Fri, 03 Nov 2000

Defeat in friendly has 'no side effects'

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian soccer team coach Nandar Iskandar is still optimistic that the poor result of his players in a friendly match against Singapore will not affect them psychologically.

Indonesia bowed out to defending champion Singapore 0-1 Wednesday prior to the 2000 Tiger Cup which kicks off Nov. 5 in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

He also defended his team's poor performance saying that the result had not revealed his team's strength.

"The defeat did not affect us psychologically because we realize that we can actually match Singapore, which fielded its best players in a full team. We were just out of luck. There won't be any significant changes in the Tiger Cup team lineup," he said in a media release on Wednesday night.

Nandar said the players had not played any strong team after completing the 2000 Asian Cup campaign in Lebanon which resulted in a lack of good coordination among team members.

He said the team still had time to improve during practice in Chiang Mai.

Indonesia is in Group A with host Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines. Brunei Darussalam was in the group before it withdrew from the competition. Group B consists of the 1998 Cup holder Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia.

Indonesia will have its first test against the Philippines before the event's opening ceremony at 700th Anniversary stadium in Chiangmai. Group B match will be staged at Tinsulanon stadium in Songkhla. The semifinal and final events, scheduled on Nov. 16 and Nov. 18, will take place at Rajamangala stadium in Bangkok.

During the friendly match, Indonesia fielded goalie Hendro Kartiko; Sugiantoro, Suwandi HS and Eko Purjianto in the defense side; Budiman, Bima Sakti, Uston Nawawi, Imran Nahumarury and Aji Santoso in the midfield and duo Miro Baldo Bento and Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto as the strikers.

Singaporean midfield Nazri Nasir earned the single goal for his team in the 75th in front of a 4,000-strong crowd at Bishan stadium in Jurong.

Indonesia's team manager Muhammad Zein pointed his finger at captain Aji as he failed to block Nasir who immediately netted the ball from Hendro's left side.

"Moreover, the referees did not supervise the match very well. Indonesia should have been given two penalties but the referee failed to do so. Kurniawan also had two chances to earn goals but he could not make it," he said.

Singapore beat Vietnam in the final of the 1998 Cup in Hanoi to win its first title in the region. It beat Indonesia 2-1 in the semifinals.

Indonesia finished third after outplaying Thailand 8-7 in a penalty shootout. Indonesia and Thailand marred the 1998 event when they played a farcical game in which they refused to win to avoid playing the home team in the semis. (ivy)