Indonesia call up 10 naturalized players for World Cup qualifiers against Vietnam

By Hieu Luong   March 8, 2024 | 03:31 pm PT
Indonesia call up 10 naturalized players for World Cup qualifiers against Vietnam
Midfielder Ivar Jenner (number 24) takes on defender Phan Tuan Tai for the ball during Indonesia's 1-0 win against Vietnam in the Asian Cup in Qatar on Jan. 19, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Indonesia have called up 28 players, including 10 naturalized athletes, in preparation for two matches against Vietnam in the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round later this month.

Six of the 10 naturalized players competed at the 2023 Asian Cup. They are defenders Justin Hubner, Jordi Amat, Sandy Walsh, midfielders Marc Klok, Ivar Jenner and forward Rafael Struick.

The four new players are defenders Nathan Tjoe Aon and Jay Idzes, midfielder Thom Haye and forward Ragnar Oratmangoen.

All these players have Indonesian ancestry. Idzes completed his naturalization in December 2023. The other three were facilitated by the House of Representatives of Indonesia (DPR) to undergo online naturalization on March 7 and will take the oath on March 12 in Jakarta.

The Football Association of Indonesia had requested a special naturalization priority for these players because the deadline for submitting the squad list to FIFA is March 13.

Among the new players, Thom Haye stands out as a key player for Dutch club SC Heerenveen. The 29-year-old midfielder has played 76 matches and scored six goals for Heerenveen since the 2021-2022 season.

He and another naturalized Indonesian player, Sandy Walsh, were part of the Netherlands team that won the U17 European Championship in 2012.

Defender Jay Idzes has played 16 matches for Venezia in Italy's Serie B this season. He met coach Shin Tae-yong in Italy and was confirmed for a call-up to the national team.

Defender Nathan Tjoe-A-On, who plays as a left-back, was loaned from Swansea City to Heerenveen during the winter transfer window.

Ragnar Oratmangoen also plays in the Dutch national league, for Fortuna Sittard on loan from Groningen.

The 25-year-old forward has yet to score in 84 matches since the 2021-2022 season during his spells at Go Ahead Eagles, Groningen and Fortuna Sittard.

Despite this, he is still expected to be a good option for Indonesia's attack.

With these 10 players, Indonesia sets a record for the number of naturalized players in a national team. The previous record was set by them at the 2023 Asian Cup with seven players. The number could reach 12 if defender Shayne Pattynama had not been injured and goalkeeper Maarten Praes had been called up.

Indonesia will start their training in Jakarta on March 17, before facing Vietnam at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on March 21, followed by an away match at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on March 26.

Indonesia are currently at the bottom of Group F in the second round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers with one point, same as the Philippines, trailing Vietnam by two points. Iraq now top the group.

Coach Shin Tae-yong and the team aim to win at least one game and draw the other against Vietnam to surpass them and gain an advantage in the race to the third round.

In their most recent encounter at the group stage of the 2023 Asian Cup, Indonesia secured a 1-0 victory over Vietnam thanks to a penalty by Asnawi Mangkualam.

This was Indonesia's first win against Vietnam since the first leg of the 2016 AFF Cup semi-finals and coach Shin Tae-yong's first victory over Vietnam since starting his tenure in 2020.

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