Tuesday 21 November 2023, 13:00

FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023™ making dreams come true for Indonesian volunteers

  • The FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023™ is being held in Indonesia from 10 November to 2 December

  • A team of approximately 850 volunteers are supporting the event

  • This tournament has been a dream for volunteers Vidyah Payapo and Samuel David

Since the first final in 1985, the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ has been a constant source of dreams coming true, especially for the 349 players who have hoisted the trophy over the past 38 years, including Ronaldinho, Phil Foden and Victor Osimhen. The concept of realising dreams isn’t only limited to players, with many volunteers also achieving their life goals at this tournament, such as Vidyah Payapo and Samuel David. A strong volunteer team is crucial to ensure each event runs smoothly. At the FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023™ there is a team of approximately 850 volunteers supporting 18 functional areas across four host cities, all contributing to its success.

“When my brother told me Brazil was hosting the World Cup, I looked for information about being a volunteer on the internet, and I followed step-by-step until they invited me for an interview,” said Vidyah. “When they told me I was accepted, my eyes filled with tears because it was my dream. I always cry when I talk about this moment because when I was accepted, my parents hugged me tightly and said: ‘Your dream will come true’.” All the volunteers are Indonesian residents who have come from every corner of the country, with many taking leave from their job or university studies to participate. For Vidyah, her initial dream came true when she was part of the volunteer workforce for Brazil 2014, in doing so becoming the first Indonesian to volunteer at a FIFA tournament. Having fell in love with football and the Brazilian national team after watching the France '98 Final with her parents as a seven-year-old, Vidyah made sure she took full advantage when the South American nation hosted the 2014 edition.

In her role as a Transport Volunteer in Brazil, Vidyah was able to collaborate with volunteers from around the world and was even assigned as the liaison officer for the family of Sergio Agüero. As the first known volunteer from Indonesia, she received a lot of attention back home. “Before I got to Brazil I didn’t know that I was the first and only volunteer from Indonesia, but when I found out I promised myself that I would share my story. I wrote an article and the Indonesian media invited me to share my story. Today, many Indonesians volunteer at FIFA tournaments and I’m really proud to see so many Indonesians volunteering at this event.” Having inspired many of her compatriots, Vidyah was able to achieve another dream: volunteering at a tournament in her home country in the role of Competition Management Volunteer.

Volunteer of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023 Vidyah Payapo

“I feel very special at the U-17 World Cup in Indonesia because I am a volunteer for my favourite event in my own country, and I feel challenged to be a role model for other volunteers who have been selected for a FIFA event for the first time.” When Vidyah broke new ground for Indonesians and told her story, it opened the door for many to follow in her footsteps. One of those people was Accreditation Centre Volunteer, Samuel David. Having been inspired to volunteer at a FIFA event after seeing a story about an Indonesian at Russia 2018™, Samuel made it his goal to be selected for a FIFA tournament. But it wasn’t easy: Samuel unsuccessfully applied for the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2019 and 2023 and made it to the interview stage for Qatar 2022™ but was not offered a role.

Volunteer of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2023 Samuel David

Samuel finally thought he had his chance when Indonesia was awarded the rights to the FIFA U-20 World Cup™ in 2021, only for the tournament to be delayed due to COVID-19 and then eventually move to Argentina. “When I first got the news that the U-20s was cancelled, it really broke my heart because my dream to be a FIFA volunteer was shattered,” said Samuel. Thankfully, Indonesia was soon awarded the hosting rights to the 2023 edition of the U-17 World Cup. “When I received my role offer for the U-17 World Cup it made me cry because it’s what I’ve been dreaming of: being a FIFA volunteer. My mother was just as excited as me: we both really cried our hearts out.

It’s because of my mother that I am here. She passed on her love of football to me at a young age. She has always supported my FIFA volunteer applications and prayed for my success.

Samuel David
FIFA Volunteer

“It’s because of my mother that I am here: she is a football fanatic and passed on her love of football to me at a young age. She has always supported my FIFA volunteer applications, prayed for my success, and encouraged me.” Samuel has been able to see first-hand how crucial volunteers are for making the FIFA U-17 World Cup run smoothly, a tournament he hopes will be his first of many. “Volunteer roles at FIFA tournaments are really important because we’re the front-liners for this event, we are the first ones to interact with the spectators, and the first ones to interact with the FIFA team. “It means a lot to be here because I really, really love football and I really, really want it to be the first on a journey for me as a FIFA volunteer with many years (and more events) to come.”

FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023™