Southeast Asia Indonesia

Persib Appoint Hodak as New Head Coach

With the team struggling in the Liga 1 Indonesia relegation zone, Persib Bandung had turned towards former Kelantan FA, Johor Darul Ta’zim, PSM Makassar and Kuala Lumpur City FC head coach Bojan Hodak to be the man who can salvage the Maung Bandung‘s season.

Heavy favorites to win the Liga 1 this season, Persib were instead faced with a turbulent start to the season, failing to win any of their opening four games with three draws and one defeat. Tensions are also rising between the club’s management and their faithful Bobotoh supporters, with the latter feeling that the former has been pricing them out of supporting their team by putting a significant raise on ticket prices.

As if things couldn’t go from bad to worse, head coach Luis Milla and his assistants have decided to leave the club on July 15th. While the official reason behind Milla’s departure was his need to be with an ailing family member back in his native Spain, some rumors indicated that Milla and his staff has been forced out of the club by the Persib management due to their unwavering support towards the Bobotoh‘s protests against the higher-ups.

With Persib succumbing to a heavy 4-2 defeat away at defending champions PSM under caretaker head coach Yaya Sunarya, the Maung Badung management scrambled over a number of possible candidates for the vacant position, before finally choosing Hodak as Persib’s new head coach.

Widely-applauded not only in Malaysia but also all of Southeast Asia, Hodak have etched himself in Kuala Lumpur folklore by transforming a yo-yo club that went up-and-down the Malaysian football pyramid into a bonafide contender, taking the City Boys to three finals during his two years in charge. Under Hodak, Kuala Lumpur won the 2021 Malaysia Cup, before finishing as runners-up at both the 2022 AFC Cup and the 2023 Malaysia FA Cup.

Hodak’s profound knowledge of Southeast Asian football as well as his experience in the region were key factors behind Persib’s decision to hire the Croatian and they immediately swooped in the moment Hodak resigned from his position at Kuala Lumpur following the FA Cup final defeat.

Friday’s Liga 1 trip to Persik Kediri will become Hodak’s first test as Persib head coach, with the club management setting a target of a top four finish for him to accomplish. A sizeable task considering Persib’s awful start to the season, but surely something a man of Hodak’s caliber could do.