Thursday, July 06, 2017
Solo Prepares To Welcome PSIS In Top Of The Table Liga 2 Clash
|Welcome to Solo|
I can't begin to tell you how gutted I am to be missing the Central Java derby between Persis and PSIS later today. The reasons I had to be there? The Solo chapter in my second book is the first reason. Second? It's a quality derby in the second tier that shows the strength in depth of Indonesian football history and culture. Third? It's first against second. And finally a monster atmosphere! What's not to love?
Both teams arguably belong in the top flight based on history alone. Persis were formed in 1923, PSIS 1932. They aren't in Liga 1 of course because in the last few years they haven't been good enough. PSIS came close to winning Liga Indonesia back in 2006, ending up as runners up to a Cristian Gonzales inspired Persik. Since then there has been little for the fans to cheer about as the club, starved of funds, have fallen out of the top flight and struggled to make an impact in the second tier.
They came close in 2014 when they reached the play offs but were then involved in that infamous 'elephant match' with PSS where neither team wanted to win for, allegedly, fear of playing Pusamania in the next round.
Ironically in that season PSIS and Persis were drawn in the same group and ended the first stage of the season level on points. But while PSIS were eventually kicked out after the farce against PSS Persis finished bottom of their play off group and promotion hopes extinguished.
Three years pn and both harbour similar ambitions. They are tied with 13 points at the top of Group 4, Persis marginally ahead thanks to a better goal difference.With 3rd place PSIR four points behind the two giants and nine games left to play neither side can be assured of success just yet and after a two month rest today's game will be a stern test in the fullest sense of the term.
An estimated 1,500 PSIS fans will make the short journey south to Solo for the game where they will be welcomed by an estimated 1,100 security personnel charged with ensuring the game goes off in a safe atmosphere. They have been advised not to bring large banners or flags while Persis supporters have been told they can not wear club colours following an incident earlier in the season/
You want passion, you want excitement, you want thrills then Persis v PSIS promises all of that. Plus a lot more.