The Ministry of Sports is selecting the best players of its 2017 Under-14 Menpora Cup to represent Indonesia in prestigious international tournaments.
The competition, which started in May, saw young footballers from the country’s 34 provinces.
The championship was closed on Saturday (09/09), with West Java winning the cup after defeating Jakarta by 2-1 at the Soepardi Field in Magelang, Central Java.
Nearly 4,000 local football schools and 369 teams were involved in the cup’s preliminary selection.
“I think this championship has improved in terms of quantity and quality,” Teguh Raharjo, the ministry’s deputy for sports development, told the Jakarta Globe in a telephone interview on Saturday.
“West Java won it. It is the fourth time they win the cup,” he said.
In the past three years, the ministry has been appointing former elite footballers to assess young talents during the championship and select the best of them for the national students team.
The panel was headed by former national football team player Rully Nere.
“The ministry manages footballers aged under 15, while those aged 16 and above are handled by PSSI [the Indonesian Football Association]. The national football team managed by us is what we call ‘the national students team,'” Teguh explained.
“We share tasks with PSSI. The ultimate goal is the same: to see Indonesian football excel,” he added.
From thousands of young footballers, the best players will be trained by the ministry to participate in international events.
“Best performers of this year’s championship will represent Indonesia’s U-15 national students team in 2018. We’ll have some high-level competitions for them. One of the places we consider is Madrid in Spain. … We are currently communicating with the [football] stakeholders there,” Teguh said.