In­done­sia ‘gain strength’ from FIFA ban

The China Post - - SPORTS -

In­done­sia in­sisted the coun­try’s ban by world body FIFA had given them a lift on Fri­day as they eye a spot in the Southeast Asian ( SEA) Games fi­nal.

As­sis­tant Coach Muhamad Al Hadad said the sus­pen­sion had given his un­der- 23s “ex­cep­tional strength” af­ter they won three in a row to set up a semi­fi­nal with Thai­land.

In­done­sia beat SEA Games hosts Sin­ga­pore 1- 0 in front of their home fans late on Thurs­day to se­cure their match- up with the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons on Satur­day.

“From the man­agers, coaches, of­fi­cials to the play­ers, we have a de­ter­mi­na­tion to lift the In­done­sian peo­ple who are now in a dif­fi­cult pe­riod af­ter re­ceiv­ing the sus­pen­sion from FIFA,” Al Hadad told re­porters in Sin­ga­pore.

“That is the de­ter­mi­na­tion that the In­done­sian team has and I am cer­tain that this will be­come an ex­cep­tional strength for us,” he added.

In­done­sia were suspended by FIFA over po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence af­ter the gov­ern­ment tried to oust the coun­try’s soc­cer as­so­ci­a­tion, fol­low­ing years of tur­moil.

They are now ex­cluded from FIFA and Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion ( AFC) com­pe­ti­tions in­clud­ing the 2018 World Cup qual­i­fiers, which started on Thurs­day.

But In­done­sia were al­lowed to take part in the SEA Games, and they now hope to make the most of their op­por­tu­nity to shine on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

“The In­done­sian public are now plac­ing their hopes on this team to be able to spring a sur­prise to lift the In­done­sian peo­ple and we are cer­tain that to­mor­row we will make a sur­prise,” Al Hadad said.

He added: “What is clear is that the mo­ti­va­tion is very high be­cause Thai­land is just like us, Thai­land is not Ar­se­nal, they are not a Euro­pean team, they are the same as us.

“Our hope is that the sus­pen­sion can in­crease the mo­ti­va­tion to higher lev­els and I hope to­mor­row we can play the best game for our coun­try,” Al Hadad said.

In Satur­day’s other semi­fi­nal at the Na­tional Sta­dium in Sin­ga­pore, un­de­feated Myan­mar will take on Viet­nam.

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