Friday, August 04, 2017


Liga 1 Clubs Quick To Axe Coaches Despite Contrary Evidence

We are at the halfway point of the Liga 1 season and 10 coaches who began the campaign are no longer in the hot seat as clubs have reacted to poor results with the ultimate sanction. Yet for all those clubs who acted quickly arguably only one has seen their performances improve measurably.

Like many I was surprised when Sriwijaya announced before the season even began they would not be renewing the contract of coach Widodo Cahyo Putro. They then compounded that surprise by appointing Brazilian Osvaldo Lessa, someone with plenty of experience in Indonesia but not as the main man.

One door closes, another opens and Bali United who had lost their first two games of the season under Hans Peter Schaller moved quickly to replace the Austrian with the promising WCP. Now of course Bali United are second in Liga 1, level on points with leaders Madura United while Sriwijaya have drawn their last four games, including a 0-0 against Perseru last time out, and sit in 14th position.

Relegation threatened sides Persiba and Perseru have also changed their coaches but they have seen no change in fortunes as they remain in the same position now as when their original coach was shown the door.

Rather than focus on the clubs who have been quick to swing the axe let's spare a moment to praise those who didn't bow to pressure from the fans or a quick look at the league table not least Persija. Following the 1-0 loss at Persela earlier in the season there were large calls for Teco to step down from the Persija fans. A week later they let slip a 1-0 over Mitra Kukar in the last minute and it looked like the club would revert to type and end the Brazilian's reign.

Persija gave out the obligatory 'lose your next two games and you're gone' warning' but Teco didn't need it. The team were playing well if not getting the results and just needed a striker to convert chances rather than waste them. The Kemayoran Tigers are now 12 games unbeaten and boast the best defence in the league.

Four of the teams in the top six at the end of the first half of the season, Madura United, Bhayangkara, PSM and Persija have stuck by their coach. Who'd a thunk it? Continuity off the field can lead to consistency on it. Meanwhile at the bottom end of the table four of the bottom five have changed coaches and seem to be paying the price for it.

Obviously there are exceptions, Gresik United have stayed loyal but remain rooted to the bottom of the table and of course there are instances where a coach do not gel with a club and its culture. That happens. But if we are looking at trends then keeping with the coach could provide more gains than reacting in haste under pressure from outside influences.

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