How do you feel being chosen as one of the Ambassadors of the Indonesian Teams?
I’m proud to be one of the Ambassadors of the Indonesian Teams because it means to be a role model for all athletes by sharing my experiences to work hard and to have the right mentality to achieve success. In this role, I attended all events by Indonesian teams’ sponsors and created a lot of awareness on social media, too.
In soccer, who is your biggest rival?
You can’t underestimate any opponent. I always try to compete with myself to get the best out of me—that’s what professionals do.
What attracted you to this particular sport?
I’ve been playing football since I was six years old. It’s the kind of happiness that’s difficult to describe because the effort you exert and the discipline you have to train are not the easiest, but there is no better feeling than winning in front of so many spectators! (laughs)
How do you get out of a slump?
I will sleep on it and try to analyze what went wrong. In the end it’s normal to lose or to win, most importantly, however, is that you always give your best.
Who is your mentor or role model? What about the next generation of football players?
I talk a lot with my parents and they are my motivation to keep going. Dwayne Johnson inspires me, too, because of his positivity and motivational talk on social media. For the next generation, it’s difficult to give a clear opinion because I haven’t seen them compete yet with other quality teams. But, I’m sure there is a lot of talent! My advice for the young ones is to work hard and be disciplined in life for a long career ahead.
What is your proudest achievement?
If I have to pick one, then it will be the friendly match between Indonesia and Holland in 2013. I was born and raised in Holland, and have many family members there. But I was already playing for Indonesia against some of my former teammates I used to play with, such as Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. That was very impressive!
Do you have any interests outside of sports, like a hobby or a work? Do you have plans to pursue these?
Among a few other sports I like, boxing is special because I grew up with it and my dad was a former boxer; beside sports, I like to read and write especially about different cultures and history. Thanks to my job I travel a lot, and that’s become a hobby for me too.
Where do you see yourself in the next five or 10 years?
That’s always an interesting question. I’ve got a pre-masters degree in marketing and management, so either way I will work in a company or continue in the football business; perhaps I could also start my own business in technology. Above all is to stay healthy, and to be happy with what you do and with the people you’re surrounded by.
For football, what suggestion would you give to the government to improve its support, and why?
I would suggest that the government provides athletes with better facilities because most of the time the training accommodation and hotels are very poor—it’s important for pro athletes to have good facilities.
What do you think about today’s prospects and treatment for retired athletes, and how do you prepare for yours?
I think there should be more awareness in the society to help athletes with their career as soon as they are about to retire. It’s not easy to switch to another lifestyle because athletes have a totally different lifestyle than others. I’ve seen athletes got into depression because they don’t know what to do anymore—all of a sudden they have to live a normal life and don’t know how they should deal with it. That’s why I'm trying to see what I can do after my career by focusing more on my sponsorship and endorsement as a brand ambassador—another thing that I’d like to do and can maintain after my career as well!