FC Barcelona lends a hand to RI soccer

Laura Macintosh, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 01/26/2012 10:29 AM

In conjunction with FC Barcelona, Indonesia will open a live-in academy for budding young football players in Sentul, Bogor, in September later this year.  

To be known as the FC Barcelona Escola Indonesia (FCBEI), it will accept 250 budding Indonesian football players annually, aged between five and 18.

Students aged between five and 11 will attend training after their regular school lessons, whilst attendees aged between 12 and 18 will live at the academy from Monday to Friday.
Tanto Marti, soccer consultant for FC Barcelona, is confident of the program’s success in Indonesia, due to the fact that it is already up and running in other countries.

“[FC] Barcelona is doing this in Brazil, India, Singapore, Poland and Malaysia. But Indonesia is the first one with a residence [as opposed to a day school],” he says. Besides technical, tactical and physical soccer training, students will undertake condensed general school subjects, including English, Spanish, mathematics, economics, science and nutrition.

Few events allow one country to raise their flag in another’s peacefully.  Sport is one of them.  And with more than 270 million people actively involved worldwide, soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport on the planet.

In Indonesia, this is no exception. However, due to internal squabbles and conflicting political agendas within the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI), the Indonesian national soccer team has been lacking in achievement.

Due to concern over Indonesia’s poor soccer performance on the world stage, despite the country’s intrinsic love for the sport, a group of local business people has banded together to set up a social business enterprise, known as Excellion Analytics. In cooperation with Japan’s High Dynamics Investment, they are responsible for this one-of-a-kind project in Indonesia.

Dario Gambit Fauri, from 360 Sports Marketing, insists that the students at the academy will receive the most comprehensive of educations.

“Smart kids make great athletes,” he says. And besides a formal education, “we will train their characters.” This refers to lessons that can be learned through playing soccer, such as sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork and the ability to deal with rejection and loss.

When selecting a soccer club to partner the development of the sport in Indonesia, FC Barcelona was the ultimate choice. With a proud 112-year history, the club is currently the most successful club in the world, having won 10 out of the 13 official tournaments played over the past three years.

The true success story behind FC Barcelona lies in the fact that despite European soccer teams being notorious for buying international players for exorbitant amounts of money, 50 percent of the teams current players come from La Masia, Barcelona’s version of FCBEI.

This long-term investment in Indonesian soccer aims to have the national team rank in the top four Asian teams by 2022, and qualify to compete at the World Cup in 2026.

When asked whether the current turmoil within the PSSI would hinder this goal, Dario replies, “We’re hoping that in 10 years they sort it out… we just want to create great players… create awesome stars, and then we will bring Indonesia up to the international level.”
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