Indonesia import more players before Vietnam clash in March

By Hieu Luong   January 31, 2024 | 03:13 pm PT
Indonesia national football team are set to welcome four neutralized Dutch players before playing two games against Vietnam at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in March.
Defender Justin Hubner (number 25) is one of the eight neutralized players in Indonesia national football team. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Defender Justin Hubner (number 25), one of the eight neutralized players in Indonesia national football team, vies for the ball with Vietnam's Nguyen Van Toan in an Asian Cup group stage game on Jan. 19, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) is speeding up the process of getting Indonesian citizenship for striker Ragnar Oratmangoen, defender Nathan Tjoe-A-On, midfielder Thom Haye and goalkeeper Maarten Paes. These four players have Dutch nationality, though their grandparents are of Indonesian descent.

Haye is the most famous player among the four as he's currently a regular starter for Dutch club SC Heerenveen.

The 28-year-old has played 68 games and scored 10 goals for Heerenveen since he joined the club in the 2021-2022 season.

Haye and another neutralized player of Indonesia, Sandy Walsh, were part of the Netherlands team that won the U17 European Championship in 2012.

Tjoe-A-On, 22, is a left-back. He is currently playing for Heerenveen, on loan from Welsh club Swansea City.

Oratmangoen is also playing in the Dutch national league for Fortuna Sittard on loan from Groningen. However, the 25-year-old striker has not scored any goal since last season.

Paes, 25, with a height of 1.91 m, is the main keeper for FC Dallas in the American national league MLS. Before going to the U.S., Paes played for Dutch club Utrecht from 2018-2022.

In December last year, PSSI obtained Indonesian citizenship for defender Jay Idzes, who's playing for Venezia in Italian second division Serie B. However, he was not registered in time for the Asian Cup.

"The addition of these five players can help Indonesia compete on a continental level, after their proud achievement at the Asian Cup," Indonesian newspaper Bola wrote.

Indonesia got past the Asian Cup group stage for the first time, as one of the four best third-place teams. They lost to Japan and Iraq 3-1, but an important 1-0 victory over Vietnam helped coach Shin Tae-yong and the players reach their goal. In the round of 16, Indonesia lost 4-0 to Australia.

The team aim to defeat Vietnam again in two matches on March 21 and 26, in the second qualifying round of the 2026 World Cup.

Indonesia ranked last in group F with one point, the same as Philippines but with a lower goal difference, two points less than Vietnam and five less than Iraq.

Indonesia's current squad have eight naturalized players: defenders Jordi Amat, Elkan Baggott, Sandy Walsh, Shayne Pattynama, Justin Hubner, midfielders Marc Klok, Ivar Jenner and striker Rafael Struick.

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