Indonesia has appointed former China Under-20 coach Luis Manuel Blanco to take over the reins of its struggling national football team from Nil Maizar, the country's football association (PSSI) announced on Thursday.
The appointment was announced by PSSI chairman Djohar Arifin Husin a day after Indonesia’s defeat to Iraq in the Asian Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
Blanco will be joined by his compatriots Jorge Di Gregorio and Marcos Conenna in the Indonesia coaching set-up.
But in a strange twist, Djohar flatly denied that Maizar was sacked and insisted that the previous head coach will still be involved with the team in an as-yet undecided rule.
"Nobody got rid of him, Nil won't be out," Djohar said. "[Instead], the current coaching staff will work together with the Argentinean coaching team."
Djohar also admitted that a "sponsor" will be paying Blanco’s salary, amid speculation that the Argentinean’s appointment was a result of a meeting between Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kischner in Jakarta last month.
Blanco, a former Boca Juniors player, started coaching in 1991 with Mexican Club Cobras de Ciudad de Juarez and has had many stints which include Dinamo Tirana and the China youth squad.