Tue, 21 Mar 2000

Indonesia loses bid to host 2002 W. Cup qualifying

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia lost in its bid to host the Asian Group 9 prequalifying round of the 2002 World Cup next year, spokesman of the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Eddi Elison said on Monday.

He said Indonesia earlier suggested hosting the competition but it lacked support from other group members, including China, the Maldives and Cambodia.

"The meeting between the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) members last weekend finally decided to stage the matches on a home-and-away system," he said.

Indonesia may be able to benefit from the match schedule, which has given it a relatively easy opening game against the Maldives. It is expected to make the final, with China its most likely opponent.

"We had to contest with China to decide the host for the May 27 match. Luckily, we won the toss and we will host the match at the Senayan main stadium," he said, adding that Indonesia wanted to play in China after the winter season in April.

The group winner will qualify for the final round, which will be divided into two groups of five teams.

The two winners of the final round groups qualify for the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea. Another two runners-up will play off for the berth to meet a European group runner-up in a further playoff. The winner of the playoff qualifies for the finals.

Following is the match schedule, which begins in April 2001 (host team stated first): April 1: Maldives vs Cambodia, April 8: Indonesia vs Maldives, April 15: Cambodia vs Maldives, April 22: China vs Maldives and Indonesia vs Cambodia, April 26: Malaysia vs China, April 29: Cambodia vs Indonesia, May 6: Maldives vs Indonesia and Cambodia vs China, May 13: China vs Indonesia, May 20: China vs Cambodia, May 27: Indonesia vs China. (ivy)