|JAKARTA (30 Nov 2010) – “We are here for football, not politics,” said Indonesian team manager Andi Darussalam Tabusalla in response to a question from a journalist about the possibility of tomorrow’s match being affected by domestic issues involving both countries.
“I urge fans to come and witness a good football match between two strong teams,” commented Andi as he reached out to shake hands with Malaysian coach K. Rajagobal. “As you all know, this is a very tough group and every team here is in with a chance. We want to win tomorrow but it will be tough.”
There were some demonstrations in Indonesia over issues involving workers in Malaysia. This prompted the journalist to bring up the question which Andi immediately addressed. He added that he team’s primary target was to qualify for the final and to do that, they had to first get past Malaysia tomorrow.
Indonesia will be counting on skipper-striker Bambang Pamungkas and Christian Gonzalez, who recently received his citizenship, to lead the team’s assault. Christian, a leading striker in the Indonesian League, has provided hope for the team after scoring three goals in his first two games (against Taiwan and Timor Leste) for his adopted country.
The team’s hopes received a major boost when PSSI president Nurdin Halid announced a 5 billion rupiah (USD 550,000) cash incentive if the team wins the AFF Suzuki Cup this year. Indonesia have never won this tournament and are keen to create history.
But standing in their way will be Malaysia, who despite being affected by injuries to key players still are a formidable side as proven during the recent Asian Games. “We have several key players who are injured and are here with no pre-determined target. We have many injuries but that’s not going to stop us from giving our best,” said Rajagobal today.
He said that many players were from the Asian Games side but several seniors had also been included in the final squad.
Malaysia and Indonesia will face off at 1930hrs at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium here in Senayan tomorrow.