Unable to join EAFF – East Asian Football Federation, Indonesia is considering the option to join Central Asian Football Association – CAFA.
The fact that the U19 Indonesian team was eliminated at the AFF Championship U19 made the Indonesian public very angry, they said that U19 Vietnam and U19 Thailand in the final match of the group stage deliberately “shake hands” and did not play properly. This resulted in a draw and Indonesia was eliminated.
After AFF – Asean Football Federation announced the conclusion, confirming that the match between U19 Vietnam and U19 Thailand had no signs of match fixing, The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) expressed displeasure. They announced that they will leave the AFF in the near future.
Indonesian media also continuously reported that PSSI is seriously considering a plan to give up AFF and their next destination will be the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF). However, according to CNN Indonesia, Indonesia’s ability to join EAFF is still uncertain after PSSI leaders are considering turning to another option, which is joining Central Asian Football Association (CAFA).
The reason is probably that East Asia has too many strong teams like South Korea and Japan.
According to the above source, PSSI has considered the professional interests of Indonesian football when joining EAFF. Accordingly, the competition system in East Asia at this time does not have many tournaments, due to the small number of countries. Especially lack of playgrounds for young players.
If joining EAFF, Indonesian youth football will not have many opportunities to develop, as in Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, CAFA – Central Asian Football Association has a full range of tournaments from U16 to U23 and will soon have a championship for national teams (equivalent to AFF Cup).
Therefore, PSSI officials believe that the expertise of Indonesian football will not change too much, when they officially leave AFF to apply to join CAFA. Moreover, the Central Asian teams are of equal quality and similar to the level of Indonesia.
CNN Indonesia highlights three benefits of Indonesia if it comes to CAFA: “If we join CAFA, Indonesia will have a more moderate competitor. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan are not too strong compared to Indonesia.”
At the end of July, Indonesian media quoted PSSI Secretary General, Yunus Nusi, as asserting that PSSI has not yet made a final decision on this issue, everything will be finalized as soon as possible.
The Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) was established in 2015. Currently, there are 6 members of CAFA: Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Kazakhstan is not part of this region as it has joined the Union of European Football Associations – UEFA since 2002.
In the context that Indonesia has not yet given up its intention to leave the Asean Football Federation (AFF), two countries, India and Australia, are ready to replace Indonesia to attend the AFF Cup.