Monday, December 27, 2010


Oktavianus (Sriwijaya & Indonesia)

Sriwijaya winger Oktavianus has thrilled the Indonesian fans during the 2010 AFF Cup. Seemingly running on alkaline batteries he has run non stop for the Garuda on his left tit causing no end of problems for Malaysia and Laos in the opening group games.

But is he just a one trick pony?

He’s like Forrest Gump when he decided to go for a run and never stopped. He’s like the kid in the playground who loves the showboating but never gets selected for the school team.

Wingers need end product. Without it they become a luxury as England have found out over the eyars, especially with the likes of Peter Barnes. Yes, fans love to see players flying down the wing. But they also need to see a cross being met by a team mate.

Okta is still young, 20, and there are many who will forgive his youthful misdemeanors on the pitch. But only while he is on the winning side. When the results dry up fans will start to get frustrated.

I am still haunted by two memories of the Papuan flyer. One was an attempted double footed overhead kick in his own penalty are that didn’t come off but brought a big cheer from the fans if not his coach. And another time when his team were awarded a corner he diligently ran back to his allotted defensive place on the park to await a goal kick.

Coaches had soon wised up to him and after the opening two games his impact lessened. The Thais, Philippines and, yesterday, the Malaysians, had got him sussed and effectively marked him out the game. The surprise factor had ceased to be a surprise.

Tellingly, in each game he has played during the AFF Cup he has been replaced by his Sriwijaya team mate Arif Suyono who has impressed in his cameo roles. The more experienced Suyono could run at defenders as well but he also has a bit more upstairs and is able to involve himself more in what’s going on around him. Okta, when he doesn’t have the ball, will rarely go out and seek it for himself, he becomes peripheral.

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