Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Indonesia Slip Up In SEA Games Opener

It wasn't the start Indonesia wanted. They Garuda Muda went into their opening SEA Games tie against Myanmar against the backdrop of the recent FIFA suspension and a poor performance in the AFC Championships they hosted back in March. For all the time the players have spent together this year confidence was at a low ebb and it was perhaps no surprise they rolled over and lost.

Two nil down and on the verge of the South Korean ref blowing for half time Lestaluhu pulled one back and sent the Indonesians down to the dressing room at perhaps the wrong time. There are two schools of thought regarding a late goal right on half time, especially when playing catch up. It can act to raise spirits among the players and pump them up for the second half.

The other side of the coin is the whistle can upset momentum. After scoring surely the best thing to do is to rip straight into your opponents and unsettle them? After all 2-1 is the most brittle of leads. One minute you are coasting, the next you are looking over your shoulder and when, as perhaps Myanmar felt yesterday, the ref inidicates the time is up then for you at least the break comes as a blessed relief.

That is what seems to have happened at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Despite some early Indonesian attacks it was the Myanmar side who drew blood, netting twicein 12 minutes to set up an almost unassailable lead. Ahmad Nufiandani did score a second for Indonesia but it was little more than consolation

Next up Indonesia go toe to toe with Cambodia and fans will be hoping coach Aji Santoso can raise the morale of the players. That is unlikely given comments attribuuted to the coach after the Myanmar defeat when he complained about the effects of the suspension of the ISL and now the suspension of the PSSI on his preparations.

While it is easy to blame outside conditions for the defeat, and coaches do tend to go down that road, other sides have been placed in difficult situations and struggled through ok. Take for example Iraq in 2007 when they overcame the violence that blighted their homeland to lift the AFC Asian Cup. And going further back when Denmark won the European Championships back in 1992 despite entering at the last minute.

Santoso has spent all year preparing for the SEA Games. Defeating amateur sides 6-0 does not cut the mustard. There is blame to be apportioned and it lies in the corridors of power, those meddling officials at the PSSI but of course a good company man doesn't come out and say that. The preparations have been little more than woeful, just one away game for a competetion being played overseas but then that is the lot of Indonesian football. There is little point in players passing the ball among themselves and indulging in endless crossbar competitions when there are very few tests on the ground for them to see how they rate against other sides in the region.

Think short term, act short term, lose big time. And whoever takes over the PSSI, be it the government or the last lost or Uncle Tom Cobley 'n all little will change any time soon.

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