Monday, July 11, 2011


PSSI Have New Leadership

Solo. Indonesian football received some much-needed closure on Saturday as career football figure Djohar Arifin Husin was elected as the new chairman of the game’s governing body.

With the threat of being banished from international competition looming over the proceedings, Djohar handily won the election to take the top job at the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).

The 50-year-old took the reins after beating his nearest challenger, Agusman Effendi, in a run-off vote. He faces the task of reuniting the Indonesian football family after the scandal-tainted tenure of former chairman Nurdin Halid, a succession of postponed elections and deep divisions over how best to halt the country’s slide into mediocrity.

Djohar’s roots in the game are deep and he is the first former football player to lead the PSSI since Maulwi Saelan in 1964-67. He started his football career with PSL Langsa in Aceh in 1968-1969 before moving to PSMS Medan, where he played until he retired in 1976. He then became a football referee for 12 years. He is also a former deputy sports minister.

"Revamping the organization is my top priority. I think I will assemble a team that will be lean but will take a professional approach to their jobs," Djohar said Saturday. "The most important thing is to push our agenda, which is to improve the organization."

Djohar’s victory at the PSSI congress, held at the Sunan Hotel in Solo, was a bit of a surprise given the buzz that had surrounded other prominent candidates. The Group of 78, a faction of supposedly reform-minded PSSI members, had not budged from its support for two candidates banned from running by world governing body FIFA, adding another twist to the tale.

However, last-minute withdrawals by leading candidates such as former PSM Makassar manager Erwin Aksa and former Persija Jakarta chief Sutiyoso cleared the path for Djohar, who served as the deputy secretary general of PSSI’s normalization committee. He also received a boost from a sudden shift by the Group of 78.

The tensions that left Indonesian football in chaos threatened to flare up again minutes before the election when the reformers were prevented from entering the hotel. The group, which convened in Yogyakarta on Friday before making the two-hour drive to Solo, missed Saturday morning’s parade of PSSI member associations and clubs. It was confronted by local police about 500 meters from the hotel and told not to enter the premises.

After speaking to security officers and organizers, though, the group was allowed into the venue. Once inside, the group -- whose staunch support of former Army chief Gen. George Toisutta and oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro was one reason the PSSI leadership crisis dragged on for months -- followed decorum and allowed the election to proceed.

Toisutta and Arifin, who were barred by FIFA from running in the election because they failed to meet the qualifications outlined in the PSSI‘s statutes, announced late on Friday night that they would not pursue the chairmanship. The Group of 78's support tilted in favor of Djohar and Farid Rahman, the PSSI's new vice chairman.

Farid's football ties were with the now-defunct Bandung Raya club, where he served as vice chairman. He is better known as the secretary general of the Indonesian Table Tennis Association (PTMSI). He said he planned to resign from that post before taking over the PSSI vice chairmanship.

Djohar, an ally of the pro-reform faction, led the initial ballot for chairman with 53 votes but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for an outright victory. Agusman, a former PSSI deputy chairman, received 39 votes while Persija official Japto Soeriosoemarno received four.

That set up the run-off, which Djohar won 61-39 over Agusman, giving the PSSI its first new leader since Nurdin began his two-term reign in 2004. Nurdin and former PSSI vice chairman Nirwan Bakrie have been sidelined since April, when FIFA ruled that the association’s leadership had lost its legitimacy.

The election came not a day too soon, with FIFA threatening Indonesia with instant suspension from international competition if it failed to hold the vote on Saturday. The PSSI must quickly get its house in order, with the national team set to travel to Turkmenistan for the first leg of the second round of World Cup qualifying on July 23 before hosting the second leg on July 28. Indonesia is also scheduled to host the Asean Under-23 Championships next month and the Southeast Asian Games in November.

- The Jakarta Globe

COMMENT - I'm worried. This seems eminently sensible at first glance.

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