Join us as we look back at the most important, memorable or iconic moments in South-East Asian football in 2018.
Women's Football Development Back After 3 Year Hiatus
After a three year hiatus, the senior national women’s team were once again active in international matches in 2018. Hosting the 2018 AFF Women’s Championship and 2018 Asian Games, Garuda Pertiwi may not have been at their peak levels of performance, but this is a big step to re-develop women’s football in Indonesia. The PSSI have increased their emphasis in girls’ development by building the U-15 national team in 2017, which became the U-16 team in 2018, and competed in the U-16 Girls’ Championship and the AFC U-16 Championship qualifiers. Later this year, the senior team will play in the 2nd qualifying round for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Egy Maulana Vikri, Another Indonesian Talent in Europe
Egy may not the only one Indonesian who play in Europe today, but he signing with the top-tier Polish club, Lechia Gdansk, meant that he surpassed the achievements of other Indonesian youngsters like Ezra Walian, who play in lower divisions. Regularly play for the second team, Egy regularly scored and assisted, earning him a place on the bench of the first team before Christmas.He made debut in Ekstraklasa last Sunday in front of Lechia’s fans in Energa stadium, as the home side earned a big 4-0 win over Gornik Zabrze.
Persija Jakarta Win Liga 1 After 17 Years of Waiting
The capital side finally have a happy ending this year, and after 17 years of waiting, Macan Kemayoran lifted the trophy of the national top-tier competition. Even with rumours and scandals around the team, Ismed Sofyan and his colleagues can consdier themselves as one of the best team in Indonesia. During the 2018 Liga 1, they had the division's best defensive line, which only conceded 36 goals, while the team as a whole scored 53 goals. Their from was visible in early 2018, as the team had a good start by winning two pre-season championship and looking dangerous in AFC Cup.
Luis Milla: 2018 Asian Games and His Legacy
Luis Milla became the most beloved figure in Indonesian football this year. After a dissapointing campaign with the U-22 team in last years SEA Games, Luis Milla showed Indonesian fans his best during the 2018 Asian Games with his attractive, attacking gameplay and possession-orientated football, which mirrored his work with the Spanish youth national teams. While he wasn't able to bring back silverware, Milla won over the hearts of Indonesian fans. Many fans supported him, and were on his side when the federation cut his contract short. He left a great legacy, taking many of the nation's young players to the next level. While the Garuda flopped during the 2018 AFF Cup, with the young players Milla brought through this year, Indonesia can look forward to 2019.
U-16 Boys National Team Win 2018 AFF Championship
Five years after Evan Dimas and his colleagues pulled off a phenomenal win at the AFF U-19 Championship, Bagas Kaffa and Kaffi have become the new national heroes after winning the AFF U-16 Championship in the same venue, the Gelora Delta stadium in Sidoarjo. While the senior and U22 teams have struggled, it will be good for Indonesian fans to know that we still have a great hope on the shoulders’ of U-19 and U-16 teams, under coaches Indra Sjafri and Fachri Husaini this year. Expectations will be espeically high for Fachri’s side, after they won the AFF U-16 Championships and qualified for the quarterfinals of AFC U-16 Championships.