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Papua Football Academy: Rising the New Football Talent

by Senaman
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Excellent seeds of young soccer talents continue to emerge from the land of Papua. Some have matured and stepped foot as Indonesian National Team players and become the pride of their respective clubs, some are still processing their talents, honing, and competing with their peers to get a decent place in Indonesian Football or get optimal playing hours to continue to seek experience to be worthy of being called a professional soccer player.

The presence of Papua Football Academy is a place that can accommodate young people who want to achieve their dreams on the green field. Papua is a blessed land, with rich nature, fertile land, and amazingly beautiful landscapes. In addition, the young talents in the land of Papua are also rich and diverse, this is what is honed by the Papua Football Academy.

Since long ago, soccer players from Papua have always routinely strengthened the Indonesian national team without exception. From the time of Rully Nere at the 1987 SEA Games until what we know now is Ricky Kambuaya who is still actively defending the national team in the Senior class.

The soccer player who comes from the most extreme province in eastern Indonesia is known for his speed, technique, and extraordinary physical strength when he takes to the field. This is a natural talent that not all soccer players from other parts of Indonesia have. It’s just that, these talents have been less optimized due to the lack of a football academy in Papua.

All this time Papuans have been practicing on their own, with natural training and no coaches. Soccer Schools (SSB) actually exist in Papua, but in soccer schools, training is only done for one week with two to three meetings. The training provided by the Football School in Papua is actually quite a lot, it is not because it guarantees the transfer of knowledge from the coach to the player directly effectively, and efficiently.

In addition, training at Football Schools in Papua usually only takes place two or three times a week. Meanwhile, at soccer academies such as the Papua Football Academy (PFA), the players occupy a dormitory so that they can be more intense and focused on gaining soccer knowledge. Not only soccer, but the children also get class sessions. The manager brings in teachers to teach them science as in school, this is done so that the talents are not left behind in terms of academy education.

With the presence of this Academy, everyone has a clear curriculum. The current philosophy in Indonesia or the Indonesian Football Philosophy (Filanesia), is taught effectively to young talents. Especially with the current football trend that tends to play football (build up) from the defense area, it is also taught at PFA.

In the training session which lasted for 2.5 hours, the PFA players were familiarized with playing short balls quickly with an emphasis on positioning. But practicing in the heat of Jakarta, the players did not look tired. Instead, they were eager to chase and pass the ball.

Not to be underestimated, Dortmund legend Marcel Schmelzer gave instructions to the young talents. Schmelzer was accompanied by other former Dortmund players, such as Paul Lambert and Jorg Heinrich, when providing training.

After seeing the soccer skills of the young Papuan players, Heinrich admitted that they had special talent. However, the boys need to gain a better understanding of playing tactics and strategies. Schmelzer hopes that his presence with his two comrades-in-arms at Dortmund can inspire Papuan players to train and pursue a career as a professional footballer seriously.

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