Frustrated by the uncertain future for the country’s soccer scene, young players, several of whom played the U-23 Garuda Muda national team, have given up on the sport and decided to join the Army.
Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Wuryanto said on Wednesday that at least 13 young players had passed the test to join the military and were now preparing to begin their training on Sept. 17 in Bandung, West Java. They’ve come from different clubs in the country, but mostly they are members of the Garuda Muda national youth team, Wuryanto told The Jakarta Post. He said the young players had registered themselves through a special recruitment program for non commissioned officers known as Bintara.
Wuryanto said that regardless of their previous status, all of the young players had to go through the regular recraitment procedures. Even though they are registered under the special recruitment program, those candidates will have to undergo the same procedures and tests before they can be accepted as members of the Army, Wuryanto said.
Among the young soccer players who passed the early test was Ravi Murdianto, who said he was thrilled to join the Army and was confident that he would continue to be able to play soccer while in the military. I will still play soccer, the Army will let me do that. The Army also has its own soccer team, and I would be happy to join the team, said Ravi, who was a goalkeeper for the U-19 national team, said.
Another national player, Abduh Lestaluhu, said joining the Army had been his long term goal. I feel that (by joining in the army) my future is clearer now, he said, adding that he despaired about the future of the sport in the country. Abduh, who once played for Jakarta based club Persija, was also convinced that he could contribute his soccer skills to the military.
Wuryanto said the young players would be allowed to rejoin their clubs once the national soccer league restarted. However, during their military training they are not allowed to play soccer, he said.
Poor management, corruption, lack of security during games and high profile cases involving, foreign players not being paid by their teams have tainted the image of the popular sport in the country. In April this year, the Youth and Sports Ministry suspended the powerful Soecer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) after a prolonged crisis involving the government and two different national leagues.
In May, FIFA suspended Indonesia after the government failed to resolve the conflict. The decision means Indonesian sides are no longer eligible to take part in international soccer tournaments.
Soccer expert Weshley Hutagalung said he could not blame the young players for forsaking their sport for the Army. Soccer in Indonesia has no future, so they have the right to find a better place for a better career, Weshley said.
He also blamed the government for its lack of conviction in dealing with crises affecting the country’s soccer association. To train young players takes between 10 and 12 years, and now we are facing a generation gap if the young players seek other jobs owing to the uncertainty surrounding soccer in Indonesia, Wesley said. (Sumber: HU The Jakarta Post)