Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Sriwijaya Fear Future Without Hand Outs
Sriwijaya Palembang are the most successful football club in Indonesia over recent years. The won the Divisi Utama, before it was upgraded to Indonesia Super League, in 2007, three Indonesia Cups, one Inter Island Cup and a couple of Charity Shields.
They have become a regular competitor in Asian club football with 2011 seeing them enter AFC Cup for the second consecutive season after a campaign in the ACL in 2009.
But they seem unable to turn all that success on the field into cash in the back and in an interview with tabloid Top Skor wonder whether they could even carry on with local government hand outs.
They have a couple of sponsors but they are state owned enterprises prominent in South Sumatra. Sriwijaya seem to lack the wit or know how to leverage their success and brand across the country into cold hard cash. Having the governor of the province to ask the head of a government business to hand over some cash isn't marketing and anyway how many football fans who follow the team are interested in mining or fertiliser companies.
Despite their success attendances are on the low side, rarely breaking 20,000 and with ticket prices between 20,000 and 50,000 rupiah no-one is expecting a windfall at the gate. And don't mention souvenir sales. Oh sorry, just did.
The city of Palembang is an ambitious place. International flights are available to Malaysia and Singapore; they are co-hosting the SEA Games in 2011 and the Jakabaring Stadium is frequently used for big games. The ingredients are in place to make Sriwijaya an Indonesian powerhouse. Perhaps all that is needed now is a major private investor to take over ala Muang Thong United?