Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Two Sides Of Indonesian Football Fans
Indonesian football fans have been quick to show their support for the Rohingya and Palestinian people (PSS fans pictured below) in recent weeks, displays which have shown supporters in a positive light for a change.
However while they have been praised for showing unity with those suffering overseas, elements have still managed to show the ugly side is alive and kicking and their empathy for those in foreign lands doesn't extend to rivals closer to home.
Last weekend saw Madura United defeat Arema 2-0 in an East Java derby played in Pamekasan. However the three points, which ended a winless run of four games, were marred by the actions of a minority who attacked the Arema team bus, smashing windows in barrage of rocks and stones.
Credit to the Madura United club president Achsanal Qosasi who has come out and condemned the actions of the supporters involved saying that although Madura United won the game 'we lost in politeness'.
At the recent Indonesia v Fiji friendly a supporter, Catur Julianto, died after a flare that was set off by supporters hit him on the side of the head despite flares being banned from stadiums across the country.
Indonesian football is big on beauty and the beast. One of the finest sights in South East Asia is to see a packed, heaving terrace moving, swaying, singing as one but at the same time there is a lingering threat of violence that can kick off if there is no one to nip it in the bud.
Over the years I have seen cases where fans have policed themselves in a mature manner and not respond to downright provocation. At the same time I have seen fans start to kick off then, without any meaningful crowd control steps being implemented, more and more feel brave about the lack of repercussions and the safety of the mob and want to get involved.
Of the hundreds of games I have seen across the country the messages of support have outnumbered the violence by a large factor but I am not looking at the game with rose tinted glasses. There are issues of security at games and there are issues over fans all to quick to get involved. Football, supporters and security need to work together to ensure we see more of the former and zero of the latter, just don't hold your breath.