Former Inter defender has the mission to help an Indonesian team remain in the first division

Thales Lira came up through the youth ranks of Internacional and is an undisputed starter for PSS Sleman, having played in the starting lineup for 23 out of 26 matches this season
Josué Seixas
2024-03-01 13:17:43

The season in Indonesia is approaching its final stages. The 18 teams in the first division, which collectively feature 42 Brazilians (an average of 2.33 per team), have eight more games left to achieve their objectives.

With a defender developed in Internacional’s youth system, PSS Sleman, a team from Yogyakarta, a city near the capital Jakarta, is on a three-game unbeaten streak and close to mathematically securing their place in the top tier for 2025. Thales Lira, who has previously played for clubs like Guarani-SP, Bahia-BA, Vitória-BA, Atlético-GO, Criciúma-SC, CSA-AL, among others in Brazil, shared his thoughts on the final stretch of the competition.


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“These will be very tough battles, and we are treating the eight remaining games as true ‘finals.’ PSS Sleman has one of the most passionate fan bases in Indonesia, and I’m sure they will also push us forward, both in the four home games and those away from home,” said the defender, a regular starter for the team, featuring in the starting XI in 23 out of 26 matches this season.

PSS Sleman is one of the teams with the highest attendance at their home games in the Indonesian Liga 1. However, they have been playing their home matches away from the Maguwoharjo Stadium due to ongoing renovations. Nevertheless, this did not prevent the team from drawing crowds at their last two home games in nearby cities of Bantul and Surakarta.

“The Indonesian people are very passionate about football. In that sense, it closely resembles Brazilian football. I’m from Rio Grande do Sul and played for Internacional, and I can see a lot of that passion here. My introduction to the fans was during a club anniversary celebration in a square, which was packed with fans celebrating, waving flags and playing instruments. In that sense, it’s great to play here,” added the defender.

PSS Sleman, with Thales anchoring the defense, will take to the field next Sunday, March 3rd, at 15:00 local time in Indonesia. In Brasília time, the match will be at 5:00 AM.


Hailing from Rio Grande do Sul, Thales was brought up through Internacional’s youth system and also featured for their senior team. In Brazil, he has also played for clubs like Guarani-SP, Bahia-BA, Vitória-BA, Atlético Goianiense, Criciúma-SC, Paraná Clube, CSA-AL, among others. Away from Brazil, he wore the jersey of Ankaraspor in Turkey in 2021 and has been pursuing his career in Indonesia since April 2023.