Much Ado About PSSI

I have written quite a lot of things about Juventus, Alessandro Del Piero and Italian national team but none about Indonesian football has been in the blog. And truth to be told, I am ashamed with myself. Despite the poor performance of the local football, I should have stood by them. I hope this small post can show how much I want the national football team to soar and record more achievements as what we have done in the past.

In the past three years, Indonesia has been, I may call it, as a football fan powerhouse. The huge number of football fans here has drawn some big football clubs from Europe to drop by in the country to greet their loyalists, including I.

In 2013, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea FC have visited the country within three weeks. I watch Arsenal and Chelsea here in the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium for the first time. Although I am the clubs’ fan, watching the world class players playing in front of my very eyes is truly a pricey entertainment. I really love seeing the clubs’ fans, or I call them as my fellow football addicts, celebrating their days.

A year on, it’s time for all Juventini, including I of course, have our own kind of Juventus national day. I lost for words to describe how grateful I am for the very rare experience in my life. I bet thousands of Juventini in the country feel the same way. For your information, Juventini in the country ranks second after the club’s native, Italy, in terms of the number of fans or specifically called as Juventini.

During the period, too, there has been several pay TV that puts European football leagues as their top selling product. The most-sought is definitely the Premier League given its attractive competition, some say so. Some of the pay TV are Nextmedia, OrangeTV and TransVision.

Not only that. Some of the local’s brands have been the major sponsors of the European clubs. For instance, the national flag carrier, PT Garuda Indonesia Tbk, for Liverpool FC. Then, PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, Tbk , which has been in commercial affiliations with the Manchester United. The latest one is gadget firm Advan that has teamed up with Barcelona to grab the club’s fans to become its buyers.

Unfortunately, despite the growing enthusiam for foreign clubs, the country’s football achievement has been dragging down. One of the reasons is the mismanagement of its football association or Persatuan Sepakbola Indonesia/PSSI.

Last week, the Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs Imam Nahrawi shocked the country by issuing a ministry decree that suspends the PSSI. It, thereby, does not acknowledge all of the association’s activities. What makes this looks like a thunder in the middle of the sunny day is that it is published a day before the association’s extraordinary congress has concluded La Nyalla Mattalitti as the chairman of the association replacing Djohar Arifin.

The decree that suspends the association from carrying out any activities has been triggered by the association’s decision to have kept allowing Arema Cronus and Persebaya playing in the QNB League, opposing the ministry’s recommendation. Three warning letters have been sent yet left ignored by the association. The two clubs are prohibited by the Indonesia Professional Sport Board because of technical and legal reasons.

While the suspension has ignited disappointment from the current chairman along with newly-selected board, local supporters couldn’t be happier. They say this decision has been much-awaited. They expect the ministry’s planned transition team will bring a new era for the PSSI. They want old regime, which is allegedly connected with a political party and has failed to lift up the achievement of the national team, be scrapped.

The supporters say they want the ministry to completely clean up the association from people who take advantages (money) from the association for the sake of their own. Despite the fact the decree does not resolve the most basic problems, even makes the already existing problems much more complicated, they say the ministry decision is still preferable. At least, they say, this will take the alleged irresponsible persons out of the association.

And I, as one of the supporters, have the same saying. It’s nothing wrong at all to have it all started again with brand new people in charge than leave the matter to the wrong people. While in the past I choose to stay silent and keep my eyes out of the matter this time around I choose to make a stance. And that is by keeping my eyes close at the development of the matter. I’d love to see the national team to win again, being a king in the Southeast Asia as we once were. I think my hopes are not impossible…

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