Tuesday, February 09, 2016


Back Among Friends

It may have no functioning league and it may still be suspended by FIFA but Indonesian football, defying logic, continues to extend a mystic that attracts and embraces people.

With no end in sight to the suspension and no sign the Indonesia Super League will return any time soon two of the biggest clubs in the country, Persib and Arema, have appointed familiar names as coach for whatever may lie ahead.

Milomir Seslija has returned to Arema. I say returned. He had a stint with the IPL version back in 2011 in what was then the rebel league. The former Kuala Lumpur and Sabah defender also played for Sembawang Rangers in Singapore before hanging up his boots and turning to coaching.

Dejan Antonic's name was widely tipped as national team coach ahead of the FIFA suspension. he had impressed many in his time with Pelita Bandung Raya, turning the unfashionable club into an attractive side, easy on the eye and a thorn in the side of the more traditional powers in the ISL.

Antonic is no stranger to Indonesia as a player either. In the mid 1990s he played for Persebaya, Persita and Persema before heading to Hong Kong where he finished his career as a player before taking up coaching.

He followed in Seslija's footsteps in Malang for a short spell in 2012/13 before heading to Pro Duta. He signed up with PBR the same year and helped mould a team around the talents of Bambang Pamungkas, Kim Kurniawan and David Laly as well as promoting young Indonesian players like Rachmad Hidayat and Ghozali Siregar who he had worked with at Pro Duta.

At a time when Indonesian football seems to be at the very best standing still it is telling that two such well respected coaches should be pledging their future to the game here. Perhaps they know something we don't!?

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