Monday, January 21, 2013


Okto Still Clubless

The Indonesia Super League has already begun; the Premier League could well begin next month yet Okto Maniani remains without a club.

Okto burst on the scene at the 2010 AFF Cup when, along with Irfan Bachdim and Christian Gonzales, they blitzed Malaysia (5-1) and Laos (6-0) in their opening games.

From there on his impact dropped markedly but people had sat up and taken note. Here was a player with genuine pace and it seems Indonesians love their pacy wingmen.

But I could never 'get' Okto. For me he was a one trick pony and that trick didn't always work. I saw him come on the field one day and his team mates had to point out which direction he was facing. Another time he performed an outrageous overhead kick just a few feet from his goal line that went so high it collided with incoming at Jakarta International Airport.

People loved him though. He would try and trick, in the wrong part of the field usually, it wouldn't work yet people went mad. A bit like watching the Beatles and McCartney going 'ooooooo'.

Some optimistic souls bravely went out on a limb and predicted Okto was one of a new generation of Indonesian players who could try his hand overseas!

Well no, after being released by Persiram, who he captained last season, Okto is a free agent and it seems the local clubs have not been beating down his door to sign him.

Before Persiram he had a spell with Sriwijaya but wasn't a regular; before that Persitara.

For all their problems and issues Indonesian clubs can, occasionally  recognise a useful player and surely it is telling the big clubs, and now the small ones, are giving him a wide berth.

There are rumours he carries a bit of attitude; perhaps the hype of 2010 went to his head, I don't know.

But as he looks for a new club surely time to pause and reflect on they build up young players get when they are truly not equipped to handle it; either on or off the pitch.

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