| JAKARTA (July 27, 2007) – Indonesia have decided to send their national Under-23 side to the Merdeka Tournament next month which will be held in Kuala Lumpur on August 19-29.
The Indonesian FA felt that since the senior national team had only recently concluded their campaign in the Asian Cup 2007, fielding the U23 side will be the best avenue to whip up a team for the SEA Games which will be held in Korat, Thailand at the end of the year.
Furthermore, the positive showing of the Indonesia national team at what is the biggest football event in Asia needs further fine-tuning ahead of the World Cup qualifiers which will be held in early 2008.
However, a final decision has yet to be made whether to include the four senior players – Atep, Ricardo Salampessy, Eka Ramdhani and Ahmad Jufiriyanto –which had played at the Asian Cup for the Merdeka meet.
In the meantime, the FA of Thailand (FAT) have indicated that the senior Thai national team will not be able to attend the Merdeka Tournament next month due to their commitment to domestic competition.
Apart from host Malaysia and the Indonesia U23 side, the other teams who have confirmed their participation in Asia’s oldest football competition are Myanmar, Singapore, Bangladesh, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
PIC: RICARDO SALAMPESSY