Monday, June 27, 2011


Bye Bye Bontang

It came as no real surprise to see Bontang relegated from the Indonesia Super League. They had been bottom so long it had become the norm. The 3-2 defeat against Persidafon in a feisty play off marred by nine yellow cards just confirmed the inevitable.

You can be sure though that many players will be happy to see the back of the team from East Kalimantan. Not from reasons of spite. More, the trip there is one of the more arduous undertaken in a country known for difficult road trips.
Most clubs would fly into Balikpapan and then make the six hour journey north, hugging the rocky coastline most of the way.

The downside though is that teams in the ISL now face the prospect of three games in distant Papua with Persidafon’s promotion!

Bontang have been woeful all season, losing 19 of their 28 games including eight at their own stadium. And yet only champions Persipura and 3rd placed Persija managed more goals away from home! Bontang, with just a single away win, at their closest rivals Persisam, scored 16 goals on their long distance travels.

The season started poorly with three straight defeats, conceding 17 goals in the process including eight away to Persipura. Other heavy defeats came against Arema twice, 5-0 and 8-0, while they returned from PSPS Pekanbaru on the wrong end of a 6-2 shafting. They even managed a 5-3 home defeat against Persiba Balikpapan who would for sure have enjoyed the six hour tip home after a game in which former Bontang striker Aldo Baretto hit a hat trick.

The one positive that Bontang can take out of such a woeful season has been the form of Japanese striker Kenji Adichihara. He managed 15 goals for the second season running and has surely done enough to attract the attention of bigger clubs. Rumours suggest both Persema Malang, in the Liga Primer Indonesia, and Persela Lamongan, in the ISL, have expressed an interest in the striker signed from Albirex Niigata in Singapore back in 2009.

For now though Bontang can look forward to a spell in the Divisi Utama. Whenever that starts!

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