Saturday, April 13, 2013


The Painful Logistics Of Watching Football In ASEAN

It's the weekend and I wanna see some football but that isn't as easy as it sounds in this region that is so fanatical about the game English clubs are falling over each other to spend the rainy season here.

But try and catch a local game and things aren't so easy. Take Java, the most populated island in Indonesia. Tomorrow there is a game in Jakarta but no fans allowed to enter the 88,000 seater stadium because the security won't give the game a permit; this was decided yesterday afternoon for a game featuring a team from Papua, a minimum seven hour flight away in case any fans wanted to travel (they wouldn't of course).

Places like London and Bangkok have websites devoted to games you can catch in the area; something similar about Jakarta would be lucky to get updated once a week.

Today sees two Indonesia Super League games; PSPS host Persiram and Persisam play Barito Putra. Neither game is on Java. I have no idea where PSPS (Pekanbaru) play their games this season, is it Kuantan or Bangkinang, while Persisam are at least a couple of hours from the nearest airport.

Tomorrow has Pelita Bandung Raya at home to Persipura. An attractive fixture indeed but getting to Soreang by public transport is an absolute nightmare...I think. Never tried it. How to get there from Bandung? Driving would be an option but would entail hitting the Jakarta day trippers on the way home packed to the rafters with their brownies and purchases from factory outlets. A five hour drive back cannot be discounted.

Arema are at home but they play in Kanjuruhan and the airport in Malang is fairly lightweight, no flights convenient for travelling back after an evening game!

We also have the Premier League this weekend but their fixture list isn't worth the cyber space it takes up. They have Persema down to play Persijap this afternoon but they appear confused as to what time the kick off is; two different times are mentioned!

Persema are probably the easiest team to get to, at least once you are in town, as their Gajayana Stadium is fairly central.

The official IPL website has PSIR hosting Persija IPL but again PSIR are not well placed for airports and Persija have a habit of cancelling games. Persiraja are at home but most flights to Banda Aceh involve a change in Medan and you can imagine the joys of transiting in this part of the world with their approach to time keeping!

Another game in the province of Aceh sees PSLS play leaders Perseman but again you are faced with the vagaries of changing in Medan then face a road trip to a place I can't even spell!

There are some IPL games tomorrow but one of them, Persiba v Persibo, is already off, thank Twitter for that knowledge, not the IPL website, while last time I checked Persebaya's visit to Semen Padang was also unclear.

The other Divisi Utama kicks off tomorrow but the official website doesn't even have a fixture list for that and most of those clubs don't bother with awkward obstacles like websites preferring to speak to the converted via sms. I have seen stories that Persipasi have a game tomorrow but also have seen stories they may withdraw from the league! Check their official Twitter and they added nothing since February while one of the supporters' accounts is busy trying to sell replica shirts!

Persiwon play PPSM tomorrow. Persiwon are based in Papua but will play their home games in Boyolali making it a local derby of sorts for the PPSM fans likely to travel. It's a possibility but I have never been to Boyolali and have no idea how far it is from either Yogya or Solo airports and the day job dictates returning straight after the match. The train, however is a possibility but then what?!

So, Indonesia doesn't look too promising. For a change. What about further afield? Singapore? Just one game tonight with champions Tampines taking on Hougang United and we know that game will take place but at this late juncture the best price I can get is about 200 USD!

Malaysia? Penang play Melaka in the FAM League, their third division, and that appeals, not least for the opportunity for some awesome Indian food and the stadium is a doable walk from the centre of town. But. 276 USD has even me pulling the reins a bit!

Negeri Sembilan are at home against LionsX11 but they play in Paroi where ever that may be and they persist in the 8.45 kick off nonsense while Kelantan would be attractive but again transit at the KL budget terminal is as appealing as being sat next to a Totts fan for 16 hours telling me how his lot beat my lot 2-1 and how Carzola is a diver. Oh, the irony.

But seriously the best, the easiest and perhaps most reliable option sits in the FAM League with ATM playing Melayu Kedah. Flights to KL for tomorrow are available even now at just over 100 USD, the ground, field whatever is close to a railway station and I can be in and out in the same time it would take me to get to and back from Soreang!

Alternatively I can stay home and watch the English football on TV!

it's no doubt that Indonesia's geographical stretch makes it hard for fans to cheer their beloved clubs away from home.. Unlike China or Russia, Indonesia is a archipelagic country which makes it difficult and expensive for travelling.. nevertheless, there are so many transmigrants who live far from home, possible enough to go to the stadium and support his/her travelling club..

However, I personally still believe that the competition should be divided based in geographical position -like the old Liga Indonesia era. It'll reduce the club's expenditures on travelling and logistics while making it easier for the fans to attend some away matches.
thing is pramuji for long journeys in china and russia it will still be necessary to fly...long distance trips overland could take several days!

your right about migrants. they will go see their team but the real hardcore will not be able to travel away, unless they do as persebaya fans did and just take over the train!
that's cool!
this matter is also a problem for the local broadcaster.. even they're having a trouble on bringing logistics to far away cities like Jayapura and Sigli.. Causing clubs from those regions get unequal number from broadcasting rights compared to central cities..

Ironic when geographical stretch should be a great advantage turns out to be the source of problems..
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