Friday, March 17, 2017
Persija Fans Asked Not To Travel To Cilegon Friendly
With Liga 1 now set to start April 15 and Liga 2 a couple of days after at least clubs have some certainty when it comes to their final preparations for the new campaign.
Some high profile friendlies this weekend should guarantee some healthy crowds and nowhere more so than Bung Tomo Stadium, Surabaya where Persebaya play their first home game for several years when they entertain PSIS. More than 35,000 tickets have already been sold and last I heard only a Super Fan Package ticket was still available. Last weekend PSIS defeated Persebaya 1-0 at Jatidiri Stadium in front of another large crowd.
PSS host Bali United on Sunday at Maguwoharjo Stadium. When you consider PSS attracted crowds of 32,000, 22,000 and 33.000 to their President Cup ties last month it isn't rocket science to anticipate another bumper crowd for this game.
A third friendly raised eyebrows when it was first announced. Cilegon United play Persija at Krakatau Stadium, a small stadium about a two hour drive from Jakarta. Now Cilegon are a highly ambitious club with their own targets. Arcan Iurie is their coach and they recently reached the final of the Piala Dirgantara only to lose to Persebaya. The idea of playing Persija must have been a tempting one but one fraught with security concerns.
Recently Persija played Persikad in a friendly that was officially behind closed doors. Pictures from the game suggest there were a large number of fans inside the stadium. Fortunately there were no outbreaks of violence reported but officials are taking no chances for the game at Cilegon. Persija management have said that only fans based in Serang/Cilegon area will be allowed into the stadium. Any fans travelling from Jakarta or further afield will not be allowed in and the game would be cancelled.
To get to Cilegon Jakarta based fans would need to travel through Tangerang, home to two sides with no love lost towards their big city neighbours as well as a large Persib support. Having thousands of Jakmania travelling through their manor would have been a recipe for disaster.