Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed his wish that the national football team might someday become one of the best in Southeast Asia:

“Our nation has talent. We have the ability to be great. If there are no concrete steps taken on our part, nothing good can ever happen. Football requires not only a very good coach, but also good management, training, good facilities. The system must work,” Yudhoyono said.

It’s amazing how football can be a metaphor for economic development, not only in Indonesia but anywhere. A nation with vast resources and talent can only reach its fullest potential with the proper infrastructure, good management, and enough investment to back it all up. The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) has suffered from accusations of match fixing and poor management and the national team currently sits at 137th in FIFA’s world rankings — far from its potential as an Asian Conference and World powerhouse.

Personally, I think President Yudhoyono is aiming too low. Indonesia should not content itself with being among the best in Southeast Asia, it should set its eyes on the broader international stage.