Friday, July 13, 2018
Sriwijaya Player Exodus Amid Rumoured Money Issues
Back in March in the Jakarta Casual Liga 1 Season Preview I asked if two-time champions Sriwijaya are back after they had appointed Rahmad Darmawan as coach and they had signed a number of big names for the coming campaign. Surely after a few seasons below the radar the addition of quality players like Hamkah Hamza and Patrich Wanggai meant the South Sumatran side meant business?
Early results seemed to bear out those early predictions as a run of just two losses in nine games kept them close to the upper reaches of the table. A convincing win over Persela (5-1) meant Laskar Wong Kito went into the Ramadhan break in confident mood and surely that euphoria would have only been enhanced when they defeated PS Tira 4-1 after the break.
Then the rumours started to swirl in earnest. That Sriwijaya were having money troubles. There were suggestions at the start of the month the players hadn't been paid for June and there were doubts July's money would be paid.
Quite why this problem should arise is not clear though people have suggested a link with local elections which may or may be true. Politics in football? Hard to believe innit?
It's very frustrating for all concerned of course, including the fans who get excited about their team's chances only to see the wayang master slam shut the wallet.
Today saw Sriwijaya officially announce nine players would be released as well as Rahmad, the coaching and medical staff. Among those leaving Palembang are Adam Alis (Bhayangkara) and Hamka Hamzah who has been snapped up by Arema after rejecting offers from five other teams. Alfin Tuasalamony, Novan Sasongko, Pierre Paulin Bio, Patrich Wanggai, Rahmad Hidayat, Makan Konate and M Ndiaye have also been told they are no longer required with Alfin following Hamka to Malang.
Where this leaves Sriwijaya for the rest of the season. It looks like they have retained some experienced players like Esteban Vizcarra, Alberto Goncalves as well as youngsters like Teja Paku Alam and Ichsan Kurniawan while there has been suggestions Subangkit could replace Rahmad. But would a new coach be given funds to go out and replace those departures? Most unlikely.
One thing is for certain. The 11 players who will line up for Sriwjaya next Tuesday away to Mitra Kukar will be a very different line up to the team that fought valiantly for a draw at home to Persija last time out.