Thursday, March 18, 2021
Kapan Persis Bangkit?
The news that Bhayangkara, 2017 Liga 1 champions, will be calling the Manahan Stadium home and tweaking their name (Bhayangkara Solo) to show their attachment to their new host won't have surprised the football daft for they are just the latest in a long line to try and call Solo. Arseto, Persijatim, Solo Ksatria and Pelita Jaya are just two of the teams to have flirted with the Solo faithful before moving to pastures new or just simply folding. And, lest we forget, the Pasoepati originally identified themselves with Pelita Jaya.
So when a leading official from the Pasoepati came out and with due solemnity it was fine for members to support the new kid on the block I just shrugged my shoulders. I've long since given up trying to filter Indonesian football through an English filter; it's a waste of time but at the same time I do miss out on some of the WTF moments that takes the game to such dizzying heights! So yeah, fan group says it's ok to support another club. OK. I mean this is Indonesia where two team cities are pretty rare and where they do exist, Tangerang for example, the rivalry can be deadly but I just assumed people had been talking behind the scenes and come to an arrangement so the new club would not have the embarrassment of playing in front of empty terraces.
The thing is Persis have been in the news a bit recently with suggestions a relative of the nation's president being linked with buying the club. Were this to happen it could certainly propel the famous old club to a totally different level. But if it were to happen where would it leave Bhayangkara Solo who have of course their own influential backers?
Persis are one of the oldest clubs in the country but the last few years have seen them overtaken on the national stage by younger upstarts like Arema and PSS and more recently of course Bhayangkara. For me, as a football traditionalist, seeing Persis back in the top flight, well funded and of course well supported would be a thing of beauty and would add shine to Liga 1. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
But given how often Solo has laid out the welcome mat for other clubs it would be nice, for once, for the city to take pride in its own club and focus on revitalising a wonderful old football club.