Southeast Asia Indonesia

Stefano Lilipaly Leaves Bali United, Joins Borneo FC

It was the end of an era at Bali United as influential midfielder Stefano Lilipaly bid farewell to the Serdadu Tridatu after five years of service. The Dutch-born player did not take long in finding a new port of call, as Borneo FC immediately unveiled Lilipaly as their newest and final signing of the 2022/23 pre-season.

With his contract running out at the end of the 2021/22 season, fans were hoping that Lilipaly would extend his stay at Bali United for a sixth year, joining the Serdadu Tridatu from Dutch side SC Cambuur in 2017. However, his absence from Bali United’s post-season Rewind video raised speculation that Lilipaly would be leaving the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium sooner than later, and the news that all Semeton Dewata has been dreading was announced on Friday.

Winning two Liga 1 titles with Bali United, Lilipaly was one match shy of 100 league appearances for Stefano Cugurra Teco’s men, scoring 28 league goals in the process. However, in his farewell letter penned to the Bali United fans, Lilipaly hinted that he wanted to seek new challenges away from the Serdadu Tridatu, hence his decision to leave the club.

Bali United head coach Teco also confirmed that it was this desire for a new challenge that led to Lilipaly being unable to find an agreement with the Bali United management in terms of his contract extension, as Teco felt that he still needed the 32-year old’s presence in his midfield.

Lilipaly was secured by Borneo on a 2-year deal, with his quality and mental strengths as a midfielder being the primary reasons behind Pesut Etam‘s decision in signing him. Lilipaly became Borneo’s eighth and final signing in the 2022/23 off-season. Borneo had previously re-signed Diego Michels from Arema FC, as well as taking in the likes of Persita Tangerang duo Agung Prasetyo and Ahmad Nur Hardianto, former Persija Jakarta goalkeeper Shahar Ginanjar, and former Daejeon Hana Citizen striker Matheus Pato. The Pesut Etam has also retained the services of foreign trio Kei Hirose, Javlon Guseynov, and Jonathan Bustos for the upcoming campaign.

As for Bali United, they did not need to wait too long for Lilipaly’s replacement as Irfan Jaya was prepared by Teco to succeed the Dutch-Indonesian, with Hendra Bayauw being signed from Persikabo 1973 to act as the former Persebaya Surabaya and PSS Sleman man’s deputy. Besides Bayauw, Bali United had been searching for plenty of experienced heads for their upcoming campaign, signing the likes of Madura United goalkeeper Muhammad Ridho to act as Nadeo Argawinata’s number two, veteran defenders Ardi Idrus and Jajang Mulyana, as well as Persija Jakarta duo Novri Setiawan and Ramdani Lestaluhu. The Serdadu Tridatu are also set to retain the services of their foreign contingent from the second half of last season, with Eber Bessa, Brwa Nouri, and Jean Befolo Mbarga having already participated in Bali United’s pre-season training camp, while Willian Pacheco is still negotiating terms regarding his contract with the club.