Mourinho wanted by Indonesia

JAKARTA • As former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho mulls his next move, an unlikely suitor has emerged in the form of the beleaguered Indonesian national team, who are banned from international football.

Indonesian Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi announced yesterday that he wants Mourinho, who has been out of work since December after being sacked by the Blues, to train the world's 185th-ranked team.

Mourinho has been widely linked to Manchester United, where Louis van Gaal has spent most of the season under siege, but Nahrawi hopes the 53-year-old Portuguese might pick sun-kissed, tropical Indonesia over chilly north-west England.

"This has been discussed with President Joko Widodo," Nahrawi was quoted as saying by the state news agency Antara. However he conceded that it was "not an easy thing to do", particularly given the high cost of hiring Mourinho.

In addition, the manager would be saddled with a team who currently cannot even compete internationally after Fifa, football's governing body, suspended Indonesia in May last year over allegations of government interference.

The crisis began when the government sought to remove the football association due to a row over which teams could participate in the country's top league, and the domestic game ground to a halt soon after.

An interim league kicked off last month, but authorities and the FA are still at loggerheads.

If efforts to net Mourinho fail, Indonesia has a plan B - it will go after Chelsea's interim manager, Guus Hiddink. "Hiddink costs a little less," Nahrawi said.

The approach for Mourinho came after Indonesia last month threw its hat into the ring to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, despite the Fifa ban.

The Indonesian proposition is the second unusual offer for Mourinho, after war-ravaged Syria sounded him out about helming their national team.

The manager insisted he would be back in management by the summer - but not with Syria.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Mourinho wanted by Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe