Football: New Coach, but Same Old Chaos for Indonesia
While the Merah Putih was still licking its wounds after a 1-0 loss to Iraq in the 2015 Asian Cup qualification on Wednesday, Indonesian football authorities made a surprise move by announcing a new head coach for the national team on Thursday.
Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) chairman Djohar Arifin Husin announced the appointment of Argentine Luis Manuel Blanco as new head coach, while refusing to elaborate on the future of current head coach Nil Maizar.
“PSSI signed Blanco and his staff for two years. There’s a sponsor helping us arrange his contract,” Djohar told reporters at a media conference.
“Nobody is fired. Blanco will help the national team and there will be further discussion between Blanco and Nil Maizar.”
Indonesian football fans known litlte about Blanco.
According to his resume, he started his managerial career with Cobras Club of Mexico in 1991, while his last assignment was as head coach of China’s under 20 team last year.
The appointment appeared to catch many by surprise, including Bob Hippy, a PSSI executive committee member and national team coordinator.
Bob said that Djohar made the decision without consulting other executive committee members. “All I know is that Blanco came to Indonesia on the Argentine ambassador’s invitation, not on behalf of the Argentine Football Association.”
As the man in charge of the national team, Bob said he refused to replace Nil with Blanco. He said Djohar had never told him that Blanco would be at the helm.
“We can’t fire Nil just like that,” Bob said. “Besides, Djohar initially told me that there would be a new coach from Argentina and it’s up to me to assign him. He’s not supposed to be head coach.”
He also criticized Djohar’s decision to take assistance from a sponsor to bankroll Blanco’s contract.
“How could the national team head coach sign a contract with a third party?
“If the federation appoints him as head coach, he should sign a contract with the federation.
“Don’t make the same mistakes as previous leadership,” Bob said, referring to Alfred Riedl, who reportedly signed a personal contract with then vice chairman of the national team body Nirwan Bakrie.
On the pitch, Indonesia suffered a 1-0 loss to Iraq in the opening game of the 2015 Asian Cup qualifier at Al Rashid Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Indonesia showed solid defense and mostly managed to combat Iraq’s attacking thrusts.
The game’s only goal was scored when a misplaced pass from Handi Ramdhan fell forward to Younus Mahmoud, who ran past Wahyu Wijiastanto and shot into the far corner past goalkeeper Endra Prasetya in the 66th minute.
Nil said the mistake cost his team an important point and he would try to beat the opponent at home. “We came here looking for a point, with the thinking being that we could claim all three points against Iraq in Indonesia,” he told the Asian Football Confederation website.
“We wanted to defend 60 percent and try for a counterattack but today we made one mistake and conceded one goal.
“Now I will go back to Indonesia and think about how we can defeat Iraq in our own home.”