Saturday, October 07, 2006


Jakarta's Oldest Club

Taken from the Jakarta Post

Soccer club goes distance on pluck and perseverance
In another decade he will be a century old, but his youthful spirit seems unhampered by the declining body of an old man.
Endang Witarsa turned 90 on Wednesday. While other grandfathers might have long surrendered to the comfort of their beds, Endang finds no place is more comfortable than the soccer field.
From behind his glasses he watches the members of Jakarta's oldest football club, Union Makes Strength (UMS) in Tamansari, West Jakarta, from weak-footed beginners to professionals.
Having trained as a dentist, Endang soon discovered as a young man that his passion laid with soccer. He joined UMS in 1948 as a halfback. When he hung up his shoes in 1951, he became one of Indonesia's greatest ever coaches. Any soccer player or coach in the country would bow to him.
UMS, the club that became Endang's second home, was founded in 1905 as the Tiong Hoa Hwee Koan Scholar Football Club. Later in 1914, it gained its current name.
The club bred renowned national players who took Indonesia to its peak of football achievement, from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.
It has been some time since the country has seen its soccer teams be internationally successful, but Endang is unlikely to give up trying and training players until he takes his last breath.

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