Thu, 04 Aug 1994

Indonesia to play Qatar in youth soccer contest

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia has been drawn to meet Qatar in their Group A opening match of the 29th Asian Youth Under-19 Championship finals at Senayan Stadium here on Sept. 11.

Azwar Anas, the chairman of the All Indonesia Football Federation (PSSI), told reporters here yesterday that the tourney will feature 10 contenders including host Indonesia which will fight to represent Asia for the upcoming World Cup designated for under 20 year-old booters in Nigeria, to be held at a time which is yet to be decided by FIFA, the world's highest authority on soccer.

The 10 teams include Bahrain, South Korea, Japan, Syria, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Iraq, Thailand, Kuwait and host Indonesia.

The draw placed Indonesia in the same group with Kazakhstan, Syria, Iraq and Qatar. The Group B is comprised of Japan, Kuwait, Thailand, South Korea and Bahrain. Being the host, Indonesia received an automatic entry to the tournament.

The tournament is scheduled to wind up on Sept. 25.

Peter Velappan, Secretary General of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Hayono Isman, Governor Surjadi Soedirdja and chairman of the All- Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) attended the draw yesterday.

PSSI will deploy its under-18 booters who were sent for a one- year stint in Genoa, Italy where they trained and participated in the junior primary soccer league, Azwar said.

The players have returned home and are currently being drilled in Sawangan, West Java by three coaches including Romano Mate, Danurwindo and Harry Tjong.

During the same occasion, Nirwan Bakrie, a PSSI official in charge of national team preparations, told newsmen that the team had obtained video recordings of all their rivals which could help the team's training.

Nirwan, however, declined to discuss further. "All participants have equal chances to win the championship," he said briefly.

Also yesterday Hayono hinted his refusal of PSSI's bid to turn up for the Asian Games soccer competitions in Hiroshima in October.

"Due to the scarcity of funds, we have to give priority to athletes who have chances of winning medals," Hayono said, adding that he found the national soccer team had yet to show a commendable performance.

"The Games are not a mere testing ground. It is the field where athletes fight for the best achievement," he said.

Velappan, to the contrary, gave a morale booster to PSSI to take part in the continent's sporting meet. "The main aim of the Games is improving solidarity among Asian nations through sports, not winning medals," he said. (hdj/amd)