Chelsea hero Wise trying to find next Indonesian football talent in strange role
It is no secret that there is a lack of Asian footballers playing at the very top level, and Chelsea legend Dennis Wise is doing all he can to stop that from being the case.
One nation in particular that lack star players at the very top level is Indonesia.
The Southeast Asian country have no players in any of Europe’s top leagues, with Elkan Baggott of Ipswich under-23s the only player in England in Indonesia’s national team.
According to Transfermarkt, Indonesia’s most expensive talent is Asnawi Mangkualam who plays for Ansan Greeners in the second tier of South Korean football – he is worth £375,000.
However, 55-year-old Wise is working towards more young talent from the country being signed and developing in Europe.
Wise is the technical director of a long-term football coaching program called Garuda Select, which takes under-17 players from Indonesia and allows them to train and play around England and Italy.
The idea is for top clubs then to be able to see the players and sign them, whilst also allowing the crop of young stars to improve and prepare for larger national targets such as qualifying for the 2030 World Cup.
HAVE YOUR SAY! How successful will be Garuda Select be? Comment below.
The prospects are given professional coaching in Europe and shown a glimpse of what it is like to be a footballer, testing their physical and mental willpower.
Garuda Select play matches against some of the best academies in the world, including Arsenal and Chelsea, to show scouts at the matches what they are capable of.
The journey of the young players is followed closely by those back home, with TV shows and YouTube videos regularly updating the world of the progress the players are making at the camp.
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And it is not just Wise who is onboard with the program since it was born in January 2019, Des Walker, who played for Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, is also a coach.
He, like Wise, is very passionate about the project.
It remains to be seen just how much success Walker and Wise have with Garuda Select, who most recently played against the Gillingham youth team at Chatham Town FC’s stadium, located in Kent.
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