Channel NewsAsia
Updated: Friday, 12 April 2013 05:06 | By Channel NewsAsia

Football: Indonesia side mulls cup pullout after HK chaos

Football: Indonesia side mulls cup pullout after HK chaos

Football: Indonesia side mulls cup pullout after HK chaos

JAKARTA - Cash-strapped Indonesian football club Persibo was 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 football 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," said Imam Nurcahyo, spokesman of the club from East Java province, admitting 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."

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," said Nurcahyo.

"We are angry to be blamed so perhaps the best thing to do now is to withdraw."

He said the club's management were meeting Thursday with local authorities -- who used to own the club -- to make a decision on whether to continue in the competition.

The PSSI however blamed poor management at the club, with association official Rudolf Yesayas saying that some player contracts had been drawn up only two days before tournament registration.

Hopes were raised last month that order would be restored to the troubled world of Indonesian football after the PSSI and the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI) agreed to unite, with the KPSI becoming part of the PSSI. - AFP/al

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