Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Saturday asked the U-20 national team to not be disheartened over missing out on the World Cup, saying there are still many opportunities for them to compete in international championships.

"These U-20 players are still young and still have many opportunities, such as the SEA Games, Asian Games, AFF (the ASEAN Football Federation competition), or the 2024 Olympics," he said at a press conference after meeting with the team at Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Sports Complex here on Saturday (April 1).

He visited the GBK area on Saturday afternoon to give encouragement to the U-20 national players after FIFA revoked Indonesia's hosting rights for the 2023 U-20 World Cup.

The revocation effectively made the Indonesian team ineligible for competing in the matches since it had failed the regular qualification route.

"Today, I am here at GBK to encourage the U-20 team so that they do not keep being in disappointment and sadness," Widodo said.

He told the U-20 national team players that the government wants to have a national team built and fostered maturely so that it is well-prepared and qualified.

He stressed that the U-20 national team players still have plentiful opportunities.

"I tell them not to be discouraged," he reiterated.

FIFA, on Wednesday evening (March 29), decided to remove Indonesia as the World Cup host, citing current conditions in the country.

Before FIFA made the decision, several parties and regional heads had protested against the participation of the Israeli national team in U-20 matches in Indonesia.

Following the revocation, the President directed Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) chairperson Erick Thohir to continue negotiating with FIFA regarding the potential sanctions that could be enforced in its aftermath.

The President also asked Thohir to speed up the completion of the national football transformation blueprint and convey it to FIFA as proof of the country’s commitment to improving national football.

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Translator: Indra P, Kenzu
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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