AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Indonesia’s campaign might be falling apart rapidly

2018 AFF Suzuki Cup: BEST XI

Indonesia opened their AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 on the wrong foot against Singapore but still have three more games to salvage their campaign.

Having said that, based on what we’ve seen in the loss to Singapore along with their fans’ reaction, this could all go very wrong before it even started.

Here are FIVE reasons why:

-Fans trolling their own team

Right before kick-off at the Singapore National Stadium just as the starters are about to begin the match, Indonesian fans unfurled a banner or tifo with a strong statement of criticism aimed at their senior squad.

It read, “Are you not ashamed of your junior teams’ achievements?”.

And as if the fates agreed with such a saying, the match ended with the Garudas losing off a slim 1-0 result against the Singapore Lions.

Such banner further strengthens that something is amiss with regards to the preparation of the squad and the hopes of the fans heading into this tournament.

-Liga I continues right in the middle of the AFF Suzuki Cup

It is a head-scratcher that the domestic league in Indonesia is still in the midst of the season, not even providing a window to accommodate the tournament.

Such a move could be detrimental to the national team’s success in the Suzuki Cup as players are distracted with club-related stuff at the back of their minds instead of just thinking about the Garudas and the tournament matches.

– Head Coach Luis Milla’s two-year contract terminated one week before the start of the Suzuki Cup

Another mind-boggling move by the Indonesian FA is their decision not to drop Luis Milla with the AFF Suzuki Cup already looming.

Such a departure can only destabilise a squad and by the looks of how the first match panned out, Indonesia were not their usualself, lacking the incisiveness that could have given them better chances to compete against the hosts.

Yes, Indonesia may have had much of the ball possession during the course of the match but the Lions were more threatening in several spells as shown by the statistics and the final result.

-Tactical shortage

What further strengthens the doubts hanging on the Garudas’ AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 campaign is the squad’s lack of creativity.

Most of the play came from the wing and nothing more. There’s intricate passing and buildup play on almost all the areas of the pitch but, come the final third, the offence just hit a wall.

Head Coach Bima Sakti’s prematch statements proved true come game-time and it has become their downfall. Indonesia proved to be predictable in that fixture in Singapore.

-Egy Maulana’s exclusion

Lastly, Lechia Gdansk’s Indonesian sensation Egy Maulana did not make the squad. With the confidence of the squad and the concerns hounding them leading into the tournament, they would need the best personnel that they could get at their disposal even if it’s just for a fraction of the campaign.

Egy Maulana could have suited for the Garudas within the FIFA calendar and his talents could have been a big boost for the squad to come up with the best chance of pulling off positive results.

Now that they have dropped their first match, if Egy had been called up and included in the team right form the start, then Coach Bima Sakti could have probably used him in the next fixture within the FIFA calendar could have helped turn things around.

But since he was not part of the squad at all that option goes out of the window.

With these, points, indeed Indonesia would need a major inspiration and motivation in these trying times, for them to turn things around and prove the doubters wrong.

But as it looks at the moment, they could be in for a forgettable 2018 AFF journey.