Indonesia and Persija Jakarta legend Bambang Pamungkas announces retirement

BAmbang Pamungkas

Bambang Pamungkas, the 39-year-old Indonesia and Persija Jakarta legend, has announced that he is retiring from football.

Popularly known as Bepe, the striker holds the record for the most international caps for Indonesia having scored 38 goals in 86 appearances for Timnas between 1999 and 2012.

Bambang has had four different stints with Persija making over 350 league appearances for the Kemayoran Tigers. The seasoned star also had stints at EHC Norad in the Netherlands in 2000, Selangor FA in Malaysia between 2005 and 2007 and Indonesia’s Pelita Bandung Raya in 2013-14.

The striker came on as a substitute in Persija’s final home match of the 2019 Liga 1 season against Persebaya Surabaya at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Tuesday replacing Sandi Sute in the 76th minute.

However, he failed to help Persija avoid a defeat as they went down 2-1 to Persebaya who scored early through Osvaldo Haay and Diogo Campos Gomes.

“I have to thank all from the club management and officials. And also the supporters who were at the stadium [on Tuesday] as well as other who watched from elsewhere,” Bepe said while announcing his retirement after over 20 years as a footballer.

“I have had good times as well as some bad moments in Persija. But, in all situtations, I have felt that the fans were behind me. I have to thank you all from the deepest of my heart for that,” Bambang said.

The attacker also guided his national team to three finals of the AFF Championship — in 2000, 2002 and 2010 — and was the top scorer in the 2002 edition.

Persija face Kalteng Putra in their final league fixture of the season at the Tuah Pahoe Stadium on Sunday.