Jakarta. The roster Persija Jakarta hopes would take it to the top is starting to take shape, and on paper the capital club is looking every bit a championship contender.
Persija assistant manager Ferry Indrasjarief on Tuesday said that 18 players have verbally agreed to play for the Kemayoran Tigers in the 2010-11 season.
Among those who have shown interest in joining Persija are several players from three-time Indonesian Cup winner Sriwijaya FC.
They are goalkeepers Hendro Kartiko and Andritany Ardhiyasa; defenders Precious Emuerejaye, Ambrizal and Anak Agung Ngurah Wahyu Trisnajaya; and midfielders Tony Sucipto and M Nasuha.
But Persija’s biggest acquisition is Rahmad Darmawan, who coached Sriwijaya to all three of its Cup titles and the 2007-08 Super League championship.
Ferry confirmed on Tuesday that Persija has hired Rahmad to be the club’s head coach.
“There are a few familiar names left, but we have new players coming in as well,” Ferry said.
“The management will hold a meeting on Friday night, at which time the hiring of coach Rahmad and some of the players will be made official.”
Of the 18 players who have agreed to play for Persija next season, only eight are drawn from the Persija team that finished fifth in the league in 2009-10.
While Persija is not likely to retain Singaporean imports Mustafic Fahrudin and Baihakki Khaizan, the club will still have Bambang Pamungkas, the Indonesia star striker who tried out for A-League side Wellington Phoenix last week but failed to make the roster cut.
Ferry also said the club was in talks with the camp of former domestic league star Greg Nwokolo, who moved to Portuguese club SC Olhanense in 2009.
Nwokolo’s agent, Eddy Syahputra, said he has kept in touch with Persija officials as the Nigerian footballer intended to play again in Jakarta.
Persija also said it has secured the services of forward Julius Akosah, who previously played in the Hong Kong League.
Persija ended the 2009-10 Super League season in fifth place with 52 points. It was the club’s ninth straight season without a major trophy.
Persija Jakarta’s Provisional Squad:
Goalkeeper: Hendro Kartiko, Andrytany Ardhiansyah, Roni Tri Prasnanto
Defender: Ismed Sofyan, Hasyim Kipaw, Precious Emuerejaye (Singapore), Ambrizal, AA Ngurah Wahyu Trisnajaya, Windu Hanggoro Putra
Midfielder: M Nasuha, Ahmad Marzuki, Ramdani Lestaluhu, Agus Indra Kurniawan, Tony Sucipto, Greg Nwokolo (Nigeria), M Ilham
Forward: Aliyudin, Julius Akosah (Cameroon), Bambang Pamungkas