Persija Jakarta head coach Sergio Farias has decided to step down from his role following news that his son has been diagnosed with COVID-19. With his household in Brazil also being rocked by the news that Farias’ nephew had died from the disease, the 53-year old tactician felt that it was unviable for him to continue with Persija.
The Persija management announced on Thursday that Farias has decided to leave the Macan Kemayoran due to mutual consent, with the Brazilian returning to his home country as soon as possible to be with his family during these tough times. Replacing Farias as Persija’s head coach for the upcoming restart of the 2020 Liga 1 Indonesia season is assistant coach Sudirman, who had worked as Persija’s caretaker manager last season. The abolishment of relegation in the 2020 season meant that Sudirman will have enough time to hone his skills as head coach, having worked as the number two in both Persija and the Indonesia national team in previous years.
Persija club president Mohamad Prapanca rues the decision to let Farias go from the club, however at the same time he stated that due to the ongoing pandemic and also in consideration of Farias’ family, the decision to end Farias’ contract had to be done.
“We were quite devastated by the news,” Prapanca told Kompas, “Both Farias and ourselves have agreed for him to take Persija to the next level this year, but circumstances has been quite unpredictable right now. On behalf of Persija, we would wish that Farias would remain strong through these tough times and also we wish for the swift recovery of Farias’ son.”
Prapanca also went on to say that the main reason behind Sudirman’s promotion to the Persija hot seat was his close relations with the Persija players, having being part of the club’s furniture since 2009. It is hoped that this close relation would spare the players from a lengthy transition period between head coaches, which would surely affect Persija’s on-field performance once the league restarts.
Under Farias, Persija had played out two matches, with a win over Borneo FC and a draw with city rivals Bhayangkara FC. Their third match against Persebaya Surabaya was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which foreshadowed the inevitable suspension of Indonesian football that came afterwards.