Jakarta. Indra Sjafri, Indonesia's under-19 team head coach, expects the best of Spanish La Liga side Espanyol when the teams play a friendly match at Bandung Lautan Api Stadium in Bandung, West Java, on Friday (14/07).
Indra, who led the team at the Toulon Tournament in France last June — where it failed to score a single point — believes playing games against stronger overseas opponents will help his squad prepare for the Asean Football Federation U-18 Championship in September.
"I made an agreement with the football association [PSSI] that my team should be tested in international matches. So we now have Espanyol here after the Toulon Tournament," Indra said on Thursday.
"In France we played against older opponents. Some of our players are sixteen-year-olds. It's good for them to experience real pressure," he added.
The U-19 national team on Sunday won a friendly 1-0 against second-tier local club Persewangi Banyuwangi. But Indra feels playing local clubs are not nearly enough.
"Our youth teams always struggle when they play in overseas tournaments, [I think] because we only spar with local clubs. That was why I demanded [the PSSI] to let us play friendly matches against European clubs," Indra said.
"I've asked Espanyol to put real pressure on us so we can learn from our mistakes and find solutions," he said. "The experience will be invaluable," he added.
The La Liga side has brought its U-19 team to Indonesia and promised a real show on Friday. "The team will play professionally with maximum effort," Espanyol B coach David Gallego Rodriguez said.