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The Evolution of Soccer in Indonesia

Soccer or football is known to derive from outside of North America. This sport is the most famous of all sports categories worldwide. 2 teams play the game, with each unit consisting of eleven players, and soccer has been played by over 250 million people from more than two hundred countries in the world.

And Indonesia is one of them who loves to play soccer or Sepak Bola in bahasa Indonesia. Before we dive into it, do you know how Indonesia’s citizens know soccer? If you don’t know anything about it, we can learn together here, and here is what we can learn.

Indonesian Soccer in Colonialism Era

The history of soccer in Indonesia starts with the Dutch during their colonialism. 1914 soccer increased even though the Dutch East Indies government still colonised Indonesia.

Then, there was an intern-city competition, especially in java island, that was only championed by two dominant groups, namely Batavia City and Soerabaja City. Since then, the formation of PSSI (Persatuan Sepak Bola Seluruh Indonesia), or the Football Association of Indonesia, was born on April 19, 1930, in Yogyakarta.

In addition, Soeratin Sosrosoegondo has been chosen to be the chairman of PSSI for the first generation. As an organization, the birth of PSSI is always related to political activities against colonialism in this era. In other words, PSSI can be a political tool against colonialism by increasing the nationalism of Indonesian youth.

Entering the 1930s, Indonesian soccer was recognized by FIFA for the first time. It consisted of three societies. They were the Nederlandsch Indische Voetbal Bond (NIVB), Persatoean Sepakraga Seloeroeh Indonesia (PSSI), and the Chinese Nation. The journey continued until Indonesia qualified for the World Cup in 1938. However, it had concerns about the delivery teams.

The Establishment of PSSI as the First Football Association of Indonesia

As we know, PSSI was founded by a civil engineer named Soeratin Sosrosoegondo in 1930. Let’s dive into Soeratin’s background. 1927 Soeratin completed his education at the Higher Technical School in Heckelenburg, Germany. Then, he returned home in 1928. As it tells, Soeratin was a young man who was active in any organization. In addition, he loved to play soccer.

Then, he recognized that soccer could be the best container for sowing nationalism among Indonesian youth to oppose the Dutch. As a result, the importance of implementing the agreed points of grain in a meeting of Kongres Pemuda (Youth Pledge) on October 28, 1928.

Soeratin diligently held meetings with soccer figures from several cities such as Solo, Yogyakarta, and Bandung to eager his ideals. Those meetings were conducted with personal contacts to avoid the Dutch Police (PID) ambush. From the discussions, it achieved a decision to establish PSSI. Then, PSSI officially announced in solo with once set Ir—Soeratin as general chairman. The increasing number of PSSI members reached more than 40 cities across Java, Medan, Padang, and Makassar. It showed that many Indonesian youths were interested in this nation against football.

Furthermore, in Japan’s colonialism era, PSSI was dissolved. Japan came to block all mass gathering activities. In other words, all mass gathering activities must be under control by Japanese supervision. This era was miserable for PSSI because there were no football matches. All of the Indonesian people were forced to follow Japanese-style gymnastics or Taiso.

Moreover, the struggles ended after complete independence in 1945. The spirit of Indonesian football rapidly increased all over again. Several legendary moments have happened in this era. Firstly, the momentum of determination of the National Sports Week or PON in 1948. Secondly, PSSI re-activated with the transformation of the football department in the sport of the republic or PORI in 1950. And finally, the football team from Bandung named Persib won the national competition in Semarang, beating the football team from Surabaya named Persebaya in the top party. In other words, it showed that football matches started to grow in some cities in Indonesia.

Indonesian Soccer during 20’s Century

We know that PSSI is the only sports organisation in Indonesia; after eight years, Indonesia became independent. In Nurdin Halid’s leadership, PSSI had several things considered controversial. It can be seen through the unsavoury issues circulating during the election of the presiding officer in 2010, the overreaction over the holding of the premiere league Indonesia, and the easiness of Nurdin Halid in giving the forgiveness of the violation of all of the mass football matches.

Those are the short history of Indonesian soccer. Even though the development of Indonesian football was less massive than in Europe or US each year, PSSI still does much strives to make Indonesian national football teams go international. It can be seen in the present. In Erick Tohir’s leadership, PSSI experienced rapid development, allowing the Indonesian national football team to spread its wings internationally.


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