Friday, May 06, 2011


Persiba Win Exciting East Borneo Derby

Well, politically speaking it is a derby. Persiba travelled to Bontang and won 5-3 continuing their recent goal scoring spree, 13 in three games. A derby geographically? Well, if you wanna call a 6 hour drive a local derby!

Persiba finished 3rd last season and hopes were high in the oil rich town that a serious shot at the title was on the cards. Never worked out that way and despite a reasonable start to the season they soon faded from the scene.

Which is odd. Every good time needs a spine and Persiba, nicknamed the Honey Bears which sounds better before the translation, have one of the best in the country. At the back is I Made Wirawan, surely unlucky to have never been called up by the national team.

Mijo Dadic is in his third season with the team and is a big, European style uncompromising defender. Robertinho in the midfield buzzes here and there while up front Aldo Baretto has scored consistently ever since he arrived in Indonesia, ironically last season he was top scorer for Bontang, but has rarely made the headlines. Perhaps because he has never played on Java.

Add to that players like Singaporean international Khairul Amri, who netted spectacularly on his debut in Indonesia after moving from Tampines Rovers, Sultan Samma and Eki Nurhakim you're looking at the makings of a pretty potent team. So potent in fact that two weeks ago leaders and favourites Persipura need two late, late goals to beat them 3-1 in their own Mandela Stadium; a venue they rarely drop points in.

Three big wins in their last three games have finally put distance between themselves and bottom team Bontang. Persiba's win yesterday sees them climb to 10th spot and the 13 goals have brought parity to their goal difference.

Their play off worries may have ended but they still have three very tough away games to face, against Persisam (another local derby), Semen Padang (who don't lose at home) and Pelita Jaya. Wherever they end it will be seen a major disappointing season after the promise shown in the last campaign.

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