Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

Hi all, welcome to my newest and very first carreer here on sortitoutsi. I'll try to tell you the story of Giacomino Brullo, this fictional character I created just for this carreer.

 

CHAPTER 0: SOMETHING TO ESCAPE BOREDOM

 

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan--- hold on! As of today I'm officialy Giacomino Brullo. I'm the eldest son of one of Italy's richest man who shall remain nameless and, as I said, as of today I'm Giacomino Brullo, since I went to the register and legally changed my name to that. But why did i do that you may be asking? That's a totally legit question and the answer is really simple: pure boredom. Let me elaborate. Since I was a kid my father never saw me as an adequate heir to his empire, so he never treated me like one. No matter what I did, whatever I achieved, I was never good enough. So my days went on and the frustration became anger and the anger just faded into boredom. I had everything money could buy: watches that were worth as apartments, villas so expensive that could easily solve a small country debt, the hottest girls and the most impressive cars. But instead of being exciting it was all so… dull. 

I felt that the only way to escape this feeling was litteraly escape the ivory tower I was living in, detached from reality, and just leave to be around the world, to find somewhere I belong. So I entrusted my personal assistant, Michele Braccini, to find something that could make me travel the world with ease and that specifically required some knowledge that I did not have. And you know what that little f*ker did? He put my name in all the job offers for a football coach that were put on all around the globe. I'm never been in to sports, I played some tennis in my early days but i was never really drawn to it, so Michele probabily used this as an opportunity to play a joke on me. “It's an easy job, you will just have to give orders to everyone and they have to listen to you, so it's not much different from what you already do with me" He had the guts to say this to my actual face!

But you know what the real joke is? It's the fact that the idea of going on and do this leap in the dark was actually growing on me. As if anyone would make an offer for me anyway…

 

Oh! How sloppy of me! You don't even know what I look like! Anyway, it's a me, Giacomino! 

 

And for the most curious between you, under the spoiler you can find all the nations that Michele had in his mailing list (sorry the screenshot it's in italian, I think you can guess by the flags anyway 😉 )

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 0.1: THE WORLD IS FULL OF DESPERATE PEOPLE

 

It had been already a couple of weeks and we were approaching the end of August when my PA Michele reported to me that there were 2 Directors of Football interested in having me as their coach. I mean, why the hell would they be interested in having me for their coach position? Are they so much desperate that they don't even want to see my face or hear me talk about, i don't know, football in general? Is this a Ted Lasso like situation where they just want their club to miserably fail and burn to ashes? Well that's their problem though, because I'm actually on board with the idea of becoming a football manager. 

 

The first man i talked to was Des Williams, he was from Wrexham, Wales, and he was the president of Cefn Druids. He seemd really passionate about his club, which had just lost its manager and had a mediocre start of the season. He would have paid me 11k € a year and would have gave me a small house near the pitch. Mind that I do not care about how much I get paid, but it came as a schock that they would pay me that for a whole year, it's basically how much I would spend on a normal night out! Anyway I gotta admit I was driven by the passion around a football team that you can only find in Great Britain; I mean, it was the team of Cefn Mawr, a hole in the ground with six thousands people living in it, and yet all of those six thousands were willing to travel across the country for an away match. That's passion right there.

 

Later in the same day I had a call with Anang Kurniawan, a gentleman from all the way around the globe. He is the president of Persik Kediri, a football team based in Kediri Indonesia. They are currently mid season and are struggling against relegation and thought that my experience and strong personality could have helped them shift the tide of their year. Don't ask me what experience they are talking about, but I'm sure Michele overstated some of my qualities, everyone does it when applying for jobs. Their offer was a lot more lucrative than the one from the welsh and they were giving me a suite in the city's best resort. 

 

I took my time to decide, but the main factor I had in mind was that I could have worked a couple of minutes away from the idyllic beaches of Java and Bali or in a village with a single Tesco built on the old football stadium. So what do you think I ended up choosing?

 

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1: KEDIRI

 

 

After 24 hours of flight to reach Jakarta, and another 12 hours of train I finally managed to arrive in Kediri. Since they told me that Indonesian football was sometimes associated with violent episodes and lowlife gambling I brought with me my entourage of security just to stay super cautious. I was here to experience a completely new culture and not to end up on the first page of crime news. Other than security there was my main man Michele, who basically did everything for me, and Eka, a girl from Bandung (West Java) that learned Italian and was hired by Michele as a translator. I do actually speak many languages, including English, Arab and Chinese and I feel like adding Indonesian to the list. Till then Eka will help with the communications. The hotel we were staying in was very small and could only accomodate me, Michele, Eka and 2 of my 6 security guys, so we had to arrange a different solution for the other 4. The suite I was promised was nothng but a small king sized bed bedroom with a small living area, but I was told that it was one of the best rooms Kediri had to offer. Fair enough, as I told many times, this is a completely different context for me to be in. 

 

 

The day after my arrival I went with Eka to meet the owner of the club, Mr Kurniawan who briefed me about the history of the club, the backroom situation and the season progress of the team. You can see everything he told me in the next few screens.

 

So after the lunch, as we were splitting the bill, I asked the fateful question “So, when do we start?”. Mr. Kurniawan seemed vexed as if he thought I already had to know that. He then replied “Your first match will be against PSIS Semarang on Sunday”. SUNDAY? AS IN “THIS SUNDAY” I thought panicking. It was only 6 days from now and I had no idea of what to do or what to say to the team, let alone make them play proper football. 

 

 

When I got back to the Hotel i tried to contact Michele to give him some instructions in order to find something to help me with, but he did not pick up his phone. As my nerves got thinner and thinner I approached my room and I noticed that on the doormat was a newspaper with my face on it. I could not understand the news but I figured from the photos in it that it was something about me getting appointed as manager. "Great" I thought “now where the hell is Michele?”

 

 

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.1: HE KNOWS FOOTBALL

 

It was around midnight when someone knocked at my door. I was not yet sleeping but I was already relaxing in bed. “Open up Giacomino! It's Michele I've got great news” my PA shouted. It was late but since the hotel was basically ours nobody complained about the noise. When I opened the door I confronted him “Man where have you been? I needed you today to fix a couple of problems I had. Just because we are thousands of kilometers from home don't think you can just ignore your duties!” “I know, and I'm sorry” he cut short “but I think I'm ahead and I've got you covered”. He then proceeded to come in. “Look I spent the day at the nearby Internet Cafè talking with agencies all over the worlds to find you a proper assistant coach who would come here to help you with the tactical side of your job. And I found just the perfect guy: his name is Victor Naciu, he was working in Romania as an u19 coach” he looked at me waiting for a reaction. “Well shit Michele I'm impressed, I was ready to lecture you about your job and you actually went far beyond. That's the reason I chose you to come with me after all” I was in fact impressed, I knew he was a good assistant, but he actually surprised me with this one. “Well great news Giacomino is that Victor will be here tomorrow afternoon as he's in flight right now! He accepted the contract of the club already, they are paying him about €4k a year. You are giving him a little bonus of a couple of dozens of thousands of euros from your own pockets in order to convince him to work for you. He will basically run trainings and study the tactic for you, and you will get all the credit. He also speak a bit of French and a bit of English, so that you will be able to communicate with him fairly easily”. “Well Michele, I'm truly appriciating what you did today, you really outdid yourself. Now go, I need to get well rested because tomorrow I will meet this Victor and the team”.

 

The next day I met Victor Naciu at a local restaurant, Sate Siboen. He seemd fairly competent and a good professional. He kept referring to me with a very formal domneavoastra that can be translated to something like lordship. But most importantly he seemed like a good fork and ate with much pleasure everything that he ordered, and that is something I always appriciate in a person.

 

 

 

After lunch we walked to the training facility and he told me what his intentions were with this team. He figured that we should have gone with a 4-4-2 with a Route One style. He used the long flight to watch videos and reports of our team so I trusted his inputs, he even thaught me what to say to the players about this tactical system. So when we finally reached the Brawijaya stadium and met all the players I knew what to do.

 

The tactic we are gonna use

 

Eka was incredibily helpful and I think she even corrected some of the tactical inputs I was giving the team, after all I'm talking of something I don't know to people who don't understand my language. After my first day I was starting to get the first names right and the excitement for this challange was really growing on me. Victor helped me to identify the better players of the team, he told me that the absolute cornerstone of the squad is the central defender Arthur, although his countrymate Dionatan Restinga was not far from his level. The only downside is that Restinga has to play left midfield and that is not his natural position. 

 

 

As for the indonesian players the best is surely Vava Mario Yagalo who plays as left defender. The other crucial profile is the one of Andri Ibo, the team captain, who plays in defense aswell.

 

 

Well, in the next days I had the chance to meet everyone and get to know them better. The task in front of us is everything but easy and we will need a lot of work and a bit of luck to reverse the course of this team! Those are the results they had till now, and hopefully the losing days ends today!

 

 

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.2: ALWAYS ON A PLANE

 

Well September started and with that the monsoon season is coming to an end. It still rains everyday but at least it's a very soft rainfall, similar to te ones I'm used to in Italy. But don't get it mixed with european rain: eventhough there is constant precipitation it is still very hot with temperatures still reaching 30°. All this humidty does really make less enjoyable the fact that I have to handle practice everyday in the open, but breathing this new air of change wins any discouragment the climate brings. 

 

One thing I did not really grasp when I signed here is how big Indonesia really is and how much a team has to travel. During Semptember we played 4 games, 3 of wich were away. Now, if my debut as a manager was played in Semarang, wich is also on the island of Java and is just 1 hour flight, the other 2 games were all played at least ONE THOUSAND kilometers from Kediri, and both times there wasn't any direct flight avaliable. To reach Samarinda, for the match agains Pusamania Borneo FC we had to take 3 different connections! At first I thought that I could grab one of my family jets and travel with it, but Victor suggested that it would have been beneficial for the team if we flew as a unity. So if we had an away game to play we could practice only 3 out of the 5 days avaliable because we would spend at least 2 full days somewhere up in the air. 

 

The games we played weren't easy but I think we performed well. Despite what you all might be thinkg we did played a good football and we went really close on getting some important points on the board, but luck was never really on our side. Against PSIS SEMARANG for example we played really well, we had an Xg of 1,92 and we had 2 goals already disallowed. What happens in the 88' minute? We concede a gol because of a brain fart of our goalkeeper Dikri Afafa. And what do you think has happened against the already mentioned Pusamania Borneo FC? We almost pulled off an incredible comeback with 10 men but we then let the opponent score twice in injury time. 

It's not all bad news though. We managed to win the only home game we played, against the only team that is below us in the league table. We convincingly won against Persiraja Banda Aceh with a very solid 3-0 performance.

 

 

 

Honestly 3 points in 4 games is not a bad loot, but Victor said that if we can get to an average higher than 1 point per game we will probabily avoid relegation. As of now we are 3 points behind in the race for safety, and we have just passed the halfway mark. I remain positive, results will come, we just have to trust Victor and the players.

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.3: TWO WEEKS OUT

 

The month of October began with a difficult match on the road. We had to travel to Gianyar, in the island of Bali, to play against Bali United. The result was a difficult one to digest: we went down 3-0 but somehow managed to comeback to 3-3, before suffering a late goal that condemned us to another L. After that, the calendar gave us a pause of almost 3 weeks so I decided to let the team and my whole entourage, fly back to Kediri while I booked 2 weeks at one of my favorite places in Bali: Komaneka near the Keramas beach. 

 

 

It's really a paceful and romantic place and staying there helped me recharge the batteries and really dive into the culture of Indonesia and the real glamour of indonesian women. I experienced first hand the famous Nusa Dua Fiesta, a yearly celebration that occurs in mid October in a beach south of the Island. I think that is an experience everyone should have once in their lifetime.

 

While I was enjoying life I instructed Victor to guide the team in two friendlies against lower tier indonesian teams. I thought that it was important to somehow comeback to winning ways in order to let the team taste the flavour of victory again. When I came back the team looked different, they seemed ready to face everyone. I watched a training match that left me speechless: I'm sure that if instead of the reserves the starters had played against Real Madrid they would have won. 

That grit was starting to build up and helped to show the full potential of our team against both Madura United and Tira - Persikabo. We won, for only the second time this season, two consecutive games! 6 points that gave us air to breath and removed a lot of pressure from the team.

 

The last match of the month saw us facing Barito Putera, that we had just surpassed for the 16th place. We were on a good streak and could have even hit the 3 wins streak season's record. Unfortunately we were not good enough to hit that mark; but the point we conquered lifted us over into the safezone! With 10 matches to go we are currently in 15th place. But mind it, the very next match will see us play against Persjia Jakarta, meaning we could fall back down very rapidly!

 

 

 

 

We just came back from Banjarmasin, after an 16 hour ferryboat travel, when I recieved a text from the Director Of Football Mr Gudelji that notified me about the transfer of Dian Agus Prasetyo. He was our 3rd choice keeper, since I began coaching. It was not a very important news for the supporters but it was the very first transfer of my managerial career so it was important to me. 

 

 

And to close on a high note the month the president, Mr. Kurniawan made me a present. Because I was lifting the team out of the relegation zone he offered me the opportunity to take the course for my very first license as a football manager. I gladly accepted it.

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.4: PERSIKMANIA

 

November is a crucial month for our race to safety, we have to play 6 matches. The first to weeks are the biggest for us because we will face both Persija Jakarta and Persita Tangerang, two direct opponents in the relegation battle. For the occasion I publicly asked for our fans to show all the supports they could give to the boys in purple. Persikmania, that's the name of our supporters, delivered two great performances on the stands to fire up our guys.

 

 

With all the chants in the stadium we knew we could not let our fans down. Against Persija Jakarta we played really well, showed initiative shooting a whooping 23 times but didn't managed to combine a worthy defensive performance. We finished the match 1-1, and since we are in front of them in the table we managed to keep the distance between us so we can see the glass half full. The next match saw probabily our best performace of the year, where we managed to completly outplay Persita Tangerang in every aspect of the game. 28 shots and a superb Sackie Doe allowed us to take 3 vital points. Although this victory was really well deserved and show us express a level of football that wasn't shown in Kediri in a long time, the real masterpiece came in the very next game. We traveld to Bandung to play against the 2nd team in the rankings: Persatuan Bandung. Despite the odds being heavily in their favor we managed to play the perfect game and not only win the match, but to outperform our hosts by scoring 4 goals!

 

But those were just the 3 matches of the month, and November had another 3 planned for us. Against Bhayangkara, the very top team in Indonesian football, we proudly held blows for the whole 90' but conceded twice in injury time wasting all the good work we had done till then. The other two matches were against historic rivals of Persik: Persela Lamongan and Arema Cronus. With great effort we managed to come out with 1 pontis from this 2 appointments. It wasn't easy but this month of November gave us great hopes for the relegation battle.

 

In front of us there are still 4 games to persue what seemed so unreachable only three months ago. We are currently standing in 14th place with only 3 points between us and the red zone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.5: CAN WE AVOID RELEGATION?

 

December started with us in 14th place, with a 3 points margin from relegation. With only 4 matches to go it was a sound gap to have, but it was still not enough to truly believe we could manage to stay up. I remeber calling in a meeting for the whole team, staff included with the intention to lower the pressure on those upcoming matches. My words, translated by Eka, reached the team in the way I wished they would, and eased a couple of player that were begging to feel stressed. 

 

With less expectations on their shoulders, players played more freely, doing what they knew they could do. In the first match, against PSS Sleman we suffered a little bit, but never gave too much space to the opponents and were really good to capitalize our chances. We eon 4-0 and mage and enormous step towards safety. But the fight for the last places fully unraveled in the next game, where we played Persipura Jayapura away. We went up 2-0, then conceded but without losing focus we managed to go back to an impressive 4-1. Then, when the game was approching its end, we conceded twice and faced the risk of a draw. We compacted very firmly and succeded in going back home with a W in our pocket. Those 3 points gave us the mathemathical certanty mathematical certainty: we are not going anywhere next here! We will still be competing in the Indonesian Super League! 

 

Unfortunately, we didn't make the headlines with our achievement beacuse in the same matchday Bhanagkara clinched the title and were crowned champions. The last 2 matches weren't really important but we gave all ourselves nontheless, closing with 4 more points that projected us to the 12

 

 

“The team saw a massive improvement under your management” told me our chairman, Mr. Sunardi “I'm not only talking only about our final position on the table, but by the football expressed here in general. Our analyst brought to my attention the big difference between our stats from the beginning of the season and the stast from the ending months. You still have one year on your contract and I expect you to manage the team for a whole season next season, then we will discuss the possibility of a renwal” He concluded. “Fair enough, I'm really happy with the result we achieved today and I look forward to improve it next season” I responded. He then handed me the report from our Data hub and I was pleased to acknowledge the improvements. The results spoke for themself, but seeing the difference the tactic that Victor implemented for the team, did on the pitch was really satisfying. The merits of this were all of Michele that showed great recruitment capabilities.

 

 

Stats before Giacomino was hired

 

Stats at the end of the season

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.6: MEET THE TEAM

 

After the season ended I decided to spend the two months vacation in Indonesia and not to get back home in Italy. I had Michele handle all my holiday plan around Bali and Nusa Tenggara, before giving him the well deserved time off. I had the most spectacular experience in Tegalang parks and rice terrace, then I went snorkeling in Gili Air before moving to a full dive in unspoilt nature in Komodo National Park. It was an incredibly peaceful vacation that culminated with the Galungan celebration in Bali. It is one of the most important Balinese holidays which honor the creator of the universe; and its celebrations last for over a week. 

 

The colourful poles of Galungan

 

 

When I came back I was ready to focus on our new season. From mid Febraury to the beginning of March Michele, Eka and Victor all came back to Kediri to start the work with the team that our Director of Football, Nebojsa Gudelj, had managed to build. There were a lot of new different faces and a lot of the players that were in the club had left. I figured he did a great job when I saw that the odds predicted us to a comfortable 11th place finish, well above the 17th where we were predicted last season. We held an exclusive ceremony at our training field for our sponsors and most distinguished fans, where I was supposed to introduce all the player, say a couple of things about them and then show the kit for the new season. 

 

 

“Hello everyone, and welcome to the grand opening of Persik Kediri's 2022 season!” I have always been very comfortable on stage and to give impressive presentations was a great quality of mine. "So first of all let's all give a big thank you to Pond's for sponsoring our team this year and for the great kits they gave us! Two beautiful models came on the stage, built exclusively for this event, wearing the new home and away kits.

 

 

"Now, let's meet the team!" The plan was that everytime I did mention someone he was supposed to come to the stage weraing either his home or away kit and then stay there till the end of the opening. “Let's begin with our two Goalkeepers!: Dikri Afafa showed us last year what he's made of! He will be our starter, no doubt about that! Right after him there is Fajar Setya Jaya, he will be ready to step up in case we will need him to!

 

 

 

 

Onto the defense! Arthur earned our hearts last year with a couple of crucial performance to get us to safety, and we cannot wait to see what he can do this season! Next to him you will be able to witness one of the best central defenders this lovely country has to offer: it's Syukur Fisabilillah! behind them there are Nurhidayat Haris and Andy Styo, both with great marking and tackling abilities will gave us a great solidity! O the right side of defense we will be able to admire Gavin Kwan Adsit, who we managed to get for free. His reserve will be Agil Munawar, who whill have his chances to shine. On the left side we still have, and will have for the whole season since he just signed a new contract, Vava Mario Yagalo. we also have a big couple of names in Dany Saputra and Abdul Rahman who will fight for a place on the pitch week in week out!

 

 

Moving to midifield we have to begin eith our new team captain: Mattew Thompson. He's bringing a good amount of quality and an impressive amount of experience! That's why some of the younger guys jokingly started calling him kakek! His rolemate will be Immanuel Wanggai. To fight for a starting place we also have Bayu Pradana and Roni Sugeng. Everyone in the middle of midfield can contribute a lot to the Persik's cause and you can expect all of them to play an important role throughout the season! On the left side we will see a great duel for the starting position between both Octavianus Maniani and Fahmi Al-Ayyubi, while on the right you can all appriciate the niño Valentino Ottaviano and Antoni Putro Nugroho!

 

 

And now let's see who is gonna score our goals! The biggest signing of this winter has been O Garoto Prodigio Patrick! With him will probably play Aldi Al Achya, who did not live the best time of his life last season with the Persita Tangerang but is looking forward to shift the tide with us! To close up the team we have confirmed both Satria Bagaskara and Muhammad Ridwan.

 

 

"This clonclude our presentation, now everyone come close for the team picture!"

 

The next update of this carrer will come next week, see you soon!

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.7: FAREWELL VICTOR

 

March was coming to an end, the season was about to start. I was having lunch with Eka, Michele and Victor at our favourite spot in Kediri, the Sate Siboen, when my assistant coach came with a huge news out of the blue: “Domneavostra, I have to tell you something: I will be leaving Indonesia next week to go back to Romania, I was offered to coach a team of the first division there and I accepted the job”. I spilled the longton I was eating “What did you say?” I stuttered, unlike Stanley from The Office. “Don't you worry Giacomino, I have everything under control” Michele came through the conversation “I handled the transfer of Mr. Naicu and in a couple of days you will have a new assistant manager, handipicked by Victor himself”. My PA was always good at anticipating situations, and although I didn't love the idea of restarting everything with a new assistant coach just a couple of the days before the start of the Superleague. “I will instruct him on everything that's needed to make your job as easy as possible” reassured me Victor “he's already very capable and you will barely feel my absence”. “ You have allowed me to enjoy this 6 months here in Kediri way more than I should have been allowed to. I doubt I won't feel your absence. Thank you for putting up with all of this, go and win something with your new team then” we hugged and walked to the training facility. Victor had to tell the team aswell, and I'm sure that the boys preferred him to me, so it would have not easy to start the season withouth our romenian Guardiola.

 

The new assistant manager was a fellow countryman. Renzo Rossi spent all of his carreer in Romania as either a coach or a director of football, but spent his non working life in Tivoli, Italy. He had his mother there, so why did he moved way around the globe to be our assistant manager? He has been out of contract since the covid pandemic started so he figuered he could use the extra money I was paying him, plus heard great things about indonesian brothels and wanted to have a taste of the forbidden fruit. From what I could see he always loved the good life, eating and drinking well in the company of beautiful girls, so I instisted thet he kept a professional facade at least during working hours. I even instruceted Max, one of my security guys, to keep an eye on him and to not let him off the hook. Hopefully we will come out of the season unhurt!

 

The first match of the season had in store the biggest match in Indonesia: we aere going to play an away game against Bhayangkara, the reining champions. We gave a lot of space to our new faces in the team and I have to admit I was satisfied with the performance. When we faced them last season we did not disfigure  and this year we wanted to do the impossible and come out with at least one ponit from the game. We faced off evenly with our host but in the end we came out defeted. We can be happy because it was very difficult for Bhayangkara to overcome us!

 

 

The second and last match of April saw us debut our season at Brawijaya, in front of our fans! The Persikmania executed a beautiful pruple coreography that made the whole stadium a wonderful eye.catcher. The opponent was the Persebaya Surabaya, a team of our level. We had to win to show how different this Persik is from the last season's one! The first 45 minutes where a bit dull, without big chances excluding the disallowed goal of Ottaviano. The second half although saw us roaring and rising to the occasion with a whopping 5 gol win. 

 

 

Now we have a 3 weeks pause, I would love to enjoy some time in Timor but I feel like my time would be better spent in creating a relationship with Renzo, so I will stay here in Kediri and try to somehow connect with my new assistant manager

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.8: ARE YOU SCARED OF HEIGHTS?

 

May and June where brilliant. We had a just 5 matches in 60 days so there was a lot of pauses inbetween and I felt it was crucial for us to fix the chemistry of the team with all the new faces we had. Things with Renzo were going very well, I don't know why but we just clicked. He was doing everything Victor did but with much more investment in the team, he was breaking down every detail to me and clarified anything I needed to be clarified. He just understood the team and the team understood him, so we were thriving. We went on to dominate on the field, we handed 3 goals a game just like it was nothing, the defense was superb and the wings were flying on the sides of the pitch. We were so dominating that I even told Max to ease up on Renzo and to give him a whole week of freedom. I don't know what he did in those days, but I know for sure he had fun because he came back radiant, as who has seen Virgin Mary appear in front of him. 

 

 

 

We were only 7 matches in and Al Achya had already reached the number of goals he scored the previous season (5), Ottaviano and Al Ayyubi had an overall of 7 assists and Arthur was playing just as prime Maldini. 

 

 

Since the brazilian was playing so good our director of football, Nebojsa Gudelj, offered him a new contract, giving him a rise of over 30% of his previous salary.

 

Yea ok, we are playing good and winning, but how is the table? You already know how it is do you? But before looking I should warn you: if you are afraid of heights, don't look down

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.9: A CONVERSATION WITH THE BOARD

 

July was a big month for me. The team debuted in the Piala Indonesia, the domestic cup. It was the first ever cup I lived as a manager since Kediri was already eliminated when I joined last year. The opening game, valid for the round of 64, saw us facing Celebest FC, a team from Divisi Utama (the indonesian's 2nd tier). We didn't even break a sweat and closed the game with a 5-0 win despite the heavy rotation we did.

 

Other than the cup we played 5 matches, winning 4 of them and drawing the other. It seemed our period of great form was meant to continue. The opponents we faced were all in the lower half of the table, so not the hardest possible schedule, but keep in mind that only 6 months ago we were grasping for air to sray in this division! We even set a new record for the team with our 11 loseless streak! 

 

 

Entering August we are still sitting at the top of the table, with a 3 points advantage on Pusamania Borneo whom we will face in the upcoming month. 

 

 

 

After the Persib match I was summoned by our owner Sunardi. When I reached his office he was waiting for me with Mr. Kurniawan standing on his left. “Please sit Giacomino, there is a matter that we, as the board, would like to discuss with you” and while saying this he nodded indicating the chair. When I sat Kurniawan begun speaking aswell: “Giacomino, it's been almost an year since we appointed a 28 year man from the other side of the globe, with no experience, as our manager. If you had told me, at that moment, that we would be here today, at the top of the Indonesian Super League, in an 11 game streak without losing, I would have not believed it. So, as a gesture of gratitude, we decided to pay for your national license B course and to offer you a renewal of the contract” He handed me a couple of documents. I took a look at it and then opened my mouth “I'm sorry Sir, but as of now I'm not ready to sign a contract extension. As of now I'm 100% focused on our mission to pursue a top half finish. At the end of the season, if you will still want me, we will discuss the renewal. I'll take the course now!” Sunardi was shocked, Kurniawan was rather pissed by my response. “I hope you will come to your senses by then” said the latter “because this salary is a very high one, I'm not sure if you will find anything higher with your experience”. 

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.10: HIGH-RANKING CLASH

 

August came, and we were still livign the dream, sitting comfortably on top of the table. But while the European World goes on holiday we were about to face our toughest challange yet. In the past months we played only against mid to lower tier clubs (exception made for the opening againsta Bhayangkara) so the media were all saying “Yea it's a fairy tale and all, but how will they do against the top teams in Indonesian football?”. We were about to find out. In a single month we were supposed to play against Pausamania Borneo (2nd), Persis Solo (5th) and Madura United (4th). Not the easiest schedule ahed of us. But before playing those match there was a pressing matter that had to be discussed: contract extensions for our top players. Many of the team contracts have a one season durations, so I had to make sure that our top boys would not leave us for free at the end of the year. Under this perspective we extended both Fisabillilah and Al-Achya for another season. One of our best defender and the league topscorer are not going away withouth an expensive fee!

 

Settled the matter it was time to travel to Samarinda, on the Borneo island, to face our closest rival: Pusamania Borneo! Luckily we had no injuries or suspensions, so we were able to put on the field our best possible formation. We started the match with great intensity, and after only 3 minutes we get the ball in the net thanks to the newly extended Al Achya. Unfortunately though our striker is caught offside on the pass from Ottaviano so the goal is disallowed. Just 2 minutes later we are on the offense again, and this thime is Saputra's shot to get caught from Borneo's keeper! When we are approaching the 15' minute we get struck by a bolt from the blue. Hariyadi has a free kick from about 25 meters from the goal, he shoots it directly towards the net and manage to score! We are down 1-0! We are just after the half an hour mark when Pradana serves Ottaviano with a through ball. The argentinan put it back towards the middle of the box where Patrick dash and kick. The ball flies into the back of the net! We equalised! The first half finishes without any other highlight.

At the 64' minute we are warded a corner kick. Wanggai goes to take charge of the ball. Big croos in the middle fo the box, Arthur bursts forward to head the ball into the net! We are up 1-2! We want one more goal, so Yagalo tries to serve Ottaviano who take a shot from outside the box, the ball hit the bar and the comes back to play, but it is an easy prey for Borneo's goalkeeper. At the 81' minute Adsit pushes Beckic in the box and the referee has no doubt: it's a penalty for the home team! Bekic goes to the ball shoot and beat Afafa, so Borneo managed to find a late equaliser! It's 2-2 now and there is not much time left! But we played very weel, muche better than our host, so there is no chance that we will settle for a draw! We are deep in injury time, Wanggai manages to win back a ball and serves Sugeng, the midfilder throws a through ball towards Patrick, the brazilian passes it in the middle of the box where Al Achya is ready to shoot! It's a missle, the goalkeeper could nothing against that shot! Kediri wins it at the very last second!!!!!

 

This win was crucial. We n ow had a fair margin on Pausamania Borneo and since we managed to go on and have a perfect month of all wins we were now sitting comfortably in the first place with a 6 points margin on the second. At the middle of the season the Kediri dream is still alive and sound!

 

But we also played in the Piala Indonesia round of 32! The opponent was Persiwa Wamena, that currently plays in Divisi Utama, the second tier of Indonesian football. We won only 2-1 but we played a great match, unfortunately for us their goalkeeper, Aziz Kurniawan, was in a state of bliss and saved 10 out of the 12 shots we made towards the goal!From now, with the round of 16, all rounds will be played in two legs.

 

And since we were on such a form we were able to attract better players to our team. August was the last month of the transfer window so our director fo footbal Gudelj bought us a gift: a new goalkeeper! Afafa and Setya Jaya were not bad, so it's not like we needed him, but Fitrul Dwi Rustapa is just better overall and will give us a much higher chance to win matches! We pay €26k to get him from Persipura Jayapura!

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.10: ARE WE GONNA AIM FOR THE TITLE?

 

September was yet another crucial month for us. We had 5 matches to play for the Liga 1, and we were also playing in the Piala Indonesia's round of 32! The first match saw us playing against Arema Cronus, our fierce rival. Despite the rivalry everytime we face each other the game is never a real competition since one of the two of us is always far superior than the other. This time we handed them 4 goals without conceding a single shot towards our goal. PSIS Semarang was a very important match for myself because it was the first game for Johan Prasetyo against me. Johan was a memeber of my staff that was chosen to go manage in Semarang just a couple of weeks before our game, and since he got appointed (they were dead last) he is managing to keep them above the relegation zone! He is doing a great job and knows all of our tactics, so I can assure you I was ecstatic when we won that game. Sure, we had some difficulties but we still came out winning! The highlight of the month was the match against Persebaya Surabaya. We played a great first half but weren't able to replicate in the second period. They were perfect and reached a very deserved draw with only 10 miutes remaining. The referee was almost ready to blow the final wisthle when Al Ayyubi found the back of the net after a marvelous cross from Patrick. 

 

 

In the Piala Indonesia we did not sweat a lot. The round of 32 saw us facing PSPS Pekanbaru, a mediocre team of Divisi Utama, the second tier league of the Indonesian pyramid. After regulating them we had to face Barito Putera, another team from Divisi Utama. The more observant among you will remember Barito because is one of the three teams that got relegated last year. We had a little more trouble to play against them but won anyway and now we are up and ready to play the quarter finals!

 

The league table is really something to watch in awe. We are standing very firmly on top, with an impressive 13 points lead! We are being litteraly being carried by our 2 very prolific strikers: Patrick and Al Achya, that have a massive 35 goals loot together! It's impossible not to mention the professor emeritus in the art of defending Arthur. He's been massive, crucial and any other kind of adjective you can think of!!!

 

At the start of October, just before the game against Persib Bandung, Renzo came to me before the press conference, wich he was attending in my place. He asked “So Giacomino, should I make official our objective?” The answer in my eyes was clear, but I told him anyway “Yea, I think we have been in the shadows for enough time. Tell the world we are going to bring the title to Kediri!

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.11: THE BRAWIJAYA SUICIDE

 

October was a month full of incredibly challenging matches. We had to face Pausamania Borneo FC again, along with a difficult game at Persib Bandung. Despite the demanding tasks we did the unthinkable and DESTROYED Pausamania at the Brawijaya. The Persikmania went out of their minds, transforming our stadium in a wall of chants and noise that annhiliated our guests' spirits! At this point the countdown for our crowning as Indonesia's champions had started, and everyone agreed, from the fans to the media, that it was only a matter of time until the mathematical certanty!

 

With 18 points of advantage on Pusamania and only 8 games to go I think is safe to say we are the masters of our own fate.

 

But the Indonesian Super League is not the only competition that we are facing as of now. We left yesterday with the impending quarter final of the Piala Indonesia against Persebaya Surabaya, one of our closest rivals. Both legs were pretty well handled with a little more difficulty on the second one, where we went on to only draw against our host. Luckly we had already closed the practice during the first leg winning 4-1. We were on for the semifinals! Can we maybe get a domestic double???

 

In the semifinale we had to face PSM Mekassar. The other semifinal was composed by to very mediocre teams: PSS Sleman (12th in the superleague) and Badak Lampung (a Divisi Utama side), so it was pretty clear to the general public that whoever came out winning our match would most probably be crowned champion. The first leg saw us dominate our opponents on their home field, winning 0-3 and basically getting one foot already in the final. Then they came to the Brawijaya, and oh boy wasn't I prepared for that! We scored fairly early in the match and that goal seemed to establish our qualification, but then they draw just after 2 minutes. The first half ends and everything is fine, we have a confortable advantage and we just have to play the next 45' as we know. near the hour mark it's when everything falls apart: Mekassar gets two goals and get only one goal away from eliminating us (in case of a draw it's used the away goal rules). I decide to do a couple of changes, I take off a striker to place one more defender, change the two fuillbacks who were getting tired. After only 2 minutes since my substitutions the unthikable happens: Rony Sugeng breaks his ankle and is forced to leave the pitch: our hard mission just became a lot harder! We are now 10 vs 11. 

 

Despite everything we are still winning 4-3 so I put the team on an even more defensive mindset trying to park the bus and aim for that bloody final. My house of cards falls apart at the 81' when Mekassar scores the 1-4 that eliminates us from the Piala Indonesia. We were in the final just 45 minutes ago and now we just witnessed the biggest sports' suicide of Kediri's history. The Persikmania went silent for the first time this season, now we have to win this title to hear their screams again!

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.12: WE DID IT!

 

We said it was only a matter of time and so it was. All it took was 2 more matches to clinch my first title! There are so many managers that work all their life and never amount to nothing, and all it took for me was little more than a year! I think I'm pretty good at this.

 

Yea, I hear what you all are saying: “But Giacomino, you didn't do anything!”. Well actually I did the hardest part: I had to chose who had the honor to guide the team tactically and technically, and I had no help in that! What? Yea fine, Michele found them, but who hired Michele??? Hum? You are not talking anymore, are you? Thought so! Well then, as I was saying, I managed to win the title in little more than a year at the job.

 

It was a great season, we had only one loss, in the very first match of the season, drew just 3 games and won an incredible 30 matches that skyrocketed us to an impressive 93 points loot. In the last month Bhayangakara managed to comeback and close to a very respectable 2nd place, with just 30 points less than us, Pausamania Borneo fell behind and closed 4th, a very disappointing last couple of matches for them. Persib, Persel and Persija all got relegated, while Sulut Utd managed to stay in this division just because of a single goal advantage in the h2h with Persija. 

 

 

As Champions we also earned the right to play in the AFC Champions League preliminary rounds, although I'm not yet sure how many rounds we will have to face.

 

 

A big round of applause for our players. Here are all the leaders in the various categories, with the most impressive ones being Al Achya with an incredible 41 goals record and the 8.0 avarage rating for our central defender Arthur

 

Enough about the players! Let's get back talking to something really interesting: myself! I won 5 “Manager of the Month” awards plus, of course, the manager of the year in the ISL. As it totally should be! So yea, give me a round of applause!

 

We will close with a very less interesting screenshot: as predicted PSM Makassar ended up winning the Piala Indonesia. Good for them, but it should have been us!

 

 

With this I leave you. We are in the 2023 new year eve, my contract with Kediri is running out and they are pushing for an extension. I will take a couple of weeks to decide my fate and see what will happen. No option, beside the ones from the leagues I haven't put in the save, is off the table!

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.13.1: THE AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

 

So, which one of you thought I was gonna leave? I'm not gonna lie, I thought about it and even sent my resume to a couple of teams around the world, but I was never even called for an interview. So in the firs days of January I put up a mask and went to Mr. Sunardi's office and sat down to negotiate a renewal. “I decided that what we are building here issomething nice and I felt that I could be part of this process for another season” I said with my best possible poker face. Sunardi was on top of the world “When I read in the papers that you were expressing interest in other jobs I was worried we were gonna lose you! I'm so relieved that you finally decided to settle down with us! Here is our offer: €88k a year for the next to years! Is a little more than we offered you the last time and is a fair wage increase for what you accomplished so far!” Two years wasn't really what I wanted but I was without any better option: “Ok, I will sign for two years but you will have to finance my studies for another license!” Sunardi was exctatic “Done deal! We are so happy!

Great” I said with a semi fake smile on my face “I'm looking forward to come back in a couple of months ready for the new season!” Sunardi broke in a loud laugh: “I really like you Giacomino. You always know how to make me laugh!” I hesitated to answer, so Sunardi, perplexed, said “you know we will have to face the east preliminary rounds of AFC Champions League in two weeks right?” “Yea, of course I did! I was just joking, you know, it's traditional in Italy to joke a bit after we close a deal” I rambled-

 

After the meeting I went to eat something out with Renzo and Michele. In this year and a half I've learned some basic Bahasa Indonesia so  didn't need Eka in the day to day stuff. While eating Renzo told me that the AFC Champions League was a competition that was played from January, with the qualification rounds, all the way to the end of November. As champions of Indonesia we were beginning at the vary start of the competition in the east first preliminary round, but also stated that from the next year the champions of the Liga 1 would be qualified directly in the group stage. Although I'm not sure why there will be such an improvement since it's been 12 years since the last time an Indonesian team reached the Group Stage. In front of us there are three rounds to win in order to play in the group stage. renzo provided me with a bit of history: Persik Kediri already qualified twice in his past for the AFC Champions League and both times reached the group stage but never moved past that. 

 

In the first preliminary round our opponent will be Kitchee SC, the champion of the Hong Kong league. The odds are predicting an easy win for us, but just to be sure our own Periskmania decided to fill our stadium with purple colourse, leaving just 20 seats in a 20k stadium for the away team!

 

In the other side of the bracket there is the west preliminary round, wich has the same rule as the east one. Asia is so big that their competition is split in two halves! So in the west first round the Kuwait's champs will face off against the Tajikistan's title holders. 

 

The match was pretty match a demonstration of what we are capble of. After 3 minutes we were already leading thanks to an incredible header from almost outside the box from Patrick. Despite closing the first half only up 1-0 we had a lot of chances, we did hit the bar twice and forced our guests to never jave a shot. At halftime my speech was clear: we are dominating but we need more goals, the bummer is always waiting behind the corner! And our Brazilian prodigy listened carefully and put it to practice. With P-hattrick (badum tss) we closed the game 3-0 and moved on the next stage.

 

In the other match the Tajiks will keep on, eliminating the Kuwait's side!

 

And for the next round, we will face the thai side called Samut Prakan City FC, we will have to face them at their stadium, a mere 5,1k capacity structure called Samut Prakan Stadium; how original!

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.13.2: THE THAI FIGHT

 

We won against Kitchee SC in our opening of the Asian campaign, so we were thrilled when we boarded for Samut Prakan (in english Sea Fortress), a city neighbouring Bangkok. They were a little bit better than us on paper, but we destroyed our league were a lot of teams were “a little bit better than us" so we were fearless. On the plane I spoke to the team and said clearly “We can win this match, they are good, but so are we. Plus there is a huge money prize if we manage to reach the group stage for all of you!” The team wanted that money so they were ready to defy the odds that saw us slightly trailing.

 

In the other matchups we can see the first famous asian team: Shenzen FC will face off against the North Korean side Ammrokkang. 

 

But before diving into the match I jus wanna let you all know that our captain, the 40 years old australian Matthew Thompson, just retired. He is now a coach, but not a good enough coach for us! Jumpa lagi kakek!

 

Now it's time to hear the pitch tell its story! 

As I said we were the underdog in this match, but we didn't let that condition ourselves! In fact after just 4 minutes we are already pushing the ball forwards: Wanggai puts in a cross towards the far post were Ottaviano is there to put the ball in! We are up 0-1! We are galvanized but the goal, and keep putting pressure on our opponents. After 3 minutes we are able to score again, this time with Maniani, but the goal is disallowed because of the winger's position being offside. At the 10 minute mark the game starts to get more balanced, with chances on both sides. At the 22' our hosts find a gol thanks to an header, bt it gets disallowed aswell for offside! It's the 39th minute when we get scored on: Samut Prakan execute a perfect set piece that we can't interpret well enough to defend. We end the first half 1-1.

Fast forward to the hour mark: we have a corner kick where Ottaviano finds the head of Arthur who goeas forward and scores the winner! We are through once again!

 

In the other match Shenzen wins it at the extra time, so their dream is still on! 

 

The next match will be the last preliminary round. We win it we go and participate to the Group Stage. On our path now awaits Sidney FC, a very strong side, much stronger than us. We will need to be perfect and to be lucky just to have a shot at this. We will see.

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.13.3: THE LAST STEP

 

After a 20 hours flight we reached Sidney, for the last preliminary game in front of us. On our path towards the group stage we have Sidney FC, the former team of Alessandro Del Piero, an idol for many of my friends back at home. To be honest they are better than us, but not as better as you would expect! I think that if we play very well and get a bit lucky we can manage to beat them! The odds are in our hosts' favour but I firmly believe we have what it takes to overturn them!

 

We begi the match with the ball at our feet. We are building the game with our own tempo. After just 3 minutes we have the first real chance with Al Ayyubi, but Sidney's goalkeeper, Malenica, pulls out a great save to neutralize the shot. At the 8th minute mark are the hosts that test our keeper Rustapa on a free kick. He's ready and captures the ball in his hands! It's the 20th minute when Patrick has a superb chance in fron of goals but is not able to finish it in the net. With time expiring in the first half Sidney get very close to a goal froma corner kick but we get lucky because the only hit the bar!

The second half starts a little dull with no higlights until the 70th minute. We have a corner kick, Wanggai goes to take it but it intercepted by an australian defender who is able to start the counterattack, and from his defensive third Wood throwes himself in an incredible gallop with the ball in his feet towards our goal. And once his face to face with Rustapa he is good to keep his nerves and score the first goal of the match! We are now trailing 1-0. We start attacking more recklessly but instead of scoring we get the opposit result: for the second time today Wood launches himself in a counterattack that ends up in another goal! With less than 5 minutes we are now down 2-0. The dream ends today, We lost in the playoff of the AFC Champions League!

 

Just as in Europe, losing the playoff of a major continental trophy allows you to participate in the less important tournament, in our case the Asian Confederation Cup. In our group we will play against one Cambodian team ( Boeung Ket), one from Vietnam (Binh Duong) and one from Singapore ( Hougan Utd)

 

 

The structure is a little complex so bear with me. The competition is divided by geographical zones, there are 5 of them: East Asian Zone, South Asian Zone, Central Asian Zone, West Asian Zone and ASEAN Zone (ours). There is a first stage wich is the group stage. In the ASEAN Zone the first team ofeach of the 3 groups and the best second team qualify for a semifinal and final. The winner of this final then goes on to play another small tournament called the “Interzone” in which he plays a semifinal and final against the winner of the East Asian Zone group, the South Asia Zone group and the Central Asian Zone group. The winner then goes on to play against the West Asian Zone (which will have faced a similar tournament as the one in the ASEAN Zone, without the interzone part) in the grand final for the title. Yea, it's pretty messed up but we will se what will come out once we will start playing.

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.15: THE NEW MISSION

 

The Liga 1 has changed format in the 2008 season. It didn't take place in 2015 due to legal reasons and in 2020 because of the pandemic. So, in 12 editions no team was able to win the title in back to back. Perispura Jayapura went real close but never managed to clinch it. Knowing this we now know our new mission: make history and keep the tilte in Kediri! After the preliminary rounds of the AFC Champions League we are now officialy starting our 2023 season! Persik Kediri will have to face 3 (4 if you count the Indonesia Community Shield) competitions: Liga 1, Piala Indonesia and the Asian Confederation Cup. In the first days of Febraury we held the usual grand opening of the season, to let the fans get to know the team. Our new kits were absolutely stunning, with Pond's that kept sponsoring us.

 

 

So now let me introduce to our team. We have no change in the role of goalkeeping, we kept all 3 of our previous keepers, with Fitrul Dwi Rustapa starting a bit higher on our hierarchy than both Fajar Setya Jaya and Dikiri Afafa

 

We also kept 3 central defenders: first of all our unbelivable Arthur, but also Seykour Fisabillilah and Andy Setyo. To them we added the absolute legend of Persipura Jayapura Muhammad Tahir, and the rock of the national team Manahati Lestusen. On the left we kept both Vava Mario Yagalo and Danny Saputra, who will be playing his last season for us. Our director of football, Nebojsa Gudelj, made us a gift and also bought Abdu Lestaluhu, a real gem who will probably be our starting fullback. On the right we still have Agil Munawar and Gavin Kwan Adsit, but we have also welcomed back in Indonesia Asnawi Mangkualam, who tried his luck in Sout Korea but never had much fortune.

 

In midfield we had to work the most, because we saw Matthew Tompson retire and Wanggai pay the dues to his old age. So we fullfilled the “asian” slot with the bruneian Mohd Shahdilah Shahrinee, quite a name uh, and we also brought in Marc Klok, a dutchman naturalized Indonesian. Those two alone are enought to make our central midfield the best one in Southeast Asia! With them we will see also Rizky Pellu and Bayu Pradana, who is the only midfielder that stayed with us. On the wings we still have the tandem composed by Fahmi Al Ayyubi and Octavianos Maninani on the left and Valentino Ottaviano on the right. With our great argentinian we bought Riko Simanjuntak from Persija Jakarta.

 

Up front we confirmed our deadly duo, capble to score almost 80 goals combined: Patrick and Aldi Al Achya. We completely changed their reserves, increasing drastically the quality of our offense, in fact we bought Mariando Uropmabin and Miftahaul Hamdi two superb players who I expect to make the most of their chances.

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.16: A PRETTY COOL DEBUT

 

We begin this year with the first 3 games of the Asian Confederation Cup. As I said the day of the draw this group is really easy for us and the results are clear: in 3 games we scored 12 goals and conced 0, we also broke the record for the biggest win ever in the history of the competition and team's one aswell. Giving a look at the halfway mark to the 3 ASEAN groups we can see that Indonesia is going strong with us and the other team, PSM Mekassar, still undefeat and on top of the respective group. My personal objective is tor each at least the Interzone semifinal, so i expect to win easily the next three matches and the final phase of the ASEAN groups. 

 

And just before the end of March we have to face the Indonesian Community Shield against PSM Makassar. We approach this match being strongly favoured by the odds. It is a great opportunity to see some of the new faces Nebojsa Gudelj bought us during the transfer window. 

 

The game is very balanced, with PSM Makassar reveiling to be much better than expected. They are the first one to get a real chance in front of goal with a superb finish by Sutanto Tan. Rustapa does his job and neutrilize the threat, allowing us to stay in the game. At halfitme the scoreboard still says 0-0 so I try to light the fuse reminding the boys what happened the last time we played against them. At the hour mark we finally manage to score with Patrick, for a change, after a wonderful assist by Ottaviano. After our goal PSM Makassar crawls back in the shadow and let us hold the game, and we manage to close any further discussion with the second goal of Patrick. We won the second Indonesian title!

 

After the match we celebrate with some champagne in the locker room, but I guess someone gave something much stronger to Renzo, because in the press conference after the game he says some strong opinions about Patrick…

 

With the end of March ends the transfer window, I didn't want anyone new because I felt like the team was fully staffed, but something happened. In Indonesia the youth intake happens mid February, and as always we did not get anyone special. Arema Cronus, although, did, they recruited the 15 year old prodigy Putu Aronggear. As of now, at 15(!), he's already one of the best players in the league, just imagine what he can become. Probabily one of the ebst football players Indonesian has ever seen. I had to have him, so I asked our president Sunardi for a gift, and he did it! He brought Putu to Kediri! Now watch this wonderful playmaker, I can't wait to see him on the pitch!

 

In the next update we will see the start of the Liga 1. We are the strongest candidate to the title, let's fullfill the expectations!

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.17: THE CHAMPS ARE BACK BABY!

 

After two full months of continental football today we finally come back to play in the Liga 1. We still have to play 3 matches for the Asian Confederation Cup but now we will also have the domestic duty. In the first month of games we faced our fierce rival for the last year's title, Pausamania Borneo, and both Tira Persikabo and Bali United, two strong sides. Despite the double weekly appointment we kept the form of the past season and went on to be undefeted, drawing only against Borneo in a hard fought match. In this first matches the only downside that I could find is our defense. Arthur is now going for 33 years old, and looks like he has been aging much faster than I excpected, the new guys are still getting used to the team, and now we have conceded five times in five games.

 

We can be downers all we want, but numbers don't lie: with the win over Bali United we reached the 38th consecutive match without losing, surpassing the previous record (37 games). I really like our fans' point of view: the goal has to be to go undefeated for the whole season!

 

And of course we are already leading the charge for the title. We are at the top of the table, with a 1 point advantage on PSM Mekassar and Persis Solo

 

Now let's switch back to the Asian Confederation Cup. The group stage wasn't really a challange to us, so after dominating the first 3 games we won easily the last 3. 15 goals scored, 3 conceded made us close the group stage with 27 goals scored in 6 games, and of course, 18 points. 

 

The Hougang United, the team from Singapore, qualifies aswell as the best second team. We will face Selangor FA, from Malaysia, for the semifinal of the ASEAN Zone. I'll remind you that whoever will win the ASEAN zone will go on to play in the Interzone semifinal. The second semifinal will see two old acquaintances of ours: Hougang United against PSM Mekassar!

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.18: THE ZHANG XI SITUATION

 

We are in May! We have to face a couple matches in the Liga 1 and most importantly the ASEAN Zone semifinal against Selangor FA. After those games we will have a whole month of holiday before coming back on the pitch in July. In Indonesia we are still undefeated, despite getting another draw against our rivals Arema Cronus, we are keeping the first place in the table. We are not devastating as we were last year but I'm still happy as long as we hold the top spot while fighting in the asian competition.

 

And now let's talk about the Asian Cofederation Cup. after winning the ASEAN Group F we reached the semifinal, where we have to play against Selangor FA, the winner of Group G. Tha Malaysian had no trouble passing the turn, winning every game except for one, where they drew against a Singaporean team named Tampines.

 

The preview sees us a slightly favourite, but I'm very positive that we can easily beat them. For the first leg we have to travel to Shah Alam, a suburban village near Kuala Lumpur. I always prefer to play the first game away. The game was pretty balanced, we went on to score with Al Achya before the 25th minute mark, but Selangor had many chances before us. Close to the end of the first half our host was able to score, but most importantly Tahir got sent off with a killer tackle at the 43rd minute. Despite being 11 vs 10 we still won thanks to a superb finish from outside the box of Al Ayyubi just after we came out of the lockerooms. In the other semifinal our countrymates of PSM Makassar  won 1-3 against our former groupmate Hougang United

 

In the second leg the situation was very different. First of all we played all the 90 minutes 11 vs 11, second of all we had our ace up the sleeve: Persikmania. Our fans flooded the stadium transofrming it in a full purple spot on the maps. We scored early on with the usual AL Achya, and went on to duble just before half time with Patrick. 2-0 and we are through the final of the ASEAN zone! Of course it will be an all Indoneasian final. This season we have already beaten PSM Makassar in the Indonesian Community Shield, so I feel like we have bette odds to reach the Interzone phase!

 

After this game we had a month of holiday. Renzo asked for my permission to fly back in Europe because his favourite team, AS Roma, was playing in the Champions League final. I know it is a pretty special moment for any Roma fan so I bought him a ticket as a present for the match. He went and was able to witness history going down in Munchen: Roma defeated Chelsea, who was trying to win the third Champions League ina row! Mourinho led the eternal city to eternal glory!

 

I was not itnerested in going back to Europe: I was about to fly to the Maldives archipelago to enjoy my month off. I was almost boarding when my pa Michele called my cell: “Giacomino, sorry but you can't board the plane you have an urgent meeting here in Kediri with our chairman Sunardi. You received a call from Zhang Xi, he is the chairman of the chinese team Hebei, and he wants to interview you, but Sunardi asked for a huge compensation for you so they are not willing to offer you the job anymore! Come back and ask Sunardi to give you the chance to attend the interview! It's a huge opportunity for you man!” “All right Michele, I'm coming back, thanks” I sighed.

bigmattb28
9 years ago
16 minutes ago
1,317

This is good, keep it up.

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

Thank you bigmatt, unfortunately English is not my first language and I know there are some mistakes here and there, but I'm glad you are enjoying it nontheless!

 

CHAPTER 1.19: TIME TO PACK THE BAGS?

As I was on the car that was bringing me back from Surabaya airport to Kediri I was fuming. In part I was disappointed to miss my holiday in the Maldives, but most importantly I was upset about my chairman behaviour. It's not like I wanted to force a departure, but what really had me going was the fact that Sunardi wouldn't even allow me to take the job interview. 

 

When I arrived at the club's offices I went directly in Sunardi study to talk with him. When I entered I birefly gave a look at his left and there sat Eka, the interpreter. Sunardi summoned her, it was a good call because it was a very delicate topic and I didn't want to screw things up because of my still basic Bahasa Indonesia. “Hi Giacomino, I want to talk to you about the Hebei proposal" he said while I sat down “you know you are a very valuable asset to us, and their offer for you was just ridicolous”. I nodded :"Mister Sunardi, look, I understand every possible reason you might have, I know I have a contract with this club and I will forever be grateful to you for believing in me when no one did two years ago. But I need you to understand two things: first of all what Hebei wanted was just to give me a job interview, and that would have not necessarily be transformed in to an offer. In second instance I'm willing to stay here, but I need something in exchange, maybe you can help me by allowing me to hire a couple of coaches more?". 

You are being very reasonable, Giacomino, but we can't let you expand your staff, we don't have a lot of money and we prefer to keep it for something more important.” Sunardi replied. I was in shock, I was collaborating, but in front of me stood a wall. “Look, it seems to me it's all coming down to a matter of money, and that's a thing I despise. I thought we were on good terms, but if a couple thousands rupiahs is what is really stopping yourself I think I should just resign” I was truly disheartened, and was really willing to resign, since the good relationship I thought I had with the board was merely economical. 

My words had a huge effect on Sunardi who scared went to rescue the situation “No Giacomino, I'm sorry if I gave you this feeling. You are right, those money are not worth the relationship we built here and I think is very important we remain in good terms with one another. If you want to talk with Hebei you can, and if you were to accept their offer I want you to know there will be no bad blood between us.

 

So I had the interview. I think I did pretty well, it was the first major club that contacted me and I was kinda nervous. The interview I held with Persik and Cefn Mawr at the beginning of my carreer were different, manly because I saw it all as a big game and not as an actual job. Mister Zhang was pretty honest with me, adressed all his concerns about my profile and I tried to reassure him at the best of my possibilities. I didn't have any request to give so I think he was pretty pleased in the end of our chat. Unfortunately though I didn't make the cut, Zhang preferred John Harkes, one of the all time greats of US football (or soccer as they call it). I can't really blame him for the choice, in all honesty I think he was a better candidate with much more experience. I was happy anyway, I'm glad Sunardi gave me the chance to talk with them and I'm sure that I will be able to land an important job such as Hebei in the near future. Now it's time to focus back on Kediri, we have many competitions to win here!

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.20: IT'S PSM MEKASSAR, AGAIN

 

After the Chinese club left us we went straight back to the practice center to focus on our own Persik. Ahead of us were the Liga 1 and Piala indonesia, before playing the most improtant game of my life: the ASEAN zone final. I know that all you want is to read about the AFC games, but before anything else I have to introduce our new signing. Al Alchya has been struggling with the goal recently, so I decided to upgrade him with a young, better striker. His name is Marselino Ferdinand, he's 18 and we paid 60k to get him from Persebaya Surabaya. As of now he's had a low form throughout the season, but I'm sure he will start scoring loads for us.

 

Now let's see how we did in Liga 1. As a wise man once said all good things must come to an end, and our loseless streak is no different. During the last month we played some very important matches against strong opponents like Bhayangkara and PSM Mekassar. Despite overpowering them with ease we fell in the Persis Solo trap. First Al Achya misses a penality in the early minutes, then we conceed three times from a set piece. This is unacceptable, I know, but with that debacle our streak ended at 45 games.

Despite the loss we are still clinging to the first place with a very thin margin. Those two points might not seem much but we are much better than anyone else in this country so I don't feel threatened at all!

 

It's time for our debut in the Piala Indonesia in the round of 128. Our opponent is Pershan, a team from league four. I feel like if we can put 11 of us and go play against them we can probabily draw in the worst case scenario! We easily won 6-1 and went on for the next turn!

 

And now the two matches everyone was waiting for: the ASEAN Zone Final! In the first leg we traveled to Makassar for the game. We had recently beaten the PSM 5-1 in Liga 1 and just a couple of months ago we won the community shield against them 2-0, so our confidence was pretty high. Ready set go and after 600 seconds we are already up 0-2. With Ottaviano we mark the 0-3 that allows us to head to the locker room for the half time pause with our head light and our hearts filled. In the second period we just have to administrate the game, but we overdo ourselves and score the 0-4 with Patrick!

 

At the Brawijaya is the same old story: Persikmania fill the stadium until the sold out and fill the atmosphere with colours and chants. How can we lose in front of such crowd?? unfortunately though we go down 0-1, but we hold our concentration and manage to comeback with a 1-1 draw at halfitme. The second period saw us getting the complete control of the game, annihilating PSM Makassar and scoring two golas to set the result to a 3-1. 

 

Winning the final with a 7-1 boosts pretty well the morale of the player and of the board alike. So I went to Sunardi and ask for a little reward: the Continental C License!

 

So we finally reached my personal goal: the Interzone semifinal. We are going to play against Istiqlol. The most observant among you might remember them from our playoff path in the AFC Champions League! They, just like us, lost in the playoff of the preliminary round and were “relegated” to the AFC Cup.

 

The other semifinal sees Eastern AA and Gokulam Kerala play one another. Both teams are weaker than us and Istiqlol, so whoever manage to win the match will be the favourite to win the Interzone Playoff and reach the grand final!

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.21: THE TAJIK TRIP

 

The engagment in all these competitions we are a part of is really messing up our schedule. In Indonesia we won easily the round of 64 of Piala Indonesia against Persijap Jepara, a team playing in Divisi Utama, and got a nice away win against Madura United in the first leg of the round of 32. We played only two matches for the Liga 1 and won both of them with ease. As of now we are in first place with one more match to play than the pursuers.

 

Now let's talk about what everyone is waiting for. To play the Interzone Semifinal first leg we had to travel for a whole day and a half, switch 7 flights and spend 14 hours in different buses just to travel from Kediri to the capital city of Tajikistan, Dashaba. We arrived at our hotel already exhausted from the trip, with only one practice scheduled for the morning after, just a couple of hours before kickoff. Istiqlol is a very dangerous team who shall not be undestrimated, they have bot Alisher Jalilov and the japanese playmaker Ryto Noma. We approach this match with heavy leags and tired minds from the long trip, but with the lightness that comes from knowing we already achieved something great just being here. 

 

I'm not one that's used to settle for something less than what I expect from me, so I did not gave any pat on the back to my players, on the contrary I was pretty harsh and asked for an hard performance to pursue something that many of the fans thought it is impossible: the trophy of the AFC Cup. The team is with me and despite being weary they all went down on the pitch with fire in their eyes and on the hunt for blood. Ready, steady go and we are aready ahead thanks to a superb through ball from Aronggegar that ends with microbiological precision on Uropmabin's feet and allows the striker to finish off a 1v1 situation. The first ring of our hosts comes just a couple of minutes after our goal: Noma takes a free kick from around 22 meters out that goes really close to the far post before ending out of bounds. Despite that chance it's us who are holding the game, in fact we score again: Shahrinee excange a couple of fast passes with Uropmabin and usuing his rapid feet he's able to gain a favourable position in the box where he can finish off the action with the 0-2 goal. After that Istiqol is lost, is basically in our mercy, and we do not let a single inch slip of our grip. Before halfitme we score twice once with Fisabillilah and once with Uropmabin again. The second half is just us rotating our players to balance all the energies but we manage to score two more goals. We came to Tajikistan to win a football match and ended up playing tennis instead!

 

The second leg is just a formality. Now the Tajiks have to endure the trip but they are not as mentally prepared as us and end up just as 11 ghosts on the pitch of a fiery purple Brawijaya. We win 2-0 and reach the Interzone Final with an 8-0 aggregrate!

 

We will face off the Indian side Gokulam Kerala. The winner will have the chance to play in the AFC Cup grand final to win it all! We will see what will happen in the next update!

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.22: THE INDIAN EXPEDITION

 

Today I will only bring here the Interzone final. I will give you news about our Indonesian campaing in the next updates. As has become custom we will play the first game of the two legs away, in the wonderful city of Kozhikode also known in English as Calicut. Since the early years of the medival period it has always been a crucial point for the spice trade so I took the team to a whole day of sightseeing around the town before the match. At this point of the season we just need to stay calm despite the heavy pressure we are under and I thought that a day as tourists would have helped ease some minds. 

 

We weren't alone. In the early horus of the night Persikmania organized a copuple flights to follow the boys. Around 5000 supporters reached us here to see us play! It's remarkable since the trip here is longer than a full day!

 

 

I, for one, enjoyed the tour. India is a really appealing country and I wouldn't mind coming here to coach a couple of years. The night passed rapidly and we finally approached gameday. For the first leg we had to play without Mohd Shahdilah Shahrinee who was on international duty for Brunei, ironically playing against India national team. Despite his absence the starting formation saw all the other 10 members of the first team. The intention was to play hard from the beginning and to get a good advantage going into the second leg. In the lockerooms before the game the atmosphere was so thick you could cut through it. We had already reached our season objective partecipating in this Final, but being here wasn't enough for any of the men in the room. When the referee blew the whistle we were ready to win this game. From the very first touch of the game we held the ball and dictated the match's tempo. They were the home team, but we were the one controlling the game: we would have played at our own pace! Gokulam couldn't keep up with us, on the field tha ball was only moving between purple shirts. We scored the first goal with Patrick around the 15' minute mark with an incredible strike from outside the box! We the doubled down in the closing minutes of the first half with the Brazilian again: he shot a banger inside the area that got just under the bar! Then, in the middle of the second half Patrick transformed into his alter-ego P-hattrick and signed the final goal for the 0-3 result!

 

The other match to decide the second finalist was played all the way in Siria between two Syrian sides. Tishreen won 3-0, just like us!

 

For the second leg we were much more relaxed than we were in India. We had a 3-0 advantage to start from, and we had every member of the Persikmania making a huge hubbub all around the stadium. We went ahead after just 10' thanks to an header from Arthur from a corner kick and we go 2-0 with another header from Patrick. Gokulam Kerala manages to start the second half with a consolation goal, but it means even less after Aronggegar enshrines our 3-1 victory. After coming out of the ASEAN Zone we have even come out of the Interzone We are about to play the grand final of the AFC Cup! 

 

From the other side of Asia we get the news that the second leg of the West Asian Zone final finished 0-0 between Tishreen and Al Jaish so, thanks to the win on the first leg, it's Tishreen that advances to the final against us!

 

We get very fortunate because the final will be played in our home stadium, the Brawijaya! So Tishreen will have to fly all the way from Latakia, wich is basically in Turkey, to Kediri. It's a trip longer than 12thousands kilometers, with at leat 9 flight changes! Boy am I glad we don't have to do that! 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.23: THE BUILD UP TO THE AFC FINAL

 

So yeah, we won in India and now we will play the biggest match of my life in just about 1 month time. But before that we have to play in Liga 1 and in Piala Indonesia. We want to win both competitions so of course our main objective is to win all these matches, but is also very important that we balance our energies and to not let any player get injured. 

 

In the Liga 1 we played only 3 matches, many where reschedule because overlapped with both AFC Cup and the Piala Indonesia. We won convincingly against both PSPS Pekanbaru and Sulut United, two teams inferior to us. We hold our ground against Bhayangkara. They are pretty good and had just sacked their manager, so they really wanted to win to turn the tide of their season. We scored first but then they manage to reach us at 1-1. In the second half I did a couple of changes upfront putting in Ferdinand for Al Achya and Riko for Ottaviano. Thanks to those two we were able to score again and win the game!

 

The table is fairly hard to read at the moment: we are still in first place with a 1 point lead, but two more games to play, so it could become an easy a safe  7 points lead. In last place Dewa United is still waiting for its first win and sits with a mere 2 points loot. 

 

In the Piala Indonesia we had a lot of matches to play. In the round of 64 we had the easy task to beat Persijap Jakarta, a Divisi Utama team. In the round of 32 we had a harder leg: we had to play Madura United and we had to do ti just a couple of days before the first leg of the Interzone Final. Despite the heavy rotation we still managed to win 1-0. The second leg was played just after the home win against Gokulam Kerala so we had to play another heavily rotated formation. Despite everything we won and advanced to the round of 16. Despite having only a 3 days pause we annihilated Sulut Utd at the Brwijaya 7-2 and basically advanced to the quarter finals. I promoted a couple fo young midifielders from my u21 squad to play the second leg and we only managed to draw 2-2, but it didn't matter much. For the first leg of the quarter finals I plyed only young players from the youth accademy and reserves. We hvae to play the AFC Final just 72 hours after this game so it was crucial to not risk any of the starter and the immediate substitutes. We won 3-0 against PSM Makassar. We have to play the final so it's not the firt thought in our minds, but we won aswell 3-0 last year before getting eliminated by losing 4-1 in the second leg, so we should keep our eyes open.

 

 

So everything is ready. The Brawijaya is sold out, and we are about to witness the first AFC Cup final for both Kediri and Tishreen, so both fans will be very emotional in case of win!

 

The Syrian are heavily favourites apporaching this match, so we will try to defy the odds and lift the trophy! Wish us luck!

 

 

 

Zio.Fish
7 years ago
1 week ago
52

CHAPTER 1.24: THE FINAL

 

We were minutes away from the biggest match of my life. We had prepared this game to the tiniest detail, and practiced to exaustion every aspect of our gameplan. When I stepped in the lockeroom I saw everyone's eyes bruning with fire, they were ready and motivated, but still I gave a little speech: "Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves." I started. "Most of you have heard that phrase before, right?!?! Did you ever stop to think about what it really means? What are the little things? What are the big things? And, how do the big things take care of themselves? As players you need to focus on the "little things", the aspects of your game that you directly control. You have control over your hustle, your speed, your drive and your effort. You have control as you are positioning your body against your opponent. You have control over your attitude, your spirit, your passion, and your good sportsmanship" I gave a look around, I had their full attention. “The bigger things are not in your direct control. Don't concern yourself with the referees, or the way the other team is performing. You can't control the crowd, the coaches, or your teammates. Don't focus on these aspects. The bigger things will take care of themselves.If you focus on the bigger things then your individual effort will suffer. Shots will be missed, balls will be lost, turn-overs will happen. Keep your mind and body focused on only the items that you can control and that you need to perform.  When you execute the little things to perfection, then the score and the victory will take care of themselves! The victory will happen. It will happen because each one of you has done your part. The victory will happen.

 

When I was in the tunnel I could hear already the thundering chants of the Persikmanias, they had filled the stadium. I looked at Renzo, he smiled at me and said “Pijamose l'Asia” quoting one of our favourite italian TV shows.

 

The match was a rollercoaster: first the red card for Kolk just after 3 minutes, then the ability to go up twice before getting caught on, Then the extra time, with a lot less energy then the opponents. Then the third goal for Tishreen, then the forth, then the final whistle. I was heartbroken. I never imagined to see Tishreen lift the trophy we worked so hard for in our own stadium. But that is what was happening. We lost, they won. 

 

I dind't bring the team in the lockerooms after the game. We stayed out on the pitch, we watched Tishreen lift the cup we worked so hard for, we watched them celebrate on the field. But while they were celebrating and taking pictures of the cup our 20 thousands fans started chanting for us, despite the loss, despite their harts being broken just as ours. I was amazed, I had never seen anything like this happen before, so I kept the players and the staff on the pitch. “Listen boys” I said “ do you hear these chants? Of course you do! Those are being heard even in fucking Syria for how loud they are! These fans came here all for you guys. All right? We are here together. All right? We have a whole city behind us. Kediri is now known in the best light all around Asia because of  this group of players! Because of all the work you put in. We fought, we really did. We fought because we are fighters. This is what success is. These fans know it, they saw you give it all on the pitch, that's why they are chanting for us now. Yea, the trophy would have made them happy, but you boys did something more, you made them proud. Kediri is proud of you, Indonesia is proud of you” 

 

The aftermath was harsh. I already had pictured the trophy in my hands but at this level you don't have match time to dwell. We had two more trophies to compete for and to win, to show to the fans that our loss was just a rare event, and not the Persik standard!

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