Fri, 19 Aug 1994

Indonesia likely to give Asian Games soccer a miss

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia appears poised to bail out of the soccer competition of the 12th Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan this October.

Executive chairman of the national sports governing body (KONI) Soeweno said yesterday that the All-Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) had already bowed out due to the strict standards applied by KONI.

"Mr. Azwar Anas (PSSI chairman) could not convince us that our national soccer team would take a medal during the Games," Soeweno said.

KONI's official in charge of the national training camp Arnold Lisapaly added: "Mr. Azwar undoubtedly knows his team well. His withdrawal should reflect PSSI's stance."

Azwar, who is also Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, met Soeweno and Arnold on Monday and said the decision to send Indonesian booters to the Oct. 2-16 Games rested with KONI.

Later on Monday PSSI Harimau, powered by the country's best footballers, succumbed to Thailand 5-3 in a penalty shootout in the Independence Day Cup final in Surabaya, East Java. The sides had been tied at 1-1 after both regulation and 30 minutes of extra time.

Soeweno said that winning a medal in Hiroshima was a long shot at best. KONI had required that the national team win the tournament held to commemorate the country's 49th Independence Day in order to participate in the Asiad.

"Even if they managed to take the crown, KONI needs to re- think it's stance given the quality of the overseas teams which took part in the tournament," said Soeweno. He expressed grave doubts that South Korea, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore fielded their best teams at the meet.

Asian solidarity

Indonesia's move will likely bring the number of no-shows to five. Brunei has already pulled out, while Mongolia, Yemen and India are on the verge of quitting.

Indonesia is drawn to meet the South Korean World Cup team, China and Kazakhstan in their Group E qualifying round.

Secretary general of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Peter Velappan and national football legend Maladi have urged KONI to allow PSSI to compete in the Games, saying that the goal of taking part in Asiad is maintaining Asian solidarity.

"We consider the athletes who qualify for the Games based solely on their performances, without involving non-technical reasons," Soeweno argued.

KONI plans to field a national team made of between 120 and 150 athletes in 16 events. KONI will announce the names of the athletes on Aug. 26.

Also yesterday, KONI approved a proposal to include four women's and four men's swimmers in Indonesia's Asian Games squad. The national swimming federation (PRSI) was given a week to shortlist eight of the 11 swimmers who recently completed a two- month training stint in the United States. (amd)