The Indonesian Ministry of Youth and Sports has released a list of footballers of Indonesian descent currently playing in the Netherlands. Those players will be naturalized with hopes that they can play for the national team.
“As an effort to support the achievement of Indonesia’s national teams, we have been looking at naturalizing footballers of Indonesian descent abroad, with help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Sports Ministry secretary-general Gatot Dewa Broto said in a statement earlier this week, as quoted by Jakarta Globe.
“We’ve asked the Foreign Ministry to gather data of footballers of Indonesian descent in Western Europe and so far, the Indonesian Embassy in the Netherlands is the only one that responded,” he added.
The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) will use the data from the Indonesian Embassy to explore the possibility of getting those footballers to play for the country.
Ajax striker Ezra Walian, who has recently been naturalized, is now eligible to play for Indonesia.
Other players who participated in a naturalization program and are eligible to play for the national team include midfielder Stefano Lilipaly, as well as strikers Greg Nwokolo and Cristian Gonzales,
The strategy has been deemed unsuccessful by many pundits as Indonesia has never won any major international trophies, despite the number of foreign-born footballers available.
The PSSI, however, hope that the new wave of footballers of Indonesian descent could change this.