Thursday, January 21, 2010


Persipura eye Asian glory

Last season's Super League Champions Persipura are just a month away from their first foray into the AFC Champions League. With their Mandala Stadium in Jayapura being renovated at the moment they will be forced to play their home games in the group stage at the Bung Karno in Jakarta, their ISL games being played in Makassar.

After an 18 game unbeaten run spanning two seasons the side known as the Black Pearls have come off the rails somewhat with just five wins in their 15 games so far this season. Ominously they have just lost three games, drawing their other seven. They are sitting 5th, eleven points behind the leaders Arema.

A couple of factors have conspired to rob Persipura of last season's cloak of invincability. Firstly their striker Ernest Jeremiah was forced to leave after headbutting a ref in last year's Copa Indonesia final and has never been adequately replaced.

Second their local hero Boaz Solossa has only been involved in fits and starts, having also to contend with injuries and national team duty in both the Asian Cup qualifiers and SEA Games. Along with Boaz other players have also suffered from injury and call ups leave coach Jacksen F Tiago's men looking understaffed at times.

Alberto Goncalves has been lethal again this season but he is just one. Last season he was up top with Jeremiah and Boaz. Yustinus Pao has done ok but lacks the experience for now.

At the back, former national team keeper Jendri Pitoy has been looking vulnerable to long range shots. Against Persema and Persebaya his hands were stinging and his defenders left complaining as shots from outside the box had him scampering hither and thither. The three points against Persebaya in Surabaya was the biggest job since Ronnie Biggs and his mob coshed the driver back in the early 60s.

But with their first ACL game on 23rd Feburary against Korean side Jeonbok you can be sure Persipura will be busy looking for new blood to kick start their campaign

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