Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tough Task for Riedl

Alfred Riedl already faces growing expectations as the newly appointed coach of the national football team.

Despite having yet to set foot in Indonesia as its national team coach, Alfred Riedl (picture) already faces growing expectations.

Riedl brings experience and success in Southeast Asian football to his new job, having led Vietnam and Laos to regional success, and his new employers want him to do the same with Indonesia’s national teams.

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) expects him to end the country’s gold-medal drought in the Southeast Asian Games. That is just the tip of the iceberg for the 60-year-old Austrian, though.

In addition to Indonesia hosting the SEA Games in 2011, qualifying for the 2014 World Cup begins on Oct. 8. The Under-23 team, which Riedl will also manage, begins 2012 Olympic Games qualifying on Feb. 23, 2011.

The PSSI wants the national training camp to begin in May, with Riedl likely making his debut during the Independence Cup in August. Following World Cup qualifying, Indonesia and Vietnam will co-host the AFF Suzuki Cup in December.

Riedl’s first concern, though, is filling out his coaching staff. He has previously stated he wants Wolfgang Pikal, the director and head coach of Canggu Club Football Academy in Bali, to be his assistant.

“It looks like I’ll be Alfred’s assistant, but I can’t confirm it now because I have yet to sign anything with the PSSI,” Pikal said on Tuesday.

Pikal said Riedl was still trying to find plane tickets to Jakarta and would likely arrive on Sunday or Monday.
He also said there would be at least two Indonesian assistants on the staff.

“There are names that come out such as Danurwindo, Jaya Hartono, Widodo Putra and Aji Santoso. But Alfred has made it clear he’s the one that will choose the assistants,” Pikal said.

That was news to Danurwindo, who has led Persija Jakarta and Persebaya Surabaya in recent years.

“I just heard it from you,” he said in a phone interview. “I don’t know Riedl personally, but I’m sure he has proper knowledge of Southeast Asian football as he managed to boost Vietnam and Laos’ performance.”

Danurwindo also said he would be ready if Riedl asked him to join his staff.

Yongki Aribowo has first-hand experience with Riedl’s football, having been part of the Indonesian U-23 team that lost 2-0 to eventual bronze medalist Laos during the last SEA Games. The Persik Kediri forward welcomed Riedl’s appointment.

“Laos had good teamwork and speed. I hope Riedl can also boost our performance,” he said. “I really want to be in his team.”

Bontang FC coach Fachri Husaini, who was an assistant to former national team boss Peter Withe, said the PSSI needed to put its priorities elsewhere.

“Riedl was successful in his spells with Vietnam and Laos, but it may be a different affair in Indonesia. We have different problems than Vietnam and Laos,” he said. “We’ve been through such experiences when the PSSI hired Peter Withe, who had a great spell in Thailand. He failed to boost Indonesia’s performance.

“I don’t think the current competition benefits us. You see ISL clubs have a five import quota. It leaves six locals in the line-up, and how many young players earn an opportunity to play?”

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