Football: ‘All Top Players’ to Suit Up for Merah Putih Against Valencia, PSSI Promises
The Indonesian Football Association said on Monday that it would call up the country’s best players for the national team’s upcoming exhibition match against Spanish club Valencia.
It was unclear, though, if that meant players from the breakaway Indonesian Super League would feature against the La Liga side at Gelora Bung Karno in South Jakarta on Saturday.
“We guarantee that all top players in the country will be on the national team roster against Valencia,” Tri Goestoro, secretary general of the association known as PSSI, told reporters on Monday. “[Coach] Nil Maizar will announce the list tomorrow.”
The game will help prepare the Merah Putih for the upcoming Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, Nil said. Indonesia has drawn group stage matchups with Malaysia, Singapore and whichever country places second in the qualifying rounds.
Malaysia and Thailand will co-host this year’s edition of the biennial regional tournament, set to start on Nov. 24.
Nil did not say if he would call up players from the breakaway Indonesian Super League. FIFA, international football’s governing body, has banned ISL players from competing with the national team, a product of the internal rift that has divided Indonesian football for nearly two years.
A promising development came last month when the two camps signed an agreement pledging to work toward resolving the dispute. The signing took place at the Asian Football Confederation’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
My Events, the organizer for the exhibition, said it hoped PSSI would permit ISL players to compete.
“We have no right to intervene in the national team but we ask PSSI to choose the best players in the country,” My Event president director Justin Lhaksana said.
Valencia was bringing along its best players, including David Albelda, Roberto Soldado and Fernando Gago, an Argentine midfielder just transferred from Real Madrid, Justin said.
“They will arrive in Jakarta on Wednesday, a day earlier than previously scheduled,” he added.