IMG-20150611-WA0005As celebratory mood descended on the  cultural city of Solo this week to mark the marriage of Gibran Rakabuming Raka and his bride Selvi Ananda, question marks are being raised on whether the rest of Indonesia especially the football fraternity are also in a party mood too.

But just who is Gibran Rakabuming Raka?

For those not already in the know, Gibran is the son of Indonesian president Joko Widodo or more commonly known as Jokowi.

Jokowi alongside Imam Nohrawi, the Indonesian Minister for Youth and Sports, are currently embroiled in a disagreement with the FA of Indonesia (PSSI).

This inability to see eye to eye with the PSSI has led to the latter being suspended by football’s world governing body FIFA, due to persistent government interference.

While some have blamed the current quandary facing PSSI squarely on the shoulders of Imam, I believe that the problem lies with Jokowi.

Jokowi would have empowered Imam to make all possible hindrance to he activities of the PSSI – from the freeze notice on PSSI, to ‘forcing’ the QNB League to be called off altogether and also to the immigration problem which led to Persipura Jayapura from being thrown out of the Round of 16 of the AFC Cup.

Imam would not have dared to disturb the most loved sports in one of the world’s most populous nation without the backing of the No. 1 man in the counry.

Even the effort of Indonesian vice president Jusuf Kalla for an amicable resolution and have the freeze notice on PSSI removed was red-stamped by Jokowi.

Jokowi and Imam is under the impression that they can run football in Indonesia without the incumbent PSSI officials that were legally elected at the last PSSI Congress on 18 April 2015.

That Congress was attended by officials from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) which recognized La Nyalla Matalatti as the new president with the voting done according to statutes and procedures that were already in place.

And the FIFA letter cleraly states that powers must be returned to the legally elected PSSI officials mean very little to Imam as the power brokers went ahead with the formation of a ‘Transition’ team which will also look to organizing a tournament and then a league of their own in the near future.

All these without the involvement of the PSSI.

And while the government has accused PSSI of being a ‘mafia’, there should also be a realization that following their action, it has made Indonesian football a ‘pariah’.

Already some footballers have had to sell their houses while others have resorted to doing their own small business. Former Indonesian champions Persipura Jayapura disbanded altogether and it is believe that Persib Bandung might follow suit.

The government can organize as many tournaments and championships as they want but until powers are restored to the rightfully elected officials under La Nyalla Matalatti, Indonesia will forever be banned by FIFA.

As the Indonesian Under-23 team take on hosts Singapore tonight in the pivotal game of Group A of the SEA Games fo a place in the semi-finals, just what are in the thoughts of Evan Dimas Darmono and his friends?

What will they do when they get back?? Do stop playing altogether? Or do they play in the Imam-organised tournaments which are not recognized by FIFA?

And while Jokowi and Imam have maintained that their actions were prompted by the desire to wipe our ‘so-called’ corruptions, surely there is a better way to doing this than killing the careers of hundreds if not thousands of players in their wake.

That is the problem when people in power missed the forest for the trees.


FIXTURES – 11 June 2015

At Bishan Stadium

2030 – Laos vs Malaysia


At Jalan Besar Stadium

2030 – Singapore vs Indonesia



No. Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 MYANMAR 4 3 1 0 14 7 +7 10
2 INDONESIA 3 2 0 1 10 5 +5 6
3 SINGAPORE 3 2 0 1 5 3 +2 6
4 CAMBODIA 4 1 1 2 8 13 -5 4
5 PHILIPPINES 4 0 0 4 2 11 -9 0

 * Team in bold already in semi-finals

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