Saturday, February 21, 2009


10 Top South East Asian Talents

Inspired by another website, which I have totally forgotten, and having plenty of free time as usual I decided to come up with a list of players I enjoy watching. They may not be the best in their position but that ain't the point. The point is they have shone in games I have seen. They're in no particular order but we'll start, like all fantasy sides, with the keeper.

Achmed Kurniawan (Persik) - Aging a bit and behind Markus Horison in the pecking order for the national team I first saw this guy playing for Arema against Deltras in an East Java derby and he turned in a Jim Montgomery 1973 style performance when he stopped everything that went his way. A similar performance last time out against Sriwijaya when he was unlucky to end on the losing side.

Firman Utina (Pelita Jaya) - I get tired just watching this guy. First thought he was all brawn but the more I see him, the more I like. Indonesia's very own Roy Keane though perhaps without the beer intake, his coach Fandi says he needs a rest but he won't give him one. With such a versatile player where do you get the best from him? Playing off a striker, attacking midfield?

Hamka Hamza (Persik) - I did laugh when Persik signed Hamka, they seemed such a perfect match. Persik, the team that don't defend, Hamka, the defender that won't defend. He thinks he's Ronald Koeman! Him and Abanda Herman last season at Persija had the coaching staff tearing their hair out.

Budi Sudarsono (Sriwijaya) - Class oozes from his very spores. At his best running against defenders, especially from wide positions, this guy is always going to cause problems...unless he is played as a central striker where I feel we don't see the best of him. Shone with Persik during their ACL campaign in 2007 I'm sure he will do again this time.

Ismed Sofyan (Persija) - A reluctant defender, Ismed has a touch of a Beckham about him but without the life style or a missus who likes the limelight as much as her old man. Ismed does a couple of things very well indeed. One is dead balls. Free kicks or corners, he will nearly always work the keeper. And long range shots. Check out his 40 yard effort against Persik on You Tube. Somewhere.

Boas Solossa (Persipura) - Just returning from a nightmare 18 month injury Boas has pace to burn but like Firman, just where do you play him? Through the middle, on the flank where he is one of the few attacking options for Benny Dollo?

Bambang Pamungkas (Persija) - The Gary Linekar of Indonesian football, Bambang is the hottest name in the country. A consumate professional, a quality striker and a bloody nice guy as well. Just watch him on the pitch. Always appreciating others efforts, a pat on the back, a thumbs up. Used as the main striker in the national team, his club coach Danurwindo sees him differently and pairing him alongside a big striker could be a master stroke.

Syamsul Arief (Persibo) - Just seen him on the box in Copa games, he's one of those players who always looks like scoring. ADmittedly he hasn't been so prolific in the second tier IPL as he has in the Copa against the big teams but he still has a certain summat about him. Must ask Fandi what he thinks of him when we next meet - Pelita Jaya are up against Persibo in the Copa.

Teerathep Winothai (Lierse) - When someone like Steve Darby tells me to look out for such a such a player then I do as I'm told. While the Thai media moaned about his lack of goals I was impressed by his movement. The way he went wide to create space, the way how he could cross the ball. He may not have been scoring himself but for sure his efforts were helping his team. The other thing I noticed was his size. One reason why Indonesia struggled during the AFF Cup is their lack of a big man up front. It all got one dimensional.

Noh Alam Shah (Tampines Rovers) - Bubbly, heart on sleeve, all that sort of stuff. NAS is the most un-Singaporean Singaporean I know. In the semi final against Vietnam I spent the first half hour just watching this human dynamo. When the tackles were flying he was in there, when the crosses came in he was in there and when it was handbags he was in there. Sometimes it looks like he plays on passion alone and that makes him worth watching.

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