Football Tribe SEA Editor
2019 Thai League Cup winner Artyom Filiposyan has joined Liga 1 Indonesia side PS TIRA-Persikabo, according to an article by Goal Indonesia. The Uzbek defender joins TIRA-Persikabo from PT Prachuap, with everyone at the Laskar Padjadjaran hoping that Artyom would replicate his solid defensive work with the Killer Wasps during the 2019 season with them in 2020.
Artyom was an integral part of Prachuap’s defense last season, making 22 appearances for the Killer Wasps in all competitions last season. He also started the 2019 Thai League Cup final, which saw him marshaling the Prachuap defense superbly as his team forced Thai League behemoths Buriram United into penalties, which Prachuap emerged out from it victorious with Artyom scoring a penalty during the shootout. However, an overhaul in Prachuap’s foreign contingent for 2020, which saw them bringing in heavy hitters in William Henrique (Chiangrai United), Bruno Mezenga (Villa Nova), and Yoo Jun-soo (Pohang Steelers) along with ASEAN talents in Iain Ramsay, Yanto Basna (both Sukhothai) and Baihakki Khaizan (Trat) meant that Artyom was shown the door out of the Sam Ao Stadium. It didn’t take long for him to be clubless though, as TIRA-Persikabo soon brought him in to replace outgoing Tajik international Khurshed Beknazarov.
However, Artyom wasn’t the only foreigner that the TIRA-Persikabo has decided to bring in for the new season. Coming alongside the Uzbek are Finn Petteri Pennanen and Brazilian Alex dos Santos Gonçalves, the former being a midfielder and the latter a striker.
TIRA-Persikabo will become 29-year old Petteri’s first club outside of Europe, having spent his career so far there. Prior to his TIRA-Persikabo move, Petteri had captained Kuopion Palloseura (KuPS) to the 2019 Veikkausliga title, the club’s first Finnish top-flight title in 43 years. Having gone through the youth ranks at KuPS, Petteri had spent three separate spells with the club, with his most recent one from 2017. During those two years with the Yellow-Blacks in his third spell, Petteri had made 77 appearances and scored 19 times and is a vital component in KuPS’ recent rise in success.
Meanwhile, Alex Gonçalves needs no further introduction to the Indonesian footballing scene, having became the ace for Persela Lamongan in the 2019 Liga 1 season. With the Laskar Joko Tingkir, Alex has scored 17 times in 29 appearances, cementing himself as the season’s 3rd top scorer behind Madura United’s Beto Gonçalves (18 goals) and Persija Jakarta’s Marko Šimić (28 goals). It is hoped that Alex would form a deadly partnership with Ciro Alves, the sole remaining foreign player on TIRA-Persikabo’s books from the 2019 season. Interestingly this is the second time that TIRA-Persikabo have hijacked Persela’s top scorer from the previous season, having done the same thing to Loris Arnaud during the 2019 pre-season transfer window.
With plans of a name change impending soon, TIRA-Persikabo has been preparing themselves seriously for the new season. A good bulk of the players from last season have been retained, Sragen-based apparel company DJ Sport has been appointed to replace MBB as their kit suppliers, and now they have the services of former Belarus national team head coach Igor Kriushenko in the dugout. The TIRA-Persikabo management are trying their best to ensure that a repeat of last season’s biblical collapse won’t happen, where TIRA-Persikabo went from surprise title challengers on a 13-match unbeaten run to relegation contenders after failing to win their subsequent 16 games, before breaking their duck with a shock 1-0 win at newly crowned Liga 1 champions Bali United on December 12th.