Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Pro Duta v PSBL 2-2

I must admit I had never even heard of Cendrawasih Stadium let alone know where it is so I was a tad surprised to find out I drove past it on my frequent trips to the airport. That I hadn't seen the slender floodlights on all those journeys I put down to my own s
tupidity and lack of interest on the roads around me. That and social media.

Imagine then the surprise when I heard Pro Duta were not only going to relocate to Jakarta but they were going to utilise this hitherto unknown stadium. I will leave for a later the date the adventures of Pro Duta in recent years and their various home bases. Suffice to say the last few seasons have seen them based in North Sumatra where they have struggled to attract any kind of fan base.

They missed out on the Indonesia Soccer Championship B, I guess you could say they took a gap year, but with the official leagues back in place they have taken their place in Liga 2 Group 1 along with Persiraja, PSPS, PSMS, PSBL, Persih, PS Timah Babel (formerly known as PS Bangka) and 757 Kepri Jaya (formerly known as Bintang Jaya).

Those who are not geographically challenged will have soon realised all those teams play in the top half of the island of Sumatra with the exception of PS Timah Babel and 757 Kepri Jaya whose home towns are on islands close to Sumatra. In the case of 757 Kepri Jaya the nearest thing they have to a local derby would be Young Lions in Singapore. The point being of course teams in Group 1 will have to have factored in some flights for the season when preparing their budgets (assuming they do budgets of course) so a trip to Jakarta would not be that onerous in the scheme of things.

Anyway living in a football daft yet football starved city as I do I at least was chuffed to hear Pro Duta at least were looking to play home games in the city and after spending a couple of days inhaling social media for news of a possible venue switch, as if, come match day I headed off to their wonderous new stadium.

Pro Duta have, as I intimated, not got the largest following in the country. The last time I saw them was back in December 2009 when they defeated Persikota 2-0 at Benteng Stadium and the only fans I can recall were the club officials. Despite the paucity of their support it was a nice, if somewhat overly optimistic, touch to see the ground was signposted on lamp posts once you came off the toll road. 

I guess 200 or 300 spectators turned out for the game including one or two who had bought my book and recognised me but there was nothing in the way of an atmosphere. The game kicked off in glorious sunshine and it was the visitors who struck first, Sandi Wijaya scoring after six minutes. Pro Duta levelled through Zulkhairi (pictured) on the half hour mark. M Renngur made it 2-1 to the away side on 54 minutes but despite dominatiing and having the best of the chances they were unable to add a third goal. Somehow an injury time free kick wasn't cleared and there was Syamir to turn the ball home and earn a point for the home side.

After the game the Pro Duta was quoted as saying he wasn't sure where they would play their next home game. The pitch wasn't the best to be fair. For me at least it was good to see some football in Jakarta at last and if they have another home game in town I will be checking it out subject to schedule.

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