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The Indonesian National Team’s Prestige is Skyrocketing, it’s Time to Improve the Competition

The Indonesian National Team's Prestige is Skyrocketing, it's Time to Improve the Competition – The prestige, image or good name  of the Indonesian National Team on the world stage has now recovered even though it failed to win a ticket to the 2024 Olympics .

Indonesia failed to appear in the soccer sport at the Paris Olympics after losing 0-1 to Guinea in the 2024 Olympic playoffs at the French national team’s training field, Clairefontaine, Thursday (9/5).

Even though it failed, this is great history for Indonesian football. The reason is that Indonesia has not been in a position like this for 48 years. The last time Indonesia came close to the Olympics was in 1976.

Garuda Muda’s journey before reaching the 2024 Olympic playoffs has been recorded in gold ink. First, Indonesia qualified for the U-23 Asian Cup for the first time in the 2024 edition.

Second, Indonesia immediately entered the last eight as newcomers to the U-23 Asian Cup. In fact, Shin Tae Yong’s team advanced to the semifinals.

The opponents who were defeated were not tin cans. After losing to Qatar, Indonesia crushed Australia, Jordan and then South Korea. It’s a shame that Uzbekistan and Iraq couldn’t win.

Failing to win over Uzbekistan in the semifinals and losing to Iraq in the match for third place, meant that Indonesia had to appear in the Olympic playoffs against Guinea.

Previously, no one thought that Indonesia could reach this point. In fact, PSSI’s official target in the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup is only to qualify for the group stage, not to win an Olympic ticket.

The achievements of Indonesia U-23 are in line with the achievements of the Indonesian National Team in the 2023 (2024) Asian Cup. Last January, Indonesia reached the last eight.

It could be said that during 2024, the blurry, gloomy and infuriating face of the Indonesian National Team for the last two decades will have fallen. Now a positive aura radiates.

And, this year’s achievements are not to be exaggerated. On the contrary, this is a new milestone for looking at the future. The achievements of the Indonesian National Team must be maintained and promoted.

When they lost 0-1 to Guinea, the way  the Indonesian U-23 National Team played was different from the 2024 U-23 Asian Cup . The conditions are no longer the same.

Players feel tired in body, heart and mind. Even so, the huge burden from society is still borne by players whose condition is not 100 percent. The struggle is still lifted, even though the body asks for a break.

Therefore, the 0-1 defeat to Guinea and failure to appear at the 2024 Olympics is nothing to regret. This trip has been amazing. In fact, this story is used as inspiration to build a foundation for achievement.

Of course, that foundation is called competition. Without good and measurable competition from the lower levels, the hope of becoming Asian champion and appearing at the next Olympics is just a hallucination.

Vietnam, by comparison, was once at this point. The Golden Dragon Team became runners up in the 2018 U-23 Asian Cup and the senior team advanced to the third phase of the 2022 World Cup Qualifications.

However, once Park Hang Seo (Veitnam head coach) left, their performance also fell. Their senior team is starting to catch a cold and the next generation cannot yet be at the same level.

Vietnam too ‘glorifies’ Park Hang Seo and forgets the grassroots. If the Indonesian national team doesn’t want to suffer a fate like Vietnam, there is only one answer: fix the competition.

Youth competition must be the foundation. Elite Pro Academy, as well as acceleration programs such as Garuda Select, should be intensified. Grassroots football must be embraced.

At the same time, the highest caste competition must also be the backbone. It is time for PSSI to set a target for League 1 clubs to dominate Asian competitions.

This will be realized if high-level acceleration is also carried out for competitions, such as the steps taken for the National Team. Just dressing up the National Team without dressing up the League will only backfire.

Shin Tae Yong has made the Indonesian national team rise to fame, but individuals are not the only factor. Currently, it is mandatory to improve the competition, so that appearing in the Olympics is not just a dream.

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