The Forgotten Dutch Miracle: FC Twente 2009/10

For a long time, there’s reasonable term De Grote Drie or the big three referred to Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven, and Feyenoord Rotterdam that dominating Dutch football league. Indeed, these leading trios totally have achieved 62 prestigious Eredivisie titles, with Ajax being the strongest one through 33 titles hold. However, as per usual, resistance always exists wherever hegemony emerges. No exception in the Eredivisie.

Last time a David could defeat Goliath it was FC Twente Enschede. The football miracle that happened in 2009-10 season. The momentum that ultimately delivered Enschede City a pride being voetbal kampioen, which means to equal to the others famous football city such as Amsterdam or Eindhoven. However, now that status quo has returned to the dull. Twente relegated last season to Erste Divisie (second tier), which means a fate being a mediocre team, again.

There were several chronic circumstances that weakening Twente side. Perhaps, financial mismanagement in 2015 was the biggest blow. In fact, the turbulence came over the years. In 2016, Twente nearly relegated by the Dutch FA due to the same complicates. Indeed, that problem forced Twente to sell their best players. Obviously, it impacted on their game performances season-by-season and its hard for the players having a peaceful mind when there’s a vulnerable circumstance in their club. How time so flies happened for Twente. From Dutch champion in the summer 2010 and relegated one decade further.

At their best form in 2009/10, with the non-reputable squad, Twente obtained the Eredivisie title through close and tight result in the end. With 85 points and only one point ahead superior and offensive side Ajax, they triumphed the first league title ever in their history since established in 1965. Twente was completely a dangerous underdog at the memorable moment.

Inevitably, in the history of the best team, there were typically backgrounds within it. Indeed, the Twente sides from structural level or board, players, manager, until the enthusiastic supporters had played in substantial parts toward their remarkable achievement with Eredivisie 2009/10 title.

To begin with, an initial success was derived from the new club’s board, who saved Twente from bankruptcy in 2003. Under these board, Twente managed to be the Champions League’s participant and enjoyed Eredivisie title for the first time in their history. The former chairman, Joop Munsterman should be pointed out as the figure who led Twente to the triumphant. Despite ironically the club decline also suffered from the same chairman leadership.

In the technical aspect, the revival project was once under solicitude when Fred Rutten went to Bundesliga for the 2008/09 season. Moreover, Rutten who had built a solid team since his tenure from 2006. Afterward, Steve McClaren took the charge in Twente, replacing Rutten. Absolutely, McClaren, the man behind miserable England failure to pass Euro 2008. However, astonishingly McClaren succeed brilliantly to sustain what Rutten had done and even elevated Twente into the better level.

Indeed, McClaren adapted excellently to the Dutch football style within the 4-3-3 Twente’s formation, and he also didn’t bring contrast changes in the club. However, ignoring this Englishmen manager influence to the Tukkers, was a denial thought otherwise.

Steve Mclaren
Steve McClaren, the man behind the Tukkers historical achievement in 2009/10 season.

When McClaren arrived in 2008/09, he naturally had Rutten squad from the previous season with prominent players like Marko Arnautovic, Eljero Elia or Edson Brafheeid. With the Rutten legacy squad, McClaren brought Twente became the Eredivisie runner-up. But, Twente well-performances under successful McClaren tenure made several European clubs attracted to their players. Subsequently, Arnautovic signed for Internazionale, while Elia and Braafheid had new adventures in Germany with Hamburger SV and Bayern Muenchen in early 2009/10 season.

So, how about Twente’s life after their several the best players went, were they regressed with McClaren? No. In fact, the new signings contributed something better for Twente. For instance, Twente promptly bought Bryan Ruiz Gonzalez (5 million euros) from Gent and Miroslav Stoch (loan from Chelsea) to be partnered with the striker, Blaise N’Kufo in the attacking force.

Stats in Eredivisie 2009/10, Costa Rican attacking midfielder, Bryan Ruiz beside responsible for a creative role, he also managed 24 goals. Meanwhile, Slovak winger Miroslav Stoch delivered 10 goals, then Swiss center-forward, Blaise N’Kufo managed 12 goals. Not to mention other players who demonstrated massive contributions such as box-to-box midfielder Theo Janssen, defensive midfielder Wout Brama, and veteran goalkeeper Sander Boschker. McClaren has made the new players quickly integrated and kept harmony in that mesmerize Twente season.

Besides McClaren quickly adapted to the Dutch football climate and players contribution, another extraordinary thing that made Twente rampant Eredivisie 2009/10 it was their home performances. They won comfortably 16 from 17 home games in De Grolsch Veste stadium. Exactly, home games were the extremely significant factor that gave 51 points from 85 in the totals when Twente won the league. The 16 home-win run including two crucial moments against Ajax Amsterdam in game week 13 with 1-0 result and full pressure battle versus Feyenoord (2-0) in speelronde 33.

For Steve McClaren himself, the Eredivisie titled champion in 2009/10 established him as the last England manager who won a league in the big European football country since Bobby Robson in FC Porto season 1995/96. In another hand, the Eredivisie title also the instant replies to them whoever doubting his managerial capabilities after England tragedy.

After giving the memorable title in 2009/10, he left Twente and made several adventures jobs in Germany and England before returned to the middle of 2011/12 season. However, McClaren failed to emulate the same success in his second spell for Twente and got sacked in early 2013.

Besides well-run club structure, underrated squad qualities and proper manager, Twente magnificent 2009/10 season with the first Eredivisie title ever also thanks to the affirmative gestures did by the supporters. Almost in all home games, the stadium was full. Undeniably, that’s why Twente managed plenty of wins at home when Der Groestce became the fortress.

nkufo getty images
Blaise N’Kufo statue.

In another hand, the supporters had an amazing gesture to the club and important players as well. It proved with Blaise N’Kufo statute in front De Grolsch Veste stadium, which was built up by the enthusiastic supporters. N’Kufo is a legend for Twente and the supporters because he is an all-time goalscorer with 114 goals.

Now, De Grote Drie are so strong to be defeated. AZ Alkmaar or another mid-table team like Heerenveen seems at ease only compete for the European tickets spots. Perhaps, we need a decade or more years to enjoy again the “anomaly” just like what FC Twente served honorably in 2009/10 season. Meanwhile, today Twente or the last underdog who triumphed against old supremacy has sunken in the low caste. Therefore, a piece of memory about the last Dutch miracle has been forgotten for a while.

 

Writer: Haris Chaebar

Photo soures: Eufa.com, Getty images and cloudfront.net.

Advertisements

Calcio and the Impact on Albanian Football

Likely the development of Albanian football isn’t in the same pace comparing to the other Balkan or Southern Europe countries like Croatia, Serbia or Greece. Whereas, the Albanian FA was established since 1930 and even the Albanian league was founded in 1911.

Lot of us might have never seen Albanian team without Euro 2016 or wondering whether there is a good footballer from Albania or not. Indeed, Albanian football power is small at the worldwide level. However, if small football countries like Rumania or Bulgaria had produced high-rated footballers (Gheorghe Hagi or Hristo Stoichkov), why Albania hasn’t produced them yet? 

Thomas Strakosha
Prominent goalkeeper in Serie A, Thomas Strakosha.

How comes almost were no Albanian national team, clubs or footballer had succeeded in major football level in the past?

Arguably, Albania isn’t a wealthy country economically. Low economics growths causing lack of sufficient sports infrastructure. Surely, this problem could be troubling the football development there.

Besides lack of supportive infrastructure, Albania international relation ever been restricted, even isolated by the socialist regime then. This also affected in football, when Albanian people were restricted did traveling abroad.

During the regime, footballers rarely experienced international football atmosphere, sometimes the clubs had been excluded from the European tournament for an uncertain reason and even the national team didn’t participated in several major tournaments. Freedom of movement was something really precious at the time.

The isolation in Albania was different compared to the socialist regime in other countries. The Soviet and Yugoslavia were good in international football, even though against the Western political stand. Those because football was included in political agenda for both former countries. Sophisticatedly, Soviet or Yugos had shown up the ideology’s power through football as well. Unfortunately, that was rarely been did by the Albanian socialist regime.

When the countries frequently face each other (in the club and national football level) to develops and measure the capacity or the footballers sought moved abroad to exercise and fulfill the potential in the European continent. Literally, Albanian football whether their national team, clubs or footballer, had lost that momentum in the past because of the isolation policy.

Fortunately, the circumstances were better when the socialist regime falling down in the 90’s and offered new national hope including the future of Albanian football.

Close Friend: Italy and Albania

Currently, Albania has shown progressive signs in football, and concrete evidence was their campaign in Euro 2016. However, these mostly because of the half-squad from Albanian descents abroad.

In order to keep the sustainability, Albanian couldn’t only be relying on diasporas. They have to create own football development including sufficient competition in order to develop their players or providing and promoting local talents to be developed in the bigger football country.

Hence, Italy might be the nearest and big football country which could be an ideal place to develop the Albanian youth.

As a one of the Latin country in the world, surely Italy has the specific socio-cultural connection with other Latinas. However, as a Mediterranean country where live on the near Balkan and South European region, Italy has intense cross socio-cultural exchanges as well with them, no exception with Albania

The formal historical relation of both countries began since recognization from Italy to the Albanian Independence Declaration in 1912.

Surely, there is fluctuating diplomatic relation between those two Adriatic sea countries. However, co-operation and mutual relation between both countries are just facts not only in economics or politics but also in socio-culture things.

Piana degli Albanesi street sign.
Bilingual street signs in Piana degli Albanesi.

A real example in Sicily. There is commune which specifically inhabited by Albanian, Piana degli Albanesi, that also use officially the Albanian language, beside the Italian one. That commune use to living place for refugees from Albania during the Ottoman conquest. In fact, today several other communes in Southern Italy being the domiciles for many Albanian descents.

Vice versa, many Italian migrates to Albania in order to seek economics or educational activities in the past or nowadays. Moreover, the Italian language also is one of the most popular foreign languages there.

Calcio for Albania

Then, how about Italy and Albania in football? Judging in the current circumstances, likely the close relationship between Italy and Albania also affecting into football area and this could be good things for both sides.

Italian clubs, as we know often get some under-radar talented footballer from Balkan or Southern Europe countries. Mostly they come from Serbia, Croatia, Greek, Romania or even Macedonia instead from Albania. However, the current circumstances are different.

Italian clubs could easily spread their scouting networks into Albania, or Albanian could easily join trial in Italy. Those were like impossible things in the past.

Look at Elseid Hysaj story. He was playing in an amateur team, Skhodra before moved to Italy at age 15 (2009). Thanks to the reform in Albania, when isolation policy had been revoked in the early 90’s. If the freedom of movement hasn’t emerged in Albania, probably Hysaj’s father didn’t met football agent Marco Piccioli. By design, Hysaj went to football trial exhibition in Italy after his father effort. He eventually signed by Empoli then.

As the isolation had been revoked in the late 90’s, Albanian allowed going to abroad, nothing less to Italy. Since the freedom of movement began, many Albanian footballers have gone abroad. The momentum impacted good things for Albanian football as well.

An Albanian striker and journeymen, Igli Tare destined to retired at Lazio (2008). Since he becomes the sporting director in 2009, no wonder the Albanian connection is very strong under Tare. Lazio brought several Albanian players such as Lorik Cana, Etrit Berisha, and Thomas Strakosha or Albanian descents like Valon Berisha, and Riza Durmisi.

Igli Tare
The orchestrator of Lazio successful mercato, Igli Tare.

In another hand, massive migrations from Albania creating the socio-cultural mixture, so that we can see a lot of young Albanian players descent who are upbringing or born in Italy. The example names are Rey Manaj (Internazionale/Albacete), Ismet Sinani (Milan, later switch to Kosovo), Emanuele Ndoj (Brescia), Giacomo Vrioni (Venezia) and Kastriot Dermaku (Cosenza).

Not to addition with Albanian national player who currently playing or once been the players for Italian clubs such as Berat Djimsiti (Atalanta), Ledian Memushaj (Pescara), Freddie Veseli (Empoli), Arlind Ajeti (ex-Torino), Migjen Basha (ex-Bari) and Andi Lila (ex-Parma).

Besides being the breed cage for Albanian players, Calcio or Italian football seems to be the national platform of Albanian football. Albanian hopes through their national team have relied on the Italian tactician.

Gianni De Biasi was the man behind the Kuq e Zinjtë successful journey to Euro 2016. After De Biasi resignation, now, former Italian versatile defender, Christian Panucci is the manager for Thaulant Xhaka and co.

Based on the close relationship as the neighboring countries, Italy and Albania could have the reciprocal relationship not only in vertical meaning (politics and economics). In football measure, Italian clubs have more wide networks on scouting under-radar players in Albania, beside comes from the reputable ground like Serbia or Croatia.

Meanwhile, when Albanian footballing environment still develops and relying on diasporas footballers couldn’t be the permanent choice forever, they could gain benefits from Calcio atmosphere which boost much of the Albanian footballer into the better level. Therefore, Calcio impact to the Albanian football could be very important, today and in the future.

 

(Writer: Haris Chaebar)

Additional sources: The Guardian, DW Sports, and thelaziali.com.

Photo sources: Tirana times, CNN, teamtalk.com, and fluruda.blogspot.com.

2018/19 Serie A: The Parade of Polish Attackers

Whether the national team, club or even the footballers quality, the Polandian football isn’t dominant powers in European or world football scenes. However, it doesn’t mean Polandian football has no bargain value.

Currently, the Polish footballer has established their names in several European big clubs. The examples are Robert Lewandowski (Bayern), Wojciech Szczęsny (Juventus), Piotr Zieliński and Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli) or Kamil Glik (Monaco).

In Italy, the successful experiences from several Polish like Kamil Glik at Torino, Szczęsny or Milik made other clubs triggered to discovering talents from Poland.

In fact, the Polish footballer seems already to flood in Italian football this season, including they’re who have the position as an attacker.

 

Dawid Kownacki

eurosport.interia.pl Kownacki

Sampdoria signed Dawid Kownacki from Lech Poznań with 4 million euros in 2017/18 season. The 21-years old attacker expected to replace Patrick Schick, who signed by Roma in the same season.

Kownacki has the type like Schick, a versatile attacker who could play widely. But more than Schick that only could be placed on center forward and right-wing, Kownacki can deploy either as a center forward, right or left-winger.

Kownacki had scored five goals and 1 assist in the last season for Il Samp. It was quite good statistics for the rookie in Italy. Under the coach Marco Giampaolo, Kownacki had managed 22 appearances (six as starter player) last season.

The internal competition for Sampdoria’s attacking line-up is slightly tough this season. Under the formation 4-3-1-2, Sampdoria has four attackers for only two regular positions. Marco Giampaolo usually prefers to captain Fabio Quaqliarella and Gregoire Defrel in front.

So, Dawid Kownacki should perform well in every chance he got. Until game-week 7, Kownacki has scored 1 goal in five as a substitute player. Slowly but sure, keep growing up Dawid.

 

Mariusz Stępiński

wewewe chievo.it stepinski

Second part from the parade list, he is Mariusz Stępiński. Since the departure of Roberto Inglese to Napoli, surely Chievo Verona need a player who could be replacing his role for this 2018/19 season.

Obviously, the straight answer; Mariusz Stępiński. Who is he? Yes, he has no reputation like Robert Lewandowski or even Arek Milik. However, we can’t ignore Stepinski potential as well.

Stępiński has come to Serie A since 2017/18, from France club Rennes and joined The Flying Donkey in the loan with buy option. Then, Chievo has been activated buy clause from Stępiński with 2,5 million euros in this early season.

Stępiński might only be deployed as the second option last season, however, he scored five goals and 1 assist in 22 appearances (16 times as substitute player) last season. He specifically can be described as the number 9. A center forward mainly has the task to finish the chances in the box. Likely, Stepinski could be handling the responsibilities as Chievo goalscorer man.

The 24-years old forward has scored two goals this season, including one goal against Juventus in the Serie A 2018/19 opener game at Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. With the supports from experiences midfielders like Emanuele Giaccherini and Valter Birsa behind him and be the first option forward, now Stępiński supposed could get more goals for Chievo than last season.

 

Łukasz Teodorczyk

Udine Twitt Teoo

Udinese struggled to scores many goals in the previous season. Surely, the attacking duo; Kevin Lasagna and Rodrigo De Paul need reinforcement and internal competition as well. So, this season Zebrette brought Łukasz Teodorczyk from Anderlecht for 3,5 million euros.

Teodorczyk was Belgian first league tier top scorer in 2016/17 with 22 goals. He also scored 15 goals in that league last season. These counts were real if Teodorczyk possesses quality as the striker. However, the 188 centimeters tall man seem needs more time to adapt in Serie A.

Udinese coach, Julio Velazquez usually only put one center forward, which likely belong to the vice-captain Kevin Lasagna. That’s why Teo dominantly features as substitute forward this season.

Teodorczyk should perform well in every he gets if doesn’t want to sit on the bench for a long time. Judging by his individual record as former league top scorer, Teodorczyk supposed has no problem either to scoring few or lot of goals in Serie A.

 

Krzysztof Piątek

footballinal com Piontek

The most mentioned Polish man in the early Serie A season 2018/19. With Genoa, Piątek has scored eight goals in 7 appearances until giornata 7 Serie A, plus four goals at Coppa Italia. He signed from Ekstraklasa club, Cracovia with only around 4 million euros. Too cheap, to be honest.

Positioning and clinical finishing are the main abilities from Piątek. With these abilities, the Dzierżoniów-born attacker seems easy to unlock Italian clubs defensive “compactness” and Calcio as the most defensive-minded football in the world. The best rookie award in Serie A already belongs to him, probably.

Plenty, Genoa has forwards choices this season. Beside Piątek, the Genoa coach Davide Ballardini has options like Christian Kouame, Goran Pandev, Andrea Favilli, Gianluca Lapadula and Nicola Dal Monte. However, one slot seems will belong to him for a long while.

Since the beginning of the season, Genoa deploys two forwards who usually occupied by Piatek and Kouame. A complementary duo, Piątek as the finisher and Ivorian’s Kouame as the advance forwards with energetic movement and pace.

Piątek current performances even already being scouted by European giant. Barcelona reportedly has been watching the 23-years old player. Should Piątek move to Spain in January? Likely it doesn’t happen because he is current Genoa savior. However, when he has performances and bagging many goals at the end of the season, everything is possible.

 

Arkadiusz Milik

arek Milik goal com

Since Napoli comeback Serie A in 2007/08, they had several pleasant memories with the beast like Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani or Gonzalo Higuain. Currently, the story has been continued by Arkadiusz “Arek” Milik.

 Napoli spent 32 million euros in 2016/17 to signed Milik from the Dutch giant, Ajax Amsterdam. Milik had been featured on 75 matches and scored 47 goals in two seasons for Ajax before moved to Italy. However, considering the Italian football is that tougher than the Dutch, Napoli decision to bought Milik as Higuain replacement had been questioned at the time.

Napoli needs experience player, rather than a youngster to replace Serie A top scorer Higuain. However, Milik seems would respond that critics in good style. His debut season (2016/17) actually was good then and likely could instantly Higuain role as goal getter under Sarrismo football.

Unfortunately, bad luck (long-term injuries) hit him twice in two consecutive seasons and Dries Mertens successful experiment limited his playing minutes. In fact, Milik just managed 40 appearances and scored 14 goals in the last two seasons.

Presently, Milik (24) is fully recovered from injury and has scored three goals and 1 assist in Serie A (until game-week 7). This season, former Leverkusen player has a significant chance to regain the first place because current Napoli manager, Carlo Ancelotti likes to play real number nine and do rotation properly.

Expectedly, Milik could unlock his immense potential this season and free from terrible injury.

***

All those Polish attackers above are the national team players. Last time Stępiński had been called-up was in late 2017. Kownacki and Teodorczyk were the World Cup 2018 member. Milik and Piątek have been called-up by Biało-czerwoni to the recent squad for UEFA Nations League.

Currently, the captain Robert Lewandowski is the main forward for Poland. However, with so many good attackers choice and Lewa being aged, is possible his position will be taken in the next few years.

Aside from that attacker’s parade, Serie A has plenty of potential Polish player in another position this season like Karol Linetty, Bartosz Bereszyński, Piotr Zieliński or Łukasz Skorupski. Clearly, the 2018/19 season is likely a fine time for Polska footballer to strengthening their name in the football world, especially through Serie A.

 

(Writer: Haris Chaebar)

 

Stats and data: Whoscored and Transfrmarkt.

Photo sources: eurosport.interia.pl, goal.com, footballinal, chievo.it, Udinese twitter and psnfutbol

Troy Deeney: From a Swag Boy, Captain and Legend from Watford

There are many unique stories regarding footballer’s life have been written or told for us. One of the stories is about Troy Deeney. Foremost, have you seen Deeney plays on the pitch or even just heard about his name? Surely, not so many football fans around the world know how exactly Deeney is. But, assuming if the English Premier League represent your weekly agenda, so at least you once heard his name in the football news or highlight.

Troy Deeney isn’t a prolific goal-scorer or modern type of nowadays striker. Has not enough pace or wonder dribbling skills either. Like common old style English striker, Deeney is a player who has powerful advantages aerial duels and physical contact.

The Career

Troy Deeney was born on 29th June 1988 in Birmingham, West Midlands and he raised up in Chelmsley Wood. Then his football life began with Chelmsley Town, an amateur club in 2004 until 2006 as a youth player.

When Deeney played for local team Chelmsley Town, he was scouted by the league two clubs, Walsall and joined them in late 2006. Deeney then was 16 years old and finding himself in tough circumstances in an earlier professional career. However, he ended up with good performances and several goals in Walsall and earned a move to Championship club, Watford in 2010.

Troy Deeney has had a good early career at Watford. But, he usually deployed as a winger at the time, so he only scored few goals. However, since Sean Dyche took the manager role in the 2011/2012 season, Deeney had been positioned as forward and scored more goals than before.

Troy Deeney has relatively massive contributions since he joined the Hornets. After the retirement of Manuel Almunia since 2014/15, Troy Deeney was selected by manager Giuseppe Sannino to be the Hornets captain. Also in the first season under Deeney captaincy, Watford success to earned promotion into Premier League.

Deeney was the first Watford player who had scored more than 20 goals in three consecutive seasons (2012/13, 2013/14, and 2014/15). Moreover, he became the fifth player to reach 100 goals in Watford. The milestone happened in Boxing Day 2016 after the match against Crystal Palace.

Almost in every season, there was managerially changed in Watford, but Deeney remains as the first option in forwarding area and captains as well. Besides that, technically, he always matched with every forward partner in Watford. From Matej Vydra, Odion Ighalo, Richarlison, and currently Andy Gray.

Troy
Troy Deeney

A Swag Boy

Troy Deeney included in category what so-called “swag” by his attitudes. He grows up in the broken home family since he was 11. Might that childhood experience was affected Deeney’s attitude onward.

Deeney kicked out from school when he was 14, back it again at 15 and out again at 16. He was not so serious in education at all. He had stopped educational life until he reached 22 years old.

Troy Deeney nearly to joined Aston Villa youth rank when he 15, if he wasn’t deliberately missed out at the first three days of trial. The reason was just that he upbringing in Birmingham and hasn’t really interested to sign for the rival. He said better chasing a girl in park area rather than joined The Villans. Another his unreal story as a young man, once Deeney drunk while playing in a match, when accidentally Walsall scout was watching the game as well.

His swag attitude came out again when he rampaged against Walsall board in summer 2010. He wanted to move to the bigger club at the time, then he eventually joined Watford. However, the swagest thing did by Deeney was happened in June 2012, when he kicked a man in a brawl and later sentenced to three months in jail.

After that brawl, literally, Deeney almost never showed his swag attitude again unless two accidents. First was about “lack of cojones“ commented against Arsenal, and that famous double middle finger gesture after scoring a goal versus Chelsea in 2017/18 season.

Deeney
In Watford current squad, Troy Deeney is the longest serving player (since 2010).

The captain on and off the pitch

Troy Deeney grow up in the relatively poor family, his parents divorced and their environment near with criminal and gangster life. He might be dragged into that bad life series, but fortunately, his family and also football always there to help him out. Besides that, Deeney maturity also grows up gradually after he suffered the series of bad experiences in his life.

Deeney suffered the very hard times such as father died from cancer, his former Walsall teammate died in the ground, his grandparent died when he was at the jail. Not to mention for having a second child at the proceedings time. All those incidents had changed his life’s perspective. Now, he is a man of better personality.

That’s why Deeney took GCSE certification (at 22 years old, normally at 15 or 16 years old) just after being released from jail because he wants to be a good example for his kids educationally. Besides that, Deeney helped out his brother, Ellis to pay the bills for qualifying to be a personal trainer.

The Jamaican descent men also established a foundation which is used to help kids development in sports area such as give them football boots. It because Deeney once suffered a tough moment for having a boot when he was a kid. Accordingly, his tough life experiences had taught Deeney to be a better person.

There was rumour about Troy Deeney departure from Watford, almost in every transfer windows. But, fortunately, Pozzo family as the club owner always kept him. Although Deeney has swag and even temper attitude, it’s good to keep a player like him. The captain who plays with his dedication and spirit to the club.

From teenage with his swag attitude and once suffered jail sentences. Now, Troy Deeney is a captain and undoubtedly legend for English Premier League club, Watford. Deeney already enjoys challenges to compete with a bunch of the best player in the world and creates histories at the Hornets. He is the real captain either on and off the pitch.

Last but not least if you remember this:

“Almunia save again!!……

“Absolutely astonishing…..

“Now here come Watford…….

“Forestieri………

“It’s Hogg!!!……

“Deeeeeeeeeennneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

 

(Written by Haris Chaebar)

*Additional source: Watford Observer, watfordfc.com, standard.co.uk and support football (youtube).

*Photo source: caughtoffside.com, dailymail/ianhodgson and reddit.

A Tough Challenge for Carlo Ancelotti and His Dynamic of Thoughts in Napoli

Carlo Ancelotti enjoys a successful career during his lifetime in football either as a footballer or football coach. His prominent peak as midfielder came at Milan during 80’s and 90’s with two scudetto and double Champions League titles. Since retired in 1992 and serving as an assistant coach for Italian national team until 1995, Ancelotti began his coaching career debut in Serie B side, Reggiana.

In his official debut as first team coach (1995-96) Ancelotti managed the Reggio Emilia-based club to achieved promotion into Serie A. Then only one season, Ancelotti signed for his former professional team as a footballer, Parma.

Carlo Ancelotti played under coach Arrigo Sacchi in Milan with his preferences of attacking football, 4-4-2, and obsession with spaces. Indeed, Ancelotti had inspired by former boss tactical mastermind in his approach as a football coach. During his reigns in Reggiana and Parma, Ancelotti succeeds with scheme 4-4-2 as well.

However, as a young coach who less experienced, Ancelotti so rigorous at the time. He gently forced the players to adjust in the 4-4-2 formation and ignored their potential. One figure who had been willingly sacrificed by Ancelotti it was Gianfranco Zola. He deployed as a left midfielder, despite naturally Zola was a creative attacking midfielder or trequartista.

Moreover, Ancelotti once turned down the chance for signing one of the best Italian players ever had, Roberto Baggio to Parma. Ancelotti thought the Divine Ponytail wouldn’t adjust to the team because there was no room for trequartista.

Unfortunately, Ancelotti’s obsession with only one tactical profile cost his career immediately. He was sacked by Parma in 1998 with no titles at all. The best achievement it was Serie A runner-up in the 1996-97 season.

The Dynamic of Thoughts

In his thesis as a final requirement for coaching qualification (1997) in Coverciano, Ancelotti wrote “Il Futuro Del Calcio: Piu Dinamicita” or “The Future of Football: More Dynamics.”

Consciously or not, essentially the Ancelotti’s thesis it was self-reflection on his tactical dynamics in future. From conventional and stuck with 4-4-2’s Sacchi, he has been reforming himself into the flexible and adaptive in approach as a football coach.

Since he was sacked by Parma in the middle of 1998, Ancelotti got himself to manage a big club in Italy, Juventus from early 1999 until summer 2001. Despite the Intertoto Cup was only his achievement in Juventus, Ancelotti had learned to established flexibility and adaptive approach at the time.

Ancelotti had combined the trio of Filippo Inzaghi, Alessandro Del Piero, and Zinedine Zidane up front under the formation; 3-4-1-2. Ancelotti chooses to pair Zidane and Del Piero together despite both players are trequartista. On the pitch, Del Piero drops to the center-left side and created attacking midfielders duo partnership alongside Zidane to support the goal poacher, Inzaghi.

What Ancelotti did to Del Piero and Zidane, might be intended to avoid the deja vu in Gianfranco Zola mismanaged. A gifted player who provides the fantasy for the game like Gianfranco Zola should be given proper role in the team.

Arrigo Sacchi (left) and his Inheritor, Carlo Ancelotti.

When Ancelotti coached Milan (2001-2009), his dynamic thought was discovered Andrea Pirlo’s role then. He knew Pirlo had great vision and passing ability as trequartista, despite lack speed and physical strength. Pirlo struggled to show his magic things when he got hard chased directly by the opposing defensive players.

So, Ancelotti thought Pirlo should be placed in front of Milan defender, then he could dictate attack with his passing skills from the deep line, as well as to freed him from pressure by opponent’s defensive players at the same time.

Andrea Pirlo famous role under Ancelotti era later called as deep-lying playmaker or regista. His positional play is the defensive midfielder, but the role isn’t only to give defensive efforts, but also initiate the attack from the deep line with his great vision and precise passing skills. Another Carletto legacy in Milan it was Christmas tree formation (4-3-2-1) or the advanced (4-3-1-2), which adopted by Italy in World Cup 2006 then.

The dynamic thoughts with flexibility and adaptative approach as a football coach also drove Ancelotti’s career history when he managed several big teams like Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Madrid, and Bayern Muenchen.

In London, he opted to stand on Avram Grant’s (Jose Mourinho obviously) legacy in wide formation 4-3-3, after hearing what The Blues players preferences on the team tactic at the time. Carlo only changed the defensive oriented to be more balanced and effective on their players game mentalities.

In France capital city, Ancelotti continued Antoine Koumbare’s work on mixed Paris Saint-Germain squad between pre and post-Qatari reign since 2011.

When Real Madrid appointed him as entrenador in 2013, Carletto might have one of the best world class squad who nearly came to the peak at the time. Subsequently, he used the flexible tactically, more balances shift, and effectiveness either in defense, transition and attack to boost the stabilization in Madrid world-class squad quality. These Ancelotti work later became the cornerstone for Zinedine Zidane era.

However, Ancelotti’s time in Bayern (2016) was different from before. He totally changed the team mentalities from attacking and possession football fetish under Pep Guardiola to be more balanced and effective football.

A tough challenge: Napoli

Last two seasons, beautiful football in Napoli aren’t a strange view for us. However, Ancelotti couldn’t easy to re-establish what so-called that Sarriball principles. First, Carletto is not an attacking oriented football coach as well. In other hands, the whole Napoli squad needs more time in adapting to the new playing system under Ancelotti, despite the coach still retaining 4-3-3 formation.

Second, there was no Jorginho-esque anymore in Partenopei, a player who can distribute the ball like the BrazItaliano player. Instead, Carletto drop Captain Marek Hamsik to deploy him in regista role, because might too risky to place soon a newcomer like Fabian Ruiz or Amadou Diawara who needs more experiences in the first team.

Third, the gap in quality between the first team and their substitutes, mainly in the defensive area. Aged Raul Albiol, average Vlad Chiriches, stagnated Nikola Maksimovic and less experience Sebastiano Luperto aren’t enough supplies to be partnered and competed with Kalidou Koulibaly.

In other hands, to replace legend Christian Maggio and provide internal competition to Elseid Hysaj, Napoli only brought unknown footballer like Kevin Malcuit from Lille.

The only safe position is left back or goalkeeper. Faouzi Goulam return from the long-term injury means the Algerian will seize his place soon or later over the Portugal international player, Mario Rui. The same thing if wonderkid Alex Meret recovers from injury and ready to challenge Colombian international, David Ospina as portiere numero uno.

Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti in a training session at Napoli.

The quality of Napoli squad this season is slightly regressed. The additional players who proven with their qualities are Simone Verdi or David Ospina, others are just average or youngster.

Therefore undeniably, Ancelotti would be facing complicate circumstances, when he needs rotating the team week by week. Moreover, Napoli will feature in three competitions, especially in Serie A and Champions League. So, the squad qualities are important things as also quantities in the team.

Carlo Ancelotti almost often success to gained some achievements in every team he managed, despite he almost always had been sacked too in every team he managed before.

However, Carletto capabilities couldn’t be underestimating easily. He still remains as a coach who won three Champions League as well as the bunch of trophies in football countries like Italy, England, France, and Germany. Carlettto is a genuine top football coach after all.

This time, Carlo Ancelotti reputation as a football coach who has flexible and adaptive approach alongside with hugely successful career and achievements, would meet a tough challenge in Napoli. Subsequently, let us see how the dynamics of Don Carletto’s thoughts settle this challenge he has, could he answer this tough challenge in a good result?

(Writer: Haris Chaebar)

Photo sources: Carlo Ancelotti twitter, 101greatgoals.com, and elfutbolesinjusto.com

Bisakah Kita Memimpikan “Leicester Jilid Kedua” di Prancis?

Ligue 1 Prancis makin ramai sesak akan perhatian musim ini. Tak lain tak bukan adalah Paris Saint-Germain yang menjadi garda sentral akan hal tersebut. Mereka merekrut pemain muda penuh bakat seperti Kylian Mbappe dan tentu saja megabintang sepak bola, Neymar Jr. Pemain asal Brasil itu bahkan memecahkan rekor sebagai pesepak bola termahal sejaga raya saat ditebus dengan harga 222 juta euro, dari Barcelona di bursa transfer musim panas lalu.

Selain gegap gempita dari klub ibukota itu, Liga Prancis masih punya cerita-cerita lain. Masih Lyon, AS Monaco atau Marseille, yang harap-harap cemas menanti Paris Saint-Germain dengan bodohnya tergelincir dari pekan ke pekan.

Jika masih ingin lebih menikmati Liga Prancis lebih mendalam, bisalah kita menemukan Mario Balotelli di Nice yang terkadang satu laga cetak gol, kemudian laga selanjutnya kartu merah atau ikuti saja akan seperti apa perjalanan Cludio Ranieri di FC Nantes.

Berbicara tentang sosok Claudio Ranieri, tentu ingatan kita semua belum jauh-jauh dari keajaibannya membawa Leicester City juara Premier League musim 2014/15 lalu. Ketika itu, dengan skuat biasa saja atau mungkin bisa dikatakan “medioker”, Ranieri membawa klub berjuluk The Foxes itu mengangkangi klub besar seperti Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United dan Tottenham dalam perburuan gelar juara.

Peristiwa sangat mengejutkan seperti Leicester memang terlampau sukar diulangi kembali, tetapi kemustahilan dalam sepak bola tak pernah seratus persen terjadi. Maka dari itu berharap kembali memang tidak salah, toh manusia juga merupakan tempatnya harapan dipendar.

Claudio Ranieri.
Ranieri semoga adalah rencana jangka panjang di Nantes.

Dan kali ini meski tidak begitu besar, Claudio Ranieri masih punya peluang untuk melakukan hal magis semacam di Leicester dahulu pada klubnya kini, Nantes.

Untuk menjadi raja di Liga Prancis saat ini jelas sulit, karena ada Paris Saint-Germain yang materi skuatnya dibangun dengan kekuatan finansial yang seolah tak ada batasnya. Belum lagi ada keberadaan poros lain seperti AS Monaco, Lyon atau Marseille yang secara tradisi dan prestasi, lebih mengakar di pesepakbolaan Prancis daripada klub seperti Nantes. Tetapi untuk sekedar merecoki pergulatan menuju papan atas, skuat berjuluk Les Canaris itu masih sangat berpeluang mewujudkannya.

Claudio Ranieri memang baru menukangi Emiliano Sala dan kolega awal musim ini. Meski begitu, sebenarnya pencapaian Nantes di musim 2016/17 lalu terhitung lumayan apik. Mereka mengakhiri musim lalu dengan menduduki peringkat ketujuh klasemen. Padahal pada musim lalu itu, mereka pernah terjemabab di nomor dua terbawah klasemen pada tujuh pekan awal liga.

Datangnya Sérgio Conceição menggantikan René Girard di posisi entraîneur atau pelatih, membawa angin segar. Di bawah pelatih yang satu kebangsaan dengan Cristiano Ronaldo itu, Nantes bangkit hingga menembus tujuh besar pada musim lalu. Namun sialnya, kecemerlangan Conceição membuat dirinya dilirik banyak klub yang lebih besar dari Nantes.

Maka, hadirlah FC Porto yang meminang mantan pemain Lazio tersebut di awal musim ini, setelah raksasa Portugal itu berpisah dengan pelatih sebelumya, Nuno Espirito Santo.

Namun penggemar Nantes tak perlu kecewa, perginya Conceição justru melapangkan jalan The Tinkerman, julukan yang lekat pada Ranieri akibat seringnya menggonta-ganti formasi dan komposisi pemain pada masa lalu karir kepelatihannya itu, mendarat di Stade La Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau, markas Nantes.

Musim 2017/18 ini skuatnya memang tidak banyak mengalami perubahan. Selain minim bujet, deklarasi Ranieri bahwa dirinya tak lagi seorang Tinkerman sejak menukangi Leicester beberapa musim lalu ternyata memang demikian.

Tidak ada perubahan berarti di skuat Nantes. Dan yang pasti, gaya bermain Nantes besutan mantan pelatih Roma dan Inter itu juga masih terasa mirip ala Leicester 2015/16. Nantes sering bermain direct dan mengandalkan dua sayap untuk eksploiotasi serangan. Tentu gaya bermain seperti itu sedikit merepotkan bagi kontestan liga Prancis dan mungkin belum terlalu terbaca. Buktinya sepanjang musim Nantes sukses awet untuk tak jauh-jauh dari lima besar klamesen.

Bahkan perolehan 33 poin klub asal barat Prancis itu pada pekan 19 merupakan raihan yang sama persis di pekan sama pada musim 2000/01, ketika waktu itu Nantes beroleh gelar juara liga pada akhir musimnya. Hanya saja itu cerita dahulu kala. Kini apa yang dilakukan Nantes tak begitu berarti, akibat situasi liga Prancis beberapa tahun terakhir lebih terdominasi klub tertentu, daripada tujuh belas tahun lalu yang masih sangat kompetitif.

Namun setidaknya apa yang dilakukan Ranieri di Nantes patut kita apresiasi bersama. Kekhawatiran dan prediksi bahwa Ligue 1 akan semakin menjemukan akibat Paris Saint-Germain semakin kuat, memang tidak meleset. Tetapi persaingan tetap berwarna karena selain keberadaan Monaco, Lyon, Marseille atau Nice, Nantes pun kembali menggeliat ke permukaan.

Bagi Ranieri, pencapaian spesialnya musim ini semakin mempertebal reputasinya sebagai pembawa prestasi bagi tim non-unggulan. Musim 1995/96 dia membawa Fiorentina memenangi Coppa Italia, musim1998/99 dia membuat Valencia merajai Copa del Rey dan tentunya juara kompetisi paling bergengsi saat ini, Premier League pada musim 2015/16.

Padahal perjalanan seroang Claudio Ranieri justru timbul tenggelam di klub besar semacam Chelsea, Roma, Inter dan tak lupa ketika dia hanya lima bulan menangani timnas Yunani pada tahun 2014 lalu.

Tetapi dengan apa yang ia lakukan sekarang di Nantes, semoga saja kejutan seperti yang ia lakukan di Leicester mampu terulang kembali. Mungkin musim ini masih sulit untuk menanti keajaiban tersebut (juara liga Prancis), namun tak ada yang benar-benar mustahil di masa depan sepak bola.

Maka dari itu ada baiknya kita selalu berdoa, berharap dan bermimpi. Mungkin Nantes juara Prancis terkesan terlalu dramatik, namun bukannya mimpi adalah hak setiap yang pernah tertidur? Semoga Claudio Ranieri mampu menjadikan Nantes sebagai ‘‘Leicester jilid kedua’’, entah musim depan atau musim-musim selanjutnya lagi. Ya, semoga saja.

Sumber foto dari eurosport dan getty images.

Upin & Ipin dan Tsubasa; Otokritik Tayangan Bola Anak di Indonesia

Serial animasi anak-anak Upin & Ipin populer tidak hanya di tempat asalnya, Malaysia tetapi juga di negeri kita, Indonesia. Cerita dalam Upin & Ipin ini pun tidak terlalu berat, karena hanya berkutat latar kehidupan sehari-hari seperti bersekolah, beribadah ataupun anak-anak yang bermain.

Upin & Ipin mudah digemari karena cerita yang kontekstual dengan kegiatan sehari-hari anak-anak dan juga hal-hal jenaka didalamnya. Animasi garapan rumah produksi Les’ Copaque yang mulai dirilis pada 2007 ini bernuansa pedesaan dan menggunakan bahasa Melayu serta menonjolkan berbagai kebudayaan khas Malaysia.

Demi menembus pangsa Asia Tenggara dan salah satunya untuk lebih mendekatkan diri dengan anak-anak Indonesia, dimasukkan lah karakter anak asal Jakarta, Susanti yang sering berbahasa Indoesia dan menonjolkan hal yang identik ke-Indonesia-an. Maka jadilah Upin & Ipin semakin mendapatkan tempatnya dalam benak pikiran orang, terutama anak-anak Indonesia.

Selain bahasa Melayu yang membuat Upin & Ipin ini unik dimata orang Indonesia, serial kartun ini juga tidak ketinggalan menyisipkan nilai budi pekerti dan semangat mengejar cita-cita. Padahal, hal-hal seperti itu sudah jarang dirasakan, terutama tontonan untuk anak-anak Indonesia. Tergerusnya tontonan khusus anak secara gradual beberapa tahun ini, harus menjadi catatan penting untuk kita semua. Anak-anak di Indonesia pada saat ini, sebenarya kurang tontonan berkualitas yang sarat akan nilai positif dalam membentuk karakter.

Demi mengejar rating televisi, banyak tontonan anak di Indonesia yang dikurangi serta tergantikan tontonan berkonten dewasa. Terkait dengan dunia sepakbola, serial anime anak-anak seperti Upin & Ipin pun bisa dijadikan sebagai otokritik (kritik atau refleksi diri) untuk tayangan anak-anak di Indonesia, khususnya yang bertema sepakbola.

Dalam sebuah serial season 4 pada salah satu bagian di episode “Anak Harimau” bagian pertama, ada cerita dimana karakter-karakter dalam Upin & Ipin itu heboh membicarakan tentang sepakbola, khususnya Piala Dunia 2010 di Afrika Selatan.

Yang mengena dari cerita tersebut adalah bagaimana animasi Upin & Ipin, mengkonstruksi rasa nasionalisme untuk sepakbola Malaysia (beserta kritiknya). Kemudian tayangan itu mengedukasi anak untuk bercita-cita menjadi pemain timnas Malaysia. Tak lupa di episode ditampilkan cerita lain yang berkaitan dengan hal-hal berbau sepakbola yang bertujuan menyambut event olahraga empat tahunan tersebut.

Ceritanya di episode tersebut, ketika para orang-orang dewasa bertemu di warung Paman Mutu, mereka membicarakan Piala Dunia di Afrika Selatan yang hampir dimulai. Ketika berdialog tentang siapa yang akan menjuarai Piala Dunia, Upin & Ipin kompak menyebut Malaysia. Sontak saja kelakar mereka ditertawai oleh Wak Dalang, kakeknya Upin & Ipin sendiri. Wak mengatakan bahwa timnas sepakbola Malaysia belum mampu masuk Piala Dunia, mentok hanya sampai Olimpiade saja, kata dia.

Akibat pernyataan sang kakek itu, Upin & Ipin jadi bingung dan penasaran kenapa Malaysia tidak mampu masuk Piala Dunia. Kemudian hal itu begitu terngiang dikepala mereka, hingga kemudian diceritakan begitu sampai di sekolah, yang sampai-sampai membuat heboh suasana kelas.

Apa yang Upin & Ipin dkk bicarakan lalu didengar oleh Cek Gu (guru kelas), sesaat ketika dia akan datang guna mentertibkan kelas. Cek Gu mengatakan bahwa anak-anak tak perlu kecewa karena tak dapat ke Afrika Selatan, toh bisa nonton Piala Dunia di tv tanpa harus kesana.

Kemudian Cek Gu berujar bahwa jika anak-anak tekun belajar dan bersungguh-sungguh menjadi pemain bola, mereka bisa bermain untuk timnas Malaysia suatu kelak. Anak-anak pun berteriak penuh semangat dan bergumam ingin menjadi pebola hebat kelak suatu hari nanti. Ini adalah bentuk penanaman nilai bagi penonton (anak-anak) bila mereka rajin belajar dan serius menggapai cita-cita, masa depan (sebagai pebola akan cerah dikemudian hari). Kemudian bergantilah scene ketika Upin & Ipin cs bermain sepakbola dengan kertas.

Apa yang diceritakan di Upin & Ipin pada season 4 “Anak Harimau” bagian pertama seharusnya dijadikan otokritik untuk indoktrinasi cinta sepakbola bagi anak-anak di Indonesia. Daripada Indonesia hanya tertegun akan kelucuan dan keunikan Upin & Ipin, seharusnya bangsa ini (melalui film, kartun atau animasi anak-anak) juga bisa melakukan hal yang sama untuk sepakbola Indonesia, sepeti apa yang Upin & Ipin lakukan terhadap sepakbola Malaysia; mengedukasi anak-anak dengan sepakbola sejak dini.

Dalam episode 4 “Anak Harimau” itu, anak-anak diajak oleh Upin & Ipin untuk menyadari fakta tentang ketertinggalan sepakbola mereka (sebuah kritik sosial tentunya) dan berusaha membangkitkan kecintaan akan sepakbola dengan sembari menanamkan rasa nasionalisme terhadap negaranya, Malaysia. Upaya Upin & Ipin untuk membentuk kesadaran dan kecintaan anak-anak pada sepakbola, pun ditambahi dengan menampilkan adegan anak-anak bermain sepakbola kertas di kelas akibat demam Piala Dunia.

Otokritik bagi kita adalah menyadari bahwa hal-hal semacam yang ada di Upin & Ipin episode 4 “Anak Harimau” bagian pertama itu sudah jarang muncul di Indonesia. Sekalipun ada beberapa tontonan anak bertema “sepakbola” seperti Ronaldowati dan Si Madun. Penanaman cinta pada sepakbola yang dibalutkan nasionalisme melalui tontonan anak hampir mustahil ditemui akhir-akhir ini.

Untuk membentuk karakter generasi bangsa yang sadar jiwa nasionalisme dan cinta sepakbola, seyogyanya dimulai sejak di usia dini. Toh, patut disadari dalam membentuk kepribadian seorang anak, harus pula dimulai ketika seseorang masih kecil sehingga proses indoktrinasi lebih kuat.

Melihat kondisi terkini, tontonan bertema sepakbola untuk anak-anak sangat jarang ada. Ronaldowati dan Si Madun sudah tidak ada dan Tsubasa sudah jarang muncul di layar kaca. Itupun kalau boleh jujur, tontonan seperti Ronaldowati atau Si Madun hanya menonjolkan kesan action semata, kurang maknawi akan penanaman nilai-nilai kehidupan dan cinta sepakbola, seperti apa yang ditunjukkan Upin & Ipin dan juga Captain Tsubasa.

Upin & Ipin, meski adalah tontonan anak-anak yang sangat ringan, tetapi melalui tayangan dalam episode 4 “Anak Harimau” bagian pertama itu, jelas menjadi gambaran bagaimana Malaysia punya keinginan kuat membangkitkan sepakbola. Caranya? Dimuali dengan mengedukasi anak-anak agar peduli dan cinta sepakbola sekaligus negaranya dalam waktu yang bersamaan.

Kemudian beralih ke anime Jepang dengan simulasi karakter Captain Tsubasa Ozora yang begitu semangat nan gigih meniti karir sepakbola setinggi langit. Hal ini juga mencerminkan besarnya semangat bangsa Jepang (seperti Tsubasa) untuk menunjukan kekuatan sepakbola mereka pada dunia.

Dalam tontonan sepakbola anak Indonesia seperti Ronaldowati dan Si Madun, sebenarnya tetap ada nilai-nilai yang bisa dijadikan pelajaran penting. Namun itu tidak sebanding dan sering tertutupi dengan aksi-aksi tak logis dalam cerita (yang konon lebih penting untuk rating tv semata).

Selain terkadang valueless, Ronaldowati dan Si Madun dalam ceritanya juga lebih sering memainkan sepakbola “antar kampung” (tarkam). Berbeda dengan Tsubasa yang menampilkan gambaran kenyataan nan alami dalam sepakbola seperti; bermain di sekolah, kemudian di tingkat klub, pindah ke luar negeri, main di timnas Jepang dan masuk Piala Dunia. Tsubasa mengajarkan untuk berani bercita-cita melanglang buana ke dunia, karena sepakbola itu global.

Ketika anak-anak Jepang diinspirasi oleh “karir cemerlang” Tsubasa sebagai pebola yang mendunia, disatu sisi layakkah anak-anak di Indonesia (dalam cita-citanya menjadi pesepakbola) terinspirasi juga oleh “karir” Madun yang cuma main sepakbola antar kampung?

Bahkan (parah) sampai-sampai menyelam ke lautan dan membongkar harta karun yang tak ada kaitan dengan kenyataan dalam dunia sepakbola? Apakah mindset yang kurang berani “mengglobal” ini, juga merupakan cerminan khas pemain-pemain Indonesia yang tidak betahan dan terlihat kurang endurabilitas-nya ketika main di luar negeri?

Selain kurang luas dalam mengkesplorasi cakrawala dunia sepakola, adegan-adegan dalam cerita di dua film anak sepakbola Indonesia itu pun terlalu sering mengada-ngada dan terlalu jauh kesannya dengan “sepakbola”. Terkadang fantasi pada tontonan sepakbola anak di Indonesia berlebihan.

Bisa diperbandingkan, ketika Jepang mendidik ingatan dan semangat anak-anak terhadap sepakbola dengan tontonan perjuangan pantang menyerag ala Tsubasa yang bercita-cita main diluar negeri serta membela timnas Jepang, sedangkan Malaysia mengemas propaganda nasionalisme dan sepakbola melalui serial animasi macam Upin & Ipin untuk budak-budak (anak-anak) di negeri jiran itu, bagaimana dengan Indonesia?

Saya bukan tidak suka dengan tayangan (Ronaldowati dan Si Madun) itu, karena saya pun pernah menonton dan terhibur karenanya. Tetapi sebatas terhibur, itu saja. Tak ada nilai-nilai kehidupan yang benar-benar coba disuguhkan pada generasi muda kita, selain aksi sepakbola magis atau sihir (sangat hiperbola) saja didalamya. Pun fakta tak menyenangkannya lagi, sangat jarang ada tontonan bola anak saat ini dari stasiun-stasiun televisi Indonesia.

Gairah sepakbola Indonesia harusnya digerak-bangunkan sejak usia dini melalui tontonan sepakbola anak, untuk membentuk generasi Indonesia yang benar-benar menjiwai sepakbola plus rasa nasionalisme secara disaat yang bersamaan.

Melalui Upin & Ipin dan Captain Tsubasa, sejenak menjadi cerminan kalau bangsa ini perlu membentuk kesadaran dan kecintaan pada sepakbola dan rasa nasionalisme sejak dini melalui tontonan berkualitas. Semoga dengan menyadari antusiasme tinggi bangsa Indonesia akan sepakbola, akan segera muncul tontonan sepakbola anak yang “layak”, bagi generasi baru bangsa ini. Semoga.

Sumber foto: Republika.co.id