Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Can Persib Dare To Dream?
have not lost since April and their three remaining play off ties all come in Bandung against
Persebaya Surabaya (aka Persikubar), Mitra Kukar and Pelita Bandung Raya (nominally an away
game but played at Persib’s Si Jalak Harupat Stadium).
If Indonesian football was to follow the script then surely the Maung Bandung are odds on for the
title. Here of course it depends which script you are reading from!
During the regular season, Persib hardly put a foot wrong, losing just three games including home
and away agaonst Semen Padang and they have contnued that fine form into the play offs, winning
at Mitra Kukar and drawing away to Persebaya while narrowly defeating ‘local rivals’ Pelita
Bandung Raya 1-0 at home.
Like all successful teams, Persib’s form comes from a strong spine. I Made Wirawan was one of the
finest keepers in the country while he was at Persiba Balikpapan but was often overlooked for the
national team, perhaps in part because of his less than glamourous club.
Ahead of him come defenders Vladimir Vujovic, who has been on a goal scoring spree in recent
weeks that Mario Balotelli would be envious of, and the tough tackling Tony Sucipto.
Of course to get to the defense, opponents need to get past the Persib midfield which boasts the likes of Atep, Firman Utina, Makan Konate and Hariono.
Atep has in the last couple of seasons started to fulfill the early promise he had shown when he
exploded on the international stage at the 2007 ASEAN Football Federation Championships when he scored twice against Laos. His tricky wing play gives Persib an option down the flanks and he has a
happy knack, for Persib fans, of nicking priceless goals.
Hariono is the Roy Keane of the side...with hair. Tough tackling but blessed with skill and a large
engine, to cause Persib problems opponents need to negate Hariono’s presence at the heart of the
midfield. Pelita Bandung Raya did just that in their openong play off when the diminutive Kim
Jeffrey Kurniawan took him out of the game. Think Raheem Sterling on Keane!
Up front Ferdinand Sinaga has proved to be a firey one man strike force; blessed with skill but
always likely to go off one one!
As for the coach Djajang Nurdjaman, the former Persib and Indonesia international is proving the
move from assistant coach to gaffer may not be the great leap into the unknown many pundits would have us believe.
Djajang spent six years working either as an assistant to the main man or working with the second
team at both Pelita Jaya and Persib before somewhat surprisingly being given the nod at Persib in
2012. They have undoubtedly shown patience in the proverbial number two and he has rewarded that patience by moulding a side that has the ingredients to go all the way in the title race in a quiet,
With Persipura faltering, the title is up for grabs this season and while many eyes have been set on
the East Java duo of Persebaya and Arrema, not many would rule out the chances of Persib tasting
glory for the first time since the 1990s.