Persib Bandung’s first ever Indonesian Super League title is still being celebrated through out its home province of West Java but elsewhere clubs will be looking back at the campaign and wondering where things went wrong for them.
Persebaya, for example, was many people’s tip for glory and it certainly impressed during the season proper, comfortably topping the Eastern Conference and seemingly scoring goals for fun.
But come the playoffs stage and the goals dried up. Led by strike partnership Emmanuel Kenmogne and Greg Nwokolo, the Green Force scored 47 goals during the first part of the season but followed that with a mere seven in six playoffs games.
Rumors are rife surrounding the future of coach Rahmad Darmawan, while Kenmogne is thought to be heading to Malaysia for next season.
Bitter rival Arema is also looking back on a mixed season. Like Persebaya it scored goals for fun but come the playoffs it struggled on its travels, losing at Persipura and Semen Padang while drawing at Persela.
Striker Alberto Goncalves has already announced he too will be off to Malaysia next season while Gustavo Lopez is thought to be interested to join Terengganu. The club has announced that coach Suharno will still be in charge for 2015, a rare show of faith in these parts.
Reigning champion Persipura remained its usual obstinate self, fast and exciting while tough to break down but it too lacked something over its season. It lost just one game in its 20 regular season games but nine draws and a goal tally of just 29 showed the ruthlessness normally associated with the Black Pearls had gone missing.
There will be a new man at the helm for the 2015 season as Jacksen F. Tiago stepped down during the playoffs and will be coaching Penang in Malaysia.
Putra Samarinda’s Nil Maizar has been linked as his replacement but whoever does take on the job will know he faces a tough task. The squad has largely been together for a few years and there will be a need to bring in some new faces to freshen things up, especially in attack.
Sriwijaya was very disappointing. It fell away badly in the second half of the season winning just one of its last nine games and suffering the ignominy of losing to Persijap; a team so abject it managed just two wins.
Coach Subangkit has paid the price for the team’s failings and Sriwijaya has appointed Benny Dollo to take the reigns but unless some serious cash is invested in the squad he will face a tough job in his bid to restore the glory to the team from Palembang.
While the close season will see the usual rumors and counter-rumors regarding players perhaps the biggest story will surround the fate of Pelita Bandung Raya coach Dejan Antonic. He has impressed many during his time in Indonesia with Pro Duta and Arema (Indonesian Premier League version) and PBR’s showing has only improved his standing.
He guided the Bandung side to the playoffs thanks in no small measure to a fine run at the end of the season, which saw it lose just one of its last seven games. Antonic is already being linked with a number of positions and while PBR is seen as a well run, ambitious club it struggles to attract supporters and its home games are played out in front of a sprinkling of fans and neutrals.
It may seem premature talking about the new season at all. No one is sure when it will start and the small matter of which teams will be promoted from Divisi Utama has still to be settled following the “elephant game” between PSIS and PSS, which ended with five own goals as both teams sought to avoid winning.