Thursday, June 30, 2011
Hammond On The Move
Dan Hammond is reported to have signed for Geylang United. If true then the English defender is almost half way through his one man tour of the SLeague. He started his career with Young Lions before moving to Woodlands Wellington, Balestier Khalsa and this year SAFFC.
However he had struggled to break into the SAFFC team with Daniel Bennett and Bah Mamadou providing consistency at the back for the Warriors.
At Geylang Hammond will be joining a team that has just won four straight without conceding a goal!
Sriwijaya Coaching Shortlist
OK so no decision has yet been made on Ivan Kolev's future but Sriwijaya are saying they do have a number of names they are considering. Jacksen F Tiago, who has just led Persipura to a second ISL title in three years, is on that list, as is former coach Rahmad Darmawan. Other names being mentioned by the club include Robert Alberts, who led Arema to the ISL in 2009/2010, Jaya Hartono (ex Persib, Deltras) and Drago Manic.
New Job, New Country For Booth
David Booth has just been appointed coach of Phnom Penh Crown. He replaces Bojan Hodak, who has moved to Shandong in China and will be in the job until the end of the CLeague season.
Before taking over at PPC, Booth held the reigns at Si Sa Ket in the Thai Premier League. The end of 2010 saw him coaching the Laos national team, earning a famous 2-2 draw against Thailand at the AFF Cup last year.
Irfan To Move?
Irfan Bachdim has certainly attracted some headlines since arriving in Indonesia last year. His two goals at the AFF Cup, coupled with his boyish good looks (apparently), made Indonesian football sexy for a couple of weeks with politicans, celebrities and other media magnets flocking to the Bung Karno Stadium to bask in his glow.
Now comes news that his club, Persema (in the Liga Primer Indonesia), would be willing to release him. In the past Bogor Raya have mumbled an interest while a story today suggests Sriwijaya would like to link Bachdim with Christian Gonzales, currently with Persib.
Talking Sriwijaya, no news on the future of coach Ivan Kolev. After replacing Rahmad Darmawan at the start of the season, Sriwijaya managed to win nothing...after amassing something like seven trophies in the previous three years.
Boaz To Consider Overseas Offers
Boaz Solossa looks back on another successful Indonesian season. He may have been dropped from the national team, for missing training, but domestically he has led his Persipura team to a third title in six years as well as top scoring for the second time in three years.
Local tabloid Top Skor quote Boaz as saying '...for reasons of regeneration I would consider an offer from overseas. But, until now no foreign club has come in with an offer.'
One of the most exciting players in the region, Boaz is sure to attract interest from a number of teams.
Singapore League Cup 2011
SINGAPORE, 29 JUNE 2011: The 2011 League Cup draw will be held on the 1st of July 2011, 3pm, at the Level 2 Boardroom, Jalan Besar Stadium. Eleven S-League clubs will participate in two draws which will be split into the Preliminary Round stage draw and the Quarter-Final stage draw respectively.
COMMENT - just because they have a League Cup in England doesn't mean every other country needs to copy it. They also have promotion and relegation, club shops and sell beer in stadiums. This is an unnecessary addition to an overcrowded fixture list.
The Road To Brazil
Malaysia v Chinese Taipei 2-1 (Safiq Rahim, Zafuan;) 45,000
Cambodia v Laos 4-2 (Khoun Laboravy, Sam El Nasa 2, Kouch Sukumpeak; Phomsouvanh 2) 24,800
Vietnam v Macau 6-0 (Le Cong Vinh 3, Pham Tanh Luong, Nguyen Ngoc Than, Nguyen Van Quyet) 20,000
Nepal v Timor Leste 2-1
Mongolia v Myanmar 1-0
Second Legs to be played Sunday. Large crowds suggest that fans in the region haven't been put off by FIFA's misdeeds, they'reonly interested in national glory!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Thailand Host WCQ In Boonies
The Bangkok Post
is saying that Thailand will host the winner of the preliminary qualifier between Afghanistan and Palestine in Buriram.
Really? Isn't there some FIFA rule that stipulates a stadium used for FIFA sanctioned events needs to be pretty bloody close to an international airport? And Thai FA head, Worawi Mukadi, as a member of various frequent flyer programmes and FIFA committees should know this.
Hosting the game in Buriram, or even considering hosting the game there is yet another sop to the owner of Buriram PEA, a politician, who also owns Buriram FC and is on course to see one team win the Thai Premier League and the other Division One.
On the football side of things the games against either Afghanistan or Palestine will be new coach Winifred Scaefer's first game in charge of the Thai national team since replacing Vryan Robson who quit earlier in the month.
To help him prepare for the game the Thai Premier League have thoughtfully cancelled all games until the end of July. Which means the coach won't have a scooby who he will be selecting and will have to rely on his assitants. But he will still be the fall guy.
A cynical soul, which of course I ain't, might suggest that the Thai football authorities are doing their best to sabotage the national team. After all, recent humiliations at the SEA Games (2009), AFF Cup (2010) and the Olympics combined with the lack of preparation for the World Cup do point to such cynicism, don't they?
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Most Visited Grounds
- Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta
- Lebak Bulus Stadium, Jakarta
- Soemantri Brojonegoro Stadium, Jakarta
- Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
- Tampines Stadium, Singapore
- Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta
- Jalan Besar Stadium
- PAT Stadium, Bangkok
- Larkin Stadium, JB
- Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh
Selected Thai Transfers
Flavien Michelini (Etoile - Bangkok Glass)
Anthony Bahadur (Released by TOT)
Claudio Oliveria (Persih - Chiang Rai United)
ISL Average Attendances 2010/2011
Arema 20,214 Highest 36,994 v Persipura
Persipura 19,834 Highest 25,000 v Persib & Sriwjaya
Persija 18,551 Highest 35,000 v Persib
Persib 16,947 Highest 26,876 v Deltras
Persisam 11,941 Highest 14,672 v Persib
Persiwa 11,655 Highest 15,000 v Bontang
PSPS 11,381 Highest 19,895 v Arema
Sriwijaya 10,369 Highest 20,201 v Persib
Semen Padang 8,883 Highest 15,400 v Sriwijaya
Persela 8,220 Highest 15,000 v Bontang
Deltras 6,763 Highest 19,323 v Arema
Pelita Jaya 6,324 Highest 16,447 v Persib
Persiba 4,493 Highest 6,730 v Persisam
Bontang 4,387 Highest 8,500 v Arema
- Persib played two games behind closed doors
- Persiwa played one game behind closed doors
- Persija played five home games out of 14 outside of Jakarta
- Persib attracted the largest crowd of the season at five different grounds
- The largest attendance of the season was Arema v Persipura 36,994
- The smallest attendance of the season was Pelita Jaya v PSPS 570
- Average attendance at ISL 2010/2011 was 10,665
Geylang United v Woodlands Wellington 1-0 (Jung Hee Bong)
Tanjong Pagar v Etoile 0-2 (Theo Raymond, Johnathon Toto)
Geylang kept up their winning streak, that's four straight coupled with four clean sheets moves them up to 7th. Etoile have a new chairman and celebrate by climbing to 5th in the league. Funnily enough if they hadn't been docked them five points they still would be 5th.
In conjunction with the Great Singapore Sale, Albirex Niigata FC (Singapore) will be holding the “Great Albirex Sale” during their upcoming home match against Balestier Khalsa on 28 June 2011.
Visitors at Jurong East Stadium can take the opportunity to purchase a wide range of Albirex merchandise at special prices, including their black-and-orange RHB Singapore Cup jersey as seen in their first-round victory over South Melbourne.
The jersey will be selling at S$98, while the regular S.League home jersey will be sold at a 30% discount at the game as well.
The club will also be selling key-holders, flags, megaphones, mattresses and Choro-Q cars, as well as their newly-released Albirex caps.
In addition, fans can also collect the brand-new Albirex club poster, featuring all the players and backroom staff, with purchases of S$20 and above. The purchases do not include food and beverages.
For those not planning to spend big at Jurong East, there is another way to get a copy of the poster. Simply collect a copy of the club’s official matchday programme for the Balestier clash and bring it to one of three specified shops listed below between 29 June 2011 and 6 July 2011, and you can get the poster at absolutely no cost!
Paris Miki and adidas will also be holding Great Singapore Sale promotions, so don’t leave yourself out of the Great Singapore Sale!
- Paris Miki at Liang Court Shopping Centre
- adidas at Robinson 77 (formerly known as SIA Building)
- Canon Imaging Academy at Harbourfront Tower One
For more details of the Great Albirex Sale and other promotions, please refer to the Albirex club website at www.albirex.com.sg.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Goals Galore In SLeague
Not for the first time in recent years the SLeague is proving to be one of the more exciting leagues in the region.
We're just about at the half way point and we have the usual three horse race, champions Etoile have slipped down the ladder having four or five games in hand, and look how tight things are at the top.
1 - Home United 18 13 2 3 47-16 41
2 - Tampines 18 12 3 3 39-16 39
3 - SAFFC 17 12 2 3 35-18 38
18 - Aleksander Duric (Tampines Rovers)
15 - Mislav Karoglan (SAFFC)
13 - Frederic Mendy (Home United)
12 - Qiu Li (Home United)
When you add Albirex Niigata that's four teams averaging two goals a game this season!
But there's more fascinating snippets in the League scorned by 'knowledgeable' Singaporeans with a penchant for teams overseas. Take Geylang United. Their 1-0 victory over Albirex Niigata was their third straight win and third straight clean sheet. Before that run began they had gone six unbeaten and conceded three in three straight games.
Tonight they hope to extend that run when they host Woodlands Wellington at Bedok Stadium. The Rams have conceded five goals on five occassions, including the last three games. So that means Geylang should win 5-0 tonight, right?!
Tampines Rovers have led the table for most of the season but they have lost their last two games. Against? Home United and SAFFC!
SAFFC on the other hand have won five straight games to keep the pressure on Home and Tampines. And SAFFC's next game? Away to Home United next week!
SLeague dull? Do me a favour!
Jakarta Casual Tour 2011 Recap
Asian Football Memorabilia
In the sanitized atmosphere of Singapore football not many of the teams there 'feel' like a football club in the sense of a team identifiable with their local community. You don't walk round Woodlands or Tampines and see people wearing club colours unless it's a Liverpool or Manchester United shirt.
The only times I've seen people wearing club colours in Singapore, I mean local club, it has been the green of Geylang United.
Going to the game last Friday, to the food court in the nearby HDB, there were plentyu of folks wearing Geylang United shirts. Worryingly it was mostly older buggers. There was though one kid scampering around. He had a Geylang t shirt and was carrying a copy of the match programme as well as his match ticket.
The programme was a great effort. Traditionally the club have put together a match programme for home games for a number of years, check this one from 2007 against Tampines Rovers
, but now it is a full colour eight page affair
There is no atmosphere at Bedok Stadium, I believe they are in the process of putting together a new supporters club, but it takes time to put things together. No one ever went to a football match just for a programme, actually they have done and continue to do so, but it looks like geylang are starting to develop their marketing and PR side.
Hopefully it pays off for them!
Bye Bye Bontang
It came as no real surprise to see Bontang relegated from the Indonesia Super League. They had been bottom so long it had become the norm. The 3-2 defeat against Persidafon in a feisty play off marred by nine yellow cards just confirmed the inevitable.
You can be sure though that many players will be happy to see the back of the team from East Kalimantan. Not from reasons of spite. More, the trip there is one of the more arduous undertaken in a country known for difficult road trips.
Most clubs would fly into Balikpapan and then make the six hour journey north, hugging the rocky coastline most of the way.
The downside though is that teams in the ISL now face the prospect of three games in distant Papua with Persidafon’s promotion!
Bontang have been woeful all season, losing 19 of their 28 games including eight at their own stadium. And yet only champions Persipura and 3rd placed Persija managed more goals away from home! Bontang, with just a single away win, at their closest rivals Persisam, scored 16 goals on their long distance travels.
The season started poorly with three straight defeats, conceding 17 goals in the process including eight away to Persipura. Other heavy defeats came against Arema twice, 5-0 and 8-0, while they returned from PSPS Pekanbaru on the wrong end of a 6-2 shafting. They even managed a 5-3 home defeat against Persiba Balikpapan who would for sure have enjoyed the six hour tip home after a game in which former Bontang striker Aldo Baretto hit a hat trick.
The one positive that Bontang can take out of such a woeful season has been the form of Japanese striker Kenji Adichihara. He managed 15 goals for the second season running and has surely done enough to attract the attention of bigger clubs. Rumours suggest both Persema Malang, in the Liga Primer Indonesia, and Persela Lamongan, in the ISL, have expressed an interest in the striker signed from Albirex Niigata in Singapore back in 2009.
For now though Bontang can look forward to a spell in the Divisi Utama. Whenever that starts!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
New Stuff On Asian Football Memorabilia
Just been adding plenty of stuff to Asian Football Memorabilia
- probably the only site of its kind devoted to souvenirs and memorabilia from South East Asian Football.
Check out the site for Indonesian, Singapore and Cambodian football shirts, handbooks, programmes and much, much more.
Could anyone be so sad...
Geylang United v Albirex Niigata
What the hell?!
My last SLeague games ended 0-5, 3-2, 4-1, 1-5 and 2-4. And this? The best this bloody thing could manage was a 1-0 to the home side and that from a penalty. Still I guess Mike Wong, the Geylang coach, would have been happy. Three straight wins, three straight clean sheets. But does he care about me and my feelings eh?
Fair play to Geylang for putting together a decent 8 page match programme. More clubs should follow that lead.
What's the point the gaming machine obsessed SLeague club owners might whine? None, none at all. Who cares if fans have no idea who's playing on either side, if they have nothing to take away from the game, if they have nothing to show their friends.
Who needs to develop a football awareness and culture when you can bleed gamblers dry eh?
Friday, June 24, 2011
United Bring EPL Trophy
English champions Manchester United will arrive in Bangkok on July 1 with the Premier League trophy.
The trophy will be on display at CentralWorld and there will be activities with United players led by Rio Ferdinand, Park Ji-Sung and Patrice Evra.
The visit will be part of the club's 12-day tour of Asia to thank their fans in this part of the world. The Red Devils, who won a record 19th English league title last season, will also go to Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
More than half of the club's estimated 333 million fans are in Asia and the trip will give them a close look at the trophy and some of the team's stars, said United commercial director Richard Arnold.
Arnold said: "We know from the huge response from the Asia-based supporters in our 16 million Facebook followers and our commercial partners in the area just how much our Asian fans celebrated the historic 19th title, so we want to make sure they can be part of that history by taking the trophy to them.
"Some of the players have taken time out from their summer holiday (ain't that bloody big of them?!) to say a big thank you to the supporters in Asia. It will be a lot of fun."
Hong Kong – 23 June
China – 27/28 June
Indonesia – 29/30 June
Thailand – 1 July
Malaysia – 4/5 July
Singapore – 6/7 July
You Can Stick Your Five Points
Hougang United fans pride themselves on their ability to bring English style chanting to the Singapore game. Well, last night at Toa Payoh Stadium they missed out on a goody. Days after the Football Association had slapped a number of fines and suspensions on the club for their role in the recent brawl with players from Etoile the small band pf away fans should have been raising the roof with vitriol aimed at the FA for the perceived injustice meted out the other day.
If humanity has achieved anything after our 2,000 years on this poncey rock it's how to play the victim card. And, thanks to an omnipresent media, it's a card we deal time and time again.
Football clubs do it all the time. George Graham in his Arsenal days played it all the time. And with good reason considering the bias towards certain teams in them days. It continues now. Jose Mourinho loves playing the victime. Even Sir Alex Ferguson has been known to bleat about how things are so unfair on the odd, very odd, occasion a ref gives a decision the grate one desires.
But this is Singapore and people here are so polite.
Maybe the Hougang players, unfortunately nicknamed The Cheetahs, had been stoked up with injustice. Certainly they went for the Balestier jugular from the get go and ended up with a stunning 4-2 victory, their crucial game winning goals coming right at the death of a vaguely entertaining game.
Jordan Webb gave the visitors the lead in the first half. Two goals in three second half minutes by Mark McGeogh gave the home team the advantage, an advantage they enjoyed for fully four minutes before Carlos Delgado equalised on 69 minutes.
The veteran Noor Ali and Jordan Webb with his second in injury time made sure the points headed north east.
When known as Sengkang Punggol Hougang rarely troubled anyone. Goals were like a whale's pregnancy and defeats were like grass. Everywhere. Not now. They sit 7th, even after losing five points. Jordan Webb has scored nine of their 29, yes 29, goals. Only Home United, Tampines Rovers, Albirex Niigata and SAFFC have scored more halfway through the season.
The problem for The Cheetahs, apart from their ridiculous nickname, is at the other end. They have shipped 29 goals, only Balestier Khalsa, Tanjong Pagar and Woodlands Wellington have conceded more.
But 58 goals in 16 games!
The application of rules in football can be patchy at best in this part of the world. On an evening when the SLeague game between Etoile and Young Lions was delayed apparently because there was no ambulance in attendance (!), across town at Toa Payoh Stadium, a colour clash between match officials and a goalkeeper was not deemed worthy of comment.
I wonder what the rules say about this?
Thursday, June 23, 2011
English Interest In SLeague
Story yesterday suggesting some businessmen were putting together a bid to joun the SLeague in 2012; assuming that is any of the current 12 teams decide to drop out.
Paul Parker, former England, Fulham and QPR full back, is thought to be involved at some level. He has been kicking round the region for a couple of years now and was behind a failed bid from Darwin in Australia.
Nothing more available for now. Obviously there is a massive interest in English football, the Sky view of the game is swallowed hook line and sinker, so any English involvement would likely generate great interest.
Much though will depend on the nature of that involvement. Etoile are a French team but they are little more than a footballing version of American Idol where players who shine can be offered contracts elsewhere.
Would an English team be along the same lines? In effect turning the SLeague into a shop window for pros who fail to make the grade in their own country and seek a second chance in Asia?
Nothing wrong with that of course, plenty of people have headed east over the years, but it's up to Singapore if they want their flagship league to be an audition for others.
Far better would be a team associated with an English club. For example a Liverpool team here would probably attract great interest from the thousands of Liverpool wearing clones here if the players are contracted with the mother club and are in effect on a season long loan.
More from this story as we hear more...
Naughty, Naughty Boys
A good all in brawl on the field among the players is an essential part of the SLeague experience. In fact given the lack of atmosphere at most games a free for all is about all there is that can get players’ adrenalin pumping.
It was felt that once striker Noh Alam Shah had gone to play overseas things would quiet down in this regard but, fortunately, there have been others ready to step up to the plate.
Last year for example we had Young Lions against Beijing Guo’an go for it in the field. This year Etoile and Hougang United who managed to get the game stopped before it had even started.
Unfortunately the suits at the FA don’t look too kindly on these boyish rucks. Prompted to act by the media and egged on by anonymous messages on internet forums the FA wheel out all the old clichés about zero tolerance, disgusting, blah blah bloody blah.
Anyway both Hougang and Etoile have been deducted five points.
Ice hockey is a dull old game where people chase round a puck. Nobody would be interested if it weren’t for the regular flare ups between the players. The FA have, as usual, missed a trick here. The SLeague should be promoted as some kind of NHL where brawls are interrupted by the occasional bit of football. Who knows, it may even pull in the fans.
They could film the fights, post them on You Tube and allow other outraged netizens to let off steam. That would generate more interest,’ I was there’, and we could see attendances rise accordingly.
Let’s face it, it’s gotta be worth a try. Free ice cream, three points for a win and loud music pre match don’t work, do they?
Woodlands Wellington v Home United 1-5
A funeral atmosphere last night at the Woodlands Stadium in the north of the island. A couple of years back Woodlands were known for a relatively raucous home support but judging by last night they all seem to have found new hobbies. Perhaps they go to night clubs to listen to loud music, hooked by their times on the terraces.
Home took a long time to turn their possession into goals but once they did there was only ever one outcome. Kenji Arai scored first, a header from a corner.
Early in the second half Woodlands equalized from the spot after a Home United defender had pulled down an opponent in the box. Moments later the ref pointed to the spot again but the crowd had woken up by this time, he spoke to the linesman and gave a free kick on the edge of the box.
Home United, in fine form this season having netted 40 goals in their first 16 games, took over and in a nine minute spell scored three times. First it was their turn to get a penalty, Qiu Li converting. Then Frederic Mendy rose high to make it 3-1 with all four goals coming from set pieces and scored by foreigners.
Luckily Madhu Mohana showed not only that Singaporeans could score goals but they could do it from open play. Shame it was an own goal. Qiu Li finished the rout in injury time finishing after a fine run.
Following Tampines loss against SAFFC the night before Home are now just a point behind the leaders with a better goal difference. As for Woodlands, they were limited to long range shots second half, lacking the necessary guile and spark to work their way into the box and fashion opportunities.
1- Tampines 17 12 3 2 39-14 39
2- Home United 17 12 2 3 45-16 38
3- SAFFC 16 11 2 3 33-17 35
The official attendance last night at the SLeague game between Woodlands Wellington and Home United was 711, a number drawn straight from JK Rawling’s imagination. But the empty terraces didn’t stop the MTV wanna be VJ treating the event like an end of term disco. The music was cranked up high with the kind of chunes spotty, gum chewing adolescences would hang against the wall looking cool to.
Thing is there weren’t that many kids at the game. Kids want music to dance what guess what? They go to clubs! Not bloody football matches. Still, it’s probably what they do in England innit?
Most people who had gone to the game were old buggers, even older than me. Which meant that before the game had kicked off and at half time it was impossible for us to have a conversation with our near neighbor, the dreadful racket drowned out any kind of meaningful conversation and many fans had to resort to texting just to chat to their friend next to them.
They love pointless noise in this part of the world. Silence is an irritation to them, a worry. No wonder notions like yoga and meditation took root in this part of the world, it was old buggers like me trying to get away from the din created by kids living out their VJ fantasies.
After the Thai Port game against Khon Kaen we were treated to a double act as two numpties sharing the mic after the game treated us to their favorite chunes interspersed with their own inane natter as they told each other daft jokes and said things like ‘oh look, a farang on the field.’
The same in Cambodia. At half time we were treated to a couple of tracks of local music cranked up high. But not as high as on Singapore.
No one goes to games in Singapore. Obviously this idea od hip young DJ wannabes ain’t pulling the punters. Perhaps it would nice of the SLeague pulled the plug on them and their racket!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Camboidan Football In Pictures And On VDO
Some images from the CLeague can be found on Asian Football Pictures
while there is a brief clip on Jakarta Casual TV
from the PPC n Naga Corp game yesterday.
Cambodia League Impressions
In the just finished Indonesia Super League, thanks to nonsense scheduling and last minute movement of games to other parts of the country as well as inaccessible stadiums I managed to attend the grand total of seven games. In one long weekend in Phnom Penh I managed to see five games and catch all 10 teams in the CLeague in action.
21 goals in five games ain’t a bad weekend is it? Trouble is with all them new names and so many goals in what was essentially a 48 hour period means much of it has become a blur!
The best game was Ministry National Defence against Preak Khan Reach. End to end stuff and even though MND won 3-1 PKR were never totally outclassed. Naga Corp also put in a good shift, especially in the opening half hour, against a woeful Phnom Penh Crown. The Police getting a last minute winner against plucky Kirivong crowned another exciting game.
Exciting is a relative term. The standard was pretty low across the board. Players, match officials, playing surfaces. But despite the best efforts of some pretty incompetent match officials the games on the whole were played in a pretty good spirit.
For me the highlight was Prek Pra Keila. Roared on by the most fanatical supporters of any of the teams I witnessed, they followed last week’s 3-2 victory against Naga Corp with a similar result against Chhlam Samuth taking them clear of the drop zone. Watching them, and their fans, it was reminiscent of an FA Cup giant killing though a bit warmer.
It was of course very difficult over such a short period of time to single out any individual players. The PPK keeper stood out ‘cos he was so bloody tiny and his attempts to have his hair stand on end to make himself look bigger was hilarious. But the save he made second half essentially won the game for his team. Also the number 19 for MND looked pacy and dangerous. Among the foreign players mostly they were slow and not exactly grafters with the possible exception of the Naga Corp striker.
The CLeague is now at the halfway stage. MND had moved to the top of the table after their win, leapfrogging Phnom Penh Crown. Naga Corp’s win against PPC has put the cat among the pigeons now and we could be looking at a three horse race over the second half of the season which should make things exciting. Especially as this year sees the team that finishes top of the table being crowned as champions unlike last year when a play off decided PPC would be champions.
Losing Their Crown?!
As a football club Phnom Penh Crown are doing much right. There is a professionalism about them that appears to be lacking in other CLeague clubs. They have a small range ofmerchandising available and, more important, they are investing in youth with an academy designed to attract the kingdom’s finest talents.
Internationally yoo they are making an impression. They are regular competitors in the Singapore Cup though successive draws against SAFFC this year and Etoile last mean they never stick around too long. They are also through to the next round of the AFC President’s Cup later this year.
Backed by the deep pockets of a Khmer businessman they are a club that is thinking and looking beyond the narrow confines of Cambodian football.
But all them grandiose ideas and schemes will come to naught if the team does not perform on the field. OK, you can accept losing 4-0 to SAFFC in the Singapore Cup. They are a very experienced team used to winning things. And losing to Naga Corp is no big tragedy in the scheme of things. Naga Copr too have their own dreams and aspirations and at the half way point in the CLeague they are by far the league’s top scorers.
But to lose 4-0, basically to have lost game long before half time. To have one player red carded, have another substituted before he earned a red, to have conceded four without even threatening to do anything up front…all this in a first half where Phnom Penh Crown were all over the place. Ill disciplined tactically inept, lacking imagination and guile.
Credit to Naga Corp. they went for the jugular from the get go and once they were two up in the first 10 minutes they were rarely troubled. They were pacy and direct, everything PPC were not.
Kingsley Njoku was successful in Singapore with Gombak United for a few seasons where he formed a potent partnership with Agu Casmir and Gabriel Obatola. He looked a shadow of that player against Naga Corp. finally, on about 88 mins he went on a surging run, brushing off defenders, battling the uneven surface, and fired across the face of the goal. His reward? To be substituted!
Playing teams from Singapore and Bangladesh may seem glamorous, a relative term, but that must be earned on the bumpy pitches of the CLeague against what is mostly mediocre opposition. And against Naga Corp, a top of the table clash, they weren’t up for it.
Islam, Football & Cambodia
Footballer’s autobiographies tend to follow a set formula. Young kid growing up, having it tough, signs a contract, his opinion of self expands parallel to his salary, spit roasting expensive call girls or 18-30 holidaymakers, getting as drunk as possible with the lads and snorting a bit of cocaine through hundred pound notes. Very formulaic and very dull unless your idea of fun is reading what other people do with a barrel load of money.
I was walking up the ramp of the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh when I saw an old man. Perhaps about 70 years old, he had a wispy white beard. His bony frame belied sprightliness as he climbed the ramp without any real effort. At the top he turned and waited for his friends. Just another old man on his way to a football match? Yes. But this old man was different. He was wearing a white skull cap. A Muslim. In Buddhist Cambodia.
During the madness that engulfed Cambodia during the Pol Pot years from 1975 to 1979 it is estimated up to 25% of the country’s population lost their lives during the regime’s frantic rush to develop independence and communism quicker than any other country.
Cities were emptied as the population was set to work on ill thought out irrigation projects and poorly designed dams. Thousands died slow, painful deaths in the countryside as Pol Pot and his government set about building their agrarian utopia. Hunger and disease were rife but there was no medicine available. Just roots and local materials on the land.
If it wasn’t enough to have so many needless deaths on insane projects the regime took to imagining a 5th column working to destroy the vision they had created for themselves of a self sufficient society where everyone was equal and cash was not needed. People would eat what they grew. When the pat theories the leaders had developed as students in France didn’t pan out they lashed out against hidden enemies. And in Khmer speak, where children were extolled to be like a stalk of rice, to be anonymous, that meant anyone who was different.
The Chams were Muslims. Thought originally to have come from Malaysia they had moved north and created their own wealthy kingdom spanning parts of what we now know as Vietnam and Laos. When their empire fell in front of Vietnamese advancement they moved south and inland with a significant number settling around Kampong Cham, north east of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
With their mosques, distinctive clothing for men and women, and their diet they stood out from the main population even though they had been long settled in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge, seeing enemies everywhere, turned on the Cham like they turned on those of Chinese and Vietnamese descent. The Cham were an easy target. Mosques were defiled while the Cham themselves were tortured and brutalized in large numbers.
The old man on the ramp at the Olympic Stadium would have lived through that brutality. He was lucky. He had survived. But it’s a fair bet that many of his family and friends would have lost their lives in Pol Pot’s madness in ways we cannot imagine. Torture was the norm, death often by a wooden axle on the back of the neck in a quiet field late at night.
The darkness of the Khmer Rouge ended in 1979 when the Vietnamese invaded and Pol Pot with his henchmen bravely ran away to the mountains on the border of Thailand to hold out for the best part of a couple of decades. Now, Cambodia is enjoying a period of relatively stability. The population is increasing, the economy is booming and Phnom Penh sees worsening traffic jams.
The local C League is up and running and on the day I saw the old man Prek Pra Keila were playing Chhlan Samuth. The old man was there to cheer on Prek Pra Keila. A team from the outskirts Prek Pra Keila have a substantial Muslim following and there were a good couple of hundred out for this game, perhaps enticed by their team’s first win of the season the weekend before against title challengers Naga Corp.
The main stand at the stadium was filled with members of Phnom Penh’s Muslim community, aging men in their white headwear, middle aged women in head scarves and a younger generation who have never known the suffering their elders have taken for granting. A suffering through the Vietnam War, a Civil War, the Pol Pot years and another Civil War. Their elders saw the best years of their lives taken from them during 30 years of hardship.
But now, at last, these Muslims with a proud history are able to show off their culture and their identity without fear of disappearing. And they have crystallized around a football team, identifying with that team, sharing their cultural roots.
The team won again. The fans celebrated in the stand, blowing their horns and banging their drums, their raucous cheering bringing some life to the relatively quiet Cambodian League. Outside the stadiums the local public transport, tuk-tuks, were filled to overflowing as the fans made their way home, happy with a second win of the season.
And the old man? He shuffled off quietly with his family. Kids were dancing up and down, screaming and yelling, circling him. As an archetypal Asian patriarch he beamed munificently. I saw him climb into his tuk-tuk with his brood and I wondered about his life story. Just contemplating what he had been through, what he had witnessed, makes the lives and egos of players like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney so empty.
Monday, June 20, 2011
More CLeague Excitement
Gotta say I wasn't expecting much yesterday at the Olympic Stadium
. I got 10 goals! Not bad eh? The first game between National Police and Kirivong saw the coppers go2-0 up, Kirivong get back to 2-2 before the coppers nicked it in injury time.
The second game between Prek Pra Keila and Chhlam Samuth saw PPK win yet again, 3-2 in an exciting game that was full of high drama and short players, especially the PPK keeper who had his hair stand up to make him look bigger...didn't work, he still had the physique of a sick insect. He was well beaten at a free kick he never saw and a free header after he punched the ball all of three yards.
However his team, backed by their vociferous support
, had cause to thank him when he made an excellent save to stop a Chlamm Samuth goal bound header.
The quality in both games was bloody awful, let's be honest with the foreign strikers especially big on 'let me shoot' but slow on pace. But it was the frailities on the field that made both games great fun to watch and is that such a bad thing?
Sunday, June 19, 2011
ISL Draws To A Slow, Painful Close
The Indonesia Super League ends today with a whimper, Persipura had long won the league, three teams left before halfway and unexplained breaks in the fixture list don't add up to a successful league, you can't help but wonder what comes next. But then we always wonder what comes next in the la la land of Indonesian football.
The Liga Primer Indonesia is set to restart in the second half of September which, coincidentally, is when the next ISL is set to start. Do you believe in coincidences?
Tampines Rovers v Woodlands Wellington 5-0 (Shahdan Sulaimen 2, Aleksander Duric 3) 1,106
Singapore Cup 1st Round
Hougang United v Harimau Muda 1-0
Gombak United v Balestier Khalsa 2-1
South Melbourne v Albirex Niigata 0-3
Geylang United v Tampines Rovers 1-2
Home United v Woodlands Wellington 5-1
Etoile v Tanjung Pagar 2-0
SAFFC v Phnom Penh Crown 4-0
Pattaya United v Okkthar United 1-2
2 - Jonathon Toto (Etoile), Qiu Li (Home United), Erawan Gunawan (SAFFC)
Vorawan Returns To Thailand
After seven years at the helm of Tampines Rovers Vorawan Chitavanich
has finally decided to return to Thailand. His choice of Samut Songkram may seem a bit of a surprise, they're not one of the bigger Thai teams after all, but I guess Vorawan has been used to doing things a certain way at Tampines Stadium and perhaps Samut Songkram offered him something similar.
Earlier in the year he was linked with the coaching position at Buriram PEA, a provincial team from the north east of Thailand owned by a politician with deep pockets and a penchant for doing things his way.
Steven Tan continues as coach of SLeague leaders Tampines Rovers.
Ministry National Defence v Preah Khan Reach
Sod it if you think I’m typing all that every time! This was MND v PKR and again while they were a few hundred fans in the stadium for this 4 pm kick off there didn’t appear to be any kind of fan groups although a few kids were wearing PKR FC t shirts.
This was a much more even game than what had passed before with MND scoring early on. And in their number 17 perhaps the best player of the day, plenty of pace and some end product once in a while. A bit like Oktavianus Maniani with Sriwijaya, although he caught the eye in one game for an hour or so you can’t help but wonder whether he is a one trick pony or not. Must ask around.
Anyway, better performance by both teams with MND using their strikers to work hard, defending in the opponents half, closing down defenders on the ball causing them to make mistakes in position. saying that though PKR knocked the ball round well and in the first half alone had the MND keeper reacting smartly to rebounds off his defenders on three occasions to keep the hosts in the ascendancy.
One goal, think it may have been the 3rd, was a good as you’re going to see anywhere. The number 17 had spied a gap in the defence and was released by a neat through ball. Beating the offside trap he drew the keeper and scored. Possibly the best move of the day.
PKR got a dubious penalty and pulled one back which kept the last 20 minutes or so interesting but MND held on for a 3-1 win.
A word about the ref in this game. Not too bad actually. Unlike the first game this guy was happy to let the game flow, especially when players went down for a water break, sorry, an injury, he would let the game run until the ball went out of play.
As the game wore on the afternoon got cooler and the crowd built up. Not, though, for the football. High above the pitch at the top of the banks of mostly empty benches dozens of people were doing aerobics while still others ran amid the benches along the length of the field and then some.
Build Bright United v Rithi Sen
My first ever Cambodian League game at the Olympic Stadium in downtown Phnom Penh! Follow the crowds? Hardly. A 10 minute ride by tuk tuk to the stadium and I walked p the ramp and into a large, cavernous bowl of a stadium long familiar to me from Andy’s Kingdom of Football blog.
A couple of hundred fans perhaps in the main stand, seeking shelter from a tropical sun almost at the peak of its powers, 2 pm has to be one of the dafter kick off times in the region; at least Malaysia’s 8.45 pm has the advantage of being a bit cooler.
Build Bright United, doesn’t the name just trip off the tongue, started the better of the two teams though in their number 3 they had the feistiest player on the field. Rith Seny boasted a couple of import strikers who offered physic and presence but no pace.
Of course when ne team starts brightly and the other has the attacking threat of a soggy bag of chips you just know the weaker team will take the lead. And they did. Though Build Brigh equalized moments after from the spot. Build Bright had a player sent off but they still dominated and were fortunate that a ref who blew for everything including the most blatant of falls, decided to ignore an elbow to the face by the aforementioned number 3.
The points were secured just before the hour mark but in truth Build Bright, nominally the home team even though all 10 teams in the CLeague use the same Olympic Stadium, were so in control the narrowness of the victory doesn’t reflect their domination, though it is perhaps an accurate indicator of their attacking potency.
The Bangkok Glass Curse
I’ve probably seen Bangkok Glass more than any other Thai team with the exception of Thai Port. Yet it could have been more. But, as it says on the tine, this site is a look at South East Asian football from the terraces. And the pub!
Last year I was in Singapore for the Cup Final. Bangkok Glass were up against Tampines Rovers and it promised to be a goodie. I set off nice and early, did some shopping, you know the important things like pickled onions and Branston Pickle.
I’d arranged to meet a friend, who shall remain nameless, for lunch at a certain Irish watering hole in town. There were still seven hours to kick off, how much trouble could I, with a full plastic bag of groceries, get up to in such a short period of time?
Plenty, as it happens. Against my will, well sort of, I was dragged round the four floors on the busiest afternoon of the week with my shopping in tow. I had a game to get to but I kept convincing myself just one more and I’ll be on my way.
Never happened of course. I finally got home a couple of hours shy of sunrise with my plastic battered but my shopping intact.
Seven months later and I’m in Bangkok really looking forward to seeing Bangkok Glass take on Chonburi. A resurgent Bunnies against the team playing the best football in the league. I had been looking forward to this game ever since it had been announced on a much amended fixture list.
Fatefully I agreed to meet someone for a quick drink after they’d finished work. That quick drink had followed several other quick drinks elsewhere…the day was degenerating into a bars I have loved and loathed in equal measure as I bounced from drinking hole to drinking hole in what was a very, very quiet Bangkok.
Gutted again at missing a big game. Apologies to the guy I was supposed to meet at the game, to the guy who never made it to the game as he joined me on my trip down memory lane and apologies to my son who never got hos very own bunny.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
In Phnom Penh now, supping at the excellent FCC. Later off to a CLeague double header at the Olympic Stadium...
Build Bright United v Rithy Sen
National Defence Ministry v Preah Reach Khan
Another double tomorrow...
Kiriwong Sok Sen Chay v National Police Commissary
Chhlam Samuth v Prek Pra Keila
And on the Monday is the biggie
Naga Corp v Phnom Penh Crown
Friday, June 17, 2011
Lack Of Posting
Been sat on a riverbank the last few days and the internet hasn't been the best hence no updates...in case anyone out there was wondering.
Back to the smoke tomorrow and, hopefully, some football!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Callous Or Practical?
Yesterday morning seven Chiang Rai United fans died
on their way to see their team play Buriram PEA.
12 hours later the game went ahead, albeit after a minute's silence, which was also done at the Thai Port game earlier in the day.
The question is though should the game have gone ahead at all? Given the close relationship that exists between clubs and fans here in Thailand, one of the dead ran the club's website, surely the last thing on anyone's mind, especially the Chiang Rai United players, would have been playing football.
Should the game have been played at all?
Indonesia Super League
Persisam v Persiwa 5-2
Persijap v Sriwijaya 1-1
Bontang v Persipura 1-1
Thai Premier League
Thai Port v Khon Kaen 3-0
Raj Navy v Sri Racha 0-1
Buriram PEA v Chiang Rai United 5-0
Malaysia FA Cup Final
Kelantan v Terengganu 1-2
Trailing 1-0 going into injury time, Terengganu equalised in the 98th minute before winning the north east derby in extra time through Nordin Alias
Singapore Cup 2011
Hougang United v Harimau Muda 1-0 (Mamadou Diallo) 1,464
Gombak United v Balestier Khalsa 2-1 (Zulkiffli Hassim, Chang Jo Yoon; Anaz Hadee) 1,433
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Thai Port Send Off
Thai Port extended their fine run with a fifth straight win over newly promoted Khon Kaen at the PAT Stadium this afternoon. The game ended 3-0, two goals were disallowed, one probably because the linesman was swatting at a fly with the flag by mistake, and but for carelessness up front getting caught offside too often it could have been a lot more.
The victory brought the curtain down on Thai Port's most successful era in recent years. Coach Sasom Pobpraserd has guided the club to the FA Cup in 2009 and the League Cup in 2010 but given the money worries that have plagued the club this season it was perhaps inevitable that there would be some changes if the right offer came along.
And that offer did come. From ambitious, and wealthy, Buriram in Division One but odds on for promotion to the TPL. Sasom will take four players with him including the languid Sompong Solarb, the kind of player, immensely talented and intelligent, who shakes uncontrollably and vomits at the words work rate.
As it happened Sompong gave the home team the lead timing his run from deep well to nip the ball over the keep. Alef scored from the spot, apparently his first for the club, while Ekkajai made it three with a simple tap in.
Masterful performance by Thai Port and the three goals scored by Buriram bound players which could bode ill for the club though Steve Robb, who sat out the game through injury, assures me there are quality replacements receiving treatment and should be back in time for the second half of the season.
Things got a little emotional at the end with Sasom being presented with flowers while the fans stayed behind long after the game was over to say goodbye to the departing heroes who I understand would have been happy to stay had circumstances been different.
Jakarta Casual TV has an interview with Steve Robb
Asian Football Pictures has images from the game
and the terraces
Honeymoon Over For Brits In Thailand?
It's not been the best of times for the British contingent in the Thai Premier League. Coach David Booth was sacked from Si Sa Ket. Peter Butler was sacked from BEC Tero. Bryan Robson and Steve Darby quit from their posts with the Thai national team. Scotsman Steven Robb went a couple of months without getting paid.
Land of smiles my butt cheeks...
A serious road crash
in Central Thailand has killed several Chiang Rai United
fans. They were travelling to their Thai Premier League game against leaders Buriram PEA who were celebrating the opening of their new stadium. According to the Google translation it looks like the game will still go ahead but the incident happened literally a few hours ago so I guess no final decision has been made yet.
LPI To Return
suggests the Liga Primer Indonesia will return for the second half of the season...in September!
I understand Bogor Raya players were supposed to start training again early July. Will that plan stay or will it change?!
My 18 month old son wants me to bring him back a Bangkok Glass Bunny. I only hope she fits in the checked luggage!
Anyway, now finding out the game with Chonburi tomorrow is all ticket so may not be heading all that way after all...
New Thai Coach Exclusively Revealed?
Following on from Peter Reid and Bryan Robson can we expect the Thai FA to continue to look to England's World Cup squad for its coaches? Specifically the midfield?
In that case can we expect to hear that Steve Hodge has been announced as the new Thai coach? Or Trevor Steven? Or even Ray Wilkins?
Or do I really just have way too much free time?!
Farra Confirms Stags Return
Talking with Singapore international midfielder Mustafic Fahruddin he confirmed he would be returning to the SLeague at the end of the Indonesia Super League season. He currently plays for Persela.
Should he pass the beep test, where professional footballers are expected to imitate RoadRunner, he hops to make his first appearance for the Stags against SAFFC.
Bontang v Persiwa 3-3
Persijap v Arema 2-3
Persisam v Persipura 1-2
Semen Padang v Persiba 2-1
Deltras v PSPS 4-3
Persela v Persija 0-0
There's a three way race on for second place now with Persija, Arema and Semen padang tied on 46 points, 10 adrift on newly crowned champions Persipura who would have been celebrating a third successive title had it not been for their Mandala Stadium being closed for renovations last season.
If Indonesia avoid being kicked out of FIFA then the second and possibly third placed teams in ISL could qualify for AFC Cup next year. Third place if there is no Indonesia Cup this year which seems likely at the moment.
More Dates Than A 16 Year Old Prom Queen
They're at it again. Indonesian football seemingly can't make up its mind when it really wants to be kicked out of FIFA and has now delayed the elections for a new head until 9 July
, pushed back from 30 June. The election, and accompanying congress, will be overseen by up to 1,400 security personnel!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Withe Thai Return?
Thai FA head Worawi Mukadi has hinted
that former national team coach Peter Withe could be considered to replace Bryan Robson who stepped down earlier this week for health reasons
. Withe is currently without a job and was very successful during his last spell with the club.
Mind you Mukadi, in an unusually perceptive moment said that Thai fans wanted a Thai coach. Thai fans also want his ouster but he has said nothing about that!
Could former Vietnam national coach Henrique Calisto also be in the frame? He led Vietnam to AFF Cup glory against Thailand in 2008 and is now coaching Muang Thong United in the Thai Premier League.
Given that when Vietnam recently scouted round for a new coach and attracted over 100 applicants the Thai FA can expect to be busy over the next few days sifting through applications from around the world.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Singapore v Maldives 4-0 (Match Report & Images
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Thailand Looking For New Coach
is confirming that Bryan Robson and Steve Darby have quit from their positions as chief coach and the other guy of the Thai National team.
The announcement comes ahead of Thailand's World Cup qualifying campaign for which there has been zero preparation...a trend in Thailand over recent years. as this story
I posted yesterday shows.
This makes three Englishmen looking for jobs after leaving their positions in Thailand. Earlier in the week Peter Butler was sacked from BEC Tero.
Just the other day I gone dun wrote an article for Jakarta Globe
about British coaches in the region. Now three of them are looking for their P45.
More as I hear it...
Jakarta Casual T Shirts Available!
Ok, finally it's here. The Casual Store is open for business with a stock of one (1) t shirt available in one (1) colour and three sizes. Interested in knowing more? Then check out The Casual Store
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
FAS Press Release
SINGAPORE, 07 JUNE 2011: The FAS Disciplinary Committee will adjourn to Thursday, 16 June 2011 at 7.00pm (Jalan Besar Stadium conference room) with regards to the incident at the Great Eastern – YEO’S S.League match between Hougang United and Etoile FC at the Hougang Stadium on 23 May 2011.
Please also be informed that following the Disciplinary Committee's recommendation and the FAS Executive Committee's approval and sanction, the following players and officials have been suspended from all FAS-sanctioned matches and tournaments until after the conclusion of the hearing and a verdict has been reached:
Hougang United FC
1. Hasrin Jailani (Assistant Coach)
2. Shariff Samat (Player jersey no.5)
3. Fathi Yunus (Player jersey no.7)
1. Serge Souchon (Player jersey no.20)
2. Hadama Bathily (Player jersey no.24)
Please note that the suspended parties can play no part whatsoever in the proceedings of a match, and are not allowed to be in or around the technical areas including the team benches and dressing rooms.
The RHB Singapore Cup preliminary round matches involving Hougang United and Etoile FC will go ahead as planned.
Kuala Lumpur Casuals
Had some comments posted from a Malaysian fan recently which is good to see. He talks about the KLC or Kuala Lumpur Casuals who follow KL in the Malaysia Super League.
Any other Malaysian teams have a casual following?
Thailand's Recent International Record
2009 SEA Games - lack of preparation saw humiliating exit
2010 AFF Cup - lack of preparation saw humiliating exit
2012 Olympic Games - not understanding regulations saw humiliating exit
2014 World Cup Qualifiers - will history repeat?
AFC Cup 2011 Quarter Finals
THE QUARTER-FINALS (September 13 and 27)
Persipura Jayapura (Indonesia) vs Arbil (Iraq)
Chonburi FC (Thailand) vs Nasaf (Uzbekistan)
Kuwait SC (Kuwait) vs Muong Thong United (Thailand)
Al Wehdat (Jordan) vs Duhok (Iraq)
SEMI-FINALS (October 4 and 18)
Winner of QF2 and Winner of QF4
Winner of QF1 and Winner of QF3
FINAL (October 29)
Winner of SF 1 vs Winner of SF 2
Gonna be tough for the local lads is my succinct comment! Hopefully under a new leadership the AFC may schedule non Arab refs in games where an Arab team is the home team playing a non Arab team. What, you didn't know...
BEC Tero Fire Butler
A couple of years back I was looking forward to seeing Persija play Persiba. The reason? Persiba were coached by former West Ham player Peter Butler and I thought he would make an interesting interview.
Anyway, ahead of the game he only went and got the sack. Most frustrating but hey. That's football as they all say.
He fronted up next in Kelantan. I started making a couple of tentative plans to take in a Kelantan game on my next visit to Malaysia but what happens? He ups sticks again and heads to Yangon United.
Sod that for a game of tic tac toe, I was getting wise to the chase now, I thought I'd sit tight and wait for the inevitable.
Sure enough he soon left there and was appointed coach of BEC Tero. Great. I'm in Thailand this weekend, I'll try and touch base with him then. But nope, nothing is ever that easy. His team lost four games on the bounce and it was announced yesterday he had been sacked from BEC Tero, again, days before I had hoped to try and meet him.
What to do eh?
Monday, June 06, 2011
Persipura Close In On ISL
Deltras v Persipura 1-1 (Marcio Souza; Paulin Bio) 3,000
Arema v Perslela 1-0 (Ahmad Amiruddin) 13,689
Persija v Pelita Jaya 1-0 (Greg Nwokolo) 9,734
Pesiba v Sriwijaya 0-1 (Thierry Gathusse) 3,762
1 - Persipura 24 15 7 2 57-19 52
2 - Persija 25 13 6 6 47-27 45
3 - Arema 25 12 7 6 39-23 43
4 - Semen Padang 25 11 10 4 38-25 43
Shahril Miisses Maldives Friendly
Tomorrow sees Singapore take on The Maldives in a friendly that both will use as vial preparation ahead of World Cup preparations.
One player missing from the squad, despite having been called up initially, is Medan Chiefs Shahril Ishak. The Medan Chiefs play in the breakaway Liga Primer Indonesia which, under the old PSSO regime, was not recognised and was effectively an illegal league not recognised by PSSI, AFC and them doyens of transparency and fairness, FIFA.
However it was said a few weeks back that the Normalisation Committee (known in Indonesian as KN) set up by FIFA to bring normalcy to Indonesian football, whatever that may mean, had recognised the LPI and brought them under the PSSI umbrella.
It seems the Football Association of Singapore aren't convinced and after calling up Shahril for the Maldives game he won't actually be involved. At a press conference ahead of tomorrow's game Liga Singapura
spoke to FAS and they said that FIFA still doesn't recognise the LPI.
I'm gobsmacked. I never written the word recognised so many times in such a short period of time.
First Defeat For Leaders Buriram PEA
Chonburi v Muang Thong United 1-1
Khon Kaen v Bangkok Glass 0-2
Si Sa Ket v Buriram PEA 1-0
Police United v Thai Port 0-1
Army United v Pattaya United 3-3
Chiang Rai United v TOT 2-0
BEC Tero v Osotspa 1-3
Sri Racha v TTM Phichet 1-2
Samut Songkram v Raj Navy 2-0
They may have lost their first game of the season, away to north east neighbours Si Sa Ket, but Buriram PEA will still look back on a good weekend with nearest rivals Chonburi and Muang Thong United cancelling each other out in Chonburi. BEC Tero continue to drop faster than a lead balloon, their 1-3 reverse was their 7th in 9 games. Thai Port, on the other hand, continue to make some good progress, they're now sevenh.
1 - Buriram PEA 16 12 3 1 26-6 39
2 - Chonburi 15 9 5 1 34-12 32
3 - Bangkok Glass 16 8 4 4 27-17 28
11 - Surayuth Chaikamdee (Bangkok Glass)
9 - Leandro (Army United), Wasan (Chiang Rai United)
A Uniquely Bangladeshi Story
I've lived and worked in more than half a dozen countries over the years and each has its own little foibles without which there wouldn't be much to talk about in he pub after a long shift.
Bangladesh it must be said has more than its fair share of foibles. Luckily for me, when I was living there, most of them occurred outside of the bubble I existed in at the time but one foible did impact the whole country and that was the dreaded hartal
. Suffice to say nothing opened and nothing moved during hartal hours when political thugs would roam the streets and physically attack anyone breaking the hartal whether it be working, opening their business or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Bangladesh Football Federation shifted yesterday's scheduled Bangladesh League fixture between Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Sheikh Russel KC to today due to failure of the floodlight at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.
The crucial match of the league was initially scheduled for a 4:15pm start but the football's governing body deferred it to 8:00pm for the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the opposition. However, the floodlights failed to work, postponing the match for the day.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Jakarta Casual T Shirts Available!
Finally took delivery of a limited run of Jakarta Casual t shirts yesterday. In neutral black featuring the neutral Jakarta Casual logo, I will release ordering details sometime next week.
Watch, as they say, this space!
Friday, June 03, 2011
Football Shirt Costs
In one of my less busy moments at work this morning I wondered aloud why the Albirex Niigata
replica shirt costs 98 SGD was nearly twice as expensive as the Geylang United
one which costs 50 SGD.
Koh Mui Tee, who is the Albirex Niigata manager, tells me that it is down to demand. They shift about 150 shirts a year while Geylang United manage a fraction of that.
I was in a sports shop yesterday in Jakarta and, shock of bloody shocks, they had some Indonesian football shirts! Persija's was selling at 149,000 IDR while Persib's was more expensive, perhaps 279,000 IDR. Again, another big difference!
Of course Persija don't have an official website but Persib
The Ultimate Pisstake
I am never surprised by the lengths people go to spend their hard earned cash when it comes to football. In fact I too am guilty perhaps of spending a rupiah or two too much in my pursuit of the beautiful game.
But would I go and see a bunch of ex pros with their beer bellies huff, puff and sweat under the lights of an indoor arena in the oh so cynically exploitive EPL Legends? Would I heck as like.
Taking some ex players and having them play futsal in Malaysia is considered a good business only because people there have been seduced by the glamour of the English game as they see it on TV and so given the chance to players like Andy Cole and Steve MacManaman up close is probably a wet dream come true.
Fair play to the players and the company that dreamed up this exercise but there is something incredibly sad about seeing people clad in Liverpool red signing You'll Never Walk Alone while watching players from a past generation high five each other and give big manly hugs to the opposition.
There can only be one thing sadder than that and even now, after watching it on TV yesterday, I am still struck by the incredulity of it. As well as ex Liverpool players there was a Manchester United team competing and in the game I saw, no doubt roared on by the Manc wannabes in the arena, they were wearing the sky blue of Manchester City.
I mean, come on. No doubt the Malaysians cheered wildly when they came on the pitch and cheered their every pass, shot, goal and toothy smile. But they were wearing sky blue. They certainly wouldn't have got away with that in England but the Malaysian masses? They I guess lapped it up.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Bojan Packs His Toothbrush
Head coach at Phnom Penh Crown Bojan Hodak
has quit the club and taken up a position with Chinese Super League team Shandong Luneng.
Bojan leaves the club in a healthy position as Phnom Penh Crown are favourites to lift the CLeague, are in the next round of the AFC President's Cup and next month take on SAFFC in the Singapore Cup.
Before coaching Phnom Penh Crown Bojan was with My Team in the Malaysia Super League where he worked with some of the brightest talents in the country like Norshahrul Talaha that went on to win the 2009 SEA Games and 2010 AFF Cup.
Does anybody have access to an up to date fixture list for VLeague and First Division?
Also do they have an FA Cup there?
Shock Horror! Indonesia Arrange Friendlies
suggest Indonesia, despite being under threat of FIFA sanctions, have lined up some friendlies next month ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against Turkmenistan. The Timor Leste games were announced on the Timor Leste Football Association FB
page and are part of a Timor Indonesia Rivalry Cup.
03/07 v Singapore
06/03 v Thailand
13/07 v Thailand
23/07 v Turkmenistan (WCQ Away)
28/07 v Turkmenistan (WCQ Home)
08/08 v Timor Leste (Maguwaharjo Stadium, Sleman)
10/08 v Timor Leste (Maguwaharjo Stadium, Sleman)
But we shall see, eh?
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Where's The Famous Aremania?
They won the league last year with a spectacular 5-1 victory at the Bung Karno Stadium in front of 45,000 of their travelling supporters. They have been frquently crowned best supporters in the country. But now, when things ain't going so well what has happened to the famous Aremania? Check out their recent attendances with the most home games at the top. Their last two attendance have been bloody awful doubly so when we consider Arema are one of the teams who have to rely on their own resources to pay their way.
v Deltras 10,916 (local derby)
v PSPS 9,258
v Persija 32,597 (love in between fans)
v Persib 19,382
v Sriwijaya 20,052
v Persiwa 24,452
v Persipura 36,994
v Persiba 19,238
v Pelita Jaya 24,510
v Semen Padang 10,396
v Persijap 14,751
The fans didn't even give the AFC Champions League much of a warm welcome judging by these attendances
v Jeonbuk Motors 30,000
v Shandong 5,600
v Cerezo Osaka 4,000
The Arema fans have shown their loyalty in the past but when the chips are down they do seem to fade away. If Arema fans can't be bothered then what does that say about the rest of the league?
Each game you go to in Indonesia, be it Arema or Persitara, you'll see a banner saying sampai mati, till death (or till I die like the English version) or Loyaltis Tanpa Batas, ( loyalty without limits or unlimited loyalty).
But we don't see the small print that says "As Long As We Win).
Persipura Edge Closer To ISL Title
Yeap, it's still going on, hard though it is to believe. Why not many games in May? Who knows...
PSPS v Pelita Jaya 1-0 (Junaidi) 10,975
Persiba v Persib 2-0 (Khairul Amri, Bahtiar) 4,873
Sriwijaya v Persija 3-3 (Keith Kayamba, Budi Sudarsono 2; Bambang Pamungkas, Agu Casmir, Greg Nwokolo) 15,101
Arema v Deltras 3-0 (Yongki Aribowo 2, Roman Chhmelo) 10,916
Persela v Persipura 0-1 (Titus Bonai) 10,015
1 - Persipura 23 15 6 2 55-18 51
2 - Semen Padang 24 11 9 4 42
3 - Persija 23 12 5 5 45-25 41
4 - Arema 24 11 7 6 38-23 40
5 - Persisam 25 12 3 10 33-39 39
20 - Boaz Solossa (Persipura)
16 - Edward Wilson Junior (Semen Padang)
14 - Aldo Baretto (Persiba)
12 - Bambang Pamungkas (Persija), Julio Lopez (Persisam)
Young Lions Run Ends
You never know what you're oing to get with Gombak United. Before last night's game with Geylang United they had won six and drawn six of their opening 15 games. Well, now they have lost seven so figure them to win their next game. Geylang defeated them 1-0 thanks to Vasile Ghindau's second half penaty. Both teams had players red carded in the game at Bedok Stadium.
In last night's other SLeague game Young Lions scored twice but it wasn't enough to stave off defeat against Albirex Niigata because they hadn't read the script. They only went and scored four! It ended Young Lions best run of the season that had seen them win their last two games of the season.
How did the fans respond to two games on one night? Well, SLeaue official attendances bear as much resemblance to reality as a day with Jack Warner but they do at least serve as indicators of trends.
Albirex attracted 1,338 while Geylang brought in 970. People who actually bought tickets make up a small proportion of that number.
Not Getting It
So this pro reform group in the PSSI, you know, them what supported Nurdin until he quit and have now decided football needs reform? Well, they have decided to keep supporting George Toisutta in his bid to lead the PSSI claiming he is the only person to take football into an era without government subsidy.
These reformers, who were not reformers a few months back, are insistent George is the man and are continuing to face down FIFA who recently announced the PSSI has another month to sort itself out or face suspension 1st July. Indeed it is only FIFA's 'difficulties' at the present time which seems to be keeping the Indonesians in a position to still attempt to hold elections.
While these people who have just discovered reform hold the game to ransom Indonesia is no position to ready itself for the World Cup qualifiers against Turkmenistan in July. Other nations are arranging friendlies to help them prepare while the PSSI is stuck in institutional inertia with no one to make decisions are sign cheques.
It seems the pro reform group are more than happy to sacrifice Indonesia's good work in last year's AFF Cup and see their national team banned from the World Cup qualifiers to satisfy their own lust for power.