Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Persipura v Sriwijaya

Tonight sees the first Indonesia Cup semi final between Persipura, losing finalists at the last three attempts, and Sriwijaya, winners of the last two.

And while the other two semi finalists, Arema and Persik, fret about outstanding ages and where they will be next season these two just seem to plod along in their relentless way. Indeed having four players charged after disturbances with fans and announcing a new coach you get the impression that for Sriwijaya these are nowt but minor hiccups and not game changing scenarios.

Persipura are a machine. I can't remember the last time they lost, just three defeats during the whole ISL and you get the impression that had they been able to use their Mandala Stadium for the whole campaign they would have been crowned champions. There's an unrelenting feel of power and pace with the Papua boys that is hard for other ISL teams to handle. Wasn't a problem though for other Asian sides as they were roundly thumped in the Asian Champions League.

It's going to be a funny day for Sriwijaya coach Rahmad Darmawan. Being replaced by Ivan Kolev he has guided the Laskar Wong Kito (Our People's Army) to three trophies in the last two seasons and, in 2005, he led Persipura to the old style Liga Indonesia.

Despite their recent success neither side has really caught the neutral's imagination. Football in Indonesia is very tribalist and Sriwijaya, despite their nomadic past which has seen them play in Jakarta and Solo when known as Persijatim, are seen as the team of South Sumatra just as Persipura carry the flag for Papua. People support them because it's where they come from, gee that's an interesting notion, and they have not been able to cross that divide and become, for want of a better word, sexy in the manner of Arema.

Of course not being on Java helps. Or hinders. Indonesia at times seems like a Greater Java and with most of the national media based here the only time you hear about what goes on on other islands is when there is an earthquake or a riot when news channels broadcast grainy images filmed by a mobile phone.

May not be the biggest crowd in the world tonight at the Delta Stadium in Sidoarjo but there are enough subplots to keep it interesting as the two most sucessful clubs in recent history go toe to toe.

black pearl is going to bring the indonesian cup for west people , one soul , Go persipura !!
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