Indonesian FA slammed as 'corrupt or incompetent'

In his Op-Ed article for today's The Straits Times in Singapore, Nathaniel Myers observed that the Indonesian national team had failed to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2007 final played in the national stadium in Jakarta, even though it "had played admirably - energised by enormous home crowds [and] displayed talent well above its 127th-place international ranking, even defeating Bahrain in its opening match." It raised the "natural question" he wrote, "With a potential talent pool of 230 million citizens and a national passion for the sport, why is Indonesia unable to produce 11 players capable of competing on the international level?"

He then went on to slam the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) as an "organisation described charitably as disorganised, but more often as corrupt or incompetent. Critics frequently point to it as the reason for Indonesia's football struggles, accusing it of squandering Indonesia's sporting potential by failing to develop a national programme to cultivate the finest players from across the archipelago."

The Assistant Program Officer for Aceh Programs at the Asia Foundation in Jakarta then argued that "Indonesia's football problem is not, in short, one of limited resources - it's one of management and administration. Or, to put it in different terms, it's about the quality of governance - a problem with repercussions far beyond the soccer pitch. The way that mismanagement, incompetence and corruption have undermined the development of Indonesia's national football team offers an instructive reminder of how development - whether in sports or economics - is as contingent upon organisation as it is on resources."

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