3. Indonesian Soccer Legend Ricky Yacobi Dies
Indonesian soccer has lost one of its leading sports figures, as former soccer star Ricky Yacobi has died on 21 November at the age of 57. His death came two months after the passing of Indonesian national team coach Alfred Riedl last September.
“Ricky experienced a heart attack as he was playing soccer in Jakarta’s Senayan Sports Complex. He passed away at the Mintoharjo Navy Hospital,” his family said.
Known as the “Indonesian Paul Breitner” after the German World Cup winning attacking midfielder, Ricky received 31 caps for the Indonesian national team between 1985 to 1991, scoring five goals.
The Medan, North Sumatra native was a fixture in the Garuda national squad, and was known for his “exceptional speed and explosive movements that often confused opponents…as well as his instinct for goals,” noted then Bola sports tabloid reporter M. Nigara.
Ricky contributed to the Garuda’s gold medal run in the 1987 SEA Games by scoring in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Indonesia won by beating perennial rivals Malaysia 1-0 in the final at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on 20 September 1987, courtesy of his teammate Ribut Waldi’s goal.
Prior to SEA Games glory, Ricky also made the headlines with a goal against the United Arab Emirates at the 1986 Asian Games.
He was also the first Indonesian player to play overseas, as he played for the Japanese league side Matsushita FC in 1988. However, his tenure there was more lackluster, as he only featured in six games, scoring one goal.
Yet he still hit the pitch following his retirement from soccer, as he founded the Ricky Yacobi Soccer School in Jakarta, of which he was still in charge at the time of his death.
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