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Indonesia axe coach after World Cup losing streak

Jakarta (AFP) – Indonesia will search for a new national team coach after football officials announced Simon McMenemy would be sacked following this month’s World Cup qualifier against Malaysia.

The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) said it would part ways with the Scot after a World Cup match in Kuala Lumpur on November 19.

No reasons were given, but Indonesia sit bottom of Asian World Cup qualifying Group G after losing all four matches so far, leading to a #SimonOut social media campaign to get rid of the coach.

The 41-year-old McMenemy signed a two-year contract last year to manage the national team.

“We thank Simon for his cooperation so far,” newly-elected PSSI chairman Muhammad Iriawan said Wednesday.

“We hope for a positive result in the match against Malaysia.”

The PSSI said it was considering several candidates to replace McMenemy, including former South Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong and ex-Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Luis Milla.

McMenemy’s sacking was the first major decision by Iriawan, a former Jakarta police chief, since he won a weekend election.

Local media described a heated extraordinary meeting where a raft of candidates walked out before the vote over apparent infighting and concerns about the team’s sub-par performance.

The organisation’s leadership has been in turmoil after two former chairmen left this year amid match-fixing allegations.

Last month, Indonesia’s football association was slapped with a $45,000 sanction by FIFA over crowd chaos that erupted at a match. 

Visiting Malaysian fans were threatened and pelted with projectiles after upsetting the home side in Jakarta.

Indonesian football and its professional league have been tarnished by a host of problems, including match-fixing scandals and deadly hooliganism. 

But the country has joined a consortium of Southeast Asian countries in an ambitious bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.

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