Indonesia’s Bima Sakti banking on Beto and wingers against Singapore

Kelvin Leong

Bima Sakti believes striker Beto Goncalves and his slew of wingers will do the damage against Singapore in their 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup opener at the National Stadium on Friday.

KALLANG, SINGAPORE: Tim Garuda are looking to end their unlucky streak, having made the Suzuki Cup final on five occasions, only to come out on the losing side.

Bima will be the man tasked to lead the Indonesian team after he took the reins from Luis Milla on short notice.

Despite having little time to prepare his charges for their Group B campaign against Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Timor-Leste, the 42-year-old tactician is refusing to use that as an excuse.

“This is a good experience for me (taking the job on short notice) and I am bringing most of the players who went through the Asian Games with me,” Bima said at the pre-match news conference.

“We are training well and I haven’t changed the way Luis was training them because I don’t have enough time but I have about four or five senior players to help me out.

“We will attack (in this game) because we want to win the game here. Singapore have a strong team with good players, especially the striker (Ikhsan Fandi). They have good organization in defence and a good transition game but we will try.”

Bima’s confidence also showed in his team selection, with only two strikers – Beto and Dedik Setiawan – in the final squad.

Llija Spasojevic, Boaz Solossa and Esteban Vizcarra failed to make the cut as the coach opted to load his roster with the likes of Irfan Jaya, Febri Hariyadi, Septian David and Riko Simanjuntak instead.

“Dedik can support Beto if we start with two strikers or if Beto cannot last 90 minutes, Dedik is ready to step up and do the job,” Bima explained to the media.

“We looked at their (Beto and Dedik) performances in recent matches and were confident enough to bring only two strikers.

“We wanted to take more wingers in the squad to have more options on the flanks because that is how we play.”

Indonesia will take on Singapore on Friday before heading back to Jakarta to face Timor-Leste on November 13. A tough fixture away in Bangkok awaits them four days later before rounding up their Group B commitments at home to Philippines.

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