Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Match Day 24 In Numbers
Mitra Kukar v Persib 2-1 (David Maulana, Yogi Rahadian; Sergio van Dijk) 3,251
Perseru v Persela 1-1 (Osas Marvelous; Paolo Lima)813
PSM v Sriwijaya 2-1 (Rasyid Bakri, Ferdinand Sinaga; TA Musafri) 4,325
Bhayangkara v Persiba 1-0 (Thiago Furtuoso) 5,203
Persipura v PS TNI 3-2 (Boas Solossa 3; Erwin Ramdani, Pandi Lestalahu) 7,201
Bali United v Madura United 0-0 8,725
Semen Padang v Barito Putera 2-0 Marcel Sacramento 2) 1,927
Persija v Arema 1-4 (Greg Nwokolo; Cristian Gonzales 2, Esteban Vizcarra, Hamka Hamzah) 14,974
1 - Madura United 24 14 6 4 39-28 48
2 - Arema 24 13 7 4 30-11 46
3 - Persipura 24 12 7 5 33-20 43
4 - Bhayangkara 23 13 3 7 35-23
16 - Marcel Sacramento (Semen Padang)
14 - Pablo Rodrigues (Madura United, Alberto Goncalves (Sriwijaya)
13 - Luis Junior (Barito Putera)
12 - Shohei Matsunaga (Persiba)
11 - Marlon da Silva (Mitra Kukar), Thiago Furtuoso (Bhayangkara), Boas Solossa (Persipura), Cristian Gonzales (Arema)
More Tales Of Woe From Singapore
As if overseas based clubs wiping the floor clean on the pitch isn't enough to feel down in the dumps about Singapore football other news in recent weeks must have made even the most rose tinted fan feel despondent.
Daniel Bennett (38) and Mustafic Fahruddin (35) have been in fine form this season without doubt and deserve their recall to the national team ahead of the ASEAN Football Federation Championships later this year. But what does it say about the young players coming through? Are the development squads of Young Lions and below that bereft of promising young players Sundramurthy must go back in time to plan for the future?
You can almost here the despair in the voice of local legend R Sasikumar when he says some of the players in the national team are 'mediocre'.
As if that were not enough to have local fans dusting off their EPL replica shirts and turning their back for good on the local product Tampines Rovers, the nearest thing Singapore has to a glamour club, announced all its players were free to leave at the end of the season and for the 2017 campaign they would not be paying salaries of more than SG$2,500.
Way to go Stags! Bring in Jermaine Pennant on a reported SG$20,000 a month, sign up half of the LionsXII team, get Gerard Houllier to 'act' as a club ambassador, get Ronaldinho in for some selfie opportunities then decide there is no more money left.
With cash so hard to find the club announced they wanted no more to do with fruit machines, an important source of income for SLeague clubs who are incapable of marketing themselves. Apparently the Tampines owner thinks they are immoral because they encourage gambling. And his is right of course. They do. But unable to source cash from other areas why switch off the only tap they have?
It wasn't that long ago Australian smokers could cough themselves to an early grave safe in the knowledge their money was helping the national football team, known as the Winfield Socceroos, wave the national flag in foreign lands. There was no one else willing to stump up the cash.
But needs must when the devil farts in your direction and Tampines don't have many options when it comes to raising money if they do little about developing a fan base. Morals are all fine and dandy and we all should have them. But they are generally a middle class luxury. A starving vegetarian may overcome his qualms about a hamburger if there is sod all else available.
While the Stags plead poverty and put a dampner on their end of season run in Hougang United announce they have made a profit and are even returning some cash to the FAS (not investing in players?). How can Hougang, arguably a smaller club than Tampines, make money? Them darned fruit machines, that's how.
Foreign clubs cleaning up domestically. Veterans recalled to save their country again. Tampines need a begging bowl. Nope, there isn't much to be cheerful about in Singapore these days.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Vlad The Persib Saviour
While they have been strong at home as you would expect their away form has been poor at best with just two wins to show from their 11 games on the road and one of them was a 3-0 triumph over PS TNI in a game played in their own backyard of West Java.
Tables don't lie and Persib's current position of 9th in the 18 team league is a fair reflection of their consistency. Yet things could be so much worse. Back in 2014, the year Persib won the Indonesia Super League for the first time, it was the goals of defender Vladimir Vujovic that proved so important, especially in the second half of the season, as this piece I did for the Jakarta Globe back then shows.
Fast forward two years and Persib may not be in a position to challenge for the Indonesia Soccer championship but yet again it is the goals of their Montenegro defender that are saving them from ignominy.
With the forwards failing to find the net with any kind of consistency the journeyman defender with five goals this season finds himself the club's leading scorer. Yep, you read that right. The club who can boast the likes of Ajat Sudrajat, Zaenal Arif and Lorenzo Cabanas among their striking alumni are now reliant on the goals of a defender to save their blushes.
And as with the 2014 title winning season, Vujovic's goals are making a real difference to the team's ranking. It was he for example who equalised away to Persiba in the 77th minute to save a point. It was his late penalty at home to the same team that turned a point into three and he repeated the dose yesterday as Persib came from behind to defeat dogged Bhayangkara 2-1 in Cikarang.
Three of Vlad's five goals have changed the outcome of the game, earning his side an extra five vital points. Without those points Persib would be in the bottom half of the table and perhaps there would be some pressure swirling around the coach Djadjang Nurdjaman.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 200
Monday, October 10, 2016
Bambang Scores As Persija Go Five Unbeaten
Indonesia v Vietnam 2-2 (Irfan Bachdim, Zulham Zamrun;) 22,167
Indonesia Soccer Championship
Mitra Kukar v Sriwijaya 1-0 (Marlon Da Silva)
A month ago Sriwijaya were buzzing. They defeated Persib 3-0 and came away from leaders Madura United with a 5-2 victory, the second time they had gone nap against the Madurese this season. Then came a break in the ISC and that seems to have interrupted the team's momentum,
Last time out they were thumped 4-0 by Bhayangkara...now this. 180 minutes played with no goals scored, coach Widodo Cahyo Putro will be expecting more from his seasoned strike force of Alberto Goncalves (11 goals) and Hilton Moreira (seven). With his players back in action on Thursday at home to Gresik United the coach won't have that much time with his players to work on things on the training field.
For the victors it has been a funny old season Brian. They started the campaign on fire but then when through a bit of a middle age crisis before new coach Jafri Sastra has come in and turned things around. Five wins in their last six games have seen the team from East Kalimantan climb back up the table and they now sit 6th ahead of Wednesday's local derby away to Pusamania. Da Silva's goal was his fourth in three games.
Bali United v Persiba 1-2 (Fadil Sausu; Asnawi Mangkualam, Shohei Matsunaga)
Jaino Matos' team ended a four match winless run with the hugely impressive Matsunaga scoring his 11th of the season with a penalty on 57 minutes. Bali United ended the game with 10 men after Hasim Kipuw was red carded with three minutes on the clock.
Persija v Barito Putera 3-2 (Hong Soon Hak, Bambang Pamungkas, Greg Nwokolo; OG, Dedy Hartono)
Two wins on the spin! Persija really are on a roll after ending their 14 game winless streak. After edging Perseru last time out the Kemayoran Tigers came from behind to defeat Barito Putera with first goals of the season from veterans Bambang and returnee Nwokolo.
To be fair Persija are unbeaten in their last five games and with Emmanuel Kenmogne returning to the team to partner Nwokolo up front they look a far more solid proposition than they have for much of the season. For the first time in what seems like ages they seem to have some strength at the football club with Bambang and Ade Jantra on the bench while Ambrizal Umanailo and Ismed Sofyan didnt feature and Andritany was called up by the national team.
Two goals in three minutes completed a remarkable turn around and kept that mini revival on track. As for Barito Putera, just one win in 13 tells its own sorry tale but the club are to be commended for keeping fifth in coach Mundari Karya. But they are 17th in the ISC with 17 points from their 22 games and while Luis Carlos Junior's goals have papered over some of the team's cracks they are weak at the back having the third worst defence in the league. And next up they host Persipura; who beat them 5-4 last time round!
Indonesia Soccer Championship B Final 16
Celebest v Serang 0-2
PSIS v Persekap 3-1 6,918
PSPS v PSGC 1-1 1,453
Sunday, October 09, 2016
Perseru Late Show Earn Papuan Bragging Rights
Perseru v Persipura 2-0 (Osas Marvelous, Petrus Towolom) 8,743
It needed two goals in the last five minutes for Perseru to claim the bragging rights in the Papua Derby as they continued their fine home record in the Indonesia Soccer Championship. They have now won eight of their 10 homes games this season and the only reason they are not running away with the title is because they are pants on the road.
They have just one away win to show for their long distance journeys, away to Persiba, but the rest of the time they struggle and they have become the latest version of Persiwa or PSPS; unstoppable at home but poor travellers. This is Indonesia so read into that what you will.
The return of Osas up front has helped ease the pressure on Gakou Amadou for goals. The Nigerian has scored wherever he has been and while he many not have been a fan favourite with Penang during his short stint in Malaysia he has been prolific elsewhere though interestingly the 29 year old Nigerian's resume reads like a roll call of footballing outposts (PSAP, Persepam, Persiram, Perseru) rather than more established big name clubs.
For Persipura this was most definitely a trip to forget. Win and they would have gone up to second in the table, an incredible turnaround from the slow start to the campaign they went through. It also ended an eight game unbeaten run which included conceded a single goal, against shot shy Persija remarkably, in seven.
Persipura, it has to be said, were deprived of inspirational skipper and striker Boas Solossa as he was called up by the national team ahead of their friendly against Vietnam later today. Somewhat surprisingly Angel Alfredo Vera went with Edward Wilson Junior and defender Paulin Bio on the bench and started with a couple of younger players up top, Yohanes Pahabol and Riky Kayame. But to blame the loss on the absent players would be lazy...both goals came while the more experienced Wilson and Bio were on the field.
For bth sides this will probably be seen as one off. Perseru must make the long journey to West Sumatra to take on Semen Padang, who boast a 100% home record, while the three time champions make the somewhat shorter hop to South Kalimantan to play Barito Putera who they defeated 5-4 earlier in the season.
Madura United v Persib 2-1 (Pablo Rodrigues, Eric Weeks Lewis; Kim Jeffrey Kurniawan) 13,000
With Arema losing away to Gresik United, the season's unlikely heroes Madura United took full points in a firey encounter in front of a packed stadium to go four points clear at the top of the table. For all Madura's success this season just one of their players was called up by Alfred Riedl for the Vietnam friendly, keeper Hery Prasetyo so coach Gomes de Oliveria gave a start to Joko Ribowo.
Still, they are a team with some strength in depth these days after some astute recruitment and Madura started with new signing Ahmad Bustomi on the bench alongside Fellaini lookalike Ahmad Maulana Putra.
The home side took the lead halfway through the first half with Pablo Rodrigues scoring his 14th of the season. Persib's Kim Kurniawan, who went through a torrid time earlier in the season as fans turned on then coach Dejan Antonic and some of the players, pulled one goal back shortly after half time, his second in four away games.
Lewis restored the home team's lead on 55 minutes before rookie keeper Ribowo and Persib striker Sergio van Dijk were red carded after an unseemly incident shortly after the hour mark.
Persib's inconsistency continues. Despite boasting a fine squad they are struggling for goals, three in their last five games. Van Dijk has netted four since his return to West Java, the same as defender Vladimir Vujovic, and they are the top scorers! Samsul Arif has just two, Coach Djadjang was always going to get a longer honeymoon than Antonic, winning the ISL gives that little extra security, and the club may point out the ISC is not a regular competition.
But with the players at the club there is little doubt they are continuing to underperform and the table after all doesn't lie. They are 9th with eight wins and seven defeats.
Persela v Semen Padang 0-0 979 (Game played at Gajayana Stadium, Malang)
Indonesia Soccer Championship B Final 16
PSCS v Perssu 1-0 8,238
Kalteng Putra v PSS 1-3 2,105
Persita v Persepam 3-1 550
Saturday, October 08, 2016
Arema's Loss In East Java Derby Continues Poor Form
Ok so Bhayangkara may be a new club lacking in tradition or history but surely a 4-0 win at Jakabaring Stadium against Sriwijaya was a result to make people sit up and take notice? But no. That was last week, this was this week and despite the side being on a roll, one loss in last five games, a measly 2,000 bothered turning out for this game against Pusamania to see another three points gathered and the club remain two points behind leaders.
Mind, their core support is the police force, the club came about because of some kind of deal between Surabaya United and PS Polri, and there not much to suggest they have managed to attract a new generation of supporter to their stadium in Sidoarjo, a city with two clubs (Deltras and Persida) with their own history and fanbase.
As such the team have tended to operate below the radar even with the precocious talents of Evan Dimas on board and the coach Ibnu Grahan is probably happy to stay their as long as the results go their way.
As for Pusamania the loss ended an unbeaten run of five games and saw coach Dragan Dukanovic, well known for his acerbic post match comments about Indonesian football, say the game needed a magician to solve its problems.
Gresik United v Arema 1-0 (Patrick da Silva) 18,417
Despite Arema's positive start to the campaign they Crazy Lions have failed to really impress, often grinding out results against robust opponents but rarely setting the ISC on fire. There have been stand out performers, skipper Hamkah Hamza and Raphael Maitimo spring to mind for example, but you rarely come away from an Arema game going woo and wow.
This loss in an East Java Derby means their poor run of form continues with just two wins in their last eight games and while they remain in touch with leaders Madura United, Arema are a point behond with the Madurese set to play Persib today, that only highlights the general lack of consistency throughout the league. Or the fact that most teams are of a fairly equal standard?
That Arema's last two wins have come against title chasing rivals Madura and Bhayangkara suggests the team has all the necessary tools in the locker to secure the ISC but the frequent dropping of points against more 'lowly' opposition like Persiba and Mitra Kukar, and of course this loss,suggests perhaps a mental challenge for coach Milo Seslija as he seeks to rediscover that grittiness that was so successful earlier in the campaign.
In a way, Gresik United's new coach Eduward Tjong, fresh from his efforts with the national Under 19s, has similar issues. He has inherited a team that can rise to the occasion in the big games, they
have defeated Sriwijaya and Persib this season as well as Arema, but have struggled to get their act together against the rest of the ISC, especially on their travels where they have shipped 30 goals in their 11 games.
It was no surprise to see Brazilian striker da Silva score yesterday. It was his seventh of the campaign and if ever the adage 'cometh the hour, cometh the man', were to ring true then it is with the homely East Java side. It was his pair that ended Sriwijaya's unbeaten start to the season while he also netted one in the win over Persib.
Indonesia Soccer Championship B Final 16
Persiraja v PSIM 1-2 7,660
Martapura v Persik 4-0
Singapore v Malaysia 0-0
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Singapore's Strategic Plans
|The league was split into two halves after matchday 22. Teams in each half play every other team from their half once, for an additional five matches. Results in the 2nd phase were added to that in the 1st phase for overall standings.|
Indonesia Soccer Champions B Play Offs
After a mammoth ISC B season spread acorss three time zones and split into eight groups we are now at the first knock out phase of the ISC B campaign with the top two clubs in each group facing off in four new groups.
Group A - Perssu Madura United, Persiraja, PSIM, PSSC
Group B - Persita, PSS, Persepam, Kalteng Putra
Group C - Persik, Persrang, Martapura, Celebes
Group D - PSIS, PSPS, PSGC, Persekap
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed some heavy hitters among that little lot with Persik and PSIS having been crowned Liga Indonesia champions in the not too distant past. PSS have regularly attracted the largest home crowds in the country while PSIM have their own long proud history.
The island of Madura continues to shine on the football map. Following in the wake of Madura United's success, Perssu and Persepam are flying the flag for the island in ISC B with Perssu getting off to a good start, defeating PSIM 1-0 in their opening game.
And a word for Celebes. A new club based in Palu on the island of Sulawesi, they have found themselves sponsors galore and seem to be a club of real promise focussing on the young players from that often overlooked part of the country.
Match Day 1 Results
Perssu MU v PSIM 1-0
PSS v Persepam 1-1
Kalteng Putra v Persita 3-6
Persik v Perserang 0-0
Indonesia v Vietnam Squad
The original request from the PSSI had the game slated for 9th September,,.an administrative cock up of the first order. The body responsible for arranging the game issue a letter with the wrong information!
Organisers are also unaware whether Vietnam will be bringing any supporters to the game but if they do then a block of 500 seats in the West Stand will be set aside for them. Ticket prices range from 30,000 Rp to 150,000 Rp.
While AFF Championships group rivals Singapore have gone back in time by calling on golden oldies like Daniel Bennett and naturalised Mustafic Fahruddin, Alfred Riedl has gone for a more youthful look with a squad built around younger local players meaning no place for the likes of Cristian Gonzales and Raphael Maitimo.
In keeping with the squad for the recent game against Malaysia there remains a limit on two players per club being called up, a request that came from the ISC clubs, a demand that does of course force Riedl to be almost political in his approach to calling together a squad as he strives to meet that demand with the need to weld together a squad capable of challenging for the title later this year.
Still we do get the chance t see players wearing the merah putih who otherwise would have struggled for a call up had the Austrian coach had a freer hand with Pusamania duo Jefri Kurniawan and Lerby Eliandry being recognised for their fine performances in the ISC.
Up front Riedl has called upon the two leading local goalscorers, Boas Solossa and Ferdinand Sinaga who each have eight for the campaign so far. After slow starts with their respective sides both strikers have rediscovered form and consistency in recent weeks and fans will be keen to see how the pacy duo fair against Vietnam's disciplined defence.
Despite the importance of the friendly there is still a full round of games in the Indonesia Soccer Championship this coming weekend.
1. Andritany Ardhiyasa, Persija Jakarta
2. Jandia Eka Putra, Semen Padang
3. Hery Prasetyo, Madura United
4. I Putu Gede Juni Antara, Bhayangkara FC
5. Manahati Lestusen, PS TNI
6. Benny Wahyudi, Arema Cronus
7. Hansamu Yama Pranata, Barito Putera
8. Dominggu Fakdawer, Persipura
9. Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, Bali United
10. Fachrudin Wahyudi, Sriwijaya FC
11. Rudolof Yanto Basna, Persib Bandung
12. Abdul Rachman, Persiba Balikpapan
13. Muhammad Abduh Lestaluhu, PS TNI
14. Andik Vermansyah, Selangor FA
15. Septian David Maulana, Mitra Kukar
16. Evan Dimas Darmono, Bhayangkara FC
17. Ichsan Kurniawan, Sriwijaya FC
18. Bayu Pradana Andriatmoko, Mitra Kukar
19. Dedi Kusnandar, FC Sabah Malaysia
20. Zulham Malik Zamrun, Persib Bandung
21. Rizki Rizaldi Pora, Barito Putera
22. Jefri Kurniawan, Pusamania Borneo FC
23. Irfan Haarys Bachdim, Hokkaido Consodole Sapporo
24. Boaz Theofilius Erwin Solossa, Persipura Jayapura
25. Lerby Eliandry Pong Babu, Pusamania Borneo FC
26. Ferdinand Alfred Sinaga, PSM Makassar
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Match Day 21 - Bhayangkara Crush Sriwijaya
Pusamania v Madura United 1-1 (Flavio Beck Junior; Pablo Rodrigues) 6,141
Arema v Mitra Kukar 0-0 21,653
Persipura v Persela 5- 0 (Yohanes Pahabol 2, Edward Wilson Junior, Boaz Solossa, Riky Kayame (13,051)
Barito Putera v PSM 1-2 (Luis Carlos Junior; M Rahmat, Willem Jan Pluim) 1,377
Persib v Persiba 2-1 (Sergio Van Dijk, Vladimir Vujovic; Shohei Matsunaga) 16,120
Sriwijaya v Bhayangkara 0-4 (Otavio Dutra, Thiago Furtuoso, Evan Dimas, M Hargianto) 15,725
Persija v Perseru 2- 1 (Emmanuel Kenmogne, Gunawan Dwi Cahyo; Osas Marvelous) 1,372
PS TNI v Gresik United 2- 0 (Aldino Herdianto, Manahati Lestusen (951)
Semen Padang v Bali United 3-0 (Irsyad Maulana, Lee Kilhoon, Marcel Sacramento)
1 Madura United 21 12 5 4 35-26 41
2 Arema 21 11 7 3 24- 9 40
3 Persipura 21 11 6 4 30-16 37
4 Sriwijaya 21 10 7 4 38- 20 36
5 Bhayangkara 20 11 3 6 31- 20 36
13 Pablo Rodriguez (Madura United), Marcel Sacramento (Semen Padang, Luis Carlos Junior (Barito Putera)
11 Alberto Goncalves (Sriwijaya)
10 Shohei Matsunaga (Persiba)
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Persija Appoint Ex Indonesia U23 Coach
The Kemayoran Tigers have turned to Zein Alhadad to fill their hot seat and the low key appointment perhaps sums up where Persija are these days as a football club. Without a home while Bung Karno is being renovated, without a win in 10 games and struggling to find players from those cast off or rejected by other clubs Persija are a pale shadow of their former selves and the appointment of the little known Zein seems to confirm that suspicion.
Zein did work with the Indonesia Under 23s alongside Aji Santoso at the SEA Games in 2015 when Indonesia reached the semi finals but were thrashed 5-0 by Thailand. They ended up finishing fourth in the competition after losing to Vietnam by the same score in the 3rd/4th place play off.
Whether he can do much to change Persija's fortunes is a moot points. The problems lie elsewhere. However for a guy used to working with young players Zein has some promising players to choose from as he sets about trying to turnaround a disappointing season.
Persikota Are Back!
The last few years they have been in the football wilderness much as the city of Tangerang has been. With Benteng Stadium a shadow of its former glory, weeds and grass taking over the terraces where thousands once sang and swayed, fans in the industrial city to the west of Jakarta have been denied top flight football for a while now. Persita have been playing home games in Karawang, to the east of Jakarta while Persikota have all but become a memory.
I did see them play in Division One back in 2014 but they played those games in Cilegon and failed to secure a place back in Divisi Utama but now fans have the chance to see them aga
Persikota have been drawn alongside Persitangsel, Persic, Serang Jaya and Bantara SC and will play their group stage games at Mini Ciputat Stadium near Bintaro.
04/09 Persikota v Persitangsel
07/09 Persikota v Bantara SC
09/09 Persikota v Serang Jaya
14/09 Persikota v Persic
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
First Half Of ISC By Numbers
13 points - Persela
11 wins - Madura United
3 wins - Persija, Gresik United
8 draws - Mitra Kukar
1 draw - Persela
2 losses - Madura United
12 losses - Persela
27 goals scored - Madura United, Sriwijaya
10 goals - Persija
8 goals conceded - Arema
32 goals conceded - Gresik United
+14 goal difference - Sriwijaya
-14 goal difference - Gresik United
12 goals (top scorer) - Luis Carlos Junior (Barito Putera)
7 goals (top local scorer) - Ferdinand Sinaga (PSM)
50,117 - Persija v Semen Padang
1,135 - Bali United v Madura United
5-4 - Persipura v Barito Putera
20,775 - Persib average attendance
Monday, August 29, 2016
Go Home Coach, You're Drunk
Indonesia Squad Announced For Malaysia Friendly
Arema's Struggles On And Off The Pitch
Madura United Go Five Points Clear
Persija v Bali United 1-2 (Ramdani Lestalahu; Nemanja Vidakovic, Yabes Roni) 6,333
Mitra Kukar v Persela 1-2 (Arthur Cunha; Steven Anderson 2) 2,870
Persib v Arema 0-0 20,581
Pusamania v Sriwijaya 2-2 (Jefry Kurniawan, Lerby Eliandry; Airlangga Sucipto, Yohanis Nabis) 5,103
Madura United v Barito Putera 1-0 (Elthon Maran) 5,216
Persiba v PS TNI 2-0 (Heri Susanto, Siswanto) 2,630
PSM v Persipura 0-0 6,754
Gresik United v Semen Padang 1-1 (Arsyad Yusgiantoro; Vendry Mofu) 3,143
1 - Madura United 17 11 4 2 27-17 37
2 - Arema 17 9 5 3 21-8 32
3 - Persipura 17 8 5 4 21-15 29
4 - BS United 16 9 2 5 23-17 29
Negeri Sembilan v Kedah 0-0
PKNS v Selangor 3-4 (Juan Cobelli, Gonzalo Soto, Gabriel Guerra; Ugo Ukah, Hazwan Bakri, R Gopinathan, Mauro Olivi)
Kelantanv PDRM 1-2 (Indra Putra, Safuwan Bahrudin, Guilherme de Paula)
T Team v Felda United 1-1 (Safawi Rasid; Forkey Doe)
Sunday, August 28, 2016
ISC Backtrack On A License Requirement. But Only For Persib
Friday, August 26, 2016
Okta Maniani Quits Persiba For Civil Service
The goals dried up for Indonesia as they struggled to get past first Thailand and then the Philippines before losing to Malaysia in the final but fans had a couple of new heroes...Bachdim and Okta. Amid the hype there were even suggestions the diminutive winger could go on and play in Europe, an early example of a story aimed more at click bait than any meaningful analysis.
|Okta, wearing 10, celebrates after Indonesia score against Laos, 2010|
Fans who had jumped on the bandwagon that followed the Indonesian team to the final that year ooh and ahhed at Okta's pace ad willingness to run at players, sometimes even goalward. He would have been a defender's worst nightmare come true but without being too disparaging he made Theo Walcott look like Trevor Brooking when it came to reading the game. His playing style was simple...just run. What his team mates did was neither here nor there Okta ran and that was it. Against Laos and Malaysia he was the archtypal impact player but after a couple of run outs canny coaches knew how to nullify his threat. The media loved him for a while but soon found their new heroes and at the age of 20 he was all but forgotten as quickly as fame had embraced him.
If you think I am being too harsh on the lad then consider his career post 2010. He left Sriwijaya in 2011 and you would think the world of football was at his feet if you believed the hype that surrounded him but the bigger local clubs steered clear. Instead of for example Persipura signing him, he travelled round the islands, taking his boots to play in Papua, with Persiram, Ternate (Persiter), Kalimantan (Barito Putera), Papua again with Perseru and Kalimantan again with Pusamania. With the ISL halted last year, instead of being sought by some of the big clubs in South East Asia he ended up in Timor Leste with Carsae FC, coached by Brazilian Fabio de Oliveira who knew him well from his Indonesian days.
He started the ISC campaign back in Kalimantan with Persiba as coach Jaino Matos went with a local striker force but Okta looked a spent force. It seemed his pace had gone and like the emperor found out when his clothes were taken from him, Okta was nothing without that pace. He looked lost on the field and was unable to provide the Honey Bears with any kind of potency up top.
It seems Okta has now bowed to the inevitable and quit professional football, preferring the security of a job with the civil service closer to home. That Okta is just one of several players in recent months who have sought the safety of government service over the glamourous but pitfall ridden career of professional football shouldn't come as a suprise considering the mess the game has been in over the last few years.
His coach at Persiba doesn't seem too concerned by his loss. 'In life there are many choices,' Jaino was quoted as saying, 'Players come, players go, it's normal.'
If his career is over it was certainly a short, eventful one. His career is also an example of how a highly hyped young player is still a long way short of being the finished article. Often with pieces like this we are left wondering what might have been but I fear with Okta there could be no doubts about his career. Never again could he reach the supposed heights of 2010 because those heights only came about because of his arrival on the international stage from anonymity. He was the one trick pony we often read about.
UPDATE - it seems Okta has put his civil service career on hold and signed for Arema! A strange move by Arema, an even stranger one by Okta.