Southeast Asia Indonesia

Shin Tae-yong Slams the PSSI in Interview

Krishna Sadhana

Football Tribe SEA Editor


Indonesia national team head coach Shin Tae-yong has some choice words for the Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) in a recent interview with South Korean media. In an interview conducted by JoongAng Ilbo, Tae-yong spoke frankly about his disappointment towards the PSSI towards their stance regarding the national team.

“I felt that the PSSI has changed their words and are no longer being cooperative. I can’t take it anymore,” Tae-yong said in the interview.

Throughout the interview, Tae-yong initially described his delight in signing his contract with the PSSI. He felt that he shared the same vision and mission as the federation in regards of the national team – developing the national team step-by-step towards success. Tae-yong also initially received the full backing and support of the federation in national team affairs.

However, things has changed in the past six months. Tae-yong felt that PSSI had gone back on their own words in regards of the national team. One example that Tae-yong brought up during the interview was regarding the national team’s training camp. Tae-yong felt that he should bring the Indonesia national team to South Korea for training, as the situation in Tae-yong’s homeland is much more safer compared to Indonesia in regards of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indonesia had been badly hit by the pandemic’s effects, with up to 1000 new cases being reported everyday, which could spell trouble for the national team players.

Another argument that Tae-yong provided is that should the Indonesia national team focused their training in South Korea, it would be easier for them to test their skills against more capable opponents.

However, much to Tae-yong’s shock and horror, the PSSI denied Tae-yong’s plans and insisted that the national team hold their training camp in Indonesia.

“There are 1000 new COVID-19 cases in Indonesia everyday but the PSSI insisted to have the training camp being held in Indonesia,” Tae-yong said, “The purpose of this training camp is to gauge the boys’ skills and knowing where we stand. South Korea went all the way to the semifinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup after testing their worth against a number of stronger opponents.”

“With the current COVID-19 situation in Indonesia, it’s very difficult for us to invite stronger teams to train alongside us. If we hold this training camp elsewhere, we can increase our physical condition, maintain the players’ diets, and increase our skills through practice and friendly matches throughout the 6-week long program.”

The training camp issue wasn’t the only thing that Tae-yong’s concerned about. He also mentioned about how the PSSI would burden him and the national team with unrealistic targets that he felt is beyond the national team’s abilities at the moment. Tae-yong felt that the national team must be allowed to develop gradually before going for silverware, however the PSSI felt that success must be achieved in an instant.

“First they (the PSSI) asked me to bring the U-19 national team to the quarterfinals of this year’s AFC U-19 Championship in Uzbekistan. Then they want me to win this year’s AFF Cup with the senior team. On top of all that, they want me to bring the U-20 side to the quarterfinals of the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup at home soil,” Tae-yong said, “And then I asked a PSSI official, do you people even know where Indonesia is in the FIFA rankings? He replied to me rather unenthusiastically, 173th.”

Last but not least, Tae-yong voiced his disappointment towards the PSSI’s response towards the indiscipline action done by his former assistant, Indra Sjafri. Sjafri was removed from his position as Tae-yong’s assistant after leaving the Indonesia U-19 national team’s training camp in Thailand without Tae-yong’s permission, however instead of disciplining Sjafri, PSSI went on and promoted Sjafri as the new technical director of the Indonesia national team, much to Tae-yong’s dismay.

Despite all the challenges that the PSSI have thrown at him, Tae-yong remained determined to steer the Indonesia national team to greener pasturers. However, he felt that he couldn’t do it without all the help and support that he needed.

“I’m not a magician,” Tae-yong said, “There must be a process if we want the Indonesia national team to succeed. I’ve seen the enthusiasm that this country have for football. There are around 70000 people who spectated the Liga 1 opening before COVID-19 struck. If one day Indonesia reaches the heights that they’ve envisioned, I want to be there to witness it.”

Currently Tae-yong remains in his native South Korea, waiting for COVID-19 to subside in Indonesia so that he could resume his duties. However, his strong remarks towards the PSSI has drawn the ire of Indonesia’s footballing bigwigs, who demanded Tae-yong’s immediate return to Indonesia. Should Tae-yong fail to return to Indonesia by the time determined by the PSSI, he could be sacked from his position, with either Sjafri and Fakhri Husaini being prepared as the South Korean’s replacement.