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, which is banned from international football.
Indonesian Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi has announced that he wants Mourinho, who has been out of work since December after being sacked by Chelsea, to train the country's national side.
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 northwest England.
"This has been discussed with President Joko Widodo," Nahrawi was quoted as saying by state-run news agency Antara on Monday in Jakarta.
However Nahrawi conceded that it was "not an easy thing to do", particularly given the high cost of hiring Mourinho.
In addition, Mourinho would be landed with a team that currently cannot even compete internationally after FIFA 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 afterwards.
An interim league kicked off at the end of last month, but authorities and the football association are still at loggerheads and the FIFA suspension remains in place. The national side is ranked 185th by FIFA.
If efforts to net Mourinho fails, Indonesia has a plan B -- they will go after Chelsea's interim manager, Guus Hiddink.
"Hiddink costs a little less," Nahrawi said.
The approach to 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 in recent times after war-ravaged Syria sounded him out about managing their national team.
Mourinho insisted he would be back in management by summer -- but not with Syria.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: May 10, 2016 21:24:17 IST