Zainudin Amali: Surprised at being appointed Minister of Youth and Sports

Zainudin Amali – his new challenge is Minister of Youth and Sports. (photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – Minister of Youth and Sports Zainudin Amali understands that many people may doubt his ability to apply a fix to Indonesia’s sports. “Never mind them – I myself was also doubtful if I could be Minister of Youth and Sports,” said Zainudin during his swearing-in in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Office, Senayan, Jakarta on Thursday, October 24. 

Zainudin signed the handover documents from Acting Minister of Youth and Sports Hanif Dhakiri who replaced Imam Nahrawi when Nahrawi became a suspect in a case involving corruption of grants for the Indonesian National Sports Committee (Komite Olahraga Nasional Indonesia – “KONI”) handled by the Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – “KPK”). 

Also attending the event were former Ministers of Youth and Sports Hayono Isman, Agung Laksono and Roy Suryo, alongside other stakeholders of Indonesian sports. 

During the ceremony the Minister of Youth and Sports for the 2019- 2024 period introduced his wife, Nadiah and his only daughter Safira. “If (you) see me walking with someone else, not with her, that means there is something and management must be fixed,” he said jokingly after calling them to the stage. 

Zainudin is a Golkar Party politician who has served three periods as a member of the legislative branch. Serving as the Minister of Youth and Sports will be his newest challenge. 

“Tens of years I was in the legislative (branch) and now I enter the executive (branch). This is a new challenge and I must be able to execute it well,” said Zainudin. 

Although considered to be a newcomer to sports, Zainudin admitted he was a fan of soccer. “If asked for a prediction on Barcelona vs. Real Madrid or another league, I think can I still (make one),” he said smiling. 

Barcelona is one of Zainudin’s favorite clubs. He was also a fan of AC Milan when it had the Netherlands trio Frank Rijkard, Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten. 

Zainudin also told of his time as a university student where he was one of the pioneers of the Student Football League (Liga Sepakbola Mahasiswa) in Jakarta. 

Zainudin is trying to work fast. After being sworn-in on Thursday night, he explained to reporters the issue of Indonesia being named the host of the U-20 World Cup in 2021. 

On Friday, the Minister went on to survey a number of training camps for sports which would be competed in in the SEA Games, including archery, athletics and karate. 

On Saturday morning, Zainudin accompanied President Joko Widodo in opening the Tenth Pancasila Youth Organization Conference in the Sultan Hotel Lagoon Garden Ballroom, Jakarta. During the night, he visited PSSI (Indonesian Soccer Association) secretary-general Ratu Tisha’s residence to express his condolences on her father’s recent passing. 

On Monday, the minister visited other sport camps, including tennis, weightlifting, pencak silat, volleyball, squash and taekwondo. 

“Pencak silat is a tradition and originally from our nation. (We) must continue to excel in it. Other countries, such as the United States are already developing it. If our achievements sag, after a while we will forget about pencak silat,” said the Minister during his visit to the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah Pencak Silat School. 

In the General Kunarto Volleyball School, Sentul West Java, he also shared motivation with athletes there. “For athletes and trainers, keep your spirit up! You are not only fighting for yourself or your family but for the hopes of more than 260 million Indonesians, for the country and nation,” said the Gorontalo-born minister. 

Zainudin is certain that the volleyball team could fulfil the targets set by the Indonesian Volleyball Association (PBVSI). “I am optimistic that the target of three medals stated by the Chairman can be achieved.” 

Zainudin has indeed been the object of doubt but he is trying hard to carry out his duties. He also understands that the Minister of Youth and Sports’ job is not only to visit training camps. Much success in your new job Minister! (rp)