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The First Batch of the Papua Football Academy is Ready to Explore a Career in the Professional Football League

by Senaman
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Football is the most popular sport among Papuans and this is evident in the popularity of Papuan soccer talents who play in football leagues at all levels, be it school, university or professional. Great potential and great public interest have led to the interest of several parties in developing it. One of them is PT Freeport Indonesia, which works with other parties to develop football talent in Indonesia through a football academy. Therefore, in 2022 the Papua Football Academy was established with the specific aim of nurturing selected talents in Papua for higher football careers.

Papua Football Academy is not just an ordinary football academy or football school. Considering the facilities of the Mimika Sports Complex and the participants of this academy, it can be said that this academy is the number one football academy at least in Papua. The head coach of the Papua Football Academy is Wolfgang Pikal, a football coach who has had a successful coaching career at various levels, both with clubs and national teams. In fact, Wolfgang Pikal once worked as an assistant to the legendary coach of the Indonesian national team, Alfred Riedl. Additionally, Wolfgang Pikal used to spent his coaching career in Indonesia as head coach of Persebaya Surabaya.

Papua Football Academy is known as a special football academy, with loads of talent, great facilities and skilled coaches. There is one aspect that this academy does not miss – special attention to the careers of students. A strict selection process began until only 24 students were selected in each class. After that, 24 students will study for about 2 years. For 2 years, not only soccer, but also non-soccer specialties are taught at the academy, and most importantly, the promise of formal education. So, in the future, the students of the Papua Football Academy are expected to not only have one skill, namely football, but they already have other skills, at least a formal studies with which they can explore other careers.

The first batch of the Papua Football Academy will graduate in 2024. The first batch of 24 are expected to continue working at football academies outside Papua that are directly linked to professional Indonesian clubs. Wolfgang Pikal, as the coach of the Papua Football Academy, hopes that his former students can have a long career with enough experience and talent. It can be said that the career of footballers in Indonesia is short, so Wolfgang Pikal advised the students not to be complacent and to be professionals in their careers.

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