Indonesia’s Likely Lineup
20 Bambang Pamungkas Plays for Persija Jakarta. Age 30
The charismatic captain and Indonesia’s all-time leading scorer. Deadly inside the box and strong in the air even though he’s only 1.7 meters tall. After being considered a shoo-in for a call-up, Bambang now has to fight hard for a spot up front since the arrival of Christian Gonzales and young star Irfan Bachdim.
9 Christian Gonzales
Persib Bandung, 35
Merah Putih has itself a new star after Gonzales changed his nationality from Uruguayan to Indonesian last month. A natural-born striker who can score even with his back to the goal. Often looks lazy, but capable of taking full advantage of any opportunity to make a game-changing play. His temper is his worst enemy.
15 Firman Utina
Sriwijaya FC, 28
Midfield general and playmaker whose precision passes can find holes in an opposition’s defense. The team often turns to him when under pressure, and he can deliver with long-range shots.
19 Ahmad Bustomi
Arema Indonesia, 25
With Hariono still injured, Bustomi is the top choice in the defensive midfielder position. Fairly strong for someone with a small frame. Known for his resilient attitude. Needs to improve on the timing of his tackles to avoid incurring the wrath of the referee.
10 Oktovianus Maniani
Sriwijaya FC, 20
Indonesia’s “Speedy Gonzales” on the left wing only made his debut in October against Uruguay, but his dribbling and goalscoring abilities make him a threat. Lacks international experience but it’s a safe bet Indonesian fans will see much more of him in years to come.
6 Tony Sucipto
Persija Jakarta, 24
Right winger known for his poise and conditioning. Skillful on the ball and a hard worker. Notorious, however, as an inconsistent performer who can suddenly lose his touch during matches.
2 Mohammad Nasuha
Persija Jakarta, 26
A reliable defender who can play comfortably anywhere at the back. An unassuming player whose efforts are rarely recognized by fans but have proven invaluable to the team. Does sometimes appear reluctant to help in attack and needs to work on delivering crosses.
5 Maman Abdurrahman
Persib Bandung, 28
Sturdy central defender with a no-nonsense attitude. Has great composure and is able to read game situations well. He has yet to be return to his best form though, evidenced by the fact that his club has sunk to the bottom of the Super League, conceding 12 goals in 6 games.
16 Muhammad Roby
Persisam Samarinda, 25
Since early in his career, Roby has been touted as Merah Putih’s future defensive star. Very skillful, especially in protecting the right side of the field. Needs more experience, as he tends to make reckless challenges at the team’s expense.
22 Muhammad Ridwan
Sriwijaya FC, 30
A modern fullback who is as good in attack as he is in defense and can alternate as a right midfielder. A veteran of top-level competitions but prone to injury.
1 Markus Haris Maulana
Persib Bandung, 29
The best shot stopper in the country. In 2009, became the first Indonesian to be nominated for Asian Player of the Year award. Always ready for big matches, and his presence alone should give Indonesia confidence at the back. Occasionally loses his temper and often a bit shaky when facing set pieces.
Rest of the Team
Forward: 21 Yongki Aribowo (Arema, 21), 11 Johan Juansyah (Persijap Jepara, 22), 17 Irfan Bachdim (Persema Malang, 22)
Midfielder: 14 Arif Suyono (Sriwijaya, 26), 8 Eka Ramdani (Persib, 26)
Defender : 7 Benny Wahyudi (Arema, 24), 3 Zulkifli Syukur (Arema, 26), 23 Hamka Hamzah (Persipura Jayapura, 26), 29 Yesaya Nickhanor Desnam (Persiwa Wamena, 25)
Goalkeeper: 12 Ferry Rotinsulu (Sriwijaya, 29), 18 Kurnia Meiga Hermansyah (Arema, 20)
Profiles by Sandy Pramuji