JAKARTA (19 Aug 2011) – Despite naturalized players playing an increasingly important role in the national team, the FA of Indonesia (PSSI) have decided they no longer need help from abroad.
Bernhard Limbong, the new national team coordinator, said local players needed more protection.
“No more naturalization program. We must have a strong national team which consists of the best players who excel in good local competition. If we keep naturalizing players, there’s no point to have a competition,” said Limbong.
“Besides, winning something with mostly naturalized players won’t feel the same if we do it with all Indonesia-born players.”
PSSI secretary general Tri Goestoro confirmed the program would end.
“We want to give more chances for local players to be selected in the national team, but we will help players already in the process of getting Indonesian citizenship,” he said.
Cristian Gonzales has flown the flag for the cause of naturalized players. The Uruguay-born striker, who has played in this country since 2003, became the first naturalized player to play for Indonesia when he was called up for last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup. He has made an immediate impact, scoring eight goals in 11 appearances.
Kim Jeffrey Kurniawan, a Germany-born defender who plays for Persema Malang, was the next to naturalize. He is fighting for a spot in the Under-23 team for the SEA Games in November.
Two Netherlands-born players, defender Diego Michiels and midfielder Ruben Wuarbanaran, received Indonesia passports last week and are also in the U23 camp.
Seven players are in the process of getting Indonesian citizenship, including Persipura Jayapura defender Victor Igbonefo and Persija Jakarta forward Greg Nwokolo, both Nigerians.
The others are Dutch players with Indonesian heritage — defender Joey Suk, midfielders Tony Cussell and Stefano Lilipaly and forwards Sergio Van Dijk and John Van Beukering.
The PSSI said they would receive their passports as late as next month.
Limbong also commented that on programs that sent youngsters abroad to train and play.
“We don’t need such programs. We should send our coaches abroad to attend courses instead of sending youngsters for a long-term training camp,” he said.
SOURCE: Jakarta Globe