Friday, April 29, 2016


PS TNI, Madura United Clash Is An Example Of Changing Face Of Football

Persiram hosting Pelita Jaya would not have attracted much in the way of headlines when they met in the Indonesia Super League in days gone by. Two nomadic clubs looking for a home and a fan base. That their current incarnations meet on Sunday is an indication of where Indonesian football is heading these days.

Pelita Jaya of course merged with Bandung Raya to become Pelita Bandung Raya. Didn't matter, they were never going to claim any meaningful support in Bandung where every football daft local has blue blood. A shift to the supposedly more neutral Bekasi and a rebrand, Persipasi Bekasi Raya, was short lived but having spent their entire existance within a three hour radius of Jakarta no one could have anticipated where they would end up.

Persiram come from Raja Ampat in distant Papua but have long played their home games on Java, most recently in Sleman but have also used Lebak Bulus in the past; ironically the one time home of Pelita Jaya when they were first formed.

Despite appealing to the local Papuan community in their adopted home Persiram struggled to draw fans through the gate with games at LB attracting dozens of spectators at best.

Meanwhile in Madura, Persepam MU were relegated at the end of the 2014 Indonesia Super League campaign and the manager/owner sold up. Not for him the ignomy of second tier football. Here was a man with ambitious plans for Madura, a hot, dry island within touching distance of Surabaya. He sold Persepam MU and bought PBR, moving them lock stock, bibs and cones to Madura and renaming them Madura United.

Persiram on the other hand were bought out by sponsors of PS TNI< a military side which had been cobbled together for the General Sudirman Cup from the remnants of the once mighty PSMS and decided to continue as a professional football club. With Persiram's license in their pocket PS TNI, with a guaranteed following among military personnel even in the centre of the Persib heartland, will play their home games at Siliwangi Stadium, a name itself rich in military folklore, and first up is...Madura United.

Indonesian football is in a constant state of flux at the best of times. No matter how attractive Pelita Jaya or Persiram play, and the former had a well deserved reputation for playing good football, fans would not have been kocking down the gates to watch them play. At least in their current guise of PS TNI v Madura United we may expect a few interested fans making the effort

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