Thursday, September 13, 2007

Indonesian volleyball sets new target for upcoming SEA Games

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Though the men's volleyball team failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the team has more than enough talent to medal at the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand in December, said assistant coach Machfud Irsyada.

"If nothing happens to the members of the team in the last three months before the SEA Games, our chance is 50-50 of beating Thailand in the final," Machfud told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

Machfud said Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar were seen as the biggest threats to Indonesia at the SEA Games, with Thailand being seen as especially dangerous because it has home advantage.

"Experience tells us that Thailand is usually dominant if it hosts a game," said Machfud.

After the recently concluded Asian Volleyball Championship, an evaluation of the team determined they lacked a fighting spirit and big game experience, Machfud said.

"In the first three matches we played very well. We had some hard-fought games against tough teams like Chinese Taipei and China. But after three matches, the team's receiving went bad and we kept losing; it was not because the team was tired, but they lacked fighting spirit," Machfud said.

He said the team would use most of the time before the SEA Games improving their skills and spirit.

Coach Hu Xin Yu will lead the team to a training camp in China's Si Chuan province from Oct. 10-21, where they will play Chinese club teams.

"Looking for a real event in the last three months before the SEA Games is impossible. Therefore we will have our players face local teams in Sichuan province, which is considered competitive enough. This is more real than just conducting training in Indonesia," said Machfud.

He said Vietnam had also invited all the SEA Games teams to participate in a warm-up event before the SEA Games, but Indonesia had not yet decided whether to participate.

"The timing is too close to the SEA Games ...," Machfud said.

Indonesia failed to gain a berth in the Beijing Olympics after its poor showing in the Asian Volleyball Championship, held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9 in Jakarta.

As the host, Indonesia started in the round of the final eight by edging Thailand 3-2 in a five-set thriller on Sept. 3. It then lost to Chinese Taipei, powerhouse China, Japan, Iran and South Korea.

In the last match on Sunday, Indonesia to South Korea 3-0 (17-25, 17-25, 21-25), which marked the end of Indonesia's ambition for Olympic qualification.

"We tried our best, but this is the result. We will evaluate everything including using match statistics," Machfud said soon after the last match. (02)

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