Monday 08 April 2024, 10:40

Indonesian football is making good progress

  • Indonesia were the biggest climbers in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking

  • The FIFA Forward and Talent Development Programmes are playing a key role in Indonesia's progress

  • The long-term target is to participate at the FIFA World Cup™

The last few months have been busy in Indonesia in terms of football. Between November and December 2023, the country hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ and in the latest men’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, Indonesia were the team with the biggest rise in places and points. Football in Indonesia and the Indonesian Football Federation (PSSI) are developing exponentially with FIFA's contribution. “The FIFA U-17 World Cup hosted by Indonesia last year had a profound impact on the country's football development, particularly in infrastructure and legacy. Providing a platform for young talents to showcase their skills on a global stage, the tournament boosted player development and exposure, crucial for their growth,” the PSSI told FIFA Inside.

“With a remarkable attendance of 437,000 spectators, the tournament sparked increased interest and participation in football among Indonesian youth, laying a strong foundation for the sport's continued growth.”

Indonesia’s ranking has shown a continuous improvement since 2021 and has brought the national team closer to the goal of entering the top one hundred. “(This) is a testament to the collective efforts and progress made in football development. The nation can take pride in this achievement, indicating that strides are being made in the right direction,” the PSSI said.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - DECEMBER 21: Football Association of Indonesia President Erick Thohir during FIFA Football Summit 2023 on December 21, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Pascal Bitz/FIFA)

In the short-term, our goal is to be ranked top 100 in the world. If we continue to build our national teams starting from the youth, our long-term target is for Indonesia to qualify for the FIFA World Cup not as a host, but as a participant.

Erick Thohir
President of the Football Association of Indonesia

Forward Programme Support

FIFA and its FIFA Forward programme have played a crucial role in this development, on and off the pitch. "They have been actively supporting PSSI to elevate football at both national and youth levels through various initiatives, including infrastructure enhancement, women’s football and grassroots development,” the PSSI said.

This includes the establishment of a state-of-the-art training centre in Indonesia's new capital city where a FIFA Forward contribution of USD 5.65 million has augmented government funding. “This training centre marks a historic milestone as it will be the first national training centre ever for Indonesia. Scheduled for completion by June, the development of this training centre through FIFA Forward is poised to revolutionise football in Indonesia,” the PSSI said.

“Over the next one or two years, the facility is set to boast a total of eight pitches, equipped with top-notch facilities tailored to support football at all levels. The collaboration with FIFA has sparked joint funding efforts, particularly from local governments, further enhancing the development of this premier training facility. This ambitious endeavour signifies a significant stride towards fostering football excellence in Indonesia, promising to elevate the country's footballing landscape to new heights.”

Indonesia has also joined the FIFA Talent Development Scheme, which aims to help FIFA Member Associations reach their full potential by ensuring that all talented players are given the chance to develop and be discovered.

The PSSI’s TDS project, started in 2022, has identified 34 Regional Technical Directors nationwide and trained them to focus on grassroots, youth development, talent identification and coach development. This year, the focus shifts to training these directors to better understand the environment of talented players and how to effectively develop them.

Promoting football at all levels

Grassroots and women's football are also objectives for the PSSI, aware that young people are the future of football and the U-17 World Cup’s legacy is for the benefit of the country.

PSSI is actively working to enhance football at all levels. This comprehensive approach includes investments in coaching education, talent identification programs, development facilities and the establishment of youth academies nationwide. Furthermore, with assistance from the FIFA Women’s Football Programme, the PSSI is redesigning the Women's Football Strategy, aiming for improvement in this aspect of the sport.

Another notable collaboration between FIFA and PSSI is the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and the inauguration of the FIFA office in Jakarta last November by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and PSSI President Erick Thohir. This marked a significant milestone in both parties’ commitment to fostering sustainable development and growth within Indonesia's football landscape. The collaboration underscores FIFA's dedication to enhancing infrastructure, governance and technical capabilities.

Having reached the last 16 of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Indonesia have already begun the road to the FIFA World Cup 26. "The AFC qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 26 mark an important milestone for Indonesian football. Our goals are to compete at the highest level and to qualify,” the PSSI said.

Even so, the farewell message is restrained: “We recognise that the journey ahead won't be easy (but) we're confident that this competition will provide invaluable experience for our players, enabling them to grow and excel on the international stage.”

France vs Mali at Manahan Stadium during the FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023