Tommy Mano, the president of Indonesian club Persipura Jayapura, has expressed his disappointment following the immigration debacle involving team Pahang in Round 16 the AFC Cup.
Pahang were supposed to play against Persipura in Round 16 of the AFC Cup 2015 on 27 May but enroute to Jayapura on Saturday, the team had to turn back home after the Indonesian Immigration authorities refused to grant visas to three of their foreign players.
“Persipura is Papua and Papua is Persipura. This is our pride, our sense of value and also the dignity of the people of Papua. This problem has affected the people of Papua greatly,” said Tommy.
“We are very sad for the people of Papua. It is an embarrassment for all of our commitment and hard work towards the pride of Papua. Our plan is to see Indonesian President Joko Widodo over this issue and how it has affected our people.
“As the president of Persipura and on behalf of the team, I wish to apologise to everyone concerned who were affected by this problem. I hope that this matter will not lead to us being sanctioned by the AFC which means the end of our participation in the AFC Cup.”
In the meantime Azwan Karim, the acting general secretary of the FA of Indonesia (PSSI) said that following the issue with Pahang, the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports Imam Nahrawi is successful in embarrassing the country in the eyes of the international public.
“Previously, getting a visa is easier as we can deal directly with the Immigration Department. But now, all visas related to sporting activities must go through the Ministry of Youth and Sports through BOPI (the Board of Indonesian Professional Athletes,” explained Azwan.
“That is the root of the problem. With the PSSI being ‘frozen’ by the Ministry, it meant that all officials dealing with governmental agencies were also affected.
“That was the reason why the recent friendly against the Malaysian U23 have had to be played behind closed doors.
“And this problem might just lead to not only Persipura being sanctioned but PSSI will also in likelihood be punished as the AFC and also FIFA recognised only the PSSI as the legal body for football in Indonesia.”