Coach apologizes to Vietnam for unsporting Indonesia fans

By Hieu Luong   August 10, 2022 | 01:40 am PT
Coach apologizes to Vietnam for unsporting Indonesia fans
Bima Sakti as the head coach of the Indonesia national football team at the 2018 AFF Cup. Photo by ASEAN Football Federation
Coach Bima Sakti has sent his apologies to Vietnam for the unsportsmanlike behavior of Indonesia fans at AFF U16 Championship.

In the last match of group A on Aug. 6, many Indonesian fans in Maguwoharjo Stadium booed and insulted the players of Vietnam. Some fans even threatened to throw bottles and objects at a Vietnam player picking up the ball.

After the match, Vietnam head coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan said that playing under the pressure of Indonesian fans affected his players' mentality, leading to the 1-2 defeat against the host.

"I want to apologize to the members of the Vietnam team. Indonesian fans can cheer as loud as they want but please don't throw bottles or objects at the opponent. It's an ugly act. Cheering is necessary but it should not turn into unsportsmanlike behavior," Sakti said.

Sakti said he hopes the home fans won't repeat such behavior with Myanmar in the semifinals Wednesday.

The fans' reactions came after tensions had increased at 2022 AFF U19 Championships earlier. In the last group stage game of the tournament last month, a 1-1 Vietnam-Thailand draw indirectly eliminated Indonesia from the tournament. When the score was 1-1, Vietnam and Thailand slowed down the tempo in the last 10 minutes with no intention of scoring, since both teams had secured a slot in the semifinals.

Indonesia were on par with both teams with 11 points but were ousted on the grounds that the team had failed to score against the two opponents, while Vietnam and Thailand had scored against each other.

Indonesian officials complained to the AFF and demanded an investigation into possible match-fixing, while Indonesian fans called on PSSI to leave AFF given the outdated regulation.

In the ongoing AFF U16 Championships in Indonesia, Vietnam finished the group stage at second place in group A, which is enough to earn them a place in the semifinals, where they play Thailand on Wednesday.

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