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Tom’s Transfer Talk: Flash Back to Borneo

 

Crowd favourite and renowned speed demon Terens Puhiri headlines the latest batch of Port transfer news. The Indonesian spent 2018 on loan with Port, but was used sparingly by Jadet, with the 3+1+1 quota rules meaning that in order for Terens to play, one of the other foreign players would have to miss out. He managed just one league start, where he was forced to play at wing back for the majority of the game, and although he featured fairly regularly off the bench he rarely had more than a handful of minutes to make an impact. Few who were sat in Zone B behind the goal Port were attacking in the final home game of 2018 can forget screaming at the team to give Terens the ball to give the little man a chance to open his Port account, before the unselfish Terens squared to Bodin, giving a tap-in to his teammate rather than going for goal himself.

Popular with teammates and fans alike, it’s a shame that Terens has opted to return to his parent club Borneo FC, although he can hardly be blamed after being given so little time to impress in 2018. The real shame for Port is that with the new 3+1+3 quota, ASEAN players can be used alongside all other foreigners, meaning Terens was set to play a bigger role in 2019 than he had last season, but alas we won’t be seeing Flash in the PAT again anytime soon.

 

 

The next two names reported to be on the chopping block are Jetjinn Sriprach and Sammy Slot. This comes from goal.com’s list of confirmed transfers, although we are yet to see official confirmation byt he club or either of the players.

It would certainly be no surprise to anyone if Jetjinn has received his marching orders, with star youngster Kevin and Jadet favourite Panpanpong consistently favoured over the former Honda full back. One way or another, the writing is clearly on the wall, with Yossawat returning from his loan spell and Port bringing in Fox Hunt youngster Nutchanon Sojit there are currently five left backs, and Jetjinn may well be number 5 in the reckoning.

 

 

The situation with Sammy Slot is a little different. Apparently signed on a long term deal from under the noses of Muangthong, Thai Danish forward Slot was given a few minutes off the bench in the second half of the season, although we didn’t really get a chance to see enough of the youngster to determine if he was up to scratch or not. His one assist, achieved by tackling an opponent in the box before Siwakorn curled in a spectacular finish, was his only contribution of note. If goal.com are to be believed we might never find out if he’s any good or not, and more importantly the Sandpit writers will never get to write the headlines that could have been. Oh, how they could have been…

 

Confirmed Signings

 

 

Finally, my investigative Instagramming last time out turned out to be on the money, and we finally have the awkward hostage-style Pangograph to prove it. Fox Hunt duo Jirattikan Vapilai and Nutchanon Sojit are now Port players, and will hopefully be given the opportunity to impress in pre-season and make a case for first team involvement in 2019.

 

And Finally…

 

 

The Spherical Supremo takes radical steps to get the best out of his squad. Dolah up front and Rochela in goal? In Jadet we trust!

 

Terens Puhiri: Flash in the PAT

 

Indonesian sensation Terens Puhiri, nicknamed The Flash, has been impossible to ignore since his arrival at Port. Whether it’s his miniscule frame, his enormous fan base or his searing pace, Terens has been one of Port’s most-talked-about new arrivals, despite the fact that his Port career to date has consisted of two injury time substitutions and zero touches of the ball. It helps, no doubt, that he is the sort of guy who, rather than taking the quiet route out of PAT Stadium, will happily walk out of the front door, even if that means thirty minutes of selfies with the fans. It also helps that he achieved global fame in late 2017, with an incredible goal going viral and drawing comparisons with some of the fastest footballers in the world.

In our deep dive in to Terens’ career though, we’re going to look past the grinning Instagrams and viral videos to see how the man from the semi-autonomous region of Papua made it from Jayapura to Khlongtoey.

 


 

His story starts in Papua, the largest province in Indonesia, where Terens was born in 1996. An area rife with conflict between indigenous peoples and the Indonesian Government, its’ native Papuans are ethnically, linguistically and religiously distinct from most of their countrymen. Often with darker skin, curly hair, speaking any one of hundreds of distinct languages and more likely to practice Christianity than Islam, Papuans – despite their incredible diversity – have a distinct identity which is a source of pride for many.

In football terms, two of Papuas favourite sons are Terens and the man he is often likened to, Boaz Solossa. Solossa is a hero in his home province, having scored a remarkable 163 goals in 247 games for local side Persipura Jayapura, as well as 14 goals in 47 games for the Indonesian national team.

 

 

When a 10 year old Papuan, one of three siblings to a single mother who worked as a housekeeper, started collecting and selling aluminium cans to raise the money to buy his first football, who would have thought he would one day go on to rival his hero for fame both at home and abroad? Terens would play football nearly every day after school with his friends, and after some practice he was convinced enough of his own ability to go on trial at SSB Numbay Star Papua. At just 10 years old and approximately knee high to a grasshopper, Terens was rejected for being too small, but his resolve was only strengthened and he came back again the next year, when he was finally accepted in to the academy.

 

 

Just one year on, at 12 years old, Terens – playing at that time as a striker – top-scored in the 2008 Danone League, and within another two years he was selected for the Indonesia u16 team, where he was moved on to the wing. Terens would go on to visit Thailand and Myanmar in various international youth tournaments, while SSB Numbay Star Papua were helping put the youngster through high school. He would water plants, clean the yard and help wherever he could to earn his keep.

 

 

In another 3 years, Terens had finally achieved his dream and had been picked up by a professional outfit. The team was Persisam Putra Samarinda in East Borneo, and at just 17 years of age Terens was put in their u21 team. In his second year with the club, though, Persisam collapsed and were moved to Bali. Most fans of the now disbanded Persisam would not go on to support the rebranded Bali United, but would instead switch allegiance to the more local Borneo FC, who had been founded the year before. Terens followed suit, signing a 5 year contract with Borneo FC, for whom he would soon become a first team regular.

 

 

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of data available from his time with Borneo FC, as Transfermarkt Indonesian statistics are only available from 2017 onwards, but what little I have looks very useful indeed. Terens notched 6 goals and 10 assists in 31 games as his team went on to finish eighth in Liga 1.

What’s even more pleasantly surprising than Terens’ excellent return in 2017 is his apparent versatility. The first four games of 2017 saw him start in four different positions across the attack, and Terens even started once in central midfield, scoring a goal and providing two assists as his team ran out 3-2 winners. His best work seems to come from the right hand side though, which is where he will likely be playing for Port.

 

 

Indeed, the viral video which catapulted Terens to worldwide recognition saw him starting on the right wing, giving up an enormous headstart to an opposition defender but somehow beating him to the ball, before rounding the keeper at breakneck pace and slotting in to an empty net.

 

 

Then there is this excellent highlights package of his goals, assists and skills in 2017, which shows that he’s more than just a speed-merchant. Terens is no Pakorn, but he’s got a pretty useful right foot, delivering some quality crosses from the by-line, which make up quite a few of his 10 assists. Perhaps the most striking part of his game is how difficult he makes life for defenders, though. Terens is tireless, constantly nibbling away at his opposition full-backs, not giving them a moment on the ball and on a few occasions picking their pockets and creating a scoring chance.

This is the part of his game that Port will be most interested in, too, as Terens is set to play the role of impact sub in 2018. Unfortunately for those Indonesians following Port to keep up with Terens’ progress, as promising as he is, he’s not going to be starting many games for Port this season as long as Pakorn, Nurul and Bodin are fit. All three possess qualities which Terens is just not yet able to match, so he will have to wait for his chances from the bench or in cup competitions and try to impress as much as possible when he does get a run-out.

 


 

I must admit to having had my doubts about Terens, thinking that he was probably a bit of a one trick pony, but having learned more about the 21 year old Papuan sensation, I’m more enthused by The Flash than ever before! A hard worker, a crowd favourite and the best thing to come out of Indonesia since the Balinese Goddess of Plenty, here’s hoping that Port give Terens a chance to prove that he’s more than just a Youtube sensation. Looking at all the obstacles he’s overcome to get to where he is today, I certainly wouldn’t bet against him!

 

A New Career in a New Town: Rating Port’s Debutants

 

Following a close season of lavish spending, Port took to the field against Pattaya on Sunday with three debutants, and another two coming on as subs later in the game. So how did the new boys fare on their first day in the office? Here’s our verdict…

 

Dragan Boskovic

The big Montenegrin striker with a beard you could hide a badger in came with a huge reputation and a price tag to match, and so expectations were sky high – and the Bosk probably exceeded them. He’s more than just a striker and was frequently found dropping back to midfield or moving out to the wing looking for the ball and creating chances for teammates – his interplay with Nurul in the second half was electrifying.

But scoring goals is what Dragan does best and he can’t have scored too many better than his debut effort for Port. In the 44th minute he picked up the ball on the left, ran into the box at high speed, pretended to overrun the ball, bamboozled two Pattaya defenders with some nifty footwork, and then fired an absolute thunderbastard of a shot into the far corner, before celebrating in front of a packed terrace – an unfamiliar experience for him after 3 seasons at Bangkok Utd.

DEBUT RATING: 5 stars

 

Nurul Sriyankem

The Thailand international also arrived with a hefty price tag, and before the game the talk was of how Jadet could accommodate both 2017’s top assister and Port’s own king of the assists, Pakorn, in the same team. He tried, Nurul starting on the left whilst Pakorn began on the right, but it wasn’t until the second half when the pocket rocket from Chonburi switched to his favoured side that we saw him at his best.

With incredible pace, lovely technique and a very low centre of gravity Nurul is a defender’s nightmare, and he gave Pattaya’s defenders a torrid time, winning a host of free kicks and drawing yellow and red cards, as well as creating Port’s second goal (his shot was saved and rebounded to Suarez) and striking up an early understanding with Boskovic. He was my MOTM and looks like one hell of a signing.

DEBUT RATING: 5 stars

 

Bodin Phala

In years to come, Port fans will be boasting that they were there when the young ex-Port Futsal player made his debut. Given just 15 minutes to make his mark, having replaced Pakorn from the bench, he grabbed the chance with both hands and made himself the main post-match topic of conversation.

After crashing a shot against the post with his first touch, he then took on free-kick duties and curled in a sublime Ronaldo-esque effort in the last minute to give Port a 3-0 win and close out the game, before celebrating by doing the funky chicken in front of Zone C. A brief debut, but he crammed more into those 15 minutes than last year’s left-wing substitute Tana has managed in two seasons.

DEBUT RATING: 5 stars

 

Kevin Deeromram

The young Thai-Swede only joined on deadline day and so hadn’t had much preparation time with his new teammates, but with only Panpanpong and Jetjinn for competition he went straight into the first team and didn’t disappoint. Like Panpanpong, Kevin likes to get forward and has a cracking cross on him (his 7th minute free kick almost led to a goal for Todsapol); unlike Panpanpong he doesn’t require a motorbike taxi to get him back into position and he fulfilled his defensive responsibilities admirably.

It was a solid, unspectacular start for the defender, which is exactly what you want from a left-back, and a rare clean sheet for Port was testimony to the fact that we no longer have a weak link at the back.

DEBUT RATING: 4 stars

 

Terens Puhiri

The inch-high Indonesian had a flash symbol shaved into his head in readiness for today’s game, ready to delight his army of Indonesian (and, increasingly, Thai) fans. Sadly The Flash only got a couple of minutes and didn’t get a touch, though he’d have been away if Boskovic had picked him out late in the game. So it would be unfair to give him a rating, but his proximity to the first team suggests we’ll be seeing a lot of him in 2018.