Will fan favourite prodigy Egy Maulana be the secret to Indonesia’s AFF Suzuki Cup success?

Southeast Asian exports in World football are far and few. For the most part, footballers with an ASEAN background are forced to stay within the region. However, there are some in between, who break the regional ceiling to make their way to Europe. The latest to do so is Indonesia’s Egy Maulana Vikri. 

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Finding Indonesian ‘exports’ on European pitches is like finding a needle in a haystack. The country and the region has never had a positive association with World’s footballing hub. While there are certain Indonesians, whom you may find in the backrooms and the stands, there are almost none on the pitch.

One youngster bucking this trend is 18-year-old Egy Maulana Vikri.

From Medan to Poland

Maulana Vikri was born in Medan, Indonesia, to a footballing family. His father, being a footballer himself, wanted him to follow in his footsteps. And so he did.

The youngster joined Tasbi Soccer School, to hone his skills and develop into an all-around player. It was at TSS, that he was spotted by a scout who took him to the capital Jakarta, and eventually, to Europe.

During his early school days, the Indonesian generated a lot of interest in him from abroad. Seeing his talent, several European sides put their offers on the table. Some of the sides who were amongst his suitors were Ajax, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Espanyol, and Saint Etienne; all acclaimed for unearthing and polishing potential gems.

However, Maulana did not take any of the offers from ‘big league’ teams. Instead, he decided to join Polish side Lechia Gdansk, on the premise that he would be enrolled without trials. It was indeed a tough but calculated decision. For starters, the gifted prodigy was getting a direct route to Europe. Moreover, he was at a club which could focus on his singular development, something that would have been lost had he join the likes of Ajax.