Saturday, January 21, 2017


Milla Time For Indonesia

Indonesia have appointed a new coach. His  name is Luis Milla, no relation to Cameroonian striker Roger Milla who played for Pelita Jaya, and he comes from Spain. The 50 year old coach played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as picking up three caps for his country in 1989/90. As a coach his last gig was with Real Zaragoza, don't mention the halfway line, and he has also worked with various national age groups. In 2013 he had a spell with UAE side Al Jazira, his only stint outside of his native land.

It certainly is an out of the box appointment. Not since Wim Rijsbergen was appointed back in 2011 has the PSSI chosen a coach without any background in the local game. It is questionable whether Wim learned much while he was in charge anyway, it being at a time of two leagues and instability.

With a two year contract Milla will also be in charge of the SEA Games squad later this year and this no doubt will be foremost in his in tray when he starts work next month. The full squad, buoyed from reaching the ASEAN Football Federation Championship Final last year before losing to Thailand, have plenty of blank dates in their diary and with most of the rest of Asia looking forward to Asian Cup/World Cup Qualifiers during the year it could prove difficult to find meaningful, ie beyond ASEAN borders, opponents.

Outgoing coach Alfred Riedl had his hands tied going into the AFF Championships as clubs stipulated they would allow no more than two players to be released from their ranks. It remains to be seen whether they play such hard ball with official competition returning in March.

An unfamiliar environment, an unfamiliar language, an unfamiliar diet, Milla won't have much time to adapt to the Indonesian way of doing things. In fact it could be argued his appointment suggests a fresh approach. However he will still need a few tips and hints to smooth his arrival in the country and with the experienced Danurwindo as his technical director he will be working with someone who does know the game inside out.

Typically in this day and age coaches move around with more baggage than a single checked in piece on their flight over. Milla, with his experiences in Europe, may well be expecting/hoping he can choose too bring along assistants of his own choosing. As of now it is not clear if he will be allowed to do so.

With the FIFA suspension lifted and several young players making their mark at the AFF Championships, Milla will be arriving at a time when goodwill is quite high. How long it will last remains to be seen. Indonesians will be expecting an improvement on their runners up spot in Bangkok last year and not matter how unrealistic that may be considering the circumstances Milla would be doing himself a heap big favour if he can get a couple of wins under his belt at the tsrat of his career here.

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