago when Irfan mania was sweeping Indonesia?

Many will. But it was a mere whimsy. It never lasted. Things never do in the short term thinking world of Indonesian football.

Bachdim stayed with Persema who struggled in the IPL. He was farmed out to Chonburi in the Thai Premier League, one of the better football clubs up there with which to resurrect his career.

Then came rumours he was heading back to Indonesia.

Not to Persipura or Sriwijaya or any of the big clubs but to...Persema.

He has ended up on loan at Sri Racha who play in Thailand's second tier after failing to impress in Chonburi.

Still, it is a nice town but hardly the footballing hot spot you would have imagined back in the heady days of the 2010 ASEAN Cup.


Last Night At The Big Top

Tonight sees the last game. Chelsea following in the footsteps of Arsenal and Liverpool will have swept through Jakarta leaving a trail of screaming face painted fans rushing to send money to the official club shops while sponsors drool at the thought of having pictures taken with Theo, Stevie G and JT.

Familiarity, you see, comes at a price.

The circus will move on leaving the clowns behind.

The clowns of course were here before the EPL travelling circus arrived and will be here long after they have gone. The English clubs' legacy is You Tube videos of crazy, crazy nights at the Bung Karno and that's about it.

Indonesian players will continue to not get paid. I wonder of the likes of Giroud, Sterling or Torres spared a thought about them? I wonder if they even knew Indonesian footballers were ritually going months without receiving their salaries and the world's governing body, FIFA, were quite happy to turn a blind eye.

I wonder if anyone touched upon Diego Mendieta, the Uruguayan footballer left to die a lonely death in a Solo hospital because nobody felt the need to honour contracts and pay him the money he was owed that could at least seen him return home.

Do you think the PSSI, during their discussions with the visiting dignitaries, discussed the dual league system that operates here. Or how a game that was supposed to be played behind closed doors for fear of crowd trouble could be called off. Because of crowd trouble!

Wenger, Rodgers and Mourinho will return to England and rave about the friendliness of the Indonesian people, the passion of the fans and the traffic jams they saw the rest of us stuck in.

But being the good diplomats they are for the pseudo government of the English Premier League they will have been coached at great lengths to avoid upsetting their sponsors. Sorry, hosts.

They, much like FIFA over the last few years, will pretend everything is fine and hunky dory in the good ship Indonesian Football.

This Saturday normal service may well resume at the Bung Karno Stadium when Persija Jakarta host Sriwijaya in an Indonesia Super League.

The face painters will be back at home, gazing at their photographs of their heroes from thousands of miles away while the passionate hardcore, those who follow their local teams in Indonesia will be left wondering what all the fuss was about.

Because for them and the teams they follow nothing will have changed.

*This week's Globe column


Humiliation For Indonesian Football But Bank Does Mexican Wave

All Stars eh?

After sending out teams called All Stars against Arsenal, losing 7-0, and Chelsea, losing 8-1, can you imagine the amount of piss taking going on in England about the state of Indonesian football?

Stars, what stars? The haze blocks out the night stars while football just has none. Plain and simple.

If the best the country has to offer can be so casually brushed aside by teams not even fully fit playing in unfamiliar conditions then what does it say about the state of the game here?

Semen Padang are doing a good job in the AFC Cup and are coasting the Indonesia Premier League but then I have seen subbuteo teams who could do a good job there. Guaranteed 3-0 wins 'cos some teams just have no money and don't bother turning up for games!

I have said all along these 'prestige' friendlies have absolutely nothing to do about football.

Back in the days of empire the British engaged in gun boat diplomacy to get what they wanted. Now we have ditched the Irish, Scottish and Welsh and we send out football teams who could do more in one three day visit than any high level talks with a bunch of suits from the finest schools and universities position and privilege can buy.

There is a reason why no English club plays a friendly in Tehran. Politicians on either side would worry about the positive scenes, going against their knee jerk me first policies designed to  ingrain cultures of  fear and loathing on either side.

Back to Indonesia. From the point of view of the local game we are left with one overriding question.

What was the point?

For the bank behind the Chelsea game, they announced 100,000 new account holders so they did ok out of it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Flying High

Singapore football has a new sponsor. Never again need people whine about the long journey to Warriors or Woodlands, the Singapore Football Association has signed a deal with a budget airline to, umm, sponsor them!

The deal covers flights for the various national teams including women and will include offers for fans wishing to follow the Lions away.

The airline concerned, they don't give me any cash so not saying who they are (!), also sponsor Queens Park Rangers and have been partly responsible for the surge in passenger numbers in Southeast Asia since they started operations. Certainly they have helped open up places like Bandung to people who may never normally have gone there.

Back to Singapore football though and how typical that it takes foreigners to spot the potential there.



It is not always possible for me to provide regular updates on here as before. However I continue to post my bilge on Twitter, a more mixed bag covering Arsenal, English football and, umm, other stuff!

The addy there is the same as here...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Singapore Cup Draw

22/07 Hougang United v Balestier Khalsa 2-0
23/07 Geylang International v Home United
24/07 Global v DPMM
25/07 Tanjong Pagar v Loyola Meralco Sparks
26/07 Balstier Khalsa v Hougang United
27/07 Home United v Geylang International
28/07 DPMM v Global
29/07 Loyola Meralco Sparks v Tanjong Pagar

Monday, July 22, 2013


Johor Keep Splashing The Cash

After all that investment it must have been galling for all them Johor Darul Takzim fans, well, the new ones, to have ended the season empty handed.

Despite playing in front of packed crowds at Larkin Stadium and boasting players like Norshahrul Idlan Tahala and Safee Sali, plus them foreigners, it didn't quite happen for the team formerly known as Johor FC.

Now it looks like coach Fandi Ahmad will pay the price though stories suggest he is not being fired, just moved aside to bring in a new Spanish coach with Fandi to be his assistant.

It remains to be seen whether this will be for the Malaysia Cup which begins after the fasting month or next season.

In more changes Johor DT are confident about bring in former Argentine international Pablo Aimar as well as two members of the Malaysia Super League champions LionsX11, Baihakki Khaizan and Haris Harun for next season.


Persik Return To Manahan

Manahan Stadium is one of the better stadiums in the country...if you can discount the running track.

It is used by local team Persis Solo of course plus the national team have used it on occasion and it frequently features in play offs.

Persik Kediri also used it for their AFC Champions League group stage games back in 2007.

Now Persik will play a couple of Divisi Utama Big 12 games there because their home town is hosting local elections and, well, no one seems able to multi task here.

Their games against Persisko (24 Aug) and PSCS (29 Aug) will both be in Solo meaning a long drive for their home fans.

Manahan will also host Indonesia's friendly against Philippines on 14 August.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Meiga Remains Indonesia's Number One

Much is being made locally of Indonesia keeper Meiga Kurnia's performance against Arsenal last Sunday which is a bit unfair. There is only so long a keeper can hold out against an attack that has the freedom of the park as Indonesia Dream Team allowed Arsenal.

Coach Jacksen F Tiago made the point in his press conference a couple of days ago that Kurnia is a mentally strong lad and should pull through.

For me he has nothing to prove. Just over a month ago Dutch coach Louis van Gaal was signing his praises after the Netherlands defeated Indonesia 3-0 saying his catching and clearing were top notch.

You don't become a bad player after one game, the best thing Tiago can do is let the young Arema keeper know he is playing again Saturday against Liverpool.

After all these friendlies at the end of the day are pointless. Opportunities for the players to swap shirts with some big names. That's about it.

You don't become a bad player just because your defence and midfield don't show up.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Persiwa Back to Winning Ways

You could be forgiven for think Indonesian football has fallen off the map what with all them English clubs coming here and hogging the limelight but we are in a quite spell for the fasting month.

Persiwa have quietly managed to play, and win, a couple of home games against fellow Papuan teams. A penalty from Guy Junior was enough to beat Persiram at home 1-0 while four days later they defeated Persidafon by the same score at the same venue with same scorer from the same place.

The stand out result though has to be Persepam going to Sriwijaya and winning 4-0 with all goals coming in a 30 minute burst.


So You Wanna See Chelsea?

After Arsenal come Liverpool and Chelsea to Jakarta. As I said before the Arsenal prices were pretty reasonable all things considered.

Meeting the players was open to limited numbers of Supporters Club members, no need to charge while local fans guided the players on to the pitch.

As far as these things go fairly well handled and sensitively priced.

Now we have Chelsea. Who are owned by one of the richest men in the world.

See the image of the stadium? VVIP for the Chelsea game is RP 3,5 million, about 230 GBP. For Arsenal, about 50 quid!

The cheapest tickets for the Arsenal game are half the price of Chelsea's cheapest tickets!

But there is more from Chelsea as they seek to exploit every last rupiah from the local fan.

You wanna meet and greet the Chelsea team next Tuesday? Rp 22 million! That is 1,500 GBP. Oh, it does include a VIP seat costing IDR 2 million as well!

Wanna get a shirt signed? No problem mister, IDR 7 million. For that you get a shirt and a Category 1 match ticket.

Coaching clinic? Piece of cake. Rp 5.5 million gets you that and a cheap ticket for the game and a shirt.

There is more. Lead the players on the pitch and it costs Rp 6.5 million. You do get a free shirt as well of course!

As a comparison it was free for Arsenal kids while when a Thai beer team played Manchester United the player escorts were sons of politicians and businessmen.

I said a few days ago Arsenal had handled things fairly well. Just look at Chelsea's naked greed and crass cynicism.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Bung Karno Nightmare

They were called the dream team but looked more like a nightmare dragged up from Dante's visions of hell.

That the best Indonesia has to offer could fade so quickly into irrelevance against a team still working towards full fitness is a shocking indictment of the game in this country.

Remember, Indonesian players are in their season, they should be at their peak. if that is their peak then we might as well all give up.
We have been here before. Back in the AFC Asian Cup 2007 the Indonesian team huffed and puffed like aIvor The Engine to little avail.

Against the Netherlands they equipped themselves well enough until the last 20 minutes or so.
Everybody talks about the players stamina but the only remedy seems to be more punishing running regimes installed by nutters who should not be allowed anywherevnear a football club.

As with so much in this country it is the mindset that is lacking. For all the problems in the Thai set up they still managed to put together a team that could beat Manchester United.

Globalisation is out there but passing Indonesia by. Too many want to be big fish in a small pond and lack the vision to look beyond their own limited horizons.

UPDATE - sorry, the original was a mess as I wrote it sat in a traffic jam on the Antasari flyover!

Sunday, July 14, 2013


The Arsenal Are In Town

They came from near, they came from far. In Indonesia, a country of 17,000 islands and three time zones far can be a bloody long way and near doesn’t necessarily equate with ease either as the creaking infrastructure struggles to cope with early 1990s traffic, let alone this decade.

There’s rumours of a guy who has come all the way from Manokwari on the island of Papua way out east somewhere. Closer to Australia than Jakarta. I wonder. Is he a fan of the local team, Perseman Manokwari? Former Arsenal striker Christopher Wreh played there for half a season.

Then there is the Ternate branch of the supporters club. Ternate, one of the original fragrant Spice Islands that first raised the west’s awareness of this part of the world, a tiny island it is closer to the Philippines than Jakarta.

Or what about the fans from Bontang? On the island Europe calls Borneo Bontang is a six hour drive from the nearest airport! Six hours on Indonesia’s pot holed roads, that won’t be much fun.

The Balikpapan fans, about 45 of them, hitting town for the weekend with some of them flying on to Vietnam for the game there as well.

This tour is not about football. It is pure PR and in that respect Arsenal are ticking the right boxes. Plenty of sponsored events going on to keep the paymasters happy but also bringing the players close to the fans and you only need look at the faces of the fans to know what it means to them.

Some context. In the mid 1990s Indonesia was booming under Dictator Suharto. Year on year growth dwarfed anything the EU could manage but the financial crisis that hit Asia in 1997 swamped Indonesia. The country took a right old battering as did its confidence.

In the wake of the financial meltdown the country seemed on the verge of falling apart as sectarian bloodshed spread out across the islands. Watch the news in those days and it is a wonder the country even survived.
Just as Indonesia was slowly starting to return to some kind of sanity the terrorists popped up targeting Bali and Jakarta in a string of high profile attacks. Then there was the tsunami in Aceh which killed nearly 175,000 people.

Indonesians had become resigned to their fate as the world’s disaster hot spot. The only news coming out was of the negative sort and people bought into it. For all their talents one thing Indonesia has struggled with is its PR. The Thais for example see foreigners die on an almost daily basis and the ongoing insurgency in the south continues to claim lives yet tourists keep coming back for more. And more. it’s the land of smiles, everyone is happy and friendly.

Manchester United cancelled a visit here a few years back after terrorists bombed their hotel but there was a sea change in the country’s psyche. This time the noises coming out from the government were ‘we will recover’. Before it had been a case of shrugged shoulders and ‘what can we do?’

The economy has thrived while Europe has floundered and more people are entering the middle class with all that implies. The popularity of English football has coincided with the boom times and English football is benefiting. That is why Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea are all coming to Jakarta. They want a piece of the pie.

They sure as hell aren’t here for the football. There is no benefit for Indonesian football; indeed last night while thousands of fans went to a sodden Bung Karno to watch the Arsenal players train the national Under 23 team were playing a friendly in Singapore. A game of much greater import than today’s pointless friendly when you consider the SEA Games later this year.

There are tours though and there are tours. The most expensive tickets for the Liverpool and Chelsea games are more than 200 quid! Manchester United last night played a Thai team made up of players from clubs the sponsor is close to. Manchester United apparently are charging fans to watch their training sessions.

Arsenal’s ticket prices for the game are pretty reasonable in comparison, the most expensive being 50 quid. But they are getting plenty other things right as well.

They sent Freddie Ljungberg over for a whistle stop tour to rally the troops. They have released a number of videos showing the players getting to grips with gamelan and batik and the language. They announced a charity deal in West Java.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain even appeared on Indonesian TV with a presenter famous for appearing in a steamy sex video with a local singer who, by the way, was sent to jail.

Yes, it’s all about the money for them but they are also winning the hearts and minds of Indonesians.
Like most Asian countries Manchester United are the most popular here but Arsenal have been gaining over recent years. That is with no trophies and years of players not fit to wear the shirt. While fans back in London have been gnashing teeth over players like bendtner, Almunia, Eboue and Chamakh, and the Squid, more Indonesians have been jumping on the Arsenal bandwagon and have total, blind faith in Arsene Wenger.

They can’t all be glory hunting tossers, we have had precious little glory over the last few years.

These tours are here to stay like it or not. But there are ways of conducting them and Arsenal seem to have found the right balance between marrying the needs of the sponsors, meeting the fans and actually playing football.

They will also return to England and tell everyone what a great time in Indonesia they had. And about the people, its greatest asset.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Divisi Utama (LPIS) Standings

Group One

1 - Lampung 12 9 2 1 25-7 29
2 - PSMS 11 7 3 1 22-9 24
3 - Persitara 12 7 2 3 18-12 23
4 - Persipasi 12 6 0 6 19-16 18

6 - Anton Irawan (Lampung), Eka Santika (Persipasi), Jecky Pasarella (PSMS), Roderique Wallace (Persipasi)
5 - Brima Pepito (Persitara), Saktiawan Sinaga (PSMS)

Group Two

1 - Persenga 11 8 1 2 24-14 25
2 - PSS 12 8 1 3 15-11 25
3 - Persekap 12 7 2 3 17-9 23
4 - Persifa Fak Fak 12 6 2 4 21-10 20
5 - Persis 12 6 2 4 18-12 20

11- Mamadou (Persenga)
9 - Ferianto (Persis)


The Rams Roar (!)

It's not often fans of Woodlands Wellington have a positive run of results to celebrate but their 1-0 triumph last night over Albirex Niigata made it four games unbeaten for the bleaters from the Causeway.

Their run began with a 1-1 draw away to Warriors. In days gone by this clash had the makings of being a good old fashioned grudge match but they don't like that kind of thing in Singapore so the bad feeling was nipped in the bud.

The Warriors are struggling to recapture the glory of the SAFFC days and they needed a late equaliser from Inui Tatsuro to earn a point after Woodlands had taken the lead through Atsushi Shimono.

Their next success also came on their travels when an injury time own goal from Meng Meng Lau gave them three points at Hougang Stadium in a fixture I must admit even I would have thought twice about attending once having seen Sengkang Punggoll and Woodlands play out a yawn draw at the same stadium. That was so bad I fell asleep for a bit and dreamt about Mabel serving beer on roller blades wearing a dolphin head.

In the first week of July DPMM came to the Woodlands stadium and were tonked by the memorable score of 5-2, words usually you only ever in that part of town when asking the time of the next bus.

Funny thing is the Brunei team were 2-0 up after 17 minutes with goals from, deep breath, Joao Vitor Rocha Da Cavalho Moreira and Antonio Tosi Rodriguo. Now I am no cunning linguist let's be honest but them two names? They don't sound too Bruneian to me.

Woodlands responded with Thai import Theerawekin Seehawong scoring twice as did Jo Yoon Chang while Soon Ho Moon netted to make it a fun evening way up north.

It was Soon Ho Moon who scored again last night to collect the points away to Albirex meaning Woodlands last eight goals have come from foreign players!

The run moves the Rams up the table to the giddy heights of 5th.

5 - Woodlands Wellington 17 7 5 5 23-20 26

6 - Soon Ho Moon
5 - Jo Yoon Chang
4 - Khalid Hamdouai

UPDATE - should of course be Jalan Besar for the DPMM game, thanks for the heads up!


IPL Takes A Break

The little lamented Indonesia Premier League will be taking a rest during the fast month. Semen Padang have won the thing unless they implode after the break.

Top three clubs will join Indonesia Super League next season...unless that changes again!

1 - Semen Padang 15 13 1 1 44-4 40
2 - Perseman 15 10 2 3 30-9 32
3 - Persiba Bantul 14 9 1 4 34-10 28
4 - Pro Duta 15 8 4 3 24-8 28

17 - Edward Wilson Junior (Semen Padang)
11 - Cristian Lenglolo (PSIR)
10 - Carlos Raul Sciuatti (PSLS)
8 - Andi Oddang (PSM), Esteban Vizcarra (Semen Padang), Mario Karlovic (Persebaya), Robert Kwateh (Persiba)


Malaysia Cup Play Offs

Felda United v Pos Malaysia 1-0
Negeri Sembilan v Sabah 4-0

The winners of these play offs go into the draw for the Malaysia Cup later on this month

Monday, July 08, 2013


Lilypaly Waits For Letter

Stefano Lilpaly has been called up by Indonesia coach Jacksen F Tiago for their friendly against Arsenal this weekend.

That doesn't mean he will play.

He did come on as a substitute for his Dutch club side Almere City in a friendly against Hartlepool United last week but that is no guarantee either he will be hitching a ride with the Arsenal to south east Asia.

The PSSI it seems had not got round to sending a letter to the Netherlands requesting his presence in what is after all just a friendly. It has no status in FIFA and the Dutch team have their own preparations to make for their new season.

No doubt Lilpaly would love to pull on the red and white shirt of Indonesia but unless PSSI gets their finger out, which happens rarely, it looks like he may miss out on an English double; Hartlepool United and Arsenal within a few days of each other.


Malaysia Cup Play Offs

The Malaysia Cup draw won't be held till later in the month with the competition starting after the fasting month on 17 August.

10 teams from the Super League will be joined by the top four in the Premier League; Sarawak, Sime Darby, Johor and Kedah.

The final two entrants will be decided from play off between the two team relegated from the MSL and the 5th and 6th placed Premier League teams and they meet later this week on 10 July.

Felda United v Pos Malaysia (Bukit Jalil Stadium)
Negeri Sembilan v Sabah (Shah Alam Stadium)

With the fasting month starting this month both these games kick off at 9.45pm


Middlesex, Medan and Marah Halim Cup

Twitter is a buzz. Indonesia only really fell for English football in the last eight years or so. Before that the Italian game was very much in vogue and replica shirts from Milan and Juventus were more widespread than Manchester United and Liverpool.

Just as Indonesia came to the EPL party late so the EPL is discovering Indonesia late with three clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool touching down over the next fortnight or so.

Arsenal are first and fans across the country are twittering reminders and arrangements as they prepare to take to the country’s creaking roads and rails to get to Jakarta in time for the game Sunday plus various other activities they have lined up.

The players of today are well known. The likes of Walcott, Terry and Gerrard stare moodlily and meanly down from billboards across Jakarta; back in 1983, the last time Arsenal visited, no one would have recognized the likes of Raphael Meade, Rhys Wilmott or Terry Lee.

There is one English team though who were quite regular visitors to Indonesia during the 1980s. Only, this team have no website, no supporters and incredibly, in this cyber day and age, no Wikipedia entry!

The team is Middlesex Wanderers, a hotchpotch of non league players brought together during the summer months for a tour overseas, a tradition that had begun in 1905 and it so happened 1988 was there centenary tour. And to celebrate they were invited to the North Sumatran city of Medan, famous for  not much really beyond being close to some very nice places.

The occasion was the Marah Halim Cup, an annual event that had first been held in 1972 and usually featured a handful of Indonesian clubs alongside some Asian teams and selections.

Middlesex Wanderers had been twice before, losing in the 1984 final against Iraq’a Al Jaish on penalties and to a South Korea XI 12 month later 2-1.

1988 they were going for third time lucky.

Not much is known about the competition that year and I am having to make do with the brilliant as well as the Official FA Non League Club Directory 1989.

Apparently there were eight teams taking part with Middlesex Wanderers drawn with Hungary Under 21, Indonesia Under 23 and Hallelujah from South Korea. The other would have featured PSMS, they were the hosts after all, along with a Japan XI.

The Middlesex team were drawn from across the non league with clubs like Billingham Synthonia, Kidderminster Harriers and even Scottish club Queen’s Park represented.

There were some familiar names who made the long trip east. In goal was Andy Pape, with Enfield at the time but seemed to line up for pretty much every club with a goal kick of the M25 during almost two decades in the game including a solitary appearance for Queen’s Park Rangers.

Defender Paul Rogers was just making his name with Sutton United and would return from Indonesia to star in their giant killing over Coventry City in the FA Cup, catapulting him into the nation’s consciousness at a time when the Cup received more publicity and hype than today. He was later signed by Sheffield United, Notts County, Wigan Athletic and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Another familiar name was Steve Butler who had enjoyed a prolific season with Maidstone United hitting 31 goals in all competitions before joining the backpacker trail to Indonesia.

The Wanderers were unable to repeat the success of their earlier visits though.

They lost their first game on 27 May against the Hungarians 2-1 with Butler scoring their only goal before drawing with Indonesia Under 23 1-1 in their second game, Stafford Rangers’ Gary Simpson getting on the scoresheet. Simpson currently manages Lincoln City in the Conference, English football’s fifth tier.

Their last game came against the Koreans, Hallelujah and it was definitely hallelujah for the Wanderers as they finally managed their first win with Kidderminster Harrier’s prolific Paul Davies getting the only goal.
Davies had been released early in his career by Cardiff City but went on to enjoy a 16 year spell with Harriers, scoring 307 goals in 656 games. Plus one for the Wanderers in Medan!

The poor results meant Wanderers failed to get through to the semi finals. A Japan XI eventually defeated PSMS 3-1 in the final but in a sign of the times the Wanderers decided against returning home early and went on a road trip, taking in two more friendlies!

Just imagine Arsene Wenger doing that this summer!

They headed north in the province of Aceh and played a game against some outfit called PT Arun, a state owned enterprise based n Lhokseumawe. And won 13-2 with hat tricks for Butler and Davies.

Their final game came against PSI Bireuen. At least that is what the Non League Directory says. I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest this is in actual fact PSSB who now play in Divisi Utama. Wanderers ended on a high overcoming PSSB 2-1 with goals from Crooks and Boyland.

And there you have it. A little known tour by a little known team. Thrilling, romantic stuff and a far cry from the highly choreographed appearances by today’s superstars.

Saturday, July 06, 2013


Carry On Regardless

The sad and depressing tale of players going without salaries drags on interminably here. PSMS players have been protestingg about their outstanding monies and in fine Alice in Wonderland tradition the PSSI have threatened to action against the olayers for having the gall to request their emplyers uphold their end of the contracts.

Now the Indonesian sports minister has got involved saying, in effect, it is wrong for the players to be punished and nothing happens to the club.

Where are FIFA in all this? As we have seen numerous times over the last few years, FIFA just don't give a shit. Set up another league and they pretend to spit the dummy. Hold a meeting and they go nuts. Have politicians try and get involved and they go ballistic. But clubs not paying salaries toplayers? No repsonse.

In fact FIFA will be more upset by the sports minister's quotes than the actuall issue itself.

We shouldn't expect any different. After all FIFA are quite happy about  events in Brazil and don't see mass public unrest as reason enough to have a Plan B for the World Cup next year.

The message from the game's gverning body is quite clear. Clubs are free to carry on not paying slaries...

Friday, July 05, 2013


United Miss Trick With Off Radar Soccer School

You don’t need to be in Jakarta long before you realize July promises to be a very special month for fans of English football.

The Premier League has grown in popularity over the last few years despite a popular domestic league but the English clubs, normally so quick to sense a pound or two, have been slow to cash in on the country.

Manchester United were slated to come in 2009 but when their hotel was bombed by a suicide bomber they cancelled while last year Everton were due to come for the Java Cup, along with Galatasaray but they too cancelled for reasons that were never really made clear but probably involve money.

From famine to feast. This coming month sees no less than three Premier League clubs passing through Jakarta; Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

And each club is pulling out all the stops to make sure their visit is a resounding success; off the field at least.
Arsenal sent former midfielder and member of the unbeaten team of 2004  Freddie Ljungberg to do some media work as well as meet the fans. His trip was preceded with a widely publicized video showing a few players getting to grips with some gamelan pieces.

Liverpool were represented by Robbie Fowler, a striker known as God on Merseyside, to replicate Ljungberg’s media work while Chelsea…well, they appointed Jose Mourinho!

It is Manchester United though who are the most popular team in Indonesia. But while the team itself is concentrating on Thailand and Australia among other destinations, they are not totally ignoring Indonesia.

The Manchester United Soccer School’s regional office is based in Singapore and they have upped sticks and decamped to South Jakarta for a couple of weeks of short holiday programmes.

Not that anyone knows the supposed biggest name in world football is here. Marketing and promotion has been minimal to say the least, a few leaflets dished out at a South Jakarta shopping mall isn’t what you would expect from such a media savvy club and while the likes of Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville were recently in Singapore, surely a mature market from their view point, to promote the school’s work there, nobody bothered to come to Indonesia.

The silence has been deafening.

With two large Manchester United supporters’ clubs in Jakarta plus the brand itself it does seem a little mystifying why the club are not doing more to push their schools in this country.

South Jakarta is a busy market for soccer schools. It is home to many wealthy people live, the target audience of course, but within a two mile radius of Lebak Bulus Stadium, which is where the Manchester United coaches were putting a handful of kids through their paces under a baking sun, there are more established academies such as Arsenal, a Brazilian themed school and a Super Soccer Skills course providing regular coaching throughout the year.

As the team from Manchester United can’t fail to have noticed, unless they slept all the way from the airport to the hotel, there are large billboards adverting Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Yet for United, the landscape looks bleak.

When Ljungberg and Fowler arrived there were fans waiting at the airport to greet them. Nobody greeted the United coaches. Indeed as they wander the malls in their free time no one gives them a second look even though one of them, Jorg Steinbrunner, has worked in Indonesia before with Medan Chiefs and Sidoarjo Deltras. In fact it is highly likely none of the kids on the course would have known that!

It is easy to accuse United of arrogance. They are after all Premier League champions and with that massive support in place you can’t help but feel they have taken the eye off the ball as far as Indonesia is concerned.

The brand is out there and Steinbrunner never signed so many autographs when he was coaching local teams. But put a man in a United shirt, give him a United embossed name card and perceptions change. 

Families want their picture taken with someone who represents United.
It was a golden opportunity yet a missed one.

Football is changing. More and more people are discovering Germans play football and Bayern Munchen shirts are more common in futsal arenas and malls while Paris Saint Germain’s recent inheritance is resulting in a growth of replica shirts sales here and middle aged Manchester City fans are still a fairly common sight.

In short there are many football clubs who do tick the right boxes for an Indonesian fan looking for a team to adopt and if United don’t put in the leg work then obviously others are.

There are plans afoot for another United camp later in the year. By then a new Premier League season will be up and running but for United at least they need to be showing a better engagement with their local support or they may find other clubs catch up with them in the popularity stakes.

SOURCE - an edited version also appears on The Jakarta Globe. The above is the original.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


PSPS In Race For Divisi Utama

PSPS have won just one game since 16 March when they defeated Persela 4-2. Since then it is fair to say they have not so much been in freefall, they seem to have been replaced by mannequins.

Unsurprisingly they are bottom of the ISL and nine points from safety.

There was a time not too long ago when teams going there would always lose. It was blamed on the weather! The weather is the same but now everyone comes back with three points...guess it wasn't so bad there after all eh?!

A Persipura 0-5
A Persiwa 0-3
H Persidafon 1-2
H Persiram 1-1
A Persiba 1-4
A Barito Putra 2-5
H Barito Putra 1-3
H Persiba 1-2
A Persidafon 1-3
A Persiram 0-5
H Persipura 1-5
H Persiwa 1-0
A Persela 1-9
A Persepam 0-3
H Persita 0-5
H Persib 0-4
A Gresik United 1-5

PSPS - 17 1 1 12-59 4


Goals Galore In Indonesia

Persib v Persisam 4-1 (Hilton Moreira 2, Sergio Van Dijk, Kenji Adichihara; Osas Marvelous) 25,133
Arema v Persija 3-1 (Cristian Gonzales, Alberto Goncalves 2; Emmanuel Kenmogne) 39,493
Persita v Mitra Kukar 0-0 2,514
Persela v Persiba 5-2 (Han Sangmin, Mario Costas, Zaenal Arifin, Samsul Arifin 2; Syakir Sulaiman, Yudi Khoerudin) 1,000
Persipura v Persidafon 8-1 (Otavio Dutra, Pierre Bio Paulin, Zah Rahan 2, Boas Solossa, Patrich Wanggai, Riky Kayame 2) 12,567
Persepam v Barito Putra 1-0

1 - Persipura 28 20 7 1 69-17 67
2 - Arema 27 16 5 6 52-24 53
3 - Persib 27 16 5 6 62-36 53
4 - Sriwijaya 26 16 4 6 47-39 52

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Break Up The LionsX11 Now!

LionsX11 winning the Malaysia Super League rounds off a spectacular seven months for Singapore football. A period you would find any Singaporean hard pushed to acknowledge.

Coach Sundramoorthy's team was written off earlier in the season because the title hadn't been won by March. The team was unbeaten at home but there were mumblings of discontent among the media and fans because the team had committed the massive sin of only winning one away game!

The coach was criticised for using different tactics home and away and it seems the know it alls didn't like that and wanted him out despite many clubs round the world doing the exact same thing but then the Singapore football follower defies expectation at times.

Remember of course they were moaning about Raddy Avramovic this time last year!

Respect to the coach for sticking to his principles and he can now bask in the glory of a job well done.

What next? Ideally the LionsX11 team should be broken up. They can't enter the AFC Cup next season, the best thing they can do is focus on the Malaysia Cup this year then for 2014 spread the players round the SLeague.

The domestic game suffers from apathy and incompetence but perhaps taking players like Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Kaizan and bringing them back to the SLeague would, perhaps, act as a star factor which is what the game is crying out for; among many other things.

Singapore football is riding high within the region at the moment with the ASEAN Cup and the Malaysia Super League adorning the FAS offices and who knows, a local team could even win the SLeague.

Smart thinkers need to leverage that success and recognition to bolster the domestic game.

Next up is the SEA Games...can Singapore manage an unlikely treble?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


Classico No Longer To Be Played In Jakarta

The last two meetings in Jakarta between Persija and Persib have resulted in chaos. Last year fans were attacked and killed in the stadium while this year with the game scheduled to be played behind closed doors the Persib team bus was attacked outside their hotel with the players on the way to the stadium.

Persib kept on driving right on out of Jakarta without worrying about the game.

Following that incident in Bandung, a busy weekend destination for Jakarta folk looking for cheap clothes and brownies, cars with Jakarta registration plates were attacked while one person died when the car they were in was hit by rocks passing under a bridge.

The Jakarta police have reacted by saying the game should be played at a neutral venue as they won't allow it to be played in Jakarta anymore.

Some questions remain unanswered like why Persib were even on a bus when they usually travel to the stadium in armoured vehicles? Did the bus have a police escort?


Youthful LionsXII Close In On Malaysian Super League

SINGAPORE — Winning a title in front of their home fans is how the best teams want to do it, and at Jalan Besar Stadium tonight, the LionsXII hope to capture the 2013 Malaysian Super League (MSL) crown by beating visitors Felda United in the final home league match of the season.
After being set a pre-season target of a top-five finish in the league for the team with only five players aged 23 and above, V Sundramoorthy’s side have confounded naysayers by exceeding expectations to be on the verge of clinching one of the three top-tier competitions in Malaysian football.
With a four-point lead in the 12-team MSL — built on a five-month unbeaten run and nine wins from 10 home matches — victory against Felda would earn them the league crown and render academic Saturday’s final league match in Kota Bharu against newly-crowned Malaysia FA Cup winners Kelantan.
Things could not be set up any better for the Singaporeans.
Felda are second from bottom with just three wins all season and coach Azuan Zain assumed his role just three matches ago. They also arrived with only their third-choice goalkeeper Rozaime Rohim — regular custodian Helmi Eliza Elias is suspended while reserve Anis Faron was unable to travel.
On the flip side, two of Felda’s three wins have been away from home — at Perak and Negeri Sembilan — and they gave Johor Darul Takzim a mighty scare last Saturday, coming back from a goal down for a share of the spoils.
But Sundram knows the biggest danger is underestimating a side with their backs to the wall.
“Teams that are fighting relegation are dangerous, in any league, not just the MSL,” said the former Singapore international.
“We must be cautious, we know their strength and will try to neutralise it, capitalise on their weakness and try to finish the game as fast as possible.
“Felda will be out to frustrate us, that’s for sure. But our boys know how important this match is, they’ll take a few minutes to settle down after kickoff, and then we get on with the business.”
LionsXII captain Shahril Ishak has led by example with seven goals, and played his part as a senior in a dressing room full of less-seasoned players. While he knows the MSL trophy will be at Jalan Besar Stadium tonight, ready to be presented should his team win, it is a thought he is keeping well out of his head.
“I am not thinking at all about lifting the trophy or how we are going to celebrate,” he said.
“We have to stay focused. The players are motivated and I have spoken to them to ensure they remain level headed.
“Felda will not just let the title fall in our laps, and we are fully aware of how difficult they will be.
“The good thing is we are at home, where we have been strong all year. Our fans, for whom we are named after, will be out in full force, and it will be up to us to fight to the end for them.”


Johor Darul Takzim Blame Players For Cup Final Loss

PETALING JAYA: Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak got his game plan spot on as his side dominated Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) for a 1-0 win to clinch their second successive FA Cup trophy at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.
The 42-year-old Hodak made sure he started the match with his best eleven while his JDT counterpart Fandi Ahmad surprisingly started with several players whose fitness was doubtful.
The Red Warriors midfield duo of skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi and Mohd Shakir Shaari easily outclassed JDT’s midfield pairing of Brazilian Andrezinho and national skipper Mohd Safiq Rahim, who had yet to fully recovered from an injury.
Badhri later played an instrumental role in Mohd Norfarhan Mohd’s goal in the 15th minute which handed them the victory.
JDT had to make two early substitutions – Leonel Nunez for the injured Safee Sali and K. Thanaraj for the struggling Andrezinho – in the first 35th minutes and it left JDT on the back pedal.
JDT later substituted the ineffective Safiq with Ahmed Ezrie Shafizie Sazali in the second half but the move was too late as they failed to find the breakthrough in the match.
Hodak said his tactical move to close down the channels when defending and adopting fast counter attacks worked like a charm.
“I can’t remember them (JDT) having any serious chances on goal for 90 minutes. We did well to contain them,” said Hodak in the post match press conference.
“We knew that if we attacked, we would have had chances to score. We should have scored more than one goal in the first half itself.
“The only problem we had besides Zairul’s (Fitree) injury in the first half, was having to substitute Daudsu (Jamaluddin). He was afraid to challenge for the ball after being yellow carded,”
JDT’s assistant coach Ismail Ibrahim said that their players let the team down by not disclosing the actual fitness level.
“When we asked the players before the game, they all said they were fit to play but they couldn’t cope during the match,” said Ismail.
“We were unfortunate as the players were not fully fit and hence our midfield was not functioning because of these factors. But I want to congratulate Kelantan because they played well.”

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