Indonesia’s preparations for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers beginning on Friday received a huge blow after eligibility of their star player Ezra Walian was questioned by the authorities.
Ezra, born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to an Indonesian father and Dutch mother, had played for the European nation at the junior levels before switching his loyalties to the Southeast Asian nation in 2017.
The preparation of the Indonesian national team for the U-23 Asian Cup Qualification was disturbed by the news. Naturalized player Ezra Walian reportedly was hampered by administrative problems and threatened to be absent.
The 21-year-old who received Indonesian citizenship through naturalisation had helped Indonesia U-23s reach the semifinals of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. He also made his senior international debut in a friendly in March 2017.
However, it looks as if the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has raised concerns about the Indonesian player’s eligibility to play for his nation. With his name yet to be registered for the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers, it is looking likely that he will not play a part in Indonesia’s campaign.
“Indonesia registered 22 players first, because Ezra had not yet received his registration with the AFC. This is because Ezra played in the UEFA U-17 Championship qualifiers with the Netherlands national team in 2013, “said a PSSI official.
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Tim nasional Indonesia U-23 siap tempur melawan Thailand pada laga perdana Kualifikasi Piala Asia U-23, Jumat (22/3), di Stadion My Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam. . . “Semua persiapan sudah dilakukan dengan baik. Kami juga sudah siap menghadapi semua laga. Pemain pun dalam kondisi bagus dan siap bertanding,” kata Indra dalam sesi konferensi pers pra-laga, Kamis (21/3) siang. Indra memohon doa dan dukungan masyarakat Indonesia agar bisa raih hasil terbaik. “Mohon doa dan dukungannya agar kami bisa main dan dapatkan hasil maksimal,” tuturnya. #PSSINow #KitaGaruda
“Right now, we are in a position to wait for a reply from FIFA whether to allow him to play or not. AFC informed us this two days ago,” the official added.
Indonesia are set to face Thailand in their inaugural match on Friday and the deadline to register names for the tournament will be six hours before the kick off.
With the PSSI still awaiting confirmation from FIFA, it looks like it going to be a race against time for Indra Sjafri and his Indonesian side.