World Cup winners Argentina will visit Indonesia next month for a friendly against its national team, its top football official said on Wednesday (May 24), in a boost for a country that has suffered a succession of recent football setbacks.
The visit will be part of an Asian tour by the South American side. It also includes a Jun 15 stop in Beijing for a friendly against Australia
The announcement coincides with Argentina hosting the U-20 World Cup, serving as a substitute for Muslim-majority Indonesia.
The tournament relocated from Indonesia in March due to domestic opposition to Israel’s participation.
The friendly will take place eight months after Indonesia suffered one of the world’s deadliest stadium stampedes.
With 135 people killed in a scramble to flee as police fired tear gas into the stands in Malang in East Java.
Though football is huge in the country of 270 million people, Indonesia has struggled to make its mark in the international game. Since a single World Cup appearance back in 1938 as the Dutch East Indies.
Its fans are, however, currently on a high from winning the gold medal at the SEA Games for the first time since 1991.
“This is great momentum for Indonesian soccer to maintain its resurgence,” Erick Thohir. Chief of the Indonesian football association (PSSI) told a press conference on the Argentina match
Argentina and Indonesia last met in the World Youth Championship in Japan in 1979. A match in which the great Diego Maradona played. Indonesia lost 5-0.