Friday, December 11, 2015


The Indonesian Team With No Home Town Upsetting The Big Boys

Tomorrow sees the start of the quarter finals of the Sudirman Cup or the Indonesian Championship. Either name seems to suffice. After the initial group stage which saw a number of big names fall by the wayside including Persib, we are left with eight teams fighting it out to be the first ever winners of the title...whatever it may be called.

The first game sees PS TNI play Semen Padang at the Manahan Stadium in Solo. PS TNI are ostensibly a military team and the last few years has seen them play friendlies against the likes of Indonesia, Indonesia U23, Indonesia U19 and Persija. Unlike other militarily themed sides in the region, Army United, Home United and ATM, PS TNI have been an amateur operation with no ambitions of joining what passes for professionalism. But is that changing?

Picture Source
When the Sudirman Cup was launched, military types featured prominently and the logo appears on the official website. The cup began on 10 November, a day known as Hero's Day after the Battle of Surabaya when freedom fighters battled British forces who were fighting on behalf of the Dutch who were reluctant to lose their colony and had subcontracted its defence to an ally. And it is named after a famous general.

The football club, drawing heavily on players from PSMS, starts games with a military style salute and sailed through the first round, defeating Surabaya United (2-1), Persela (4-2) and Persib (2-0) while defeating Pusamania on penalties.

Other than Semen Padang, PS TNI have been drawn against Mitra Kukar and Persija and they will go into those games knowing they must stand a chance of reaching the semi finals.

However they go into the game tomorrow missing a number of key players. Wanda Syahputra and Saiful Ramadan are both likely to miss the game but coach Suharto, who has coached PSMS on a couple of occasions in the past, doesn't seem to concerned saying 'we are ready to replace them'.

Who knows what will happen to PS TNI after the Sudirman Cup. They have no home town, no home stadium and don't even have a local language wiki page. Certainly a number of players have used the competition to raise their profile, Dimas Drajad for example is an 18 year old striker who netted a hat trick against Persela. He first rose to prominence as part of the Indonesia U19 side that won a few games back in 2013.

Other familiar names include Legimin Raharjo (ex PSMS), Manahati Lestusan (ex CS Vise, Persebaya) and Abdhu Lestalahu who was part of the SAD project which saw young players spend time in Uruguay.

Everyone loves a good underdog story and the fact that PS TNI can just bring together a mix of promising young players and old hands and suddenly start beating the best team in the country is surely a story of Jamie Vardy proportions. Except this is Indonesia, the home of wayang and you can't help but wonder what is really going on.

The Squad

Goalkeepers: Dhika Bayangkara, Ravi Murdianto, Guntur Pranata

Hardiantono, Wanda, Manahati Lestussen, Henri Aprilianto, Wiganda Pradika, Syaiful Ramadhan, Riki Istianto, Choirul Hidayat, Abduh Lestaluhu

Midfield: Legimin Raharjo, Wawan Febrianto, Asrul Reza, Ahmad Nufiandani, Erwin Ramdani, Suhandi, Tri Hardiansyah, Guntur Triaji

Forwards: Aldino, Tambun Naibaho, Dimas Drajat,

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