Indonesia’s Quest for a Coach Ends at Last

By webadmin on 10:09 pm May 03, 2010
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Wimbo Satwiko

Indonesia’s protracted search for its next national team coach ended on Monday. 

After more than three months of negotiations, the National Team Body (BTN) confirmed it had reached an agreement with Alfred Riedl to coach the senior and Under-23 national teams, new BTN chief Iman Arief said. 

“We confirm that Alfred Riedl is the new head coach for the Indonesian national team. He will arrive in Jakarta this week, and the training camp will start as soon as he arrives,” Iman told the Jakarta Globe on Monday. 

Riedl, 60, will take over for former senior team coach Benny Dollo and U-23 coach Alberto Bica. The Austrian had three spells in charge of Vietnam between 1998 and 2007, helping lay the foundation for Southeast Asia’s newest emerging football power, and he led the Laos U-23s to the Southeast Asian Games semifinals in December. 

The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) was in negotiations with Riedl since January. It announced on March 4 it had reached a deal with the Austrian, only to backtrack on that statement a day later. 

PSSI secretary general Nugraha Besoes said there would be no repeat of the embarrassment. 

“We’ll reveal all the details after we sign the contract as Riedl will come to Jakarta on Wednesday. After that, he will start working immediately as the national training camp should start in May,” Nugraha said. 

He also said the contract details were not far off what the PSSI made public last month. It offered Riedl a three-year contract worth $12,000 per month, and he will have the freedom to pick his own assistants. 

When discussions began, Riedl said he wanted Wolfgang Pikal as his assistant. Pikal, a fellow Austrian who speaks Indonesian, has been the director and head coach of Canggu Club Football Academy in Bali since 2005. 

Riedl brings a wealth of experience in Southeast Asian football. Under his guidance, Vietnam won SEA Games silver in 1999, 2003 and 2005, qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and reached the 2007 Asian Cup quarterfinals. He also led Laos to its first SEA Games football medal, a bronze in 2009. 

Riedl is Indonesia’s third foreign coach in 10 years. Ivan Kolev, a Bulgarian, had two spells in charge of the senior side, from 2002-04 and in 2007, while Englishman Peter Withe was in charge from 2004-07. 

Kolev led Indonesia to the 2002 Tiger Cup final, where it lost in a penalty shootout to Thailand, while Withe led the national team to second place in the 2004 Tiger Cup behind Singapore.