Czech coach muses about Indonesian football

Czech national Miroslav Janu, coach of the 2006 Indonesian Cup winner, Arema Malang, describes the club's supporters as "a big problem" even though the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) last year awarded them the title of Best Indonesian Football Supporters. "I coached in Sabah [Malaysia] for four years and for more than a year in Makassar but I've never seen fans like this. And the media is sensational and so negative. They criticise me, but some journalists don't understand the game. I say to them: 'Tell me something I don't know,'" he told Duncan Graham of The Jakarta Post.

"Arema are the original take-no-prisoners fans, and when they're on the road (every fan seems to have a motorbike without a muffler) the wise steer into the nearest paddy field. Better to confront the mud than the mad. Their other name is Singo Edan, which translates as Crazy Lions. It's an apt title for the Aremaniacs," Graham himself commented.

Janu started playing professional football when he was 17 with first division team SK Slovia Praha (Prague). He quit the field in his 30s and spent two years training to be a coach. Then he worked in his homeland, in Austria and in South East Asia. "I try every day to work one hundred percent. I want my players to have the same standards, to improve. I tell them they must have discipline and practice, practice. This is a different job to anything else. When things go wrong they can't blame others. They must look at themselves first and ask: 'What mistakes have I made?' They must respect each other and respect the coach ... Some have difficulty playing as a team. They have too much ego. This is a problem in Indonesia. They can't take the money as professionals, and then play like amateurs -- this is the point.

"About 60 percent get more money than me on their contracts. That's not an issue for me -- I've got everything I want, home and family in Prague. Football has been good to me ... I don't think there are communication problems with the players. I talk to them face-to-face. And no problems with cultural differences -- I've worked in Malaysia where the fans are more sophisticated. Maybe the problem here is that there are so few other sports to support," he mused.