The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) decided against sending its under-19 national team to Timika, Papua, for intensive training following the recent tunnel collapse at Freeport-McRoran’s Grasberg mine last week.
The training was scheduled to be held from June 1-12.
However, PSSI chief Djohar Arifin Husin said that preparation for the Asian Football Federation U-19 Cup, to be hosted in Surabaya next September, must not be postponed.
“We planned to send the team to Timika before the disaster happened. However, we must continue to prepare. We will discuss [the issue] with the coaching staff,” Djohar told reporters.
The PSSI agreed to send its players to Timika after it appointed Johnatan Rumainun, the vice president of industrial relations at Freeport Indonesia and the head of the PSSI branch office in Timika, as the team’s manager in February.
The squad practiced in Timika from Feb. 7-14 ahead of the HFKA International Youth Football Invitational tournament, which was held late in the month. Indonesia went on to win the tournament and defend its crown.
“We will find another place for our training camp, so we don’t have to depend on Freeport,” Djohar said.
Despite this latest hurdle, Djohar said the PSSI is still aiming for victory.
“Our goal is to win the AFF Cup. The team has shown its ability [in the past] by winning the Hong Kong tournament. We also let the coach [Indra Sjafri] take full responsibility in managing the team,” Djohar said.