Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer Pt II

Palembang fans

For part I of Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer, please click here.

It is easy to make the mental leap that Indonesia is “more Muslim” than its sibling Malaysia is. But if that is the case, why are Koranic prayers read at before Football matches in Malaysia and not in Indonesia? The answer perhaps lies in the path to independence of both modern nation states.

It is something of a sour point to the Chinese and Indian Malaysians that Islam, a faith that is entirely foreign to them, has been chosen as their state religion. Yet in a country where ethnicity is a factor that influences your legal rights and civil status, the Chinese and Indian Malaysians are somewhat used to playing second fiddle.

The British shipped their ancestors into their Southeast Asian territories in Continue reading

Sunnis, Sukarno and Soccer Pt I

JDT Malaysian super league

A gruff voice boomed across the ground, magnified to ensure absolute clarity. The chatter of noise from the terraces abruptly stopped, all spectators shuffled to their feet. Way down below I was already on mine, but to my left I noticed a handful of young men in one of the media boxes end their conversation and put their smartphones away in haste, before bowing their heads. The exact message of the announcement was lost on me, but I Continue reading

Manzanilla & the Atlético Sanluqueño Story

Solear Manzanilla futbol

In exotically named Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Sevilla Atlético arrived at the Estadio el Palmar confident of three easy points. The outfit that forms part of the Sevilla FC organisation did not assume that local outfit Atlético Sanluqueño CF, embroiled in the relegation battle from their group in La Segunda B, would put up much of a fight. Somewhat surprisingly, a Continue reading

The Beautiful Fans

Milan derby tifo

Many comment on the decline of Serie A as an exhibition of the highest quality Football on the planet in the past two decades, but far fewer seem to correctly observe the fact that the Italian Football culture has been undoubtedly one of the most influential in the 20th century. Fanatics and Ultras from Lombardy to Sicily were the first to incorporate choreographies and tifos into the typical game day on a large scale, and this Continue reading

The Ball And The Bodega

Xerez Deportivo bar

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera not just to sample some of and learn about the city’s legendary fortified wines, but to also meet with members of El Kolectivo Sur; the only ultra group to have represented their city in all levels of Spanish professional and semi-professional Football. What surprised me however is the way in which the city’s great drinking tradition is so readily visible in the Football culture in this fine Andalusian city.

There exists an enduring myth that the word “Sherry” derives Continue reading