Monday, September 23, 2013


Indonesia Lift AFF Under 19 Champonship

The day had started ominously. Fans, queuing for tickets long since sold out, attacked ticket booths at the Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo, setting fire to them. Accusing officials of selling tickets to scalpers, who seemed to have plenty, they turned on the touts and things were getting pretty ugly for a while before police stepped in to protect the touts.

And this was several hours before the game was due to kick off!

Passions were high in the country. Indonesia had won nothing of note for so long no could remember. There was a Merdeka Cup triumph a few years back but that was a hollow victory. Trailing 1-0 at half time one of the Indonesian coaching staff had lamped the Libyan coach in the tunnel.

The Libyan team refused to come out for the second half, Indonesia were awarded the game and the players, not showing any pangs of guilt or embarrassment, celebrated like they had won the World Cup.

Too often, Indonesia have croaked when near the finish line.

In the ASEAN Cup in Malaysia in 2010, Indonesia allowed themselves to be distracted by lasers from the crowd. They pouted and sulked, Malaysia cruised to a 3-0 win setting the basis for their first ever success in the trophy.

Then there was the SEA Games in Jakarta. The final again against rivals Malaysia. Penalties. Indonesia bottled it. Their last spot kick,you could see the nerves etched on the player's face as he walked from the centre circle to take his kick in front of 100,000 baying fans. He missed as we knew he would. The Malaysian didn't.

History repeated in the AFF U16s hosted in Myanmer earlier this year. Indonesia reached the final. They met Malaysia and Malaysia won on penalties. Think England v Germany, Malaysia, a cultural kindred spirit yet political foe at times, seemed to have the hex over their bigger neighbour.

Sidoarjo was a chance to put all that behind them. 35,000 fans did get tickets and filed to the stadium feeling confident. Perhaps because they were playing Vietnam in the final and not that lot from across the Melaka Straits.

Indonesia played with pace and yes, some skill. But they also played with emotion. Given the simple option they would go for the spectacular which of course the crowd would love and the players would feed off the noise.

It went to penalties and, this time, Indonesia were able to lift a trophy after years of drought.

How much of this success can be put down to the ongoing Uruguayan project is unclear.  Likewise, it is too early to tell if this is a change in fortunes for the national team in regional competition. Winning on penalties at home may have been nerve wracking but the real test in this part of the world comes when you play away.

Those questions can be answered later. For now Indonesia is toasting the team that finally lifted some silverware!

FYI there are only 4 person out of 30+ from uruguay project .. the captain evan dimas was part of SAD reject united though ..
FYI there are only 4 person out of 30+ from uruguay project .. the captain evan dimas was part of SAD reject united though ..
and the two key players are not even playing yet. the captain (Gavin Kwan ) currently on reserves team in Romania club and the top scorer is injured ( sabeg Fahmi)

and to add, both those two players were the one who helped the NT won a tournament in Hongkong and those two also played together in AC Milan camp
for me, bacame a champion of AFF tournament but struggle to make it for the AFC tournament is painful. hoping to see any Asean team in AFC U-16, U-19 and U-22 Cup
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