No Rest for Weary As National Team Called Into Action
Domestic competitions might be over, but the workload for national team players keeps piling up.
Two days after the Copa Indonesia final capped a domestic season that began on July 12, 2008, senior national team coach Benny Dollo called up 23 players for a training camp at Sawangan, West Java.
The group that assembles on Friday will be familiar with each other, having been in and out of the national team over the past three years.
“Actually, I’ve found several young and potential players who performed well for their clubs in the Super League,” Benny said on Monday. “But because this training camp is for the Asian Cup qualifying round, I have to call those whose names have already been registered with the AFC [Asian Football Confederation].”
Defender Muhammad Ridwan, midfielders Eka Ramdani and Ian Luis Kabes and striker Saktiawan Sinaga, who had all been out of favor since the 2007 Asian Cup, made their return to the national side.
Persib Bandung midfielder Hariono, a regular selection since 2008, is in the squad despite still receiving treatment for a right ankle fracture. He injured the ankle on June 6, and club doctors said he would be out for at least two months.
“I hope he will recover in time and be fully fit before our next qualifier against Kuwait,” Benny said. “I also called Syamsul [Bachri Caherudin], who will be a good replacement for him.”
The first day of training, Benny said, will include fitness tests to determine players’ fitness levels. The team will train together for a month before taking part in the Pestabola Merdeka tournament, which runs Aug. 1-15 in Kuala Lumpur.
Benny said he planned to send the players back to their clubs after the tournament and reassemble the squad ae month before the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers against Kuwait. Indonesia travels to Kuwait City on Nov. 14 before hosting the return match on Nov. 18.
With Super League clubs likely to begin preseason training in August, national team players will have been in action for nearly 16 consecutive months when the Kuwait qualifiers arrive.
In addition to league and cup demands, the national team had 20 fixtures during the 11-month ISL season. The schedule included two friendlies, three matches at the Indonesia Independence Cup, four matches in a second-place showing at the Royal Challenge Cup in Burma and five fixtures in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
It also had Asian Cup qualifiers at Oman and at home against Australia during that stretch.
Goalkeepers: Markus Harison (PSMS Medan), Fery Rotinsulu (Sriwijaya FC), Dian Agus Prasetyo (Pelita Jaya)
Defenders: Ricardo Salampessy (Persipura Jayapura), Charis Yulianto (Sriwijaya), Isnan Ali (Sriwijaya), Ismed Sofyan (Persija Jakarta), Nova Arianto (Persib Bandung), Maman Abdulrahman (Persib), Muhammad Roby (Persik Kediri), Muhamad Ridwan (Pelita)
Midfielders: Ponaryo Astaman (Persija), Firman Utina (Pelita), Hariono (Persib), Eka Ramdani (Persib), Elie Aiboy (PSMS), Ian Louis Kabes (Persipura), Syamsul Bachri Chaerudin (PSM Makassar)
Forwards: Budi Sudarsono (Sriwijaya), Bambang Pamungkas (Persija), Boaz Solossa (Persipura), Talaohu Abdul Mushafry (Persiba Balikpapan), Saktiawan Sinaga (Persik)