Thursday, May 12, 2016


Experienced Sriwijaya Go For Youth Between The Sticks

Sriwijaya don't do youth. At least not at first glance. Pre ISC they recurited heavily with the focus on experience, adding players like Alberto Goncalves, Hilton Moreira, Firman Utina, TA Mushafri, M Ridwan. Put it this way. If I played for them the average age wouldn't increase that much!

Which makes their choice of goalkeeper all themore remarkable. They allowed international Dian Agus Prasetyo to join Pusamania leaving their options between the sticks and I like many others wondered which experienced keeper they would opt for.

But coach Widodo Cayho Putro, perhaps guided by goalkeeper coach Hendro Kartiko, bided his time. He didn't seem in a rush to recruit and with good reason. Rookie Teja Paku Alam has started the season and earned plenty of plaudits for his fine form with one website even going as far as naming him in their Team of the Week for Match Day 2.

I think they were a bit premature in their rush to praise him, One dive in particular looked good on the camera but the ball was going wide and anyway the Sriwijaya defence did an excellent job of marshalling what liitle threat there was from Persiba. But at a time when it looks like Indonesian football could well be readmitted to FIFA he has certainly done his reputation no harm, especially when keepers like Arrema's Meiga Kurnia and Persija's Andritany have also made a good impression early on.

Should we be surprised though? Hendro Kartiko has been goalkeeping coach at Sriwijaya since 2014 and would have seen the progress Alam had been making in the Under 21s. Kartiko is a legend in Indonesia, boasting 60 international caps and a career that saw him play for some of the biggest clubs in the country, including Sriwijaya.

Alam cut his teeth in the PSSI project iin Uruguay, unfortunately called SAD, and on his return to Indonesia in 2012 Sriwijaya swooped without hesitation for the young keeper.

Pre season another former Indonesian national team keeper Marus Horison was available. It says much for Kartiko, and WCP's, faith in Alam they passed on the opportunity to sign the experienced Horison and turned trusted instead in youth.

Mark the name. If he carries on with this fine form he could be one special keeper in years to come.

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