Jakarta (ANTARA) - Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali has expressed the hope that meeting President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will bolster the spirit of the U-16 national football team that recently won the AFF U-16 Championship.

The meeting with Widodo is intended to fulfill their aspirations, and will probably take place after the Independence Day ceremony at Merdeka Palace here on August 17, 2022, he informed.

"I hope their spirit will be bolstered after meeting the President on August 17," Amali said after attending the inauguration ceremony of the Flag-Raising Troop (Paskibraka) for the Independence Day ceremony at the Presidential Palace complex here on Monday.

The minister also lauded the U-16 national team’s captain, Muhammad Iqbal Gwijangge, and his teammates for winning the championship.

"They are our hope for the future. They are amazing; their persistence, togetherness, and techniques are all apparent," Amali remarked.

He said that the U-16 national football team must not be given overly high targets as they need to first develop further before achieving more in the future.

"We hope their (performance) will be maintained and (they will) not (be) distracted by various matters, causing a decline in their achievements," the minister said

After the AFF Championship, the U-16 national football team will next fight to secure a place in the final of the AFC U-17 Asian Cup in 2023.

Gwijangge and his teammates will compete in Group B in the U-17 Asian Cup qualification stage against Guam, Malaysia, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates next October.

The U-16 national football team emerged victorious at the AFF U-16 Championship after defeating the Vietnamese team in the finals by 1-0 on August 12.

With this year's win, Indonesia has so far bagged two AFF U-16 Cup titles. It won the 2018 edition of the championship.

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Translator: Gilang Galiartha, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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