Thursday, March 09, 2017
Persija's Futile Quest For A Striker Continues
Persija's quest for a striker continues. They struggled to find the net in last season's Indonesia Soccer Championship, netting a paltry 25 goals in their 34 games. A sheen of respectability came in the second half of the campaign when Emmanuel Kenmogne, who previously played for the Macan Kemayoran in the 2013 Indonesia Super League season, was recruited and added six goals.
The days when Persija and their supporters could rely on Bambang Pamungkas to dig the team out of holes are gone. The veteran striker is now 36 years old. His last prolific season came in 2011/12 when he scored 16 times.
Persija's woes are far from behind them. Last weekend they played out a 0-0 draw with second tier Persita. In the President Cup they scored twice in their two group stage games, Rudi Widodo and Jhonatan Bernado doing the deed. But Widodo turns 34 in July and Bernado was a triallist who has since been dropped.
The Brazilian Bernado is not the only striker to be given a try out only to be deemed not up to the required standard. Carlos Eduardo Kahe, Hugo Retamal, Christpher Arriagada, Raphael Lima Camare and Mohamed Talaat have been, posed in the famous orange shirt and been found wanting for one reason or another by the club. Now Luis Carlos Junior is being considered as an alternative, He at least comes with Indonesian experience having done a good job with Barito Putera. However is now with Madura United and it remains to be seen whether a loan deal can be arranged.
In the meantime players like Marcel Sacremento, Cristian Gonzales and Cristian Gonzales have been scoring with gay abandon in the President Cup leaving Persija fans frustrated at the seeming inability of their team to secure the services of a goal poacher.
However there is the ongoing sale of the club which may be acting as a brake to any move to sign new players and tying coach Stafano Cugarra's hands. He, and the Jakmania, will be hoping a new striker can be landed as soon as possible. Many teams already have settled or near settled squads. Not for the first time Persija risk going into a new campaign playing catch up.