Indonesia head coach takes ASEAN Cup lightly

By Trung Thu   May 29, 2024 | 01:28 am PT
Coach Shin Tae-yong believes that winning the 2024 ASEAN Cup, formerly AFF Cup, is not a big goal that Indonesia need to achieve, as the Asian Cup or World Cup is more important.

Shin is focusing on preparing Indonesia for the final two matches of the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round. Before the afternoon training session on Tuesday, he said that Indonesian football should aim higher, when asked about the importance of the ASEAN Cup.

"I don't know if it is necessary to win the AFF Cup or not, but the Asian tournaments are definitely bigger," Shin said. "We should not limit ourselves to the AFF Cup and aim for bigger things at the Asian Cup or World Cup."

Shin's statement is the opposite of expectations from fans because Indonesia have never won the AFF Cup and lost six finals in the past.

Under the South Korean coach, Indonesia finished as runner-up in 2020 and entered the semi-finals in 2022. This year, Indonesia are in group B with Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Laos.

Indonesia head coach Shin Tae-yong during a training session. Photo by PSSI

Indonesia head coach Shin Tae-yong during a training session. Photo by PSSI

Coach Shin did not attend the group stage draw on May 21 in Hanoi and laughed when Indonesia team leader Kombes Pol Surmadji told him the draw results over the phone.

Being in the same group with opponents like Vietnam and Philippines does not bother Shin.

"This group is not a challenge because Indonesia squad have good quality," the South Korean coach said. "I think Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are contenders for the semi-finals."

In the immediate future, Shin aims to get past the second round of the 2026 World Cup. In Group F, the team are second with seven points, five points behind Iraq, four and six points ahead of Vietnam and Philippines. Indonesia will be sure to advance if they win one more match in the last two, facing Iraq on June 6 and then Philippines on June 11, both at home.

When Shin completes this goal, he will extend his unprecedented achievements in Indonesian football history. Before that, he helped the team pass the Asian Cup group stage for the first time, then reach the 2024 U23 Asian Cup semi-finals and almost qualify for the Olympics.

Since the 2024 ASEAN Cup takes place outside the FIFA calendar, Indonesia are likely to miss several key players from Europe. In addition, if they enter the third qualifying round of the World Cup qualifiers, they must play a series of games on Nov. 14 and 19, while the AFF Cup takes place from Nov. 23 to Dec. 21.

With the short period of time between the two tournaments, coach Shin left open the possibility of dividing the national team into two parts.

"This needs to be discussed in advance with the president of the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) Erick Thohir," Shin said.

Indonesia will gather the squad from May 27 and play a friendly on June 2 against Tanzania. The African team are 119th on the FIFA ranking, 15 spots higher than Indonesia.

Shin also asked the PSSI to tighten security at the training ground and hotel to avoid being disturbed by the fans.

The 53-year-old coach hopes everyone will understand because he wants the players to enjoy their privacy and comfort. In addition, Shin is concerned that meeting strangers could cause the players to get the flu.

go to top