The Back-Blocks of Asia

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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:44 am

Vietnamese football is flavour of the month following the Golden Dragon’s good run in the AFC Cup and win in the AFF Suzuki Cup. Incheon have snaffled young striker Nguyễn Công Phượng who was reportedly being courted by a French Ligue 2 club. Goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm was picked up by Muangthong whilst Buriram grabbed midfield anchor Lương Xuân Trường. 19 y.o. left back sensation Đoàn Văn Hậu is surely being courted by some serious clubs and I’d expect him to be gracing the fields of Europe before long. There are a couple of players in the squad that a certain expansion club in Western Melbourne may do well to run an eye over.

In India, Chennai City FC has reportedly received a 20-25 million Euro investment from Basel FC. It seems the Swiss are keen on India’s football potential and will be looking to change the way the club is managed. Certainly any help in improving administration in Indian football is welcome and that, much more than the money, may be the biggest boon for Chennai City.

And there is much rejoicing in Nepal as their women’s team defeated India in the Hero Gold Cup, a 4 team tournament between Nepal, India, Iran & Myanmar. It is Nepal’s first ever win over India in women’s football and they are rather chuffed. If they can beat bottom placed Iran tomorrow and India fail to win over table toppers Myanmar, then they are into the final. Good luck to the Nepali Chelis who have really found some form in this tournament.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:00 am

In Indonesia, the PSSI governance grief rolls on ad nauseum. PSSI President Edy Rahmayadni stood down in late January in the wake of a corruption investigation. He was replaced bu Joko Driyono who was only in the job for a couple of weeks before he found himself facing police questions regarding match fixing. The Indonesian fans deserve better however it looks like they are continuing to get more of the same.

After the initial discovering of some ineligable players by the AFC, Timor Leste was booted out of qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup after it was discovered a total of twelve Brazilians had played for the country under falsified birth and baptismal certificates. Charming. Oddly this has yet to translate into a FIFA ban, so the Timorese can still join the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

There was some confusion in Uzbekistan as the number of teams for the 2019 Super League was moved from ten back to twelve (same as in 2018) only hours before the 2019 draw. The draw itself was only ten days before kick-off, so not much time for planning!

Also in Uzbekistan it seems one of Australia's most succesful overseas coaches, Mirko Jelicic, has been moved from Head Coach of Lokomotiv Tashkent to Assitant Coach, a role he last held in 2015. Given he led the club to the AFC Quarter finals and took the domestic double in 2016 you can be forgiven if he feels a little hard done by; either that or he has something serious lined up for the 2019/20 season in another league.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:26 am

It seems Pakistan are not keen to split sport and geopolitics and pulled out of the AFC u23 Qualifiers at the 11th hour as their group included India. It left the tournament in bit of a flux as the qualification computations had to be changed to allow for one group with only three sides. It is sad for the players involved as their hopes of making it to the Olympics evaporated with the withdrawal.

Still at the AFC u23 qualifiers, Indonesia showed its attacking intent by submitting a team sheet where every single player, including the goal keeper, was labled as a forward. Unfortunately not even having a team full of forwards could help them find the back of the net as they went down 4-0 to Thailand.

In Bangladesh, FIFA Council Member and advocate for Women's football, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron, was arrested for merely commenting that the Prime Minister Sheik Hasina favoured cricket over football. She was promptly charged with defamation and arrested. It makes the complaints about the difficulties of advocating for football here in Australia look rather feeble.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:22 am

The Kyrgyztsan FA appears to have taken inspirations from the Jamaican bob-sled team and entered a side in the AFC Beach Football tournament in Thailand. Just as Jamaica has no snow, Kyrgyzstan is landlocked and somewhat devoid of beaches which may explain their -20 goal difference after three games of the group stage.

Lebanon has showed some class with their expatriate community in the UAE turning out in large numbers to welcome their Special Needs footballers for the Special Olympics. They met the team at the Dubai Aiport and handed out roses (a traditional welcome gift) and organised a reception. A tip of the propellor beanie to the Lebanese in Dubai.

China has a new coach in Fabio Cannavaro, though given his first two games were home losses to Thailand and Uzbekistan in the China Cup there is a risk that his stay in the top job will be a short one indeed. There is some cause for optimism though as one player missing from the squad, Wu Lei, became the first Chinese to score in La Liga as he netted for Espanyol against Valladolid.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:01 am

The Pakistan Football Federation appears mired in, well itself, which is resulting in inaction from all concerned. The President & General Secretary were removed in December after an election that was the result of a court ruling. This wasn’t recognized by FIFA and turmoil has resulted as there are two people calling themselves President. A FIFA delegation is heading to Pakistan in May to sort it out but in the meantime Pakistan will continue with their World Cup qualification preparations.

In Indonesia, fans of Persebaya Surabaya threw thousands of dolls onto the pitch at half-time to promote awareness of children’s cancer. The dolls were collected and donated to children in Surabaya and to flood victims in Papua. Persebaya went on to win the match so a lovely day all-round for the Persebaya fans.

In Brunei, the club side that acts as the quasi-national team, Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota (DPMM) have been shopping themselves around. They were upset that the S-League (where they play) is insisting on treating Brunei players as foreign players and telling the club they have to play Singaporeans. DPMM went off in a huff, declaring they’d play in Malaysia, prompting the MAS to tell DPMM that they’d have to play Malaysians. This sent DPMM into a bigger pout announcing they’d play in Indonesia, prompting the PSSI to say it wasn’t possible a few days later. Not to be dissuaded they reportedly queried the Thais, to no avail. Hence DPMM are back in the S-League for 2019, though apparently have their eye on another crack at Indonesia League 1 for 2020. You have to admire their persistence!
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Tue May 14, 2019 9:21 am

The Tajikistan FA has jumped the gun, leaping onto Twitter and announcing their participation (and all the other teams) in India's Hero Intercontinental Cup before the hosts had a chance to do so. With the proverbial cat out of the bag, it became apparent that the name of the tournament may need a rethink given the participants are India (hosts), Syria, North Korea and Tajikistan.

In Macau there is a new non-foreigner rule which applies to the 4th tier of Macau football and the Senior Veterans League. The 1st to 3rd tiers retain their 8 foreigner quota. Clubs have been complaining, threatening to take the MFA to court, as there doesn't appear to be any logic behind the move. Macau 4th tier football is hardly a hot bed of youth development and the Senior Veterans League most certainly not. It will be interesting indeed to see what the rationale is, should they ever reveal it.

Palestine has held its first ever football championship for amputees on the Gaza Strip. 80 players tooks part with the event being played in the Stadium of Palestine, rebuilt since it took a hammering in the 2014 conflict with Israel. The International Committee of the Red Cross oversaw the event which hopefully be a precursor to Palestine competing in regional and international amputee tournaments.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:12 pm

In Afghanistan, former federation President and all-round sleaze, Keramuudin Karim, has received from FIFA a life ban from football and a fine of one million Swiss Francs for sexual misconduct and his overseeing of the shocking treatment of women footballers from 2013 to 2018. Apparently the authorities in Kabul have issued an arrest warrant for him, something that should have happened a long, long time ago. Good riddance to the evil bastard.

In China the 2019 Panda Cup, an U-18 invitational tournament featuring China, South Korea, Thailand and New Zealand, descended into chaos as the winners, South Korea, were photographed with a player having his foot on the trophy. Chinese social media went into a rather predictable frenzy and despite a public apology, South Korea were stripped of the title. Whilst South Korea may have China’s measure on the pitch, they come a distant second when it comes to moral outrage.

And North Korea has some cause for cheer as Ri Hyang-Ok is once again officiating in a Women’s World Cup (having done so in Canada). She was in charge for the Group E encounter between Cameroon and Canada and with any luck will be selected to be a main referee for one of the later stages. She is one of the AFC’s top women’s referees and something of a standard bearer for North Korean women’s football (having been a national team player to boot).
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:30 am

The stalemate in Pakistan has reached its inevitable conclusion and FIFA has appointed a normalisation committee to run the federation until elections are held in nine months time. It has been a turbulent few years in a country where footballers find it tough enough as is. Hopefully something vaguely sensible will emerge. Hopefully.

Guam national coach Karl Dodd (former A-League player) has brought in a sports psychologist, Marcel Noronha from Queensland, to aid the national team in their preparations for the next round of World Cup qualifying. The Guam side have never had such an inclusion and the investment is clearly a sign that Guam is keen to make the most of its progression at the expense of Bhutan, not least as a potential AFC Cup qualification is in the offing.

The Vice-President of the Vietnam Football Federation has resigned amongst a flurry of accusations regarding his management, lease deals for land and a sports complex. This is coupled with his failure to raise money for the VFF. He came in on a promise to raise USD17 million in sponsorship for the VFF and has fallen short of that target by USD17 million. Yes, he hasn't raised a cent. It certainly appears he's jumped before he was pushed.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:35 am

Timor-Leste are back in the news and, as usual, for all the wrong reasons. Before it was fielding Brazilians in their national team and now they have been accused of fielding a 22y.o. player, Paulo Freitas, in their u-15 side for the AFF U15 Championship. Apparently he also played in the AFF Suzuki Cup as a 22 y.0,. Despite the accusation Timor have continued to field the player, so it should get interesting. Given their history regarding such matters anything is possible.

Football in Palestine remains a tough proposition with the Palestinian Cup final being abandoned after Israel refused to allow all but one of the players from Khadamat Rafa FC to travel to the West Bank to face Balata FC. Of the 35 permits requested only the club President, Vice-President, doctor and one player were given permission to travel. No word from FIFA on the matter as real-politik pricks Infantino's facade once again.

And in Iraq the West Asian Football Federation Cup is kicking off. It is the first tournament held in Iraq since a 15 year old ban on international games in the country was lifted in March. Games are to be held in Erbil (Kurdistan) and Karbala (South of Baghdad). It is the first time Iraq has hosted the competition and hopefully marks a gradual return to normalcy for the country.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:40 am

Four players in Kyrgyzstan have been handed life sentences for match fixing. The matches in question involved Dordoi Bishkek and Aly Osh in AFC Cup matches in 2017 and 2018. The owners of these clubs are not likely to be terribly pleased with the players involved and I dare say the involved players (three Kyrgyz and one Tajik) are steering well clear of the streets of Bishkek & Osh.

The clamp-down in Indian administered Kashimir has caused problems for Real Kashmir FC as all communications with Srinagar was cut. The team left Srinagar to play in the Durand Cup, during which the clamp-down occured leaving the team stranded in Kolkata. That was early August and the team remains stranded and unable to contact their families. Good luck to them and we all hope that the communications can be restored soon.

And the good news from Iraq keeps rolling in as FIFA has cleared the country for hosting World Cup Qualifying matches in Basra. This has come after the successful hosting of the WAFF Championships and will significantly boost Iraq's chance of progressing through to the next stage. Yet another welcome sign in a country that should be one of Asia's stronger members.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:18 pm

Prince Ali of Jordan has brought together different charities to build artificial football pitches and provide coaching services in Zaatari refugee camp (a Jordanian camp full of Syrian refugees and the largest in the Middle East). Over 750 children have joined the system and 33 Spanish football clubs provided equipment and support for the “La Liga Zaatari project”. Team sports play an effective role in rehabilitating traumatized children, and there is no shortage of such amongst Syrian refugees.

The Syrian Premier League was postponed from until the 20th of October to avoid the risk of injury to national team and Olympic team players. It appears an odd choice as the Syrians are swapping the risk of missing one or two individuals for the match fitness of the entire squad. They’ve made the next round of Olympic qualification, however their next two World Cup qualifying matches have yet to be played and are away to The Maldives & Guam; rather safe matches one would assume.

The protests in Hong Kong are now affecting football, with Malaysia cancelling their schedule October 15 friendly due to their “incapability to travel to Hong Kong”. This comes on the heels of a charity cup being cancelled due to its proximity to Mong Kok Police Station, a focus for some of the demonstrations. The HKFA don’t host a World Cup Qualifier until mid-November, a date that must feel as if it is rushing towards them.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Thu Oct 17, 2019 2:07 pm

In Saudi Arabia VAR created a new and interesting controversy when it failed during the match between Al Nassr and Al-Fateh. The reason for failure, a stadium worker had reportedly unplugged the VAR so he could charge his phone :D . The Saudi FA deny this was the reason, but they always go into denial for anything potentially embarrassing. Al-Nassr went on to win 1-0. Reports are silent as to how much charge the stadium worker attained before he was unplugged.

Referees in Vietnam don’t appear to inspire confidence as the Vietnam Professional Football (who run the V.League 1) requested the Football Association of Malaysia to supply two referees to officiate in three games taking place in the last two rounds. The games in question will largely determine the outcome of the relegation battle for the 2019 season. Four Vietnamese referees were suspended this season for big mistakes, the worse of which was an assistant referee who failed to flag offside for a player who scored; three metres off-side, that is. Not exactly rolling off the shoulder and makes one query whether ‘mistake’ quite covers it.

And Qatari club Al Rayyan have disclosed the reason as to why they didn’t sign Juventus star Mario Mandzukic over the transfer window. Apparently Mandzukic wanted a clause in his contract that Al Rayyan would pay for anything he purchased while he was in Qatar. Even the oil sheiks, bathed in cash as they are, thought this was a bit much. Needless to say, Mandzukic is not in Qatar and I can only assume Juventus are making him pay for all his pasta and vino in Turin.
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Re: The Back-Blocks of Asia

Postby blahblah Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:32 am

The “Ghost Derby” in North Korea (the bizarre WCQ match between North and South Korea) had the AFC somewhat concerned as clearly no fans and no media being allowed in isn’t good for sponsors or promotion of the game. Clearly the AFC wasn’t swayed by North Korean overtures that such a scenario would not be repeated. As a result, the AFC Cup Final between 4.25 (North Korea) and Al Ahed (Lebanon) was moved from Pyongyang to Kuala Lumpur where there is slightly more confidence of media being allowed, though the crowd was predictably sparse. Al Ahed defeated 10 man 4.25 1-0 after a brain fade from the North Korean keeper early in the game.

Meanwhile Laos official Kanya Keomany became the first female match commissioner for an AFC Cup Final. The AFC have done well in promoting female officials in men’s matches with an all-female refereeing team for an AFC Cup match earlier this year and four female match commissioners appointed for the Asian Qualifiers for the World Cup. All of the officials are from East Asia and there remains a need to improve professional pathways for officials from other parts of the confederation.

The Bahrain FA’s website was hacked by Iranian supporters who were incensed by the booing of their national anthem during October’s World Cup Qualifier in Manama. The hackers left a large notice in both English and Farsi informing people that since they missed the anthem in the stadium they could listen to it on the Bahraini FA site instead. Ah, Middle Eastern politics, it never fails to disappoint.

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