Indonesia coach defends as U-23s join Singapore

Indonesian coach Peter Withe has defended his tactics after the recent BV Cup debacle in Ho Ch Minh City in Vietnam which saw South East Asia's largest nation suffer three straight defeats. Indonesia, which will co-host the Asian Cup 2007 with Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, crashed to a 2-0 defeat to the Cameroonian U-23s before a solitary goal loss to the U-23 team of Vietnam. They suffered a heavy 0-5 defeat to Finland in the last game, leading to intense criticism in the media and calls for Withe to resign.

“I will not change my tactics,” said Withe, as quoted by AFCMedia. “As a coach my view is different from that of the media. Every time we fail they call for a change (of coach) and when we win they demand the same thing. My contract ends next year and I will stay on till then. I am a fighter and a winner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) chairman Nurdin Halid said that despite the U-23 team’s poor performance in the Doha Asian Games the squad would not be disbanded. “Even if the sky is falling we will keep the U-23 team,” he said. “We need to expose these young players to competitions like the Asian Games. Our target is the gold medal in the 2007 SEA Games.”

Halid hinted that negotiations with the Football Association of Singapore on the participation of the Indonesian U-23 team in that country's professional S-League had been completed. “Our talks are over and we will make an announcement in this regard shortly.”