Why Persija Jakarta striker Marko Simic is not in club’s AFC Cup 2019 squad

Indonesian champions Persija Jakarta announced their preliminary squad for the upcoming AFC Cup 2019 group stage but one big name was missing from the list – that of striker Marko Simic.

The Croatian forward has been forced to stay in Australia after his arrest at the Sidney Airport on 10th February. He was arrested on charges of indecency against a woman on a flight from Bali.

Though he did represent Persija in their 3-1 loss to Newcastle Jets in the second preliminary round of AFC Champions League in Australia, he has since been barred from leaving the country until at least 9th April. As a result of the legal proceedings, he has not been named in the club’s preliminary squad for the AFC Cup 2019.

The Indonesia champions have replaced the Croatian striker with Silvio Escobar. Persija start their AFC Cup campaign against Becamex Binh Duong before facing Shan United and Ceres Negros in their first three group stage matches.

The club are hoping that Simic’s case is cleared and he can be registered as their player in case they qualify for the knockout phase of the continental tournament.