Indonesian pres promises successful Asian Cup

Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has backed the Football Association of Indonesia's (PSSI) request to host the final match of the Asian Cup 2007. The government’s support was confirmed by the president, popularly known as SBY, when he received the AFC president, Mohamed bin Hammam in the State Palace in Jakarta.

“On behalf of all the Indonesians, I would like to thank the AFC for giving us the opportunity to host this event. The budget has already been approved to ensure that all facilities and services will be up to the standards required. I will personally ensure that the Asian Cup 2007 will be a success,” Mr Yudhoyono said.

The AFC delegation included General Secretary Dato Peter Velappan, Deputy General Secretary Dato Paul Mony, President’s Office Director Mohamed Al Meshadi and Communications Director Michelle Chai. The delegation also met with Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs, Dr Alwi Shihab.

The purpose of the visit was to the brief the Indonesian president on ‘Vision Indonesia’ and discuss matters related to the hosting of the 2007 Asian Cup in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. A strategic development plan for boosting football in Indonesia is already under preparation and two pilot cities – Bandung and Yogyakarta – have been selected for its implementation.

"The president is aware that the success of the Asian Cup 2007 is dependent on the performances of the Indonesian national team. Following that, he will be taking a personal interest in the national team including visiting them during their national camps and matches," AFC Media commented.

President Yudhoyono, also expressed his concern for football development in Indonesia and appealed to the AFC for assistance: “Our country is very passionate about football and we would like to return to our glory days of the 1960s and early 70s,” he said.

Bin Hammam reacted quickly and, as a start, personally committed 1000 footballs to the Indonesians. Bin Hammam, who is also the Chairman of the Goal Bureau and FIFA Tsunami Task Force informed the President that $3.5 million had been allocated towards the rebuilding of Aceh – a province hit by the Tsunami. In addition, the Goal Bureau has committed to build a new headquarters for the PSSI.

“I have travelled throughout Asia and have no qualms in saying that Indonesians have natural talent in football. They are the ‘Brazilians of Asia’. All that is needed now is a professional environment for them to flourish. Through the Vision Indonesia programme, we will continue to support and assist the Indonesian FA,” Bin Hammam continued.

However, the AFC supremo stressed that success depends on the commitment, motivation and support from within Indonesia.