Sat, 03 Apr 2004

PSSI hands axed five four-month suspension

Zakki Hakim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) has disciplined five players by suspending them from the national team for four months.

Mukti Ali Radja and Djet Donal La'ala of Persija Jakarta, Kurniawan Dwi Julianto of Persebaya Surabaya, I Putu Gde of Arema Malang and Isnan Ali of Persikota Tangerang were deemed to have violated disciplinary ethics ahead of the team's trip to Kuala Lumpur for a friendly game.

They were dropped from the team, which was held to a 0-0 draw by the Malaysian team, and PSSI further decided in Friday's meeting that the punishment deserved to be extended to a four- month suspension.

This means that the five players will have no chance of possible inclusion in the Indonesian team for the Asian Cup in China in July.

While the players are already enduring the disgrace of being suspended from the team, PSSI still hopes that the clubs concerned will further punish their players.

"We return the players to their clubs, and expect them to be properly punished at home," the association's secretary-general Nugraha Besoes said, after the meeting of PSSI officials and club representatives at PSSI headquarters.

PSSI chairman Nurdin Khalid, who has just returned from his leave of absence for election campaign duty, was present at the meeting along with his aides, national team manager Andi Darussalam Tabussala and national team chief M. Zein.

Meanwhile, Satrija Budi Wibawa, from Arema Malang, said that Putu Gde had expressed regret over his conduct.

"As Arema's captain, he realizes that he should be a role model for others. To punish himself, he asked the club to sanction him," Satrija said, but refused to elaborate on the exact punishment that the club would mete out.

Persija manager IGK Manila said that the dismissal of the players was a disgrace for the team. He said that the Jakarta- based club had no problem with further disciplining its unruly players.