Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) emphasized that prospective athletes from Papua should be coached from an early age but without leaving their education at school.

After launching the Papua Football Academy (PFA) at the Lukas Enembe Stadium, Sentani, Papua, Wednesday, President Jokowi said that Papua had huge potential in sports, not only in football but also athletics, rowing, and various other sports.

"Coaching at the Papua Football Academy starts from the age of 12 - 13 years, and later, they can enter the U-14, U-16, U-19, and the Indonesian national team and the world football team,” Jokowi stated in an online press statement monitored from Jakarta.

With such vast potential, Jokowi called Papua a sports province. However, he stressed that Papua's young potentials that are being trained should not leave school education.

Jokowi also lauded the PFA and facilities at the Lukas Enembe Stadium. He expected that the facility, which was originally built to hold the XX National Sports Week (PON XX Papua), was maintained, so that it could be optimized in a sustainable manner for the younger generation of Papua.

He also expressed optimism that PFA would provide good sports assistance, so that the athletes produced can surpass the achievements of Papuan sports legends.

"I think the coaches are also very good. The facilities for sports and the fields are more than adequate, so we are just waiting for the results and I am sure there will be results," President Jokowi said.

Related news: Papua: Govt seeks to develop young sports talents

The government will support the development of young Papuan sports talents through cooperation between senior high schools in Papua and Japan, an official from the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) earlier said.

The development of talented Papuan youths in the sports field is very important, KSP's expert staff for human resource development Rini Modouw said.

"Papua is known as a home to athletes, so we need good mentors and coaches as well as funds (to develop their talent)," she added while attending the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between two senior high schools, one in Smankor, Papua, and the other in Yamagata Chuou Gakkou, Japan.

With the signing of the MoU, Modouw vouched to give due attention to the building and human resources of the educational institution.

"So, we, along with the Papua Provincial Education and Archive Office and Smankor Papua, will build connection, so, during the leadership of President Joko Widodo, we will pay attention to the school building," she said.

In addition, her office will team up with the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry to develop the Smankor school building in future, she stated.

Modouw said she will pass on copies of the MoU to the education and youth and sports ministries, so that the development of young sports talents can be aligned with education at schools in general.
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Translator: Indra AP, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Suharto
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