Indonesia brace for challenge of Group of Death

Indonesia brace for challenge of Group of Death

Indonesia players celebrate a goal against Mongolia in Bangkok. photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
Indonesia players celebrate a goal against Mongolia in Bangkok. photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

Jakarta: The Indonesian football team are concentrating on toughening up the mental preparedness of their players.

Indonesia are placed in the Group of Death in men's football where they have been drawn in Group B against defending champions Thailand, title aspirants Vietnam, Cambodia, Timor Leste and the Philippines.

Coach Luis Milla said that rather than focusing on strategy alone, the team will have to polish the squad to make sure that they are prepared for the task ahead.

"Obviously, we have to deal with mental preparation. So the coach has delivered several tactics and strategies -- mainly focused on mental strength," said assistant coach Bima Sakti.

Prior to the SEA Games, the Indonesian U22 team participated in the qualifying round of the AFC U23 Championship in Bangkok.

But the Indonesians could only eke out one win (7-0 over Mongolia), one loss (3-0 defeat to Malaysia) and one draw (0-0 against Thailand) in the three matches played.

And while the four points won saw them failing to make the cut for the tournament proper in China next year, the scoreless draw against Thailand gave Indonesia hope that they are quite capable of pulling a surprise against Thailand in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

"The first match [against Thailand] will be very important," said Bima.

Meanwhile, the Philippines are targeting 50 gold medals at the upcoming SEA Games, the head of the country's delegation said.

Chef de mission Cynthia Carrion-Norton said 50 was a "reasonable" target based on estimates by the national commissions of each sport which will compete from Aug 19.

"The president of each sports commission promised me and it was [a total of] 63 but I don't expect that. I think aiming for 50 is more reasonable," she said.

Carrion-Norton said the commissions were told to be realistic in giving their targets, recalling: "I said if you think you can't do it, lower [the target]."

A haul of 50 gold medals would be the best showing since the Philippines' record high of 113 when it hosted the regional multi-sport event in 2005, Carrion-Norton said.

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