Tue, 31 Oct 2000

Kurniawan and Miro will start in 2000 Tiger Cup, says coach

JAKARTA (JP): In an effort to reach the 2000 Tiger Cup soccer semifinals, Indonesian coach Nandar Iskandar has named strikers Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto and Miro Baldo Bento to the starting lineup.

The two PSM players will replace Rochy Puttiray and Bambang Pamungkas at the championships to be staged in Chiangmai, Thailand, from Nov. 5 to Nov. 18.

Rochy has returned to Hong Kong to play with the Instant Dict club, while Bambang flew back to the Netherlands to play with his club, EHC Norad.

The national team has called up young striker Gendut Doni Christiawan as a substitute.

Nandar said he was considering keeping veteran player Aji Santoso, the team captain, on the bench and replacing him with Ismet Sofyan on the left wing.

The moves were made after observing the team's performance against local club Persikabo of Bogor regency on Saturday, which the national team won 6-1.

However, Ismet did not appear fit to play, Nandar said after a practice session on Monday.

"Ismet could not develop his play during Saturday's friendly, but I will see whether it was caused by exhaustion. Aji was losing his breath when performing in the Asian Cup, but I hope he can play two halves of 45 minutes in the Tiger Cup," he said.

He said that either Bima Sakti or goalie Hendro Kartiko could take over Aji's responsibility as captain. He also said he would probably put Suwandi H.S. in the defensive zone and Budiman on the right wing.

Addressing his team's strength and skill, Nandar said he did not want to set too ambitious a target for the Tiger Cup.

"The most important thing is that we qualify for the semifinals. I will be very grateful if our team win the championship," he said.

Nandar said earlier Indonesia's skill was still behind that of the host team. He said he was only looking at being a finalist, while the Indonesian Soccer Association expected a championship.

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

The Indonesian national team will test its skills against the Singapore national team on Wednesday. They will leave for Chiangmai the following day, and will face the Philippines in its first match before the event's opening ceremony on Monday.

In Hanoi, AFP reported Vietnam has sealed a three-year sponsorship deal with Tiger Beer just a week before the two- yearly regional soccer tournament sponsored by the Singapore- based brewery kicks off, soccer chiefs said on Monday.

Under the deal the state-run Vietnam Football Federation will receive US$150,000 a year for the next three years to fund the expenses of the national squad, a federation official told AFP.

The brewer is to hand over a first tranche of $50,000 this week to cover the costs of Vietnam's participation in this year's Tiger Cup, which kicks off in Bangkok on Sunday, the official said. (ivy)

Team lineup

Goalkeeper: I Komang Putra, Hendro Kartiko

Defenders: Aji Santoso, Eko Purjianto, Ismet Sofyan, Jet Donald Laala, Nuralim, Sugiantoro

Midfielders: Bima Sakti, Imran Nahumarury, I Putu Gede, Seto Nurdiantoro, Uston Nawawi

Strikers: Gendut Doni Christiawan, Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, Miro Baldo Bento