22 July 2011

Indonesia to the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

On Saturday, July 23rd 2011, Indonesian national football team is going to begin campaign toward the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, playing Turkmenistan in an away game. Since 1938, when the squads played under Dutch East Indies (DEI) jersey, Indonesia has never surpassed the qualifier rounds. Being in the world cup have been something to achieve all the time. Once in thepast the obsession was closely reached but double defeats to South Korea in the AFC zone's playoff final for the Mexico 1986 prevented the 'Merah-Putih' squads to join the finals. Since then, Indonesia could only be better than non-participators.

According to the late Rinus Michels, 'the father' of total football, Indonesia has plenty of good talents at youth sectors. His comment was proven by good achievements of the youth teams in several occasions, such as Danone Cup invitation, Milan youth tournament, and Arsenal youth tournament. But a misconception continues to happen. The Indonesian FA, PSSI, has not implemented a good conduct of developing a football team. There is a 'missing link' of football development from the youth to the senior levels. Most talents have been 'missing in action' before they have reached the senior level.

Negative climate of the PSSI organization also contributes the difficulty in creating a strong football team. Political interest has continued to highlight the life of Indonesian football. It is not a good climate when one group of interest claims a success and the other is to blame due to failure. In my opinion, the choice of the new management is due to political interest. The mentality of "showing-off merit" has sacrificed the growth of the country's football. The squads preparation has been in trouble due to the change of head coach from Alfred Riedl to Wim Rijsbergen. The 1974 FIFA World Cup runners-up steps up the managerial seat following the contract termination by PSSI with the Austrian trainer. Some believe that Riedl related to the former staff under the administration of Nurdin Halid, but the Djohar Arifin's PSSI claimed that Riedl had an individual contract with Nirwan Bakrie, instead of with the Organization. Well, no matter the reason of this contract termination, PSSI has not shown their professionalism in preparing the team. Then what can Rijsbergen do in several days? Or, is it the way used by PSSI to camouflage their weakness, by claiming that "we had limited times of preparing the squads" should the team loses to Turkmenistan on the week-end showpiece in Ashgabat? Or, is it the tactic of the current staff to claim their good, critical decision by replacing Riedl with Rijsbergen should the team wins the match? Of course the fans are not that stupid to believe.

Indonesian football needs persons who are willing to devote, not a sort of mercenaries who 'buy and sell' for their own benefits. If this for-profit intent continues, the World Cup is going to be something that ruis our breakfast. Even, the World Cup dream may turn into a nightmare.

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