KOMPAS.com – Indonesian soccer has lost one of its most influential figures over the past decade — Austrian-born former men’s national team coach Alfred Riedl who passed away at the age of 70 in Vienna.
The cause of death has yet to be confirmed, though Riedl has had a history of heart problems dating back to 2015.
In a coaching career lasting nearly 30 years between 1989 to 2016, the former Austrian national team striker had extensive experience in Indonesian soccer since 2010.
This includes three stints with the national team in 2010-2011, 2013-2014 and 2016, as well as Indonesian league side PSM Makassar in 2016.
However, he was best known to Indonesian soccer fans for carrying the national team to the finals of the AFF Cup twice in 2010 and 2016.
In the 2010 edition of the biennial tournament, Riedl skippered a team headed by players like defender Hamka Hamzah and forwards Cristian Gonzalez and Irfan Bachdim to a showdown against bitter rivals Malaysia.
A 1-3 loss to Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, followed by a 2-1 win in Jakarta saw Indonesia lose the Cup on aggregate 3-4. Insult followed injury for Riedl, as he was fired shortly after in an internal power struggle in the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).
Following a second, uneventful stint at the helm of the so-called Garuda or Indonesian soccer team in 2013-2014, Riedl guided them back to the finals of the AFF Cup in its 2016 edition against Thailand.
Fielding a squad filled with stars like goalie Kurnia Meiga, midfielder Stefano Lilipaly, and striker Boaz Solossa, Indonesia started off promisingly as they beat Thailand in Bogor 2-1. Yet the Garuda fell short once again, as they lost 0-2 to Thailand in Bangkok.
Riedl may have been runner-up in the AFF Cup, but his feats for the Indonesian national team ensured he remains a champion for Indonesian soccer fans.
(Writers/Editors: Mochamad Sadheli, Nirmala Maulana Achmad)