The First Soccer Academy in Papua
31 August 2022
A day before visiting Tembagapura, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, inaugurated Papua Football Academy at Papua Bangkit Stadium in Papua’s capital Jayapura. The academy was created by PT Freeport Indonesia to help develop Papuan youth soccer players from the area.
The Papua Football Academy was created at the request of Widodo to help the government develop Papuans in the sports sector after the first successful National Sports Week held in the province in 2021. The academy is managed by Wolfgang Pikal, a former soccer club manager with extensive experience as a club manager in many Indonesian soccer clubs.
Training in the academy is designed based on comprehensive sports science, including soccer techniques, sports analysis, nutrition and psychology, physiology and injury treatment.
Tony Wenas, PTFI President Director, explained that besides getting in-depth soccer training, students also get formal education during the two-year academy. The academy is headquartered at the PTFI-built Mimika Sports Complex in Timika. In its first batch, Papua Football Academy has 30 students ages 13 and 14 who were selected through a rigorous screening.
“We are focusing on the student’s capacity building. So, besides the comprehensive sports training, they are also getting a good formal education, so they would graduate as potential soccer players with a great sense of sportsmanship who are also smart and intelligent,” Wenas said.
“I hope that Papua Football Academy students will make the best use of the opportunity given to them to master the science of soccer,” Jokowi said. “We expect that by attending this academy, we will see many great soccer players from Papua nationally and internationally.”
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