Following Roberto Carlos Mario Gomez’s abrupt and messy resignation in mid-September, Borneo FC has been spending some time in searching for a proper replacement before the end of the 2021/22 Liga 1 Indonesia first series. And right at the start of Matchweek 6 – the last matchweek of the first series – the Pesut Etam have found their man, 1-time ASEAN conquerer Risto Vidakovic, with the Serb set to lead Borneo in the league’s second series in mid-October.
In what could be a masterstroke for Borneo, the Pesut Etam had replaced 2015 AFC Cup winning-head coach Gomez with the man who had turned Filipino behemoths Ceres-Negros into a regional force to be reckoned with. Together with the Busmen, Vidakovic conquered the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone in 2017, before subsequently leading Ceres to a string of consistent performances in the AFC Cup that saw them become a feared force in Southeast Asian football.
Following Ceres’ rebrand into United City FC, Vidakovic was one of the few people who were not involved with the Golden Boys’ new incarnation, bringing Japanese midfielder Takashi Odawara with him as they moved out of the Philippines and into the Maldives, where the duo was snapped up by local giants Maziya S&RC. Vidakovic led Maziya to the 2020/21 Dhivehi Premier League title, before leaving the Maldives for the greener pastures of the Segiri Stadium in Samarinda.
Other than Ceres and Maziya, Vidakovic’s coaching CV includes current La Liga side Cadiz, Real Betis’ B-team, Honduran side Motagua, and assistant jobs at the Serbia national team and Real Murcia.
Signed on a one-year contract with an option extend, Vidakovic was given a task of taking a stagnating Borneo side up the Liga 1 table and ensure a top-half finish come the end of the season.
“We want to be better. The presence of Coach Risto with his experience and character will hopefully gel together well enough with our existing coaching staff so that we can achieve something this season,” said Borneo chief executive officer Ponaryo Astaman, as quoted from Goal.
Borneo wrapped up the first series of this season’s Liga 1 in 9th place, drawing four of their six games so far. The second series of the Liga 1 will be played after the international break in mid-October at stadiums across Central Java and the Special Region of Yogyakarta.