Rabu, 10 Agustus 2011

Indonesia Football Team Secures Two Friendly Matches

The national team will leave its camp in Cilegon, Banten, for Solo on Friday after securing two home friendlies before departing for Jordan on Aug. 23.

Indonesia will face the country’s Under-23 team at Manahan Stadium in Solo on Aug. 18 before hosting Palestine at the same location on Aug. 22, the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) confirmed on Wednesday.

“We’ve reached agreement to hold a friendly against Palestine on Aug. 22 after the PSSI secretary general [Tri Goestoro] met with the Palestinian ambassador [Fariz al-Mehdawi] on Tuesday night,” PSSI national team committee chairman Bob Hippy said. “The ambassador helped us persuade the Palestine Football Association to change the schedule from Aug. 24.”

After those warm-ups, the Merah Putih will travel to Amman for a friendly against Jordan on Aug. 27.

The national team will stay in Jordan to acclimatize before traveling to Tehran for its 2014 World Cup qualifying Group E opener against Iran on Sept. 2. Bahrain and Qatar round out the group.

Lining up international friendlies has long been a problem for Indonesia, which usually ends up playing youth sides or Armed Forces teams. The PSSI held unsuccessful talks with Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, and North Korea’s offer to play in Jakarta fell through after it asked for a $150,000 match fee in addition to room and board.

Discussions with Yemen and East Timor also proved fruitless.

Bob insisted that pitting the senior squad against the U-23 team was not because of a failure to find international opponents.

“The [senior] team will play the Under-23s, but not because we’re lacking of possible opponents. It was because coach [Wim] Rijsbergen wanted to see the development of those youngsters. It’s possible that he will find some standout youngsters who can be promoted to the senior team so we will have more options,” he said.

The U-23 squad, coached by former Sriwijaya FC boss Rahmad Darmawan, has been training for two weeks in Malang, East Java, to prepare for November’s Southeast Asian Games.

Solo was chosen to host the friendlies as Gelora Bung Karno was still under renovation ahead of the SEA Games.

After a week training in Cilegon, a coastal city in Banten province, Rijsbergen said there was still lots of work to do.

“Our focus right now is physical training to enhance the players’ performance,” the Dutch coach said. “In Solo, we plan to do more physical exercise, but I’m still discussing it with the team doctor and physical trainer to know whether we can add more load to the training.”

National team captain Firman Utina said the players welcomed the move to Solo.

“I think it will be good for us because it would be boring to stay in one place for a month,” the star midfielder said.

Meanwhile, Persija Jakarta dismissed reports that its coach, Rahmad, had decided not to extend his contract, which ends in the end of this month.

Rahmad reportedly said that he preferred to focus on his assignment with the U-23 team after being offered a two-year contract by the PSSI.

Persija chairman Ferry Paulus said talks with the coach were still ongoing.

“Basically, he’s still weighing his options and we give him until [Thursday] to give us a decision,” he said. “If he decides to sign with the national team, we won’t hold him back and we’ll start looking for a replacement.”

Rahmad could not be reached for comment.

source: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/sports/indonesia-football-team-secures-two-friendly-matches/458509

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