Another Dream Season for Boaz Solossa
Once he was named Persipura Jayapura’s team captain at the start of the season, Boaz Solossa promised to lead his club the only way he knew how: by playing to his full potential.
In the end, not only has Persipura benefited from Boaz’s brilliance on the field. The player himself has regained his status as arguably the nation’s top footballer.
Boaz was named the Indonesian Super League’s Best Player on Wednesday, completing a magical season that saw him take over as the Black Pearls’ captain for the first time.
The hat-trick of honors as part of the league-winning club, top goal-scorer and the season’s best player is the second such sweep for Boaz, who also achieved the feat in the 2008-09 season.
“With the captain’s armband, I know I have to be a role model for the other players on the team,” the 25-year-old said after he was handed his awards at the season-ending All-Star Game at Mandala Stadium in Jayapura, Papua.
“[The captain’s role] has made me a more mature person, as I have to control my emotion and behavior on and off the field.
“I thank God for these awards, but this wouldn’t be possible without the endless support of my team and the fans.”
Boaz was appointed skipper by coach Jacksen Tiago at the start of this season after midfielder Eduard Ivakdalam, the club’s long-serving captain, moved to Persidafon Dafonsoro and vice-captain Jack Kamasan Komboy retired.
Defender Ricardo Salampessy said Tiago made a good choice.
“Boaz has been making the difference for us whenever he steps into the field,” Ricardo said. “He’s working harder than everyone else and that has motivated us to always give our best.”
His achievements this season prove that at his best, and without off-field distractions, Boaz is arguably Indonesia’s most unstoppable goal-scorer.
His skills and speed and the way he finishes on the attack have been dazzling fans since he gained national acclaim in 2004, when as an 18-year-old he led Papua to the National Games title and Indonesia to a runner-up finish in the Tiger Cup.
Boaz has made headlines for other reasons, though, with his drinking problems and unruly behavior also drawing attention.
In 2005, national team coach Peter Withe almost sent him home from the squad’s training camp in Australia after finding out Boaz was too drunk to train.
In the same year, he was hit with a one-year ban by the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) for kicking a referee during a Copa Indonesia match against Persebaya Surabaya.
Boaz only served three months of the penalty, though, with PSSI chairman Nurdin Halid gaving him a reprieve after a thorough reprimand.
Two events appeared to have changed Boaz’s outlook for the better — the birth of his daughter in November 2006, and the time he broke his leg during a friendly against Hong Kong just before the 2007 Asian Cup.
The injury sidelined him for nearly a year, forcing him to miss the tournament, which Indonesia co-hosted. During the layoff, Boaz managed to overcome his drinking problems and returned to competitive football with a bang.
He scored 28 goals to lead Persipura to the 2008-09 ISL title, a season that also culminated with him receiving the Golden Boot and Best Player awards.
He still holds a grudge against the national team management, which he accuses of neglecting him while he recovered from his leg injury. Boaz said the team did not cover the cost of his treatment, even though he suffered the injury while on national team duty.
It is widely believed that the issue has soured Boaz’s commitment to the Merah Putih.
He lost his place in Alfred Riedl’s side for the 2010 Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup after failing to report to a training camp in Palembang just before the tournament. He has fallen further out of Riedl’s favor since.
However, Boaz has recently said that he is ready to wear the Merah Putih jersey again if his services are needed.