Sat, 10 Jul 2004

Indonesia aims for Asian Cup 2nd round

Moch. N. Kurniawan, Jakarta

The Indonesian national soccer squad has set a goal of making the second round at the Asian Cup 2004 finals due to begin in China on July 17.

However, it will be heading to the tournament, which will end on Aug. 7, after some disappointing results of late.

Indonesian team manager Andi Darussalam Tabusala said the team, which will be in Group A with Qatar, Bahrain and host China, was hoping to grab four points from their three group matches.

He explained that they would work for a draw against Qatar in the opening match.

While considering that China would be "impossible" to stop, Andi said the strategy was to go for the win, and three points, in the second game against Bahrain.

"It will be possible for us to go through to the second round," he told the Jakarta Post during a team training session at the Bung Karno sports complex.

"We hope the team can be inspired by the success of Greece in Euro 2004 in terms of their fighting spirit and discipline," he added, referring to the new champions of Europe, which beat all the odds to win the tournament.

However, the team's departure to China will be overshadowed by some painful losses to local teams in three friendly games in the past two months, in which the team only scored one goal.

The team, coached by Bulgarian Ivan Kolev, lost 1-0 to a Malang, East Java soccer club, Arema from the first division, which was followed by a 2-1 defeat to premier league club Persebaya.

In its last friendly match, the national team was beaten by Lamongan soccer club Persela 2-0.

But Andi said he was not worried about those results because the players had done a good job of implementing the coach's tactics.

"It is important that players listen to and believe in their coach," he said.

Indonesia will meet Qatar on July 18, followed by China on July 21 and Bahrain on July 25.

They will leave Jakarta on Sunday for Hong Kong for a friendly match with local club Kee Chee on July 13.

Indonesian team

Goalkeepers: Hendro Kartiko , Yandri Christian Pitoy, I Komang Putra

Defenders: Aples Tecuari, Hari Saputra, Hamka Hamsah, Firmansyah Agus, Warsidi Ardi, Maman Abdurrahman,

Midfielders: Agus Supriyanto, Ismet Sofyan, Agung Setyobudi, Alexander Pulalo, Syamsul Bachri, Ponaryo Astaman, Elie Aiboy, Aliyuddin

Strikers: Bambang Pamungkas, Budi Sudarsono, Agus Indra Kurniawan, M. Zaenal Ichwan, Rochy Putiray

Coach: Ivan Kolev