Friday, May 05, 2017
Milo Takes Over At Lacklustre Persiba
Such is the current lack of job security felt by coaches when Timo Scheunemann stepped down as coach of Persiba he was lauded for doing the honourable thing. Persiba had just lost 1-0 at home to highly fancied, big spending Arema, their third defeat of the season. The Honey Bears sit bottom of the table, have little in the way of money, have a squad lacking depth and have no home. Yet, apparently, going into the Arema game, Timo was under pressure because his team hadn't won a game!
That Persiba have struggled this season should come as no surprise. They struggled in the last campaign as well, finishing 13th in the Indonesia Soccer Championship, nine points off the bottom side PS TNI. Thirteen of their 38 goals came from Japanese import Shohei Matsunaga. For the first part of the campaign they were looking to a jaded Okta Maniani for their goals and he failed to deliver. With the second lowest crowds in the ISC money was tight all season and although there is a promise of a brand spanking new stadium to come it remains to be see whether the fans will flock there in their thousands.
In the wake of a disappointing season any hopes Persiba would embark on a big recruitment campaign were soon dashed. Defender Dirkir Glay was retained and Marlon da Silva was added to the ranks after a good season with Mitra Kukar but the glamour ends there. Players like Satrio Syam and Iqbal Samad, no offence meant, don't exactly set the pulses racing and when one of the biggest names is Gideon Way you know there are going to be issues. With a single cap to his name, Siswanto was the nearest the squad came to on old head the younger players could look up to.
With this squad at his disposal it is no surprise Persiba started the season poorly and the writing was on the wall after they lost their opening game 2-0 at home to Persija, a side so bereft of goals they only managed to score more than one in a game three times last season.
If Persiba could play at home they may have had more of a chance in their home games. As it is their Persiba Stadium is not being used, their new stadium not yet ready so they are being forced to play their home games in Malang. Playing Arema at home became a defacto Arema home game of course as 20,000 filled the Gajayana Stadium. Probably Persiba's biggest ever home attendance!
Today, Persiba travel to Cibinong to take on PS TNI and that won't be an easy debut for new coach Milomir Seslija. The Bosnian is no stranger to the city of Malang of course having coached Arema IPL and Arema in recent years. At least he will be familiar with the area. Chances are he will be less so with the squad he inherits. With the transfer window several weeks away he will have to make do with what he inherits and hope a move back to Balikpapan, coinciding with the opportunity to sign players, will allow him to turn things around.