A recent embarrassing stunt by an Indonesian football supporter has planted a question mark in my mind whether Indonesia can still stand for the 2022 FIFA World Cup bid. He invaded the pitch and tried to score a goal during the 2011 Asian Cup prequalifying match between the host Indonesia and Oman.
I can totally understand that Hendri Mulyadi’s action was triggered by disappointment with the national team’s poor performance that night. I’m not a big fan of football though. So I had never been care about how my national team developed until I read in the Jakarta Globe that for the first time since 1992, the Asian Cup will go on without Indonesia in 2011.
“I apologized to my fellow Indonesians for my misconduct,” he said as it was quoted in the Jakarta Post. “I was very disappointed with our team’s performance because it has never won. The team has either been defeated or it has tied.”
He might be representing millions of football fans in the country who were angry about the government’s disability to manage the team. Well, the one to blame is the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) actually thanks to its internal mismanagement. To me, it’s impossible for the organisation to forge a strong team whilst it struggles with the lack of talents and corruption allegations.
So people, and I, are waiting how the incident will stimulate for changes before I join thousands of people in a fan page on Facebook hailing him to be the next chairman of PSSI.
Mulyadi did it minutes before referee blew his whistle. Indonesia bowed out to Oman 1-2 before some 40,000 home spectators. The loss has sent Indonesian national teams of all age groups to the lowest point in their history. The Jakarta Globe notes that the Under-23 team made unwanted history by going winless at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games. The Under-19 team failed to reach the 2010 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship.
2022 World Cup bid
Now, let’s talk about Indonesian football in the international stage.
In one hand, Mulyadi’s action could be a wake-up call for internal improvement. In the other hand, it was undoubtedly an embarrassment which slaps on face amid Indonesia’s bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. I support the bid 1,000% but I bet there are still many things to be addressed, not to mention the attitude of local supporters.
I never question my country’s ability to build the seven pledged new stadiums for the bid no matter where the fund will come from as we can easily find new shopping malls popping up across the country each year-long. I am sure public will bestow big passion for it despite a handful of pessimistic voices.
Wikipedia notes that Indonesia has the biggest stadium in Southeast Asia with 88,000 seats. Dozens other stadiums are either ready to use, proposed or under construction with capacity of at least 40,000 seats each, the minimum requirement to hold a World Cup match.
The problem will be how qualified our national squad is. Granting the team, which is currently at 120 in the FIFA rankings, a world qualify automatically will be awkward. World Cup in 1938 as the Dutch East Indies was the only Indonesia’s World Cup history in which it was the first Asian nation to participate in the World Cup finals.
I know that the bid is not solely to win the game instead of to win international attention. The estimated ten trillion rupiahs, nearly 650 million pounds, budget is aimed at boosting national proud, image and tourism. That is very understandable for a country that is always associated with natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
I remember what my teacher said when Brazil won the 2014 World Cup bid. “Brazilians will cry blood after the event,” he said. I can see that that won’t be the case instead they will cry money afterwards.
So, what the country has to offer that makes it more outstanding than the other nine bids have. It’s proposing ‘Green World Cup 2022’. Everybody knows that every things with ‘green’ attribute sound so sexy nowadays. I hope my country’s environment consciousness is not only a marketing gimmick. I suppose FIFA doesn’t want to be labeled as an environmentally unfriendly organisation by choosing those carbon-producing bids.
“Our deforestation rate has contributed much to world pollution. By hosting the World Cup, we wish to build infrastructure and facilities that are environmentally friendly so we can give more to the planet,” the Chairman of PSSI Nurdin Halid told the Jakarta Post.
But literally, it’s true that no other bids are offering something special at least from what their slogans say:
South Korea (AFC): no slogan found
Remembering that the same confederation can’t host both the 2018 and 2022 games, hopefully neither Australia nor Japan will win the 2018 bid because the other three nations from AFC applied for only the 2022. So Australia will be the strongest contender in the confederation in term of football team, financial and infrastructure. Japan co-hosted the event with South Korea in 2002, not so long ago, so they will be seen too greedy for a second chance within at least 16 years.
An unofficial poll suggested England (21%) becomes the favourite while Australia (19%) and Indonesia (18%) are in the second and third place. FIFA will appoint the host for 2018 and 2022 World Cup in 2 December 2010. If successful, Indonesia will be the second World Cup host from Asia. If so, I will have to love football.