Last Friday I received a phone call from a friend of mine at the Indonesian FA in Jakarta requesting my assistance. He wanted me to pick up some passports of the Indonesian Under 17 football team from the Uruguay Embassy in KL. That got me thinking, why were the Indon's going to Uruguay and what tournament were they preparing for.
I was then told that the Indon FA had a 4 year development program for this team, that they were Under 16 as of 2008 and were sent to Uruguay in March last year where they played in the league for the Under 17. The team were there for some 10 months and played in a 24 team league, across Uruguay and finished in the 18th spot. They then played another tournament for the bottom 12 teams and finished 4th. Effectively these players had some 65 tough matches over the year. This process is being repeated this year and the squad comprising of 27 players/officials will depart Jakarta tonight for another 11 months there.
Having got the basic info, I got down to do some checking on the internet and this is what I found out about the Indonesian FA program:
Indonesia Football Association has decided to hire Cesar Payovich Perez as the new coach for Indonesia U-16 under four years contract. Cesar will start the selection round for the new U-16 team in this month until the end of this year. He will select at least 25 players out of 160 players in 4 major cities of Indonesia. All 25 players of U-16 team will be trained in Uruguay starting January 2008 and will take part in local U-16 tournament by March 2008.
Cesar Payovich Perez is a well known figure in Asia after he successfully developed youth Japan national team between 1991 and 1994. He was qualified coach certified by FIFA. His target is to improve the skill of youth Indonesian players, so they have standard close to international players in Europe or South America.
This is the fifth program made by the Indonesia Football Association after they designed the first youth development program in 1992/1993. They sent 25 U-19 players to Italy and took part in Primavera competition for two consecutive years. Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto was one of players trained by the program. The second program was in 1994/1995, the Association sent U-17 team to compete in Baretti competition. The third program was in 2006 when the Association sent U-23 team to Holland. Irfan Bachdim was one of Indonesia descendant discovered by coach team there and joint the training for a short time. The last program was in 2007 when the Association sent U-23 team to Argentina for a month training.
I did ask as to the education requirements of the players. The answer was that the Indon FA worked together with the Education Ministry and sent a host of teaching aids and two tutors with the squad, with the exams being conducted regularly as if they were in Indonesia.
Dare we hope that a similiar program will be undertaken by our FA? Well one can suggest but then again the manner in which sports is being administrated in the country, the most I will get out of this is it being confined to this blog. Idea's are never welcomed in this country for if someone cannot make a quick buck, then it's not a good idea.
But do not despair though for I am told that efforts are being made by an interested party to do something similiar with a London club, not as elaborate as the Indons, but it will help.