World of Sport

Match abandoned as team already trailing 8-0 are reduced to six men

World of Sport

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Djohar Arifin Husin, chairman of The Indonesian Football Association (AFP)

Indonesian football endured another embarrassing chapter as club side Persibo had their AFC Cup match against Sunray Cave JS Sun Hei in Hong Kong abandoned when trailing 8-0 after being reduced to six men.

Persibo only sent 12 players to the match in the region's second tier continental tournament because of financial issues, and numerous injuries at the Mong Kok Stadium left them with only six, forcing the game to a halt in the 65th minute.

The Asian Football Confederation said they "will review all the incidents pertaining to the match" before giving their verdict.

"First of all I would like to apologise," Persibo coach Gusnul Yakin said after the game.

"We tried our best, but our players played very badly and we had lots of players injured.

"The players only arrived (on Tuesday morning) and they are tired. We only brought 12 players as we have financial problems."

The apology did little to appease the home side's Brazilian captain Roberto Afonso Jr.

"It's a shame on them. No one believed their players were injured. They just did not want to continue," he told the South China Morning Post.

The paper said Persibo players started "falling like skittles after minimal contact with their opponent" with Thai referee Chaiya Mahapab awarding the match to the home side when Persibo were unable to field the minimum seven players required.

"We didn't expect this situation from Persibo; they don't have any sporting spirit," Sunray coach Chiu Chung Man said.

"We have heard many times about the lack of sportsmanship of Indonesian teams but did not expect it to happen with us."

Despite the huge popularity of football in one of the world's most populated countries, financial issues are rife amongst Indonesian clubs.

Last year, Paraguayan striker Diego Mendieta died of a treatable viral infection in Central Java after going four months without being paid, drawing strong condemnation from world players union FIFPro.

Most of the problems have been blamed on a lengthy power struggle between the country's football association and the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee with FIFA long threatening a ban.

However, an extraordinary congress in Jakarta last month was hailed as a success by officials after a peace deal was struck between the two rival factions to merge and form one league and one national team.

Tuesday's match was Persibo's fourth in Group F of the tournament.

They are bottom of the four team standings with one point and are scheduled to host Yangon United of Myanmar later this month before rounding off their campaign away to New Radiant SC of the Maldives on May 1.

"We want to continue to play in the AFC Cup but we do not have financial support," Yakin said. "We will try our best to play our remaining matches in the AFC Cup."

Reuters

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