Tuesday, February 15, 2011


They Could Play Abroad

Apart from several million who can claim Indonesian descent through a parent and keep cropping up on the back pages only to disappear soon after, there are no Indonesian players playing abroad at the moment. *

A few years back we had the likes of Bambang Pamungkas, Budi Sudarsono and Eli Aiboy strutting their stuff in Malaysia but given the shared history, language and culture it's a bit like an Englishman playing in Scotland. Or a Londoner in the North East.

There are two main reasons why Indonesians aren't an attractive proposition for foreign teams, not least of which is money. When Bambang Pamungkas, an articulate, urbane professional, turns down a move to Wellington Phoenix or when Erol Iba rejects a potential future in Sydney what they are doing is saying 'why the hell should uproot my family for a smaller salary. Oh, and higher taxes?'

The A League and the booming Thai Premier League are about the only feasible options should any Indonesian fancy a spell abroad. Forget the stuff about Oktavianus Maniani going to Europe or the time being.

The problem with the A League though is the money on offer while the problem with Thailand is also money. While they could match Indonesian salaries why bother when they are flooded with players willing to live and play in Thailand for less than an established Indonesian player.

The other drawback is mental toughness. It ain't easy living in a foreign country, especially when you front up on your own and told to get on with it. An Indonesian player won't have any safety net in places like Thailand and he would have to adapt very bloody quickly or he would be out on his ear. Witness Boas Solossa's omission from the national team ahead of the AFF Cup.

Supposing a club would be prepared to match or, more likely, better the wages on offer in Indonesia, and supposing a player had the mental wherewithal to get by without bakso, noodles and teh botol, what players could conceivably do a job overseas?

Megia Kurnia - Arema's promising young keeper. Considered good enough by his former coach Robert Alberts that he was willing to let first choice national team keeper Markus Horsion leave midway through a the title campaign.

Any keeper should be able to throw himself at a ball. Mostly it's instinctive and if he can't then he should find another career. What separates the good from the world class is the other stuff they do. The way they command the box, they way they marshall the defenders no matter who they are.

Alberts describes Megia as the best young keeper in South East Asia. I'd certainly place him alongside Kawin Thamasatchanan and Khairul Farmie. But in the case of Kawin I can imagine him playing overseas and getting stuck in. Can Megia?

Hamka Hamzah - Technically excellent. Good on the ball, powerful in the air, Hamka seems to have rediscovered his appetite for the game since moving to Persipura after a disappointing spell with Persisam.

Albert Riedl has recognised his return to form and he was disciplined and strong for Indonesia during the AFF Cup.

Tantan - Burst on the scene last year with some sparkling displays for Persitara and was initially called up by Riedl for trials but having signed for Batavia Union in the rebel Liga Primer Indonesia it looks like he may have blown his chance to make an impression at the highest level.

Small, tricky but blessed with an eye for a good pass Tantan has continued to shine in the LPI.

Boas Solossa - Been around yonks but still made an appearance in the 2009 SEA Games, Indonesia were planning to build their side round him during the AFF Cup 2010 but his frequent, unexplained absences from training cast a shadow over him and Riedl quickly axed him.

On fire for Persipura this season averaging over a goal a game he is finally showing the form we all know he is capable of on a regular basis. Blessed with Thierry Henry like pace and an eye for goal, if only he showed the same professionalism as the Frenchman.

Yongki Aribowo - First made Indonesian football sit up and take note a couple of seasons ago when he broke into the Persik side then blessed with big names and big reputations, he showed no signs of being overawed.

Missed the start of 2009/2010 season while preparing for the SEA Games, he returned for the second half of the season and hit the ground running though his goals came to late to save a poor Persik side from relegation.

Good upper body strength and confident in front of goal, he first stood out, for me at least, because he always seemed to have time on the ball, especially in the crowded penalty area. Not for him the blast mentality that afflicts so many in the country, Yongki knew exactly what he wanted to do, even before he got the ball.

Other people may point to Okatvianu Maniani but I remain to be convinced by him as being anything beyond an impact player. If Andi Oddang was 10 years younger he would be on the list and one player I would like to see more of is Tony Sucipto.

Any other suggestions?

* This does not include the players on the SAD project in Uruguay who will return at their end of their stint there.

what about Maman Abdurrahman? He played very well in the recent AFF (but not for persib this season though) or firman utina (top player)
i'm looking more at younger players. if firman was six or seven years younger then absolutely
you forgot Irfan Bachdim.

oh sorry. He was coming from abroad aniway :)

Btw, How about Ahmad Bustomi (25) ? He is the best Indonesian midfileder I guess.
how about

lukas mandowen (21), benny wahyudi (24), steve bonsapia(22), vendry mofu(22)
in that case.. eka ramdani's the man for me.. he seems to be playing forever but hes only 26, khairul amri's age. still remember his pass from the outside of the boot against, was it thailand ?
i agree, eka is class when on song. the stevie gerrard of persib

not seen so much of the persipura lads so cant really comment on them
Dare to put Andik Vermansyah on your list ?
The Persebaya 1927's Lionel Messi was born on 1991.
how about boas?,,is it true that he will be signed by VVV Venlo..or it's just HOAXX..
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