Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Experience Has Its Place But Coaches Need To Trust In Youth More

One of the decisions that came out from the recent PSSI conference referred to the age limit of players, implementing an upper age limit of 35 in the Indonesia Super League.

Now for a while I have been saying there aren't enough young players coming through and one reason for that is perhaps clubs prefer to go safety first and choose and experienced old pro rather than give a young player a chance.

But to mandate a player must retire because they reach a number? I don't think that is the way to go. Surely it is down to clubs to be savvier in their recruitment policies. Yes, there are some journeymen pros out there living off their reputations which faded a good few years back.

At the same time there are some pretty good fiddle players out there to paraphrase an old saying. For example look at Sriwijaya's all Brazilian strike force of Hilton Moreira and Alberto Goncalves. Past it? Not on your nelly. I saw them play a few times and they never gave less than 100% a game and of course Goncalves was the top scorer in the Indonesia Soccer Championship.

The 36 year old arrived in Indonesia in 2007 and apart from a short spell in Penang has been here ever since. He was top scorer in the Indonesia Cup in 2007. Inter Island Cup 2011. Indonesia Super League 2011. ISC 2016. Do we want to be putting that type of experience and consistency out to pasture just because of some randomly produced number?

And if we think old players are stunting the development of younger players let us look again at Sriwijaya. 22 year old keeper Teja Paku Alam was a regular last season. 21 year old Ichsan Kurniawan impressed when he was given a run out. How much would they have learnt from training with and playing alongside the experienced Brazilians?

Redusing the number of foreigners in each team is a good thing and one the English premier League should consider. But I am less enthusiastic about age limits. We need more coaches like Sriwijaya's Widodo Cahyo Putro who are willing to give youth a chance, as was PSM's Robert Alberts, and not just really on any 30 something with creaking knees who has been round the block too often.

Like so much it comes down to patience. Are club owners and supporters patient enough to allow a coach to develop young players

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