Monday, July 16, 2018


What Next For Djadjang After Medan Axe

Back in 2014 it seemed Djadjang Nurdjaman could do no wrong. He had just guided his beloved Persib to their first Indonesia Super League title and was looking forward to helping the club he once played for conquer Asia as they prepared to compete in the AFC Cup the following year. Djanur, as he is nicknamed, was going places. Or so it seemed.

The first set back came the following year when the AFC announced the Sumedang born coach would not be allowed to take charge of the team in the Asian club competition because he didn't have the appropriate coaching badges. In fact domestic club regulations also require coaches to have been trained to a minimum standard but as is too often the case in Indonesia the implementation of these rules is not always consistent.

As it happened the 2015 season was brought to an abrupt halt when FIFA suspended the PSSI and Djanur, at a loose end, was farmed out to Inter Milan to learn his trade as it were and finish off his badges.

Suitably qualified and, you would think, bursting with new ideas following his stint observing one of Europe's finest clubs on the training field, Djanur returned to Indonesia and Persib. He was soon to learn, however, what works well in Italy may not work so well in Indonesia. Despite boasting a team including new additions such as Michael Essien and Carlton Cole Persib were a club in off the field turmoil with an interfering management wanting their input on the eleven which took the field and Djanur just wasn't strong enough to face down the different factions.

A 2-2 draw at home to PS TNI was the final straw and the supporters quickly vented their fury against their hapless coach. It seemed his position was untenable and asresults didn't improve so the anger on the terraces and social media increased. Djanur wanted to resign but he wasn't allowed to which pretty much summed up his position. Here was a coach lacking the strength to handle a febrile atmosphere being told he had to stay and he accepting it.

Eventually of course Djanur was allowed to leave the club but only when a new coach had been found but his reputation was undoubtedly tarnished. 

It was therefore something of a surprise when PSMS, one of the biggest names in the Indonesian games but lately fallen on bad times, turned to the former Persib man to guide them to promotion in 2017.

PSMS of course were promoted, finishing runners up behind Persebaya and Djanur had another success to add to his resume. But starved of finances the team from Medan have struggled back in the top flight with all their points coming from home wins and, most recently, four defeats on the spin. Unlike Persib however no one at PSMS was willing to give their coach the benefit of the doubt and last week he was sacked after a run of four straight losses including home turf humiliations against Persipura and Persib.

What next for the coach? In Indonesia as elsewhere the best coaches are rarely out of the game for long but doubts remain as to how good Djanur really is despite his impressive pedigree and whatever lessons he learned in Milan. His next appointment could tell us alot.

Friday, July 13, 2018


Sriwijaya Player Exodus Amid Rumoured Money Issues

Back in March in the Jakarta Casual Liga 1 Season Preview I asked if two-time champions Sriwijaya are back after they had appointed Rahmad Darmawan as coach and they had signed a number of big names for the coming campaign. Surely after a few seasons below the radar the addition of quality players like Hamkah Hamza and Patrich Wanggai meant the South Sumatran side meant business?

Early results seemed to bear out those early predictions as a run of just two losses in nine games kept them close to the upper reaches of the table. A convincing win over Persela (5-1) meant Laskar Wong Kito went into the Ramadhan break in confident mood and surely that euphoria would have only been enhanced when they defeated PS Tira 4-1 after the break.

Then the rumours started to swirl in earnest. That Sriwijaya were having money troubles. There were suggestions at the start of the month the players hadn't been paid for June and there were doubts July's money would be paid.

Quite why this problem should arise is not clear though people have suggested a link with local elections which may or may be true. Politics in football? Hard to believe innit?

It's very frustrating for all concerned of course, including the fans who get excited about their team's chances only to see the wayang master slam shut the wallet.

Today saw Sriwijaya officially announce nine players would be released as well as Rahmad, the coaching and medical staff. Among those leaving Palembang are Adam Alis (Bhayangkara) and Hamka Hamzah who has been snapped up by Arema after rejecting offers from five other teams. Alfin Tuasalamony, Novan Sasongko, Pierre Paulin Bio, Patrich Wanggai, Rahmad Hidayat, Makan Konate and M Ndiaye have also been told they are no longer required with Alfin following Hamka to Malang.

Where this leaves Sriwijaya for the rest of the season. It looks like they have retained some experienced players like Esteban Vizcarra, Alberto Goncalves as well as youngsters like Teja Paku Alam and Ichsan Kurniawan while there has been suggestions Subangkit could replace Rahmad. But would a new coach be given funds to go out and replace those departures? Most unlikely. 

One thing is for certain. The 11 players who will line up for Sriwjaya next Tuesday away to Mitra Kukar will be a very different line up to the team that fought valiantly for a draw at home to Persija last time out.


Barito Putera Two Points Clear Despite Goalless Draw

Round 15

PS Tira v Mitra Kukar 0-0 67

As you know I do like to watch the odd game of football now and then and I do love my trips down to Yogyakarta. Hand on heart though there is no way I would have headed down for this particular game. PS Tira have struggled all season, both on the field and off it attracting fans to their new ground in Bantul, while Mitra Kukar, despite boasting Englishman Danny Guthrie and free scoring Rodriguez in their ranks just don't do well in their travels.

Sriwijaya v Persija 2-2 (Esteban Vizcarra 2: Ivan Carlos, Rezaldi Hehanusa) 19,151

This was more like it. Home side Sriwijaya have been plagued by financial woes with rumours of a mass exodus during the transfer window but Rahmad Darmawan's men came from behind twice to secure a point against Persija in a game that featured nine yellow cards. Vizcarra's brace made it four in four for the Argentine striker as Laskar Wong Kito keep up their title challenge.

Bhayangkara v Persebaya 3-3 (OG, Vendry Mofu, Alsan Putra Sanda: Osvaldo Haay, Irfan Jaya, David Silva) 1,200

Now this was a game and a half as Persebaya played their second game in a couple of weeks at the tiny PTIK Stadium in Jakarta. Champions Bhanyangkara, on a roll after a slow start to the season, led 2-0. Persebaya, with just three losses all season, fought back with Irfan levelling on 83 minutes later to set up an almighty climax to the game. Sanda restored the home side's lead a minute later before Silva saved a point for the Green Force with tow minutes remaining.

Barito Putera v Arema 0-0 6,827

Barito Putera coach Jacksen F Thiago may have been disappointed to see his team drop vital points in their bid for a first ever title but seeing his nearest rivals drop points would have gone some way towards brightening his mood. And anyway despite Arema's inconsistencies this season this was after all a game between the two best teams in the land on current form.

Bali United v PSM 2-0 (Ilija Spasojevic, Stefano Lilipaly) 15,425

You don't become a bad striker over night and although Spasojevic has not had his most productive season so far he will always be a threat. His opener against title challengers PSM was just his third of the season and Bali fans will be hoping it will kickstart his and his team's season as they have struggled to find the consistency that saw them push Bhayangkara all the way last season.

Persela v Borneo 2-0 (Loris Arnaud, OG) 9,098

Unfancied Persela continue to show their pedigree after this win put them within four points of the leaders Barito Putera with one of their former players, Eddy Gunawan putting through his own goal to secure another win for the home side. Persela just don't lose home games.

Perseru v Persib 0-0 836

Perseru recently beat Persija 3-1 at home, not a surprise in itself. No, what raised eyebrows was the team scoring goals full stop! In their 15 games this season they have netted just nine times. Normal service was resumed here.

PSIS v Madura United 0-0 8,415

With just one win in their previous four games Madura United have, rather like Bali United, struggled to imitate the consistency that marked their campaign last season. Gomes de Oliveira has returned as coach and may view this as a useful point earned on their travels but with a team boasting players like Fabiano Beltrame, Zah Rahan, Raphael Maitimo surely more is expected?

PSMS v Persipura 1-3 (Dilshod Sharofetdinov: Immanuel Wanggai, Boas Solossa, Hilton Moreira) 11,150

Persipura's longest awayday of the season saw them pick up a comfortable three points in North Sumatra against newly promoted, and bottom placed, PSMS. Winless in their previous five games the Black Pearls badly needed three points to restore some confidence; next up is a home game against relegation candidates PSIS and a local derby away to Perseru!

1 - Barito Putera 15 8 3 4 27-21 27
2 - PSM Makassar 15 7 4 4 21-18 25
3 - Sriwijaya 15 6 5 4 28-20 23
4 - Persela 15 6 5 4 25-20 23
5 - Bhayamgkara 15 6 5 4 19-19 23

12 - Ezechial N'Douassel (Persib)
11 - Fernando Rodriguez (Mitra Kukar)
9 - Loris Arnaud (Persela), Stefano Lilypaly (Bali United), Aleksandar Rakic (PS Tira)
8 - Samsul Arif (Barito Putera)

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