In recent days football is still dominate our news. The 2010 AFF event had taken Indonesian attention heart and mind because the national team had devoted unforgettable performance through its players. Even though Indonesian national team did not win the cup but along the competition the team had just lost once which mean they were lost by the score aggregate. Some observer often called Indonesian national team situation as ‘winner without trophy’.
The recent national team was the best football team which the national football organization, PSSI, had ever produced. Although observers said that the team was instantly made. The opinion based on the policy of the organization to citizenly-naturalize some foreign players.
Some of them whom already played for national team were Irfan Bachdim and Christian Gonzales. Besides the Indonesian-born players’ good performance, those two naturalized players gave a new atmosphere in the team which positively gained its performance to nearly international quality football show.
Indonesia won AFF qualification with fantastic achievements. It was won on the game versus Malaysia by 5-1, versus Laos by 6-0, versus Thailand by 2-1, and versus the Philippines by aggregate 2-0. Indonesia only lost one final leg game on its first and the only away game by 0-3 versus Malaysia. Even though Indonesia won the last leg of the final game by 2-1, it lost by aggregate 2-4 and Malaysia grabbed the AFF cup for the first time.
There were pros and contras around Bachdim and Gonzales existences in the national team. But most of the Indonesia football audience appreciated their performances as well as their appearances especially the female audience. Those two naturalized players seems either boost the team performance along the competition or they just got lucky-timing on the good team. Beyond that the team’s action had raised the number of Indonesian football fan as well as Indonesian nation proud. The team gave people the feeling of love, unity and togetherness as one nation. Feeling which had been missing for years. For those people loved the national team.
Half of AFF games were took apart in Indonesia, especially when the Indonesian national team played. For that they attracted thousands of Indonesian audience. This huge excitement was not properly managed by the Indonesian event organizer which accommodated by the PSSI. Most of the audience was unsatisfied by the awful ticketing management and the raising of its price when Indonesian team got to the final round. The audience and observers blamed this awful ticketing management to the PSSI chairman, Nurdin Khalid. Besides the bad ticketing, the people also blamed Khalid for the team defeat on the first final leg in Malaysian stadium. They thought Khalid was the man behind the defeat who ordered the team to attend some unimportant and out-of-the context agendas on the team’s break between competitions. Such condition which made audiences loves the national team but hate its organization.
The recent development is the PSSI’s banning for football potential players to join the national team because their club participation on the illegal national competition called Liga Primer Indonesia or LPI (Indonesian Primer League). Some of them are Irfan Bachdim and Kim Kurniawan. The audiences would pretty disappoint knowing their favorite players were not included in the national team. As Bachdim—the half Indonesian-Holland blood—had chosen to become Indonesian citizen and proudly fought for his new land football team on the 2010 AFF. The sad and disappointment look was shown by Bachdim when the press interviewed him at Persema football club training time. I think many of football lovers in the country would feel the same with him.
I think Indonesian football community will not happy with the PSSI’s policy. Some of press called its attitude as arrogant and unaware with most of football audience’s will. Some observers predict that LPI would dominate audience’s attention than the PSSI’s maintained-league, Liga Super Indonesia or LSI (Indonesian Super League). Most of football enthusiasts dislike the LSI for its state-budget depended because the local government allocates its budget to fund the football club. For that the competition is not neutral from stock holders’ interest and manipulation. Some others believe that PSSI is not capable of preparing well young aged players to full fill main national team need.
Aditya Dwitaji, 4 January 2011