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Bambang upbeat about Indonesia's chances in AFF Suzuki Cup


06-Aug-2012
The talismanic Bambang Pamungkas feels Indonesia can be competitive in the AFF Suzuki Cup despite a poor start to their build-up on Saturday when they lost 5-0 to Spanish giants Valencia.

"We still have some several months yet to the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 and I feel that we have all the right ingredients to whip up a good competitive squad for the biennial championship," said Bambang, so often the hero for Indonesia in the past.

Bambang pulled on the national jersey for the first time in more than a year and was joined in the squad by experienced campaigners Firman Utina, the MVP at the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, and Ponaryo Astaman, a former captain, as new coach Nil Maizar started the process of building a unified team for the leading tournament in Asean football.

The 2010 runners-up were outclassed by the La Liga powerhouses with Pablo Piatti, Paco Alcacer and Ricardo Costa finding the target in the first half and Spanish international Pablo Hernandez and Alcacer hitting two more after the break.

Veteran Muhammad Ridwan came close to grabbing one back for Indonesia early in the second half but his shot was deflected onto a post and Bambang signed off a disappointing evening with a flashing header that was saved by the keeper.

"We got some lessons from the game against Valencia so it is important that we take them and improve ourselves for the AFF Suzuki Cup later this year," said Maizar.

The national squad will go back into a training camp until August 15 and report again on August 25 after a short break.

Indonesia, runners-up in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2010, 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.