Friday, June 19, 2009


Who are ya?

Tomorrow sees Persijap Jepara take on holders Sriwijaya in the 1st leg of their Copa Indonesia semi final and it's probably fair to say Persijap, from the north coast of Central Java just a short drive from Semarang, are one of the ISL's unfashionable clubs.

They are rarely shown on TV despite drawing good home crowds. They lack any star names. The town of Jepara itself has a thriving furniture industry but their football team rate scarcely a mention outside the city limits.

Their coach is a geezer named Junaidi and he has put together a team that is obviously very difficult to break down but still one that is never goingto win any trophies any time soon.

The biggest name player is probably their 26 year old Argentinian striker Pablo Frances in his forst season in Indonesia. He came at the start of the season from Bolivia where he had been playing with that Andean powerhouse Oriente Petrolero and has settled in pretty well so far.

10 goals in his debut season, with six of them in the Copa, he looked sharp and lively in the 2nd leg of their quarter final against Persitara, adept at stretching the defence and with neat ball control in dangerous areas.

That Persijap's top scorers in the recently finished ISL managed only 13 goals between them tells all you need about their League failings where they finished comfortably, but unthreateningly 10th. 35 year old Brazilian Evaldo Silva came up with 7 goals while Arnaldo Villalba managed just half a dozen.

Given the imports failure to regularly bulge the net Indonesian striker Ilham Hasan chipped in with three goals towards to the tail end of the season. But he's hardly one for the future having just turned 29!

Persijap players rarely feature in any international gatherings whatever the level though one youngster has made a breakthrough recently. Johan Juansiyah is a 20 year old striker from West Java who has broken through to the Under 23s recently.

They are though one of just three clubs I believe in Indonesia who have Asians on their books. Premier League side Persikad featured a Japanese player, ?!, last season. Australian Robbie Gaspar has been with Persiba for a couple of seasons.

Thai Phaitoon Thiabma returned for his second spell with the club during the mid season break.

Nurul Huda, Dony Siregar, Danang Wihatmoko, Noor Hadi. The anonymous team of Indonesia take on Sriwijaya, possibly in Jepara, possibly in front of an empty stadium, on the verge of their first ever Copa final appearance.

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