Indonesian club mull withdrawing from AFC Cup after Hong Kong fiasco

AFP, JAKARTA

Sat, Apr 13, 2013 - Page 18

Cash-strapped Indonesian soccer club Persibo Bojonegoro were on Thursday deciding whether to withdraw from the AFC Cup after a “shameful” performance in Hong Kong when they ran out of players, forcing the match to be abandoned.

The game against Sunray Cave JS Sun Hei on Tuesday was called off in the 65th minute, with the Indonesians trailing 8-0 after six of their players had gone off the pitch with injuries.

The club only had 12 players available for the match, with some having left after the side’s major shareholder stopped paying the team and staff in January, and others suspended. The result was yet another embarrassment for soccer in Southeast Asia’s biggest nation, which has been mired in controversy for the past two years with two rival federations running separate leagues.

“Our performance was certainly shameful, a disgrace to Indonesia,” Imam Nurcahyo, a spokesman for the club, said from East Java Province, admitting that financial problems caused the chaos.

“Their morale was low, they were owed salaries, they were jet-lagged and tired. We were so broke we only bought flight tickets the night before the match and flew in on the match day,” he said.

Nurcahyo blamed the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) for forcing the club to participate when they did not want to, and said they were now considering pulling out of the tournament, with two matches left to play in their group.

“PSSI said Indonesia would lose future match slots if we pull out and promised to provide funding. It never did,” Nurcahyo said. “We are angry to be blamed, so perhaps the best thing to do now is to withdraw.”