Muhammad Raffa Yasin Casillas makes a save during the match against Capuchin in the Gazprom International Children’s social programee Football for Friendship at Moscow, on June 12.

Young Indonesian Footballer Gets International Exposure in Russia


JUNE 13, 2018

Moscow. While Iker Casillas has retired from International football, an Indonesian boy named after him has come to Moscow for his first international event and to learn a thing or two.

Muhammad Raffa Yasin Casillas and Alfonso Hutabarat represent Indonesia at the Football for Friendship international children's social program presented by Russian energy giant Gazprom in Moscow on June 8-15.

Casillas said his name comes with a little baggage and his teammates seemed amazed with it at the beginning.

"It's not a burden. Well, it is, just a little bit. My teammates called me repeatedly 'Casillas!, Casillas!' at the beginning," he said on Tuesday (12/06).

Casillas joined the Grizzly Bear team along with young footballers from Kosovo, Eritrea, Ghana, Guyana and Qatar, who were in Group D at the Football for Friendship World Championship. The team fell short in the group qualifying stage with one win, one draw and one loss. But Casillas made some great saves for his time, showing that he lives up to his name.

In the first match against Capuchin, Casillas looked edgy but managed to make some good saves. Leading by two in the first half, Casillas conceded two goals and Grizzly Bear had to settle for a draw.

Casillas had a clean sheet in second match, helping his team beat Eagle by 1-0. But Grizzly Bear lost 2-0 to Lion in the final stage match and ended its journey in the championship.

It's a lifetime experience for the 12-year-old, going to a foreign country for the first time, meeting new friends from around the globe and playing football.

"I have learned a lot playing in this event. I learnt about teamwork, responsibility and self-discipline, among others," he said.

After playing in the event, his coach gave him an assessment, which will develop him as a footballer.

"What I bring from the event is new football skills, communication skills and attitude. I have to be more talkative," he said.

Grizzly Bear coach Akram Guillermo Potmis has nothing but praise for the Indonesian and said Casillas has a good future.

He's a great goalkeeper; he's quick. Some goals fell, but it's not his fault. He made lots of saves. I believe he can be professional player," Potmis said.

"He's good, but he needs to be more talkative, tell his buddies what to do. He has to learn to be loud, because a goalkeeper has to be loud. He jumps really good in training."