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Dahlan Iskan Former Minister for State-owned Enterprises

IO – Shocked: Indonesia was officially appointed host of the U-20 World Cup 2021.

Indonesian soccer is recognized worldwide. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s achievements are evident in sports.

The holding of the Asian Games last year was considered a success. In Jakarta and Palembang. At that time I was in China. For a long time. They talk about it in a positive tone.

President Jokowi also succeeded in bulldozing the All-Indonesia Soccer Association (PSSI). In an unusual way. The chaos at PSSI – beyond the complexity of the curriculum – can be bypassed. It’s safe too.

The competition was relatively smooth – even in the election year. Even in the fasting month. Elections and football can go hand in hand. In the fasting month of Ramadan soccer no longer has to be stopped entirely. There is a compromise: the match at night.

I am optimistic: The World Cup in 2021 will be a success. The success of the Asian Games provides broad confidence. In the world of sports.

It is a U-20 World Cup in Southeast Asia. When Malaysia was the host, it was 1997 – 24 years ago, when counting from 2021.

I don’t remember anything about the World Cup in Malaysia. At that time my attention was focused on saving the company. Indonesia was in dire straits from a monetary crisis.

At that time, I was determined: the company had to get out of the crisis when others just felt it. The sense of crisis came sooner in my mind.

I don’t even remember that there was a World Cup in Malaysia. I also do not know whether the Malaysian team could qualify from the initial round.

At that time, we talked about Malaysia. But not the World Cup. But the greatness of the Prime Minister (at that time) Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Who rebuffed the IMF.  Who managed to maintain the exchange rate of the Ringgit. It was then that Mahathir fired his very young Deputy Prime Minister: Dr. Datuk Anwar Ibrahim. The one who was more pro-IMF.

Can our national team be better than the Malaysian team at that time?

As the host of the team, we don’t need to pass the selection. It can automatically enter the final round.

We should have enough capital. In the AFF Cup, our junior national team just won.

They are now 17 years old. Still under the age of 20 in 2021 later.

As a team we already have a framework. 2 years is enough to ripen it.

In the history of the U-20 World Cup (or better known as the FIFA Youth World Cup) the team’s abilities are more evenly distributed. Not too dominated by Europe or Latin America.

During 22 times U-20 World Cups, only Argentina won six times. Countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany only once won.

In terms of stadiums, we are more than capable. Only six stadiums needed. Of the 10 proposed stadiums.

The provinces are like racing for their stadiums to be used. Until someone is annoyed. The second-largest city in Indonesia continues to lose to Palembang, for instance.

The mayor of Surabaya is apparently in a cold war with East Java Governor Khofifah. Because of the Bung Tomo Gelora stadium. Which might not be worth choosing.

Anyone knows. The stadium is too close to the garbage mountain, its smell can enter the stadium and is very sticky, it lingers.

The mayor’s spokesman explained: the smell can be overcome by chemicals. Every time there is a match, chemicals can be sprayed. It can also be covered with tarpaulin – which is very large.

Of course, it’s not just a matter of smell. Access to the stadium is still not “world-class”.

Not even any classes below.

That access can indeed be accelerated in two years. Artificial forests can also be made around trash mountains. Not only the smell is expelled. Physical decay must also be covered with beauty.

Maybe there’s no need to fight. After all, the FIFA team has the right to vote. Leave it entirely to them.

The important thing is that the World Cup finally comes to our home.