Thursday, February 23, 2017
New Names, New Cities For Familiar Clubs
In Indonesia we are used to clubs moving around the country, changing name, changing city, changing time zone. The most famous of course is Pelita Jaya. Formerly based in Jakarta a series of linguistic and geographic gymnastics have left them now in Madura. Off the radar perhaps but Persires from Divisi Utama have also done their bit for inter island travel.
Originally from Rengat in Indragiri Hulu, Sumatra, they have moved to Bali, Banjanegara, Cirebon, Kuningan and most recently Sukoharjo. For this coming season they are back in Sumatra albeit a mere 850 kilometres to the south of their original homebase. Oh, and they have changed their name as well to celebrate their new start. Former Indonesia international Nova Arianto is taking charge of the team now known as Lampung Sakti.
Lampung is not the only city to have a new team. Pro Duta are serial movers themselves. They started life in Bandung and have since played in Sleman, Cirebon, Medan and Deli Sedang in their bid for a home base. Now they are back in Java playing in Sragen with a new name,,,Produta Sragen. I am not sure of this is a new team or a merger with local side PSISra.
I must admit I have never known anything about Bintang Jaya Asahan except they come from Sumatra. Came from Sumatra. They have moved to the island of batam which lies a short ferry ride from Singapore and will be known as 757 Kepri Jaya for the new campaign. Not sure where the 757 comes from, I don't think they are sponsored by an aircraft manufacturer, but they are certainly ambitious having appointed Jaino Matos as coached and recruiting former international Supriyono to add experience. Singapore fans spoilt for choice? Johor Darul Ta'zim to the north, 757 Kepri Jaya to the south and the premier league live in the food courts! Oh yeah, Sleague starts this weekend as well.
Meanwhile spare a thought for North Sulawesi. When I started Jakarta Casual the area boasted Persma, Persimin and Persibom. Latterly we have had Persigo. 2017 will see no representatives as Persigo have been put away in cardboard boxes and will only be opened up when they reach their new home in East Java where they will have a brand spanking new name, Semeru Way FC, based in Lumajang.
Other mergers or relocations are on the cards with Persema, back in football after seeing their PSSI ban lifted, keen to find a way into Liga 2 without going the old fashioned way of winning promotion. They have apparently been in talks with Central Sulawesi side Persbul.
These are interesting times for Indonesian football. The lack of tobacco sponsorship and local government funds means clubs have had to get creative about funding themselves. Some have essentially taken gap years while they await a sugar daddy while others have sought markets with bigger fan bases and also with smaller travel costs involved. It is interesting that clubs like Persigo and Pro Duta have targeted the heavily populated island of Java and perhaps they may take heed from the experiences of Persires. They struggled to build a support base in their various guises over recent years perhaps because they were seen as a team from outside. Surely if you live in Cirebon you want to support a Cirebon team, not one from hundreds of miles away renting your stadium?
Still, for those who do enjoy travelling round the country watching football, it can't just be me can it, the prospect of visiting places like Lampung, Batam and Lumajang is appealing