Friday, March 19, 2010

Fandi on leave for personal reasons

Indonesian club, Pelita Jaya’s struggles this season are not limited to what happens between the white lines.

On top of its struggles to avoid relegation from the Indonesian Super League, the club gave coach Fandi Ahmad leave for personal reasons. He was not on the bench when his last-place side lost 4-2 at Bontang FC on Wednesday.

Club manager Lalu Mara Satria Wangsa denied rumors the Singaporean had been sacked.

“We gave him permission to leave as he has to accompany his wife, Wendy Jacobs, in her recovery period,” Lalu told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.

“This has been a testing time both for the club and coach Fandi as we’re rock bottom and Fandi has to deal with his wife’s health problems. We gave him leave until the end of season to take care of his wife.”

Singaporean media previously speculated Jacobs suffered a stroke, but Fandi refused to comment on his wife’s condition. The Straits Times newspaper in Singapore reported Jacobs was hospitalized after falling down in their Jakarta home in January.

Lalu said assistant coach Jajang Nurjaman would lead the team during Fandi’s absence, adding that Jajang holds the proper coaching credentials to satisfy Super League rules.

“Previously, he went back and forth between Jakarta and Singapore and split his focus between his wife and club. Now we hope he can put his focus on her. Our heart is with Fandi and Wendy,” he said.

Fandi, 47, joined Pelita Jaya in 2007 and is in the last season of his three-year contract.

After losing to Bontang, Pelita Jaya is last in the league with 17 points from 23 matches. It is nine points from safety with 11 matches remaining.

In late Super League action from Wednesday, PSM Makassar pulled clear of the drop zone after beating Persik Kediri 5-3 at home. Heru Nerli and Osvaldo Moreno scored twice each, while Park Jung-hwan added the other goal for PSM. The host climbed to ninth place with 31 points.

Zhang Shuo found the net twice and Zekan Nasyrov scored once for Persik, which slipped into the relegation zone at 16th place with 25 points.

Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) president Nurdin Halid said on Wednesday evening the PSSI would send a draft contract to Austrian coach Alfred Riedl, a candidate to manage the Indonesian national team.

“The draft is still being examined by our lawyer right now and we’ll send to him right away,” he said. “For now we’ll offer him to be just the Under-23 squad coach and we’ll look for another for the senior team coaching position. One of the candidates [for senior team coach] is Ruud Krol.”

Nurdin revealed Riedl would be offered a two-year contract worth around $12,000 per month. That would be more than twice the Rp 50 million ($5,500) monthly salary of Benny Dollo, the previous senior team coach.

“Riedl’s target is to lead the team to victory in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games,” Nurdin said.

Indonesia is scheduled to host the 2011 SEA Games, with events taking place in Jakarta, Semarang, Bandung and Palembang.

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