Great news just came in, Bambang is trialing with the Wellington Phoenix. More after the break
They sound more like cartoon characters than footballers, but there’s a good chance Bam Bam and Toto will be lining up for the Phoenix this season.
Football’s global status was highlighted by Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert yesterday when he revealed English trialist Chris Shuker was going home for personal reasons and would be replaced by Indonesian goal-scoring machine Bambang Pamungkas.
“Bam Bam”, as he is known, could join an Argentinian midfielder, Roberto “Toto” Cornejo, and a Croatian-born Australian, Mirjan Pavlovic, on the Phoenix’s books.
Pamungkas, who boasts a staggering scoring record, was to arrive today but won’t play in this afternoon’s pre-season match against Wairarapa in Masterton.
The 30-year-old international has scored 36 goals in 72 appearances for his country and, at club level, has amassed 192 goals in 258 league matches across Indonesia and Malaysia. They are not strong leagues, but the figures are impressive.
The Indonesian Football Association wanted to broaden opportunities for its players, Herbert said, and had funded Pamungkas’ trip to Wellington.
“He’s kind of like the pin-up boy in Indonesia, he’s on all the posters and billboards.”
The Phoenix must sign at least another three players by Sunday to get their squad up to the minimum 20, or receive a “please explain” from Football Federation Australia.
Cornejo and Pavlovic appear near certainties to sign, while defender Jade North, who has an offer on the table but is mulling over options in Asia, would be the third.
A second-string side will play Wairarapa at Hullena Park (2pm kickoff).
Troy Hearfield and Daniel are the only Phoenix regulars heading over the Rimutakas but the match will be important for Cornejo, Pavlovic and other hopefuls.
It’s Wairarapa football’s day in the sun, too, and coach Phil Keinzley said enthusiasm for the match, which it was hoped would help raise funds to employ a local football development officer, was high.
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