Bambang Pamungkas has played more times for Indonesia than any other player and sits second in the country’s all-time leading scorers chart, boasting a hugely impressive strike rate of almost a goal every two games.

Many consider the striker to be the Garuda’s greatest player of ever and Pamungkas is viewed with such esteem in his homeland that he was chosen to be flag-bearer at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

With 12 goals spread over six AFF Suzuki Cup campaigns, meanwhile, he is the perfect subject for our first ‘Suzuki Cup Icon’.

Age: 38
Clubs: Persija Jakarta, EHC Norad, Selangor FA, Pelita Bandung Raya
International appearances (Goals): 85 (37)
AFF Suzuki Cup appearances: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2002, 2000


The prodigious talent

Pamungkas announced his name to the Indonesian public in the 1999-2000 season when he finished as the league’s top scorer in his first campaign in senior football for Persija Jakarta.

The forward’s potential alerted Dutch third division side EHC Norad and, at just 20 years old, he found himself on a plane to Europe.

His form in front of goal continued but four months later Pamungkas was back at Persija, where he would help the Jakarta side become the 2001 champions of Indonesia.  

A Suzuki Cup legend is born

Having made his Indonesia debut three years earlier and been part of the squad that reached the 2000 AFF Suzuki Cup final, Pamungkas had developed into his nation’s main goalscoring threat by the time the 2002 edition came around.

Hosted by Indonesia and Singapore, the Garuda would play all their games on home soil, posting 4-2 and 13-1 wins over Cambodia and the Philippines in the group stage with Pamungkas netting three and four respectively as the hosts advanced to the last four.

The striker’s solitary goal in the narrow 1-0 semi-final win over Malaysia was among his most important to date for his country, but it was penalty shootout heartbreak in the final as Thailand prevailed from the spot following a 2-2 draw. With eight goals, though, Pamungkas finished as the tournament’s top scorer.

Back amongst the goals

Having missed out on the 2004 Suzuki Cup, in which Indonesia again finished as runners-up, this time to Singapore, Pamungkas returned for the 2007 tournament, although the forward did not register a goal as the Garuda exited at the group stage.

A year later, after returning to Persija following a successful two-year stint with Malaysian side Selangor FA, ‘Bepe’ was showing his worth once more to the national team when Indonesia and Thailand co-hosted the 2008 regional tournament.

Pamungkas scored his first goal in the competition since the 2002 edition in Indonesia’s 3-0 victory over Myanmar, before he added the fourth as his side saw off Cambodia 4-0 to confirm their spot in the semi-finals.

But a place in the final was not to be as Thailand won 1-0 in Jakarta before coming from behind to win 2-1 in Bangkok to progress.

Stunned at the last

Two years later Indonesia came out the blocks firing at the 2010 edition of the regional competition, posting 5-1 and 6-0 victories over Malaysia and Laos in their opening two games.

Pamungkas then got on the scoresheet for the first time as a couple of late penalties saw Indonesia come from a goal down to defeat Thailand 2-1 and the Garuda advanced with a perfect record. The forward, meanwhile, had made it three tournaments in which he had registered goals. 

A 2-0 aggregate semi-final win over the Philippines then set up a date with Malaysia in the final but, despite the resounding group stage victory, Indonesia suffered a devastating 3-0 first-leg loss in Kuala Lumpur.

Back on home turf they managed a 2-1 victory and Pamungkas almost scored from a late free-kick, but Indonesia saw their best chance of winning the tournament slip away in what was the country’s fourth runners-up finish.


Suzuki Cup swansong


The 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup saw Pamungkas represent his country for the final time, but an opening-day draw with Laos proved crucial as Indonesia exited behind Singapore and Malaysia at the first hurdle.

Despite failing to get on the scoresheet, his record of 12 goals in the regional competition sees him as the joint-fifth highest scorer alongside Thailand legend Kiatisuk Senamuang.

Since retiring for the Garuda, Pamungkas spent a year with Indonesian team Pelita Bandung Raya (now Madura United) before returning to Persija in 2015. At 38, the striker continues to turn out for the Jakarta side, who he has scored more than 160 goals for over 19 years and four spells.

In total, Pamungkas was part of six AFF Suzuki Cup squads and finished as a runner-up three times. The Semarang native may not have lifted the trophy, but he undoubtedly is among the greatest players to have graced the regional tournament and a true AFF Suzuki Cup icon.