Monthly Archives: May 2012

They say it never rains but it pours and my current situation may be one of the few times that maxim is apt for Indonesia, a country where it both rains and pours regularly, as a missing wallet has a joined a broken laptop on the disaster list! Yes, after a late kick off on Sunday afternoon I returned to the ISCI granstand to discover a bag minus a wallet and a sudden sense of panic as I realised how screwed that left me, a feeling which has now largely subsided due to a series of generous loans from the kind and noble Robbie Dudley esq., an emergency transfer of some funds and the lucky coincidence that, with my drivers license, Uni ID and most other cards dissapearing with my previous wallet in the winter of 2011 there wasnt actually all too much of any importance left to lose.

Anyway, enough of that, where were we? After blogging on Saturday afternoon Robbie and I headed off to ISCI to watch, or so we thought, the play-off final before the champions league with the rest of the coaches. Unfortunately after arriving an hour and a half early especially we discovered they wouldn’t be showing the game. a frustration only soothed by discovering Scooby Doo was on once we were given control of the remote. After watching the gang solve the, mildly racist, problem of the dragon attacking a scottish medeival fair, we were joined by some of the other SSI coaches, starting with Coach Amir and his friend, and fellow Iranian pro-footballer, Majid swiftly followed by the owner of SSI- who immediately got us taking advantage of the drinks he was paying for- Coach George, Reza, Irfan, members of the Indonesian Arsenal supporters club and, eventually, the boss, Simon. Along with free drinks the owner also put on a BBQ topped off with free magnums. After the food and a couple of pre-game wagers the match finally kicked off at 1.45 am Jakarta time, with everyone supporting Bayern apart from Simon we were obviously horrified at the finishing- especially the missed pen which, at 2-1, wouldve seen me collect at cheeky 100k  (Indonesian obviously, about a fiver) off Reza. By the end though we just wanted somebody to win as it was well past 4 and we were struggling, it’s also difficult to be annoyed at a result that sees Tottenhams’ ‘best squad in years’ consigned to another year of Thursday night channel 5 anonymity whilst an Arsenal squad who lost Cesc, were without any full-backs for months and were beaten 8-2 at the start of the season will have yet another year at Europe’s top table (albeit be it one sullied by a team as poor as Chelsea winning it)… Mind the Gap.

The night was topped off by Amier, who was so keen on betting prior to the game, refusing to take the 100k winning he earned for backing Chelsea dismissing the bet as all fun…..Obviously has Bayern won I would have been walking away with a sweet five pound profit in my pocket, fun or not.. ha.

After returning home at 5am  we were very glad of a lie-in on Sunday, even more so when we arrived at ISCI and saw Reza who told us he hadn’t slept before his 8am session! There was no real coaching this week as it was the MAy round of SSI’s monthly 3 on 3 tournament and so our day was spent reffing, totting up the scores and attempting tricks that we have nowhere near the technical ability to pull off. After our allocated four games Robbie and I headed home, although mine was only a brief visit to pick up some clothes before making my debut for the ISCI football team. Playing in a side largely made up of ex-pats against a local team I started in centre midfield alongside Coach Sunday and Majid who played Centre Back and Forward respectively. Despite the youthful vigour and eager running of the opposition I started the game well and we went ahead after about half an hour, in part due to a howler from the Ref- one of the many errors from the officials throughout the game with the linesmen in particular verging on the hilariously bad. We held this lead until the second half when the conditions started to catch up with me and my game became as series of sporadic 3 minute periods of activity interspersed with larger periods of not moving very much. Despite this, and the opposition drawing level from a penalty earned with an outrageous dive which saw one of my French team-mates chase the offender around the pitch for about 30 seconds before banishing him to the stands, we manged to secure the win with a precise- Rory McIlroy-esque- chip over the keeper by the Skipper with about 10 minutes to go. When talking to Simon about the game the next day he told me the key to playing in Indonesia was ‘stretching out’ a performance over 90 minutes- I.E if youve got a good half an hour in you don’t use it all at once! I think my second half performance may have illustrated this slightly too literally but all in all I was happy with  a debut which was fuelled entirely by a 5k packet of crisps and a powerade. 

On Monday we attended a coaching meeting called by Simon to discuss the type of sessions we are putting on and how it would be possible to improve them. As SSI is a soccer open to anyone who pays the entry fee we deal with players from a wide-range of ability levels and the start of the meeting was all about keeping sessions fun for those players who are just starting out, particularly in the younger age groups. After a quick talk we headed out onto the field where he ran through a number of games, some we had done with John back in London but a few, particularly ‘Doctor/Doctor’ were definitely a welcome addition to the repertoire. The second part of the meeting was about structuring sessions for the next ability level up, after another quick talk we were back on the pitch where we were shown a number of really good small sided games for L.2 groups. As a coach you can obviously never have too many drills and being given some that have been used by international football teams was obviously brilliant! 

After the meeting we headed over to the pool at Citos, a place readers of Robbie’s blog will have seen being referred to as our ‘haven’- a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with- although it has been beset of late by underlying tensions of late between the ‘lengthers’ (featuring myself and Robbie) and the ‘widthers’- the people who go to and swim widths of the pool thus interrupting the people trying to do lengths What’s that about! I mean who over the age of 12 does that, I’m sure you can sense the hate just reading this blog and i’ll try to keep you updated on what i’m sure will descend into a vicious turf-war. 

On Tuesday it was, of course, back to school in Kemang, a day we were particularly excited about as we were scheduled to give a talk to the 1st Graders about England, after much wikipedia preparation we split our talk into different sections covering; London, English Food, Music, Transport, Buildings, The Royal Family and whatever else came into our heads. Although their excitement sometimes led to them just shouting out whatever they knew about England leading to answers such as ‘What kind of transport is there in England: UNITED KINGDOM’ or ‘Does anyone know any English foods: LIVERPOOL!’ the talk was really enjoyable and the kids were really excited by playing the royal family and hearing about how Saint George killed a dragon! After the presentation we gave them a choice of handouts we had prepared earlier which let them colour in the queen, Tower Bridge, Big Ben or Wembley before patting ourselves on the back for doing ‘proper teaching’! The next day our success of the day before had obviously gotten around the school as we were immediately asked to take the 3rd grade class in the morning, luckily as ‘proper teachers’ we were obviously prepared and played a game in which the kids were placed in groups and had to think of a word beginning with a specific letter to fit into various categories (Famous Person, Animal, Food etc.) It’s safe to say the game was a popular one as ‘Team Tammy’, ‘RPG’ , Paparazzi, Armour and ‘Hot Jalapenos’ nearly deafened Robbie every time he asked if they were ready for a new letter. Amongst the excitement we were really impressed with their level of English with RPG particularly impressed when they produced ‘Narwhal’ for their Animal on N after Robbie and I had been proud of Newt! After the success of this game with the 3rd Graders we were asked to take it again, slightly modified, next lesson with the year below, given slightly easier letters this group also took to the game brilliantly and, despite not quite coming up with anything to rival the sheer brilliance of Narwhal team ‘Galaxy’ did manage to produce one brilliant answer for their Famous Person. Struggling on the letter A I though i’d offer some advice by telling them to think about my name expecting them to come up with Adam Levigne or the, apparently famous, Adam Lambert, they chose not to go that way, instead giving me as an which was largely found not to be sufficient…apparently 980 blog views doesnt count as ‘famous’….

As I re-read this, and the rest, of my posts from Indonesia so far I realise it’s beginning to sound more like a diary than the football coaching blog you logged on to read (although I like to think it’s really for my wit and natty sentence structures). Although i’ll try and remedy this in the future the main reason behind this is that, apart from the last few days, due to public holidays and various match-days we haven’t done that much coaching of late. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any, the last three days have seen us take three very different sessions, two at ISCI and one at JIS. On Tuesday we were each given at group of, mostly, u-14s with Robbie taking a touch session whilst I worked on running with the ball. Although there was nothing wrong with either session we both felt there wasn’t anything particularly good about them either as it seemed to be hard work to get the kids talking again, with the races and competition that proved so popular in the UK or India not seeming to have the same affect here resulting in another quiet session, definitely something to work on! Back at ISCI on wednesday we were given control of a group of 20 u-12s and decided to work on possession, movement and communication. This session was by far the most enjoyable at ISCI so far, conscious of how quiet the previous groups had been we opened the session by pairing the kids up and getting them to shout their partners name as loud as they could. This set the tone for the session as the ever popular ‘Arsenal hand-ball’ game was accompanied by a soundtrack of shouts which was exactly what we wanted! After a number of progressions we ended with a big game on the floor where four teams were playing across each other at the same time, carnage! Finally, today we had our last session with the u-6 group at JIS, with whom noise has never been a problem! After a ‘quick Robin Hood’ warm up we finished with matches during which im pretty sure Robbie, Lobry and I used as much energy sorting out who was in goal, chasing kids who had wandered off  and dealing with injuries as they did playing up the game. For any prospective coaches reading this, u-6; great fun, but total madness!

Anyway, I’ve spent far too long in the internet cafe writing this post – i’m now worried im either gonna fall a victim of identity theft or get a world or warcraft account- two scenarios im sure you agree would be awful, so i’d better be off. I’ll try and get some pictures up soon! 

 

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Disaster..

I feel I should start this post with what is both the biggest news of the last few weeks and an explanation of why this post has taken so long it has to cover a ‘few’ ! Unfortunately my laptop has been stricken with what I can only assume is some sort of of late onset millennium bug which has rendered the screen about as useful as the two jumpers I brought to Indo with me! This coupled with the fact that I still haven’t collected the notebook I left at JIS Pattimura last Tuesday me in a pretty poor state of affairs in the chronicling-of-my-time department meaning i’m gonna be playing it pretty fast and loose with regards to timings/dates. 

The other non-football related news that has had the largest affect on our lives here over the last fortnight was our membership to the local Gym/Swimming Pool next to Citos, a membership which not only allows us to go swimming every day after work but also, just as importantly, enables us to use the actual showers! 

With our membership of the  Pool our days have settled into a pretty well-established pattern with school in the mornings followed by coaching, swimming and dinner at Citos. Our actual coaching duties have definitely improved after the ‘match week’ at the end of April/start of May, as the month has progressed we have started to have a much larger role to play in sessions, taking largely independent ones at ISCI, Pancoran (u-12s/ u-16b) and Jakarta International School where we worked Reza’s… energetic, u-6 group who were a lot of fun but very hard work! 

Last weekend was probably the best of our time here so far, starting with a really enjoyable control session with the u-12 group at Pancoran. Although the group displayed an improvement in technique the most enjoyable aspect of it was definitely getting the kids out of their shells by encouraging them to shout for the ball, an aspect some them definitely took to heart as demonstrated by the stick they were giving me when I went in goal for the match (although I had the last laugh, leading my team to a comprehensive victory which I obviously rubbed in their faces). In the early parts of our time here Robbie and I often commented how quiet the kids were during sessions both in terms of calling for the ball and the normal banter you would expect to hear, however recently they seem to have become a bit more comfortable around us which has led to more interaction between each other and us, a good thing as generally (within reason) a noisy session is a good one!

After Pancoran and returning home we were invited out to play Futsal with some of the guys from Nomads at an indoor centre next to Pondok Indah Mall (altough Reza maintains that, because of the 3g it’s not ‘proper futsal’). After playing it for four years at Uni its safe to say i’m a massive fan of five a side but playing it in Indonesia is a completely different ball game (no, it literally has a different ball), the main difference is, as with all things here, the humidity, luckily each team has one sub, a role which rapidly became the most coveted position in the side as our hour playing time began to stretch into what felt like eternity. Despite this heat, however, it was a lot of fun to be playing 5s again and, although Robbie got injured after about 20 minutes I felt we both gave a good account of ourselves.. Thank God for Powerade! 

After the game everyone was heading back to De Hooi, via a shower, for it’s 20th Anniversary celebrations where the rumours were, there would be free beer. After stopping off at Citos to use the facilities we met up with Reza for dinner before heading to the bar at about 8 where discovered the owner was providing 20 free BARRELS of Bintang for the night, although this seems like as the offer has been running since half five Robbie and I were wary of running out and so rushed through our first few drinks before being informed they were only one barrel down, at which point we had to explain to the locals how different things would have been in the UK! 

After a top night at De Hooi the next day we had managed to secure the afternoon shift at ISCI which meant we got to enjoy a leisurely lie-in before heading to training at 12 where we were each allocated a different group of under-12s to work with, Robbie with Amir and me with Simon. After the succesful session the day before I was in a confident mood and was very pleased with the way my session, this time on using your touch to create space, went … especially with Simon (the ex-cameroonian pro still accorded legend status in some parts of Indonesia) there to help me with translations and demo’s, all in all I think we were a good team! Following our under-12 sessions Robbie and I were paired together to put on a session with the U-16 ‘soccer school’ (as opposed to ‘progressive’) group, deciding to work on shooting we ran a drill called ‘the chaser’ in which groups of 2/3 situated on different cones have to run on goal and shoot before various progression and variations are added. Shooting drills are always popular, and this proved no exception, the kids particularly seeming to enjoy representing cones named after premier league teams; Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool,Chelsea, City, United and (at Robbie’s insistence) Glasgow Rangers! It was however, a bit of a change from the norm that we had to keep on having a go at the kids not to pass! After two good sessions we headed home were a quality weekend was, of course, topped off by the most dramatic end to a season I’ve ever seen, securing both Arsenal, and my fantasy football team’s place in the ‘Champions League Spots’ of our respective leagues..

This week has been pretty quiet as, after our day off on Monday, school was cancelled due to a family bereavement on Tuesday and Wednesday before everywhere was shut for Indonesian public holidays on Thursday and Friday meaning our only real activities other than the standard, DVD/Swim/Nasi (or Bebek) Goreng was another coaching clinic at the same school as we visited on our first week (with less kids this time, no need for a microphone!) before another visit to Murphy’s Kemang to topple it’s famous San Miguel ‘tower’ on Thursday night where we ran into Simon, the new boss, before heading our to another nondescript Indonesian night club and topping the night off with a couple of McDonalds Spaghetti’s! Which cost about 30p each, today Robbie and I had 5 between us….Ok, I had 3. 

After a week or two of pining after India/ Home I feel much more settled in Indonesia now, we’re getting to do a lot more coaching, a trend I hope will only continue and even the humidity seems less of an issue now I have a new fan which Nislam managed to assemble after I threw a strop, convinced I’d been conned, which has elevated him to god-like status in my eyes. Anyway, I’d better be off, got a BBQ paid for by the boss for the Champions league final tonight to go to, Happy Days! 

 

P.S. I watched Avengers again, It’s still the best thing ever. 

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Week 2

After a week in Jakarta we’re now beginning to settle into our routine for the next three months, a big step towards this came on Tuesday morning as Reza accompanied us to the school we are to be working at on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings during our time here. Despite Nina’s warning when we arrived we were greeted by a perfectly pleasant, smiling headmistress who showed us around the small, but very nice, school (It has the obligatory Indonesian-school-pool) before taking us to the classrooms we would be spending the morning in, Robbie with the year 4s and me with the year 5s who were giving presentations on their idols. After hearing talks on a range of people from Pele to Michelangelo, Ronaldo to Colin McRae and Maradona (cheat) to an ancient Egyptian queen (not Cleopatra) As well as answering numerous questions and filling out an impromptu world eleven in competition with one of the kids (mine would’ve destroyed his; he had Bosingwa at left back!) Reza and Robbie turned up to inform me it was time for lunch and so, saying goodbye to the young man who thought it was acceptable to have Gervinho, but not Messi in his team we headed to the local MacDonalds which is conveniently located right next to the school, opposite Jakarta’s one and only Irish pub.

After a hearty lunch we returned to the school for one more lesson, this time P.E with year 4 before heading to our second appointment of the day, a session at JIS Pattamura School with Phillip and another of the SSI coaches. Another exclusive international school, JIS is located over two campuses, although we were working at the older, smaller one it was still, needless to say, very impressive and even more’ international’ than Global Jaya. In our session alone we had kids from all over Asia, the US and Europe. After the classic Arsenal/Tottenham warm up, masterfully led by Robbie we decided to run the same shooting drill that had gone well at Global Jaya on Friday. Unfortunately this time it didn’t go anywhere near as well as it had at Global with the kids not seeming to grasp the basic concepts as quickly nor, perhaps, listening as well. Consequently the session only really started to go well towards the end and had quite a ‘workmanlike’ feel throughout, I suppose in a way the fact that we were still able to put on a pretty good session without it ever feeling easy or particularly enjoyable speaks volumes about our improvement as coaches since August but we still left the session feeling mildly disappointed with the way it had gone. I can’t remember exactly what we did on Tuesday evening but it’s safe to presume it involved a visit to Chitos mall for dinner (I have a feeling we had steak) before heading home to watch numerous episodes of Community, the show which has dominated our time here so far.

Wednesday saw our second day at school and our first lessons with some of its younger pupils. Our first lesson was with the First Graders who, by the looks of things, were doing some sort of comprehension on Penguins (Oling) before looking back at their duties for the week, at home and at school, and ticking each of those they had done (one girl had ‘take a nap’, a duty she had heroically managed to achieve every day that week!). After the lesson was done the first graders said goodbye to myself and Robbie (who one kid had, quite brilliantly, christened ‘Robbie Dobbie’) as we moved on to our next class with the year above. After an art class which saw them colouring in the national dress from various nations whilst peppering us with questions about England, Football, Indonesia and whatever else came to mind Robbie and I gave a short presentation about London to the second graders who were brilliant throughout, definitely a group we want to work more with!
After school we headed to ISCI as our scheduled sessions at Global Jaya had finished on Friday. Upon arrival we were informed that once again there would be no training as the u-14 and u-16 groups would be playing their end of the month friendly games against another local soccer school. After the impressive u-16 group comfortably beat their opposition in the steady rain thanks to a hat-trick from a very talented centre forward and two penalty saves from their keeper, the under-14 group’s kick off coincided with a fresh downpour which soon developed into what can only be described as tropical storm. Despite enough rain to call-off a month’s fixtures in England it took about 15 minutes of the game steadily sliding towards an episode of total wipeout before the ref (Sunday) had enough and called it off, after which a number of the kids decided they hadn’t had enough and proceeded to Klinsman dive it into any and every of the many puddles that had settled on the pitch!

Confronted with a swamp which made us seriously consider our 10 second walk back from the stand to the main ISCI building Robbie and I obviously assumed our Nomads debut, a game which was scheduled to kick off in two hours, would have to be delayed to a later date, a sentiment Reza was having none of. He assured us the game would definitely still be on before telling us he was taking us to the place with ‘the best duck in the world’ for our pre-match meal. Despite Robbie’s protestations that he never eats meat before a game we were soon whisked off in Reza’s car and arrived, still a bit damp, at the Bebek Goreng restaurant about 10 minutes later where he ordered us three pieces of duck, accompanied by Sambal and Nasi (chill sauce and rice). When the duck arrived it was clear Reza wasn’t lying, the meat was amazing and came with a sauce that was delicious, although when it wasn’t mixed with its sweet counterpart it was possibly the hottest thing I’ve ever eaten!

After a second portion each we headed off to the stadium (via the mall to buy shin-pads) where we would be making our debut and were immediately impressed that we would be playing in an actual ground, with stands and everything! This enthusiasm was dampened a bit, however, when we got out on the pitch and realised that, instead of possessing an unbelievable pitch drainage device, Indonesian footballers just love playing in the mud! After a quick scouting report on the other team ‘Latinos’ which informed us that they were top of the league and packed full of South/Central American ex-pros we took our place on the Nomad’s (a team name fully deserved given the diversity on display) bench as the game kicked off. After an even first few minutes the opposition’s first goal left us in no doubt that, although their legs might have been gone their tekkers were still fully intact as their best player and playmaker steamed into the box to meet a cross with an -unexpectedly athletic- scissor kick which absolutely flew into the bottom corner. After this goal the other team largely dominated, resulting in a 4-0 deficit at half time. After the break I joined Robbie, who had been brought on at centre mid at the end of the first half, at left back. Despite playing in a familiar position due to a combination of rustiness and the Copa’s inability to handle mud on such a scale I put in a thoroughly sub-par performance, although I really enjoyed being back in a proper match scenario after so long without playing competitively! After being taken off (rolling-subs, I wasn’t that bad!) with about fifteen minutes to go, and being welcomed back to the bench with a beer, all that was left was to watch Robbie round off what had been a very promising debut on his part as the team finally went down 5-0.

After the game we headed to De Hooi, who sponsor the team, for a few free pitchers and our ‘initiation’ into the club in the form of a flaming Sambuca, after four seconds of my mouth literally being on fire we spent the rest of the night munching on chicken-wings and drinking free Bintang whilst meeting the rest of the team before Reza dropped us off home before heading to go and represent the Jakarta Newcastle supporters club at a screening of the game put on by the Chelsea counterparts.

As we headed into school the next day a combination of tiredness, heat and the 3rd degree burns on the roof of my mouth had left me not in the best of moods. This sulk continued through all of our first lesson before, mid-way through the second I was reminded of the brilliance of working with kids as an impromptu Q and A session with the fourth graders featuring our likes, dislikes and the relative merits of The Avengers somehow turned into a mass-sing-along featuring the hits of, among others, LMFAO, Taylor Swift and One Direction! Mid-way through the second rendition of ‘What Makes you Beautiful’ I was well and truly back and into a positive mood which was only augmented when we somehow managed to swap a last lesson of Indonesian history with the year fives to a first grade music lesson, result!
After school we headed back to ISCI for more friendly matches and to witness our second tropical storm in as many days. Arriving at the ground early we had a front-row seat to some truly spectacular rain which went on for a solid forty minutes and made Wednesdays effort look like nothing but a brief April shower. After this display we felt sure that this time at least there would be no chance of play but were proven wrong yet again, you have to admire the determination and desire to play displayed by the coaches and kids and SSI as barely twenty minutes after the rain stopped I was on the pitch, whistle in hand ready to ref an u-12 game which, had it been taking place in England, my first move would’ve been to call off! Split into four quarters both teams struggled to get to terms with the pitch early on in the first as puddles made more tackles than any of the players. However as the game wore on both teams displayed admirable determination and enough skill to show they were clearly the best young players I had seen during my time here so far, SSI in particular playing some really good football in tough conditions to run out overall 7-3 winners, I look forward to working with them!

The rest of Thursday was spent relaxing after the exertions of the night before as we went for another Bebek Goreng, and bought a few dvds (two films, and a TV series for 2 pounds!) before heading home.
Friday was another relaxed day as, after a lie in we headed to Pattimura school’s other campus to watch Reza’s under-5 SSI team play in a friendly match, in which a team featuring some top talent secured a 7-5 victory! Before heading to Murphy’s Irish bar to sample Kemang’s nightlife in the evening. Good day!
The rest of the weekend was all pretty standard, watched Arsenal ridiculously throw away a lead on Saturday before shooting sessions with the u-6s and u-10s? on Sunday under a scorching sun followed by The Avengers, the best film of the year by miles! (I’m sure I’ll watch it again this week so stay tuned for more raving about how good it is).

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