Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Persija Running to Stand Stilll

Turn away Persija fans for this won't make good reading.

What do you do with a club like Persija? They sit third from bottom in the Indonesia Soccer Championship with a whopping nine goals from their 16 games! Yeap, nine goals. What is going on at that football club? Change the tense editor, what has been going on there for several years now?

For some clubs challenging for honours is enough for fans. Put up a fight, show some spirit but as long as you do your best then all can be forgiven as the silverware gets lifted across the archipelago some place. Persija see themselves one of the big four in Indonesia alongside Arema, Persib and Persebaya but the days when they could hand on heart place themselves amid such gilded company are way behind us. For Persija, the team from a nation's capital, are now on a par with more provincial sides like Persela and Persiba. 

The Kemayoran Tigers have been left behind by Indonesian football. Clubs like Persipura and Sriwijaya have become the new royalty in local football while new kids on the block like Bali United, Pusamania and Madura United have been combining snazzy social media with commercial savvy as they seek to break into the elite grouping. Persija? Sports pages are littered with tales of woe as the club who, first game of the season attracted 50,000 +++, continually plead poverty.

Success now for Persija is signing Bambang Pamungkas and Ismed Sofyan to new deals, a tactic that has bit them on the bum spectacularly this season as Bambang has failed to score and Ismed has been injured for a while.

Paolo Camargo was let go as coach with Jan Saragih taking caretaker control but the club don't seem to be in a rush to appoint someone new despite the ISC saying they had to do so by the end of the first round of fixtures, Saragih lacking the required A license...which takes us nicely to next weekend.

The club can claim to be unlucky, striker Jose Guerra was released after a long term injury but there comes a time when you can no longer sit back and claim haplessly the dice are loaded. 10 games without a win tells you everything. Seven losses, three draws can't all be down to black cats and four leafed clovers. Someone somewhere within the football club needs to take responsibility that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. 

It must be galling for Persija that when Juan Belencoso struggled for their rivals Persib they went out and snapped up Sergio van Dijk. Persija are becoming the Arsenal of Indonesia, dithering while all around them get busy with things like plans. The football club have been a mess for years now, the point being accentuated even more as their rivals start to sip from the plate of professionalism.

Persija are in need of a coach, a team and a stadium. Perhaps when all three wheels come round the fans will finally hit the jackpot and their heroes will become one of the biggest clubs in the region. For now the bitter truth is Persija are just also rans in Indonesian football, struggling to stand still as others inspired by professional ideas and money off the field look to a new future.

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