AFC applies vision to 'wake up' Indonesian football

Launching the Vision Asia program for Indonesia, Asian Football Confederation secretary-general, Dato Peter Velappan, told Indonesian media that the nation's football was at a "critical point" in its development. "Forty years ago, Indonesia football was victorious, but since then it has been in a slumber," he said after a two-day evaluation meeting with the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) and other stake holders.

"Through this program, Indonesia has its final chance to either succeed or collapse," he said.

The customised Vision Indonesia program, to be introduced in the cities of Bandung (West Java province) and Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta province) on Java island next year, is a football development master plan integrating marketing, coach education, competition, football fans, futsal, media, national associations and clubs, referees, sports medicine, women’s football and youth and grassroots.

The first two pilots will include the establishment of city leagues in both municipalities. Bandung has a population of 2.14 million in an area of 171 km2 (provincial population, 24.4m) while Yogyakarta has only 395,000 residents in an area of 32 km2 (provincial population, 3.1m). Although both municipalities host large numbers of universities and colleges of higher education, Asian Football Business Review understands their development will not be included in the introductory phase.

Dato Velappan described Vision Asia as "an extraordinary program" which will assist Indonesian football to realise its potential. If successful, he said, the program will be expanded to 10 major cities in 2007.

The GOAL project of the world football body, FIFA, chaired by AFC president Mohamad bin Hammam, is also considering a proposal to finance the building of a new national headquarters for PSSI.

"Indonesians are born with a passion for football. With a population of over 10 million playing football, Indonesia is a goldmine. AFC and FIFA will help Indonesian football in everyway possible," he said earlier.

"In the 1960s and 1970s, there was only one team to talk about - Indonesia. They were known as the 'Brazil' of Asia. Indonesian football has been fast asleep and we want them to wake up and be a good footballing nation once again. Indonesian football cannot waste anymore time," he added.