Tjetjep Firmansyah: The legendary basketball coach of former korfball national players

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Tjetjep Firmansyah. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – You don’t have to be a national player to be a great coach. Tjetjep Firmansyah is one proof of this. While still a player, Tjetjep only struggled in his club, Mitra Guntur and Indonesia Muda Jakarta. “I’m just an amateur player, I’ve never played at the highest level,” said Tjetjep modestly. 

As a player his name is less shining than his two siblings, his elder brother Bambang Hermansyah and his younger brother, Ali Budimansyah, who are brilliant as national players. “I also had a chance to become a national player, but for the korfball,” he said with a smile. 

In 1982, Tjetjep was invited by his colleagues into the korfball national team who will compete in the Korfball World Championship in the Netherlands. “The Indonesia Korfball Federation is trying to popularize this sport and I was invited to participate. From Asia, only Indonesia and Taiwan participated in the World Championship,” he said. 

Only to the club level when playing, but Tjetjep shines as a coach even though he takes it from the bottom. “I became a part of the women’s national team utility for the 1989 SEA Games in Malaysia; the coach was Rastafari Horongbala. Players included Julisa, who later became Rastafari’s wife,” he recalled. 

Coming home from Malaysia, Tjetjep was invited by Setia Darma Madjid, Rastafari’s sister, to handle the Bogor Jaya club. This turned out to be the first step for him to become the coach of the 1993 West Java Pelatda PON team. To provide experience to the regional players: a Siliwangi team was formed and competed in Kobatama. In the 1993 PON, West Java, which was also reinforced by AF Rinaldo and Thomas Teddy Kurniadi, it was ranked third. 

After PON, Tjetjep was joined by Doedi Gambiro to handle Satria Muda. Unexpectedly, Tjetjep was able to bring Satria Muda to the top four positions of Kobatama. Tjetjep was then chosen as the national team coach for the 1996 SEABA Championship in Surabaya. His achievement is extraordinary. For the first time, the Indonesian national team was able to defeat the Philippines and become Southeast Asian champions. 

Successfully handling the national team, Tjetjep was drawn by Irawan Haryono to handle Aspac. The team later won the Kobatama championship three times. Tjetjep’s success continues: he managed to bring the men’s national team to win a bronze medal at the SEA Games Brunei Darussalam. 

The next two years with his national team performance improved. The Indonesian men’s national team won the silver medal for the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia SEA Games. 

Tjetjep assessed that Indonesian basketball players are currently making progress but are less consistent. “There is progress but it is not consistent in both men and women teams. If it gets consistent, we should be able to win the SEA Games silver medal. “The silver target is currently the most realistic highest target,” he said. 

Tjetjep suggested that in addition to holding a competition with foreign players, IBL should also have a special competition with local players. “Three foreign players in one team will defeat the experience of local players. For that, we need special competition for local players to increase their experience. It’s not enough in just one tournament,” he advised. (rp)