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Back to the future for Indonesia


04-Aug-2012
Firman Utina, the MVP at the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, is expected to return to action for Indonesia along with the talismanic Bambang Pamungkas and ex-skipper Ponaryo Astaman for the friendly against Spanish giants Valencia on Saturday.

Indonesia coach Nil Maizar has included the experienced trio in the squad as he starts preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.

As well as the match against Valencia, Indonesia will play DPR Korea and the under-23 sides from Malaysia and Indonesia in a tournament slated for September.

"For sure the SCTV Cup will have a positive impact on the continued preparation of the national team for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012. The match against DPR Korea has been registered as an international 'A' match, so it will have an effect on the world rankings," said Djohar Arifin Husein, the president of PSSI (Indonesia FA) on the official website of the Asean Football Federation.

Indonesia were runners-up in the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2010 but have yet to be crowned kings of Asean football.

In the aftermath of their final loss to Malaysia two years ago, selection problems meant weakened sides contesting some qualifying matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the result that Indonesia shipped 26 goals and scored just three as they finished bottom of Group E.

Indonesia will face defending champions Malaysia, three-time winners Singapore and the second-placed team from the qualifying tournament in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.