Indonesia’s World Cup Dream: an ASEAN Country Chasing Qualification on the Global Stage by Anderson Zavala
In the past, we barely heard the word “ASEAN” in world football, and that is mainly because of the lack of national teams in the top 100 of the FIFA Men’s Ranking, just Vietnam representing that marvelous region of Asia.
However, in the past few years, we have heard more of ASEAN clubs and national teams, for example, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and of course Indonesia. Being Indonesia a clear example of progress and passion for football, many Indonesians consider football as the most popular sport in the country, there are many followers of European football, and followers of local clubs like Persebaya Surabaya, Persija, Persib, and many more.
But why Indonesia is a clear example of progress? And I can totally agree that I see progress in Indonesia, due to the presence of young talented players in the squad. For instance, Marselino Ferdinan (19), who is one of the best prospects we have seen from the Indonesian league in the past few years; along with Marselino we used to talk about Ronaldo Kwateh (19), the two young players were the sensation of the Liga 1 not long ago, and they have made it to reach European football.
There is a list of young talented players who are or have been part of the national squad, such as Pratama Arhan (21, Tokyo Verdy), Elkan Baggott (21, Ipswich Town), Rafael Struick (20, ADO Den Haag), Marselino Ferdinan (19, Deinze), Ivar Jenner (21, Utrecht), Ronaldo Kwateh (19, Bodrum)
It seems the scouting is going well, Football Association of Indonesia has done a great job, because some of their players were born in other countries; for example, Elkan Baggott, who was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and was raised in England; nonetheless, he decided to represent his mother’s country. At the start of this November, Elkan Baggott scored a goal against Fulham in the EFL Cup, it was an absolute milestone, not just for young Elkan!
This matter of winning hearts is paying off, and an absolute example of this would be Justin Hubner (20, Wolves), who was born in the Netherlands but is expected to play for Indonesia’s national team. It is about time!
In addition to this good moment of the senior squad, we can mention Indonesia u-17, which is a squad full of talent as well, there are some names to highlight in the present U-17 World Cup, such as the following: Ikram Al Giffari, Arkhan Putra Kaka, Jehan Pahlevi, Muhammad Rizky, Welberlieskott Jardim, Sulthan Zaky, Figo Dennis, and more. Starting from Akhan, who is considered the key man of the squad, no doubt he has the best company. Such an interesting generation!
In conclusion, the senior squad looks promising, not just now but for the future; the quality of footballers who play abroad mixed with the quality of players of the local league seems to be an interesting factor to think that Indonesia will be in a World Cup, such a football-holic country deserves to play a World Cup!
Keep it up, Indonesia!