Friday, April 29, 2016


Sriwijaya Banking On Persib Old Boys And Experience

Ever since South Sumatra bought the operating license from Jakarta based Persijatim football fans in Palembang have enjoyed near unbridled success.

Liga Indonesia champions 2008
Indonesia Super League champions 2012
Indonesia Cup winners 2008, 2009, 2010
Inter Island Cup 2012
Community Shield 2010

Not a bad haul I am sure you will agree. But nothing for four years! At the start of the 2015 ISL campaign coach Benny Dollo had assembled an exciting squad featuring Goran Ljubovic, Patrich Wanggai, Ferdinand Sinaga and Titus Bonai but of course the league went tits up and that was the end of that.

After a series of poor performances in the stop gap competitions towards the end of last year, early 2016 Sriwijaya have appointed Widodo Chahyono Putro as coach for the new ISC campaign and he has recruited some familiar faces to help Our People's Army make an impression.

Brazilian strikers Hilton Moreira and Alberto Goncalves have been kicking around Indonesian football for the best part of a decade and last season helped Penang earn promotion from the Premier League in Malaysia. And while both have proved to have been prolific goalscorers over the year, Hilton's threat comes from his pace while Goncalves is your archtypal poacher, both are aged 35 and quite obviously not getting any younger.

Perhaps recognising that coach Widodo has added strength in depth by recruiting former Indonesian international TA Mushafri. The Ternate born striker has been round the houses as well, most noticeably with Persiba, Persija and Arema. And he is relatively youthful, aged 34!

Another 34 year old in the Sriwijaya ranks this season is Firman Utina. A combative midfielder, Firman is also in his second spell in Palembang after an earlier spell in 2010-2012 and in his day was undoubtedly one of the finest players of his generation. While Firman is expected to provide drive and energy through the middle of the park M Ridwan is expected to provide width. Like Hilton and Firman, M Ridwan is also a Persib alumni and it is deliciously ironic in a footbally way that Sriwijaya's first game of the season is against Persib! And Ridwan's age? 35! Throw in Persib legend Eka Ramdani, now 31, and you have not just a tasty looking middle of the park, you have an experienced one who have been there and done that in local football.

At the back the Persib love in continues with another Indonesian international, Supardi. Fresh from winning the ISL and the President Cup with the Maung Bandung, Supardi brings gallons of experience to the Sriwijaya back line and aged just 33 he still has years left in the tank. Alongside Supardi is Ahmad Jufiranto and Wildansyah and yes, both have Persib blood in them. They are also in the context of the Sriwijaya squad young guns, both aged 29!

Sriwijaya Squad

Goalkeepers: Dian Agus Prasetyo, Yogi Triana
Defenders: Fachrudin Aryanto, Thierry Gathuessi, Ahmad Jufriyanto, Ngurah Wahyu Trisnajaya, Zalnando, Syaiful Indra Cahya, Supardi Nasir
Midfield: Ichsan Kurniawan, Hapit Ibrahim, Muhammad Ridwan, Yohanis Nabar, Firman Utina, Manda Cingi, Eka Ramdani, Amirul Mukminin
Strikers: T.A Musafry, Airlangga Sucipto, Hilton Moreira, Alberto Goncalves

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