Indonesia's naturalized defender joins Son Heung-min in World Cup qualifiers' star list

By Trung Thu   March 29, 2024 | 08:38 pm PT
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) chose Jay Idzes, a naturalized defender of Indonesia, as one of the 12 star performers in the March fixture of the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round.
Defender Jay Idzes (number 4) celebrates the opening goal in Indonesias 3-0 win over Vietnam on March 26, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Defender Jay Idzes (number 4) celebrates the opening goal in Indonesia's 3-0 win over Vietnam at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on March 26, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Idzes made a perfect debut for Indonesia, playing two games, in the 1-0 and 3-0 wins against Vietnam. Not only did he help Indonesia keep a clean sheet after the two games, but the midfielder also scored the opening goal in the ninth minute and started Indonesia's first victory at My Dinh Stadium after 20 years.

"Idzes has a lot of experience playing for clubs in the Netherlands and Italy," AFC wrote. The 23-year-old center-back did not have to wait long for his first international goal either, heading home a Thom Haye corner to open the scoring in a 3-0 win against Philippe Troussier's side as Indonesia did a double over their regional rivals to bolster their chances of reaching the third round."

Besides Idzes, 11 other star performers were selected by AFC are Son Heung-min (South Korea), Craig Goodwin (Australia), Patiwat Khammai (Thailand), Omar Khrbin (Syria), Joel Kojo (Kyrgyzstan), Sharif Mukhammad (Afghanistan), Eldor Shomurodov (Uzbekistan), Sultan Adil (UAE), Mousa Al Taamari (Jordan), Wu Lei (China) and Oday Dabbagh (Palestine).

Idzes is a regular starter for Venezia in the Italian second division Serie B. Previously, he played 57 matches for FC Eindhoven in the Dutch first division from 2018 to 2020. In the 2020-2021 season, Idzes moved to another Dutch club, Go Ahead Eagles, and helped the team get promoted to the first division. The 24-year-old defender stayed two more seasons with 60 appearances before moving to Italy.

The 1.9 m tall defender was born in the Netherlands with Indonesian grandparents. Idzes completed his naturalization process in December 2023, but could not register for the 2023 Asian Cup in time. His presence in two games against Vietnam in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers completely filled in the space of injured defenders Jordi Amat and Elkan Baggott.

In addition to the goal, Idzes left an impression when he lifted the ball over Nguyen Van Toan’s head in Indonesia's 1-0 victory over Vietnam on March 21. The video of that play went viral on Indonesian social media with millions of views.

"I was delighted when the play went viral on social media. It’s good for me and the team to be known by more people," he said.

In addition to Idzes, Indonesia currently have 11 other naturalized players: goalkeeper Maarten Paes who plays for FC Dallas in the U.S., defenders Justin Hubner (Cerezo Osaka - Japan), Nathan Tjoe Aon (SC Heerenveen – Netherlands), Sandy Walsh (Mechelen – Belgium), Jordi Amat (Johor Darul Ta'zim – Malaysia), Shayne Pattynama (Eupen – Belgium), midfielders Ivar Jenner (Utrecht – Netherlands), Thom Haye (SC Heerenveen – Netherlands ), Marc Klok (Persib Bandung – Indonesia), striker Rafael Struick (ADO Den Haag – Netherlands), Ragnar Oratmagoen (Fortuna Sittard – Netherlands).

Indonesia are second in group F of the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round, with seven points, four ahead of Vietnam, so the team are almost certain to advance to the third qualifying round. In the final two games in June, Indonesia will play Philippines and Iraq at home.

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