Tue, 08 Jul 2003

PBVSI gives reluctant players ultimatum to join training camp

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Volleyball Association (PBVSI) has given three volleyballers who have refused to join the men's national team until Sunday to reverse their decision.

"We will allow them until July 13 to join the training camp. Otherwise, we will replace them with junior players," Graito Usodo, the national team's training director, said here on Monday.

The retired Air Force Rear Marshall hinted that sanctions would be imposed against the players if they failed to join the team, but he did not come out and say this directly.

The three players -- spikers Robby Meliala, Minar Rohman and setter Loudry Maspaitella -- refused the call to join the training camp for the upcoming SEA Games in Vietnam, citing other commitments.

With the three players appearing unlikely to report, the PBVSI might have to turn to less-experienced players who are currently going through a boot camp-like training regime.

Graito said the young players were ready to take over for the seniors.

While Robby and Minar seem certain to be replaced, according to Graito, the association will try to persuade Loudry to come to camp given his vital role on the team.

Under Chinese coach Li Quijang, 17 players are currently training in Sentul, West Java.

In their most recent outing, the team finished in third place behind Japan and Thailand at the Asia-Pacific Championship in Fukuoka, Japan.

This was a step back from last year when the team finished in second, which could be partly attributable to the absence of Loudry, Robby and Minar.

Meanwhile, PBVSI chairwoman Rita Subowo said the association had abandoned the hunt for a Russian coach to train the women's national team, and will now look to China.

Rita had previously mentioned Karikov from Russia as the probable replacement for Cuban Lesme Araujo Cintra, who is moving to South Sumatra to coach a local team.

"A Russian coach would not suitable to Indonesia's style of play," Rita said.

While the PBVSI continues its search, Mahfud Irsyada from the Gresik Phonska team has been assigned as the caretaker coach.

However, Graito Usodo said he would urge the PBVSI to give Mahfud the job on a full-time basis, reasoning a local coach would have better knowledge of the depth of the team and would cost less than a foreign hire.