2023 FIFA U17 World Cup, Indonesia’s chance for redemption

The 2023 FIFA U17 World Cup will be Indonesia’s chance for redemption after losing the hosting rights in U20 World Cup earlier.

Indonesia has an opportunity to show the world and especially FIFA that they have changed significantly and can stage the international competition properly. Their football future was previously under scrutiny following the Kanjuruhan tragedy and political issues that resulted in them being stripped of hosting the U20 World Cup last April.

The largest nation in South East Asia has been deemed fortunate to be named the new host of FIFA’s tournament again after their ridiculous rejection to welcome Israel. The Middle Eastern country was one of the qualified teams in U20 World Cup 2023, prior to the final draw at the end of March. Consequently, they lost the hosting rights, which was eventually given to Argentina.

However, on 23 Une, the original host of this year’s U17 World Cup, Peru, decided to withdraw due to financial difficulties and infrastructure issues. Despite their previous threat of suspension, FIFA then appointed Indonesia to replace Peru. The success of hosting international friendlies against Palestine and Argentina in June, as well as infrastructure improvements that passed FIFA feasibility testing, were thought to be the deciding factors in regaining hosting rights for FIFA’s tournament.

Indonesia will make their U17 World Cup debut in 2023. Surprisingly, they have yet to be an official national competition for U17 teams. As a result, the Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) decided to hold a rapid selection program from local youth competitions across the country before naming 28 players to the U17 provisional squad. They are scheduled to arrive in Germany for a training camp from September 17 to October 23, 2023.

The tournament itself will be staged in four cities, Jakarta, Surabaya, Solo and Bandung from November 10 to December 2. It is the same date as the original one which Peru was supposed to host.

All about the 2023 FIFA U17 World Cup in Indonesia

Final draw result

The final draw has just been completed on September 15 at FIFA headquarters in Zurich. The result is as follows:

Group A: Indonesia, Ecuador, Panama, Morocco

Group B: Spain, Canada, Mali, Uzbekistan

Group C: Brasil, Iran, New Caledonia, England

Group D: Japan, Poland, Senegal, Argentina

Group E: France, Burkina Faso, South Korea, USA

Group F: Mexico, Germany, Venezuela, New Zealand

The Venues

Indonesia football governing body initially proposed eight stadiums: six from the 2023 U20 World Cup venues; Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium Jakarta, Gelora Bung Tomo (GBT) Stadium Surabaya, Manahan Stadium Solo, Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium Palembang, Jalak Harupat Stadium Bandung, and I Kapten Wayan Dipta Stadium Denpasar, Bali; followed by two additional ones; Jakarta International Stadium (JIS) and Pakansari Stadium.

In the end, FIFA only approved four stadiums as the main venues: JIS Jakarta, GBT stadium Surabaya, Jalak Harupat stadium Bandung and Manahan Stadium Solo. Indonesia’s most famous and historic venue, GBK stadium, was excluded because it has been scheduled for Coldplay concert on November 15.

The U17 World Cup 2023 will only be held on Java Island, rather than the entire archipelago for the sake of logistic issue and preparation, given that they only have less six months to do so. The opening ceremony and the final will be held respectively in Surabaya and Solo, instead of at the capital.

The Stars from the Past Editions

Unlike the U20 World Cup, the U17 one has not gained much global exposure. The tournament itself did not begin until 1985, six years after the first FIFA Youth World Championship. In this U17 World Cup, Africa is the king of the tournament with seven titles. Nigeria won five times whereas Ghana lifted the trophy twice. CONMEBOL and UEFA won the trophy four times each.

Plenty of stars were also born in U17 World Cup, from the likes of Fernando Redondo – the Argentine star in 1990s = Juventus legends Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon, Ronaldinho, Carlos Tevez, Toni Kroos to the current top players such as Nigerian’s Victor Osimhen, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Barcelona man, Pedri. Among those names, only the Brazilian legend Ronaldinho managed to win both the U17 World Cup and the senior FIFA World Cup.

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