Sunday, January 08, 2017


PSSI Meeting In Bandung

Ok so the new look PSSI held their annual meeting in Bandung today and a few things were decided.

National team coach - despite Indonesia's progress to the final of the ASEAN Football Federation Championships coach Alfred Riedl will not have his contract renewed. Instead, according to the PSSI, a couple of Spanish born coaches are in the mix to replace him. Luis Fernandez may have been born in Spain but he grew up in France and was part of the national team which won the Euros in 1984 when they were boringly called the European Championships. He was part of a midfield which featured Jean Tigana and Michel Platini so his pedigree ain't that bad.

Since hanging up his boots he has coached teams in France, Spain, Qatar and Israel as well as the Israeli and Guinea national sides. So confident is Wikipedia Fernandez has the job they have already announced it!

He hasn't got the job yet. He is up against a proper Spanish guy in Luis Milla who may be a less familiar name to many. He played for Barcelona and Real Madrid and since turning to coaching has worked with a number of age groups for the Spanish national team before a spell in Abu Dhabi. Wikipedia seems to be hedging its bets as they have listed Milla as the next Indonesia coach as well!

The idea seems to be whoever takes over the national team will also be responsible for the Under 23s in what will be a busy year with the SEA Games on the near horizon. A decision could be made as soon as tomorrow, Wikipedia allowing!

PSSI also have a couple of candidates lined up for the national Under 19 team. Wolfgang Pikal is a long time resident of Indonesia, speaks the language and of course has worked with Riedl on a number of occasions. Indra Sjafri, currently with Bali United, is the other name in the frame. Indra of course coached the Under 19s recently, well a couple of years back, when they won the AFF Under 19 Championships which saw them on the road to Myanmar.

Two names put forward for the Under 15s are Rudy Eka Priyambada and Fachri Husaini. Rudy is an ambitious young coach who I met and interviewed in Bahrain in 2015. He has been doing a good job with new side Celebest FC who reached the finals of the recent Indonesia Soccer Championship B. Fachri has had a number of jobs with the PSSI since his side Bontang fell off the football map a few years ago.

The return of the seven - Thousands of Persebaya fans headed to Bandung to remind PSSI members of their existence if not their football club's and they were given plenty to celebrate as  their side will return to Indonesian football in the coming season. Putting aside the Persebaya/Persebaya United/Bonek United/Surabaya United abomination that has been masquerading as Surabaya's top football club in recent years, the infamous Bonek can look forward to life in Divisi Utama in 2017. Their football club last kicked a ball in anger in 2013 in the final days of the ill starred Liga Primer Indonesia but the fans have kept up the pressure to see their good name restored to its rightful place.

Other familiar names will also be making a return to the football scene. Persipasi kind of disappeared when they weren't allowed to use their new stadium in Bekasi and they merged with Pelita Bandung Raya for a short stint before being bought out and moved to Madura to become Madura United. Arema Indonesia, Persema, Persibo, Persewangi and Lampang FC will be joining Persipasi in the Nusantara League, Indonesia's third tier.

Arema Indonesia are of course different to Arema who came second in the ISC and suffered from a falling off in attendances over the season. It remains to be seen what kind of crowds Arema Indonesia attract. It goes without saying Persema won't have fans queuing for miles when they return to the Nusantara League though.

New season - the Indonesia Super League kicks off 26 March and will feature 18 teams. As far as I can make out the status of Bhayangkara and PS TNI hasn't changed so can we expect them to be in the ISL? Each club is allowed two foreign players plus one Asian player.

Divisi Utama kicks off a week earlier with no foreign players. Who needs them? With clubs like Persebaya, Persis, PSIS, PSS and PSIM we can look forward to some monster games and attendances! Divisi Utama 2018 will have two conferences of 12 teams each so expeect a long drawn out season with plenty of tension and controversy.

All in all it seems to have been a positive meeting with things decided and plans laid down for the future. Let's see what the future brings!

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