Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Indonesia's Marquee Players

I must admit to being slightly confused by who qualifies as a marquee player. There I was thinking Michael Essien was one, setting the bar pretty high. You know, Champions League winner, won titles in England and France. But, and no disrespect, some of those who have followed in his footsteps have hardly been cut from the same mould. 

According to PSSI regulations a marquee player is one who has played in a World Cup or has played in one of the top eight leagues in Europe. At a guess I would suggest they are France, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, Netherlands, Portugal and ?

The transfer window is yet to close but as things stand these are the players who qualify under the marquee player programme.

Persib - Michael Essien (34) - Bastia, Lyon, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Milan Panathinaikos. Ghana

Borneo - Shane Smeltz (35) - Mansfield Town, AFC Wimbledon, Halifax Town, Genclerbirligi. New Zealand

Persija - Bruno Lopes (30) - Estoril. Brazil*

Madura United - Peter Odemwingie (35) - RAA Louvieroise, Lille, Lokomotiv Moscow, West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff City, Stoke City, Rotherham United. Nigeria

PS TNI - Elio Martins (32) - Machio, Chaves, Beira Mar, Doxa, Beroe Stara Zagora, Uniao Maderia. Portugal*

Semen Padang - Didier Zokora (36) - Racing Genk, St Etienne, Spurs, Sevilla, Trabzonspor, Akhisar Belediyespor. Ivory Coast

Mitra Kukar - Mohamed Sissoko (32) - Auxerre, Valencia, Liverpool, Juventus, PSG, Fiorentina, Levante, Ternane. Mali

Arema - Juan Pablo Pino (30) - Monaco, Charleroi, Galatasaray, Olympiacos, Bastia. Colombia

PSM - Wiljan Pluim (28) - Vitesse Arnhem, Roda JC, PEC Zwolle, Willem II. Netherlands*

Bali United - Nick van der Velden (35) - RKC Waalwijk, Dordrecht, AZ Alkmaar, NEC Nijmegan, FC Gronigen, Willem II, Dundee United. Netherlands*

Persela - Jose Coelho (27) - Benfica, Sheriff, Olhanense +++. Portugal*

Persiba - Anmar Almubaraki (25) - Heracles, Emmen, Telstar, Denizlispor, Syrianska. Netherlands/Iraq*

Sriwijaya - Tijani Belaid (29) - Inter, PSV, Slavia Prague, Hull City, Union Berlin. Tunisia

* denotes yet to appear in full national side.

It does seem the word marquee is being used a bit too glibly, in much the same way newbie Arsenal fans call players like Giroud and Koscielny legends. Certainly three players among that list do deserve the moniker if we need to use it. Essien, Zokora and Sissoko do boast more than decent playing resumes. Others, though not all, though are journeymen pros who haven't made an impact at home yet by having played for teams in certain countries are elevated to a pedestal they have never previously enjoyed.

Towards the end of their careers many players pack their suitcases and travel the globe in search of some final pay days. USA, China, India, the Middle East for example spring to mind. There is nothing wrong with this of course. As long as they have something to offer then why not. David Beckham didn't do a bad job in the US for his team when he was there. 

Dangle a wad of cash in front of someone and rare is the person who will say nay, my body is not what it was. And agents of course will not be warning prospective employers of dodgy knees, not when the magic word marquee has dollar signs flashing in front of their eyes.

It is down to clubs to be careful with what they are offered and take their time before joining any bandwagon that may be passing through town. There may be more sponsors involved in Indonesian football than a few years back and some clubs may be getting wiser when it comes to commercializing their 'brand' but the game isn't awash with cash. What money there is needs to be invested wisely on infrastructure, youth development and so on, not frittered away on final bumper paydays for average players with average careers and agents who would sell their grandmother's cat if it was retweeted enough.

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