Football Tribe SEA Editor
Underneath the guidance of head coach Shin Tae-yong (who will finally return to Indonesia on Wednesday night), the Indonesia national team are planning to hold a training camp this Thursday. Both the senior and U-19 teams are going to participate in this camp, which allow Tae-yong to create a rough draft on how his teams should shape up in the future especially with both the 2020 AFF Cup and the 2020 AFC U-19 Asian Cup in the horizon. The training camp will be divided into two phases – the first phase, which will be held on Thursday until August 8th, will take place at the Gelora Bung Karno Madya Stadium in Jakarta. The players are required to take a COVID-19 swab test first before participating in the training camp. Then in the second phase, the U-19 team will conduct their own separate training camp in Tae-yong’s native South Korea.
The Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) called up 29 players for the senior national team’s training camp on Tuesday, which included some interesting selections. The usual suspects such as Irfan Bachdim, Ilija Spasojevic, Febri Haryadi, Evan Dimas, Fachrudin Aryanto, and Zulfiandi were called up, while Lechia Gdansk’s Egy Maulana Vikri also made it into the list. Both Asnawi Mangkualam and Osvaldo Haay, who impressed many in the 2019 SEA Games, were also called up into the training camp, while notable absentees include PT Prachuap’s Yanto Basna, Stefano Lilipaly, and Andritany Ardhiyasa. However a number of players caught the attention of many, since they have not represented the national team before but has impressed in club level. The likes of Miswar Saputra, Dendy Sulistyawan, Arif Satria, Koko Ari Araya and Kushedya Hari Yudo were called up on the back of impressive performances for their respective clubs in recent times.
In the case of Yudo, the call-up felt very special as in the ripe old age of 27, he has yet to represent the Indonesia national team at all. And while Miswar, Dendy, Arif, and Koko were young players with plenty of room to grow, Yudo is a player in the peak of his powers, with his pace, determination, and tenacity making him one of the breakout performers for PS Sleman last season. Yudo continued his impressive performance after moving to Arema FC for the 2020 season, before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many has touted Yudo for the Indonesia national team due to his consistent performances and finally the winger has earned his call-up.
“God be willing, I’m grateful for this chance,” Yudo told Kompas after his call-up, “Even until I was told about the call-up, I never thought that I would be selected for the national team, I only did my best for the team in each game. It has been my dream to represent the national team since I was a young boy. I will not waste this chance.”
Elkan Gets His Nod
After announcing the 29 players selected for the senior national team training camp, the PSSI also announced the 46 players who will participate in the U-19 national team training camp on Tuesday. As with the senior national team call-ups, a number of usual suspects also made their way into the list. The likes of Witan Sulaeman, Sutan Diego Zico, Beckham Putra, and Bagas Kaffa were present, although Bagas’ twin brother Bagus Kahfi was not selected due to injury. However one name stood out amongst the 46 – Elkan Baggott.
Plying his trade for the U-18 team of EFL League One side Ipswich Town, Elkan was born to an English father and an Indonesian mother, with his mother’s heritage making him eligible for the Indonesia national team. The defender was one of the many players of Indonesian heritage that was linked with Shin Tae-yong’s national team setup, especially with the current trend that sees Southeast Asian countries bringing in players from outside the region who has ties with countries within the region.
Thailand already has the likes of Charyl Chappuis (Switzerland), Kevin Deeromram (Sweden), Phillip Roller (Germany) and Ben Davies (England) within their books, while Malaysia has the likes of Matthew Davies (Australia), Khair Jones (New Zealand), La’Vere Corbin-Ong (Canada), and Wan Kuzain (United States). Vietnam are currently trying to bring Fillip Nguyen (Czech Republic), Jason Pendant (France), and Alexander Dang (Norway) into their ranks, having already had Michal Nguyen (Czech Republic), Adriano Schmidt (Germany), and Martin Lo (Australia) within their books. Last but not least, the Philippines national team has a number of players of Filipino descent within them, such as Neil Etheridge (England), Michael Falkesgaard (Denmark), Daisuke Sato (Japan), and Patrick Reichelt (Germany).
Despite some stiff opposition, a number of players of Indonesian descent has been linked with the national team setup, which included Elkan, Jack Brown (England), Stefan Antonic (Serbia), and Nyoman Paul Aro (Sweden). However, only Elkan made it into Tuesday’s call-ups, a small yet welcomed news that would see more players of Indonesian descent representing Timnas Garuda in the near future. Should Elkan made the final cut, his 194 cm height will compensate for the height disadvantage that the Indonesian defenders had in comparison to their opponents from outside Southeast Asia.
And to add more to the good news, Elkan already has Indonesian citizenship, which could save up valuable time due to the lengthy naturalization process that foreign players must undertake should they wish to gain citizenship within Indonesia.
“Elkan already has an Indonesian passport,” said national team technical director Indra Sjafri to CNN Indonesia when asked about Elkan’s citizenship, a statement that was also confirmed by PSSI executive committee member Endri Erawan.