"Never Stop Dreaming".. Maybe this time I am the one who is playing for this country, but one day it could be all of you replacing me, so prepare yourself as best as you can..
I\'ll never get bored to convey those messages to young generation of players in Indonesia..
Interview for FIFA.com:
FIFA.com: When did you first realise you wanted to be a professional footballer.? How and when were you first discovered as footballer in Indonesia.?
Me: At first it never crossed my mind to become a football player, my dream was to become a teacher.. On my 8 th birthday my father gave me a pair of football boots, and form there on I wanted to become a football player.. I started to be recognized when I became the best player at Haornas Coca Cola Cup 1996 and won the competition with Central Java U-16 team..
FIFA.com: You started your international career very soon after turning professional, how did you handle the quick rise.?
Me: To be honest, it was really hard.. People started to recognize me and talked about everything I did.. This was an important point in my career, because if I could not control myself then I would become a big-headed person.. I managed to keep my focus, because I thought that this was just a beginning and I still had a very long journey ahead..
FIFA.com: How does it feel to be your country’s most important player – holding records for both goals and appearances.?
Me: Playing and scoring goals for a country that we love are always going to be the most proudful things to do. But those records are meaningless without a trophy that could be enjoyed by all Indonesian people. Before I retired, winning a trophy is my main target.
FIFA.com: Now that you are widely considered one of Indonesia\'s best, what else personally do you hope to achieve with the side.?
Me: One thing that always bothers my mind is that, for 12 years donning an Indonesia shirt I have never given any major trophy for Indonesia, so an important trophy for Indonesia would be a sweet ending on my career..
FIFA.com: You have said that you would like to teach. What would your one piece of advice to the youth of Indonesia be.?
Me: "Never stop dreaming".. Maybe this time I am the one who is playing for this country, but one day it could be all of you replacing me, so prepare yourself as best as you can..
FIFA.com: You were top scorer in your first season in Indonesia, what made you adapt so quickly to the league and professional football.?
Me: Yes, at that time I was in a top spirit and highly motivated to prove that I deserved to compete with all of the top strikers in Indonesia.. On the other hand, maybe at that time the defenders had not gotten used to my style of playing, which made it a little difficult to play against me..
FIFA.com: You\'re now in your third season with Persija Jakarta, what has kept you with the club.?
Me: This is my fifth season since I left Selangor FC on the 2006/2007 season.. Persija Jakarta is the only professional football team that I have ever played for in Indonesia, I played there since 1999 before I tried my fortune in Holland and Malaysia.. I grew up with this team, Persija and Jakarta is like a family to me.. When you have stayed with a team for more than 10 year, you need something extraordinary to make you leave the club, can be extraordinary good or bad..
FIFA.com: You spent one year in the Netherlands, what was that experience like.? Why didn\'t you stay longer considering your good goal-scoring record.?
Me: Yes, my time in Holland is one of the most important moment in my career.. There, I learned a lot on how to live as a professional footballer.. Unfortunately at that time I was still young, far from family and friends as well as living in a different culture made me homesick, another thing is the cold weather made me a little difficult to adapt.. But to be honest, the lessons I got during my time in Holland has formed my character to undergo my career so far..
FIFA.com: Do you ever see yourself trying to play outside of Indonesia at club level again.?
Me: On 2010 I was given a chance to go on a trial in New Zealand with Wellington Phoenix, but once again the cold weather in New Zealand made me think twice as it would be difficult for me and my family to live there.. Maybe to play in the Southeast Asia region would still be possible for me..
FIFA.com: You won the treble in your first season in Malaysia, is that your greatest achievement so far.?
Me: That\'s right, 2005/2006 season with Selangor FC was my best season. Scored 41 goals in 43 matches in all competitions and won 3 trophies was a pleasure.. And the most important thing was to play in every matches with Selangor FC without earning any yellow card nor red cards and without suffering any injuries as well.. Fantastic..
FIFA.com: Who has had the biggest impact on your life as a football player.?
Me: Before I got married, surely both of my parents, they are the ones who set my character as a person.. After I got married, my wife and my 3 daughters become an important aspect to my life.. Because what I am doing now, I am doing it for them, the ones that I love..
FIFA.com: Which professional football player or athlete inspires you the most and why.?
Me: I idolise Paul Gascoigne (England) and Kurniawan Dwi Julianto (Indonesia).. At the beginning of my career I was an attacking midfielder, and in my opinion Paul Gascoigne is the most genius one in that era.. When I was a teenager, Kurniawan was a superstar in Indonesia, almost all teens in Indonesia regard him as an idol, including myself.. In 2000 we played together in the Indonesia national team, a dream that came true..
FIFA.com: When you were growing up, which football clubs were your favourite either in Indonesia or in Europe.?
Me: The young Bambang is an Internazionale Milano fan, even now I am still an Interisti.. The funny thing is, the first reason I became a fan of Inter Milan was because the colour of their jersey which was blue and black, which also happened to be my favourite colour.. Hahahaha.
FIFA.com: What do you do during your free time, outside of football.?
Me: I spend my free time with my wife and kids, because honestly I leave them so often.. The vast geographical of Indonesia makes our away matches journey took some time, up to 7-10 days.. That is why when I am in Jakarta, most of my time is for them.. Apart from that, I also set aside some time to write articles in my personal website..
FIFA.com: Where is the best place you have ever travelled to for football or otherwise?
Me: All places are enjoyable, because playing football is always an enjoyable thing to do, but Germany is probably the best one.. On 1999 I had a chance to train with 2 German clubs, which is Borussia Monchengladbach (Rainer Bonhof) and FC Koln (Ebwelle Lienen), their passion of playing and the atmosphere of the team was so full of spirit.. The fanaticism of their fans was also fantastic, Most of their training session is packed with supporters, even though in that time they were fighting to avoid relegation..
FIFA.com: Why do you want to be a cook - which chef inspires you.?
Me: Hahaha I love to eat, every person who loves to eat automatically wants to learn how to cook surely, that is why I initially wanted to be a chef.. Jamie Oliver is my favourite chef, his cooking style is expressive and innovative..
FIFA.com: What do you see yourself doing ten years from now?
Me: Honestly I have not think about that.. Maybe I will be shouting instructions to my players from the sideline as a coach.. Or maybe staying in my room accompanied by a laptop, a cup of coffee, and few snacks as a writer. Or maybe busy working on a few ordered menus in a hot room called kitchen, as a chef.. Hehehe..
FIFA.com: You have a very loyal and passionate set of fans. What is your message to them?
Me: Keep giving support and criticism.. Criticism is important, because it will make someone always wants to improve and tries to be a better person. And I always need that..
FIFA.com: Finally, please tell us an interesting story or fact about you which we wouldn\'t find on the internet already!
Me: Not many people know that 2 years ago I almost decided to hang up my boots (Retire), but at the end, for one particular reason I changed my mind..