Indonesia searching for matches for U-23 players

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) may have failed to get its U-23 team entered in Singapore's professional S-League for next season but it is energetically looking for more games for its up-and-coming players. There is continuing criticism that allowing up to five foreign players in each of the Indonesian Premier League's 34 clubs, limits playing time for youth and the PSSI National Team Committee (BTN) has identified lack of competition as also a critical weakness in the U-23 strategy. "They train a lot but have less match experience ... that is why they were nervous at the last Asian Games in Doha," BTN Director Ibnu Munzir reported.

Munzir explained that with a target to win the 2007 SEA Games gold medal, BTN's two options were to take the U-23 team to another country where they can increase their ability or send the players back to their clubs so they play in the Premier League or First Division. "We studied a few countries including Uruguay but the long distance made us reject that," he said, adding that it is not financial problems leading to the players going back to the clubs but "because they need more competition.” In January Indonesia's U-23 team will play friendlies against Singapore U-23, Thailand U-23, and Hyundai Mippo Dockyard team from South Korea.