Dec 30, 2010

AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 : Thank You Indonesia

Indonesian Coach Afred Riedl Getting It Right!
After a long, dark spell, Indonesia’s national football team looks to be back on track.

In the past week, Merah Putih has put on a series of impressive performances in the AFF Suzuki Cup, winning Group A and advancing to the semifinals with three wins in three games.

There was a great deal of skepticism about the team’s chances before the tournament, and even after it trounced Malaysia 5-1 and put six goals past Laos, some people remained dubious.

But those doubters may have become believers after Indonesia came from behind on Tuesday night to beat three-time AFF Cup champion Thailand, 2-1.

It was Indonesia’s first victory over Thailand since a 2-1 win in the qualifying round of the 1984 Asian Cup.

Alfred Riedl may have only been in charge of Indonesia’s senior men’s side for seven months, but the Austrian coach has managed to get the best out of each of his players.

Riedl, 61, has inculcated discipline in a team that had been known to slack off during training and to lack a killer attitude.

“He’s a great coach who clearly understands his job, and he brings confidence and a good atmosphere to the team,” midfielder Firman Utina said. “We all have a good relationship with him and respect his decisions because he explains them clearly.”

That understanding of roles was evident on Tuesday when Firman, who had captained Indonesia in its first two group matches, was rested against Thailand and accepted Riedl’s decision without question.

Riedl, who repeatedly reminded the squad that no one was assured of a spot in the team, brought in a number of new players during the national team training camp in order to see all his options.

His boldest move may have been to drop Boaz Solossa, the domestic league’s most prolific striker, from the squad for failing to show up on time for training.

The Austrian has also given rising stars like Irfan Bachdim, Oktovianus Maniani and Ahmad Bustomi a chance to shine.

Christian Gonzales, who only received Indonesian citizenship last month, is one of only three players on the squad above 30 years of age. But that he was given the chance to make his debut at the age of 35 is more evidence of Riedl’s willingness to take risks.

Riedl’s most surprisingly effective call, however, was to have Bambang Pamungkas come on as substitute in Indonesia’s first three games. Bambang is the national team’s all-time leading goal scorer, but with age catching up to him the star striker has accepted his new role off the bench and settled comfortably into it.

Riedl’s tactics are not much different from thos of his predecessor, Benny Dollo, with both using the 4-4-2 as the basic formation and with an emphasis on short passes.

However, Riedl has drilled his players to stay within passing distance of one another to create more options in attack.

This simple tweak has made Indonesia’s offense the most dangerous in the tournament so far.

There’s still a lot of work to be done, though. The team needs better transitions from defense to attack and vice versa.

And improving team fitness will also be on Riedl’s mind as the squad gets a one-week break before the semifinals.

But most of all, the Indonesia coach wants his players to remain focused.

“I think the boys’ performances in the three matches were good, but we should not fly too high because of previous results,” he said.

“However, if we can maintain current form we have a clear chance to reach the final.”

"With that, Malaysia will book to play in semi-final against Vietnam on December 15 in Bukit Jalil.
Whatever it is, congratulations Indonesia! after wins all 3 games!"

Source : JakartaGlobe