Sunday, May 29, 2016


We Three Coaches Of Minang Are

Semen Padang - Nil Maizar was born in Payakumbah, West Sumatra in 1970
Bali United - Indra Sjafri was born in Pesisir Selatan, West Sumatra in 1963
Persipura - Jafri Sastra was born in Payakumbah, West Sumatra in 1965

The people from West Sumatra are known as Minangkabau and are famous for food. Their restaurants with their distinctively buffalo horn shaped roofs are a familiar sight across the length and breadth of Indonesia. They are also famous for their hard work and their willingness to travel. For such a relatively small ethnic group they have had a massive impact not just on Indonesia but on other countries in the region.

It is estimated half the population of the Malaysian city of Seremban are of Minang descent. The strong tradition of Minang migration may be in part explained by a local proverb which says 

Ka ratau madang di hulu, babuah babungo balun, marantau bujang dahulu, di rumah paguno balun

Which translates roughly as 'better to wander because to stay home is not useful. Whatever the reasons Minangs have been wandering for centuries and their impact has been massive. Post independent Malaysia's first head of state was Minang as was the first president of Singapore! Singapore's national anthem was penned by a Minang.

We should not be surprised then when three of the most highly rated young coaches in Indonesia come from the lands of the Minang. 

Indra Sjafri is the grandaddy of the trio if you like. As a player his career was one of underachievement I guess you could say, playing for PS Padang, definitely the younger sibling in the city that boasts Semen Padang as the top side. He then did this and that before being catapaulted on to the national stage when he guided the Under 19s to success initially in the AFF Under 19 Championships in Sidoarjo and then through the AFC Under 19 Championships Qualifying in Jakarta.

H Agus Salim stadium, Padang
Under Indra an Indonesian team won trophies and he was being heralded as a magic worker. Hardly. He was just a hard worker who took his profession seriously and travelled the country watching games and players who had fallen under the radar of more established clubs. Evan Dimas? Owes a lot to Indra...

Jafri Sastra helped guide Semen Padang to the quarter finals of the AFC Cup back in 2013, narrowly losing to East Bengal after losing Edward Wilson Junior halfway through the second leg in Padang. 

His reputation earned, he moved on to Mitra Kukar and is now coaching Persipura, undoubtedly one of the top jobs in Indonesian football. After a shaky start that saw two draws and a loss in their first three games, that loss ironically coming at Semen Padang, they have won two straight games and after defeating Perseru yesterday Sastra says his team have awoken from their early season slumber.

As an Indonesian Under 23 international, Nil Maizar had a short stint with Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic before returning home literally with Semen Padang and later PS Padang. Once retired he slipped into the coaching staff at SP and worked his way up through the ranks eventually winning the Premier League, the competition that run in tandem with the ISL for three years, in 2012.

He was rewarded for his efforts by being appointed national team coach but was soon replaced as the bitch fest that had produced those two leagues and the new mob brought in their own people.

He was all set to coach Putra Samarinda in the 2015 Indonesia Super League but the club changed name, owners and city and was replaced by Indra Sjafri. Maizer instead returned to Semen Padang where he replaced Jafri Sastra!

Three influential coaches with their origins in the Minang highlands, it would be great to sit down and have rendang with them one day...

Do not forget to mention Suhatman Imam aka "Pak Haji" as the mentor of those 3 great coaches. You must know him too..
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