Southeast Asia Malaysia

Former Sabah Utility Man Risto Mitrevski Set for Dewa United Switch?

Rumors are rife in the Liga 1 Indonesia transfer market that newly-promoted Dewa United are set to sign their first foreign player for the upcoming season. Despite the Tangsel Warriors only dropping subtle hints on the player’s identity, these hints pointed at Dewa United’s new signing as being North Macedonian utility man Risto Mitrevski, who was once on the books of Sabah FC in the Liga Super Malaysia.

Despite primarily operating as a center-back, Risto’s ability as a utility man meant that he’s also capable as a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder, and even as either a striker or a right-winger. This versatility made him a vital player for any team that signed him and it was this that made Dewa United more than happy to snap him up on a free, considering that he’s now currently a free agent.

As a team ready to make their top-flight debut in the 2022/23 season, Dewa United are pulling all the stops to make sure that their stay in the top-flight won’t be a short one. So far the Tangsel Warriors had pulled off some shrewd signings, such as Sugeng Efendi from PSIM Yogyakarta, Asep Berlian from Madura United, Feby Eka Putra from Arema FC, and Dias Angga Putra from Bali United.

But in terms of foreign players, the Dewa United management has been quite tight-lipped about them, only dropping subtle hints here and there. After hinting that two of their four foreigners will be graduates of the famous Ajax Amsterdam academy – a feat achieved thanks to the Tangsel Warriors‘ recent partnership with the Dutch giants – the Dewa United management went public this week with more hints about their foreign signings.

This time, the hints revolve around a foreign player that has already set foot in Indonesia, waiting to be unveiled to the public. The player in question was North Macedonian, has played in the Armenian and Israeli leagues, has yet to play in Indonesia, and was a personal recommendation of Dewa United’s new head coach, Nil Maizar.

The hints point towards Risto, who had previously played for Alashkert in Armenia and Hapoel Haifa in Israel. The 30-year-old was no stranger to Southeast Asian football, having been a key player in Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto’s Sabah squad in the 2021 Liga Super season. Despite not scoring any goals, Risto played in 19 league matches as the Rhinos finished 9th at the end of the season.

An Indosport article from September 2021 also hinted at Risto being a possible addition to the Liga 1 should Kurniawan – who was then recently sacked by Sabah – decides to take up an offer to work as a head coach there. Alongside Saddil Ramdani and Levy Madinda, Risto was predicted to do well in the Liga 1 should Kurniawan took the option to take him there.

In the end, Kurniawan ended up taking the assistant coach’s job at Italian second-tier side Como, dashing any hopes of seeing him taking charge of a Liga 1 team in the near future. However, with Dewa United more than eager to get his signature, it’ll be more than likely that we would see Risto in the Liga 1 sooner than later.