Sport-o-litics in Indonesia : When politicians play

Last month, it was an euphoria for Indonesian and SEAsian football situation. Yes, that is because of AFF Cup, which draws attention from most Indonesian peoples, from football lover to housemaids..

In this 2010 AFF Competition, Indonesian national football team has succeed to make a very extraordinary accomplishments, winning all matches from the qualification to semifinals, only losing one game with Malaysia in first leg final..

It is something that Indonesian are proud of. Nationalism arose throughout the country, with people are zestful to watch matches and showing off their proud to Indonesian team in social network, especially twitter, with several hashtags (mainly known hashtags are #GarudaFightsBack, #GarudadiDadaku, etc.)
Several others were showing the negative nationalism, blaming Malaysians for many reasons, attacking each other in online forums with various kind of blasphemies and insults..

But, there’s another thing that makes Indonesian football euphoria distracted – that thing is POLITICIANS.
Yes, those politicans are seeking influences through the national team success in the tournament..
Bakrie, Halid, Besoes, and friends whose have the position as Board of Directors in Indonesian FA.. are coming from the same party (the Yellow one).. and claims that national football success is because they’ve helped to maintain and support the national team..

One of the people above known to be popular in Twitter is Halid, full name Nurdin Halid, and he’s been used to be hashtaged in #NurdinTurun (or Please Resign, Nurdin!)
Halid is the main issue which being controversy from the beginning. As a politician, and former corruptor detainee, his involvement in Indonesian FA as Chairman is asked for several times. Many football comentators, sport experts, and former athletes has been criticising his motives and his action in Indonesian FA. There’s many evident of Halid’s unprofessionalism in controlling disputes and in solving several cases in Indonesian Super League..

Because of that, people and supporters are angry toward him, even shouting cries “NURDIN TURUN” during the matches in AFF CUP 2010. But, Halid doesn’t care, he said that he won’t go down because of external pressures.
Recently, the Minister of Sport and Youth, Mr. Andi Mallaranggeng has agreed to prepare for Halid resignation from PSSI (Indonesian FA). This, I think, is also a political game – even if Halid is resigned, it is also good. Because Andi comes from the Blue one (Democrats, ruling party), and Halid is from the Yellow one (Golkar, also ruling party, but sometimes get fights with Democrats)..
Things that I also want to criticise is Bakrie’s involvement. Being the richest people in Indonesia, he claims that he has helped Indonesian football to rise, and he even built new football stadium in Jonggol as training field with sophisticated facilities inside as a present for Indonesian national team.
What makes me annoyed with Bakrie is his distraction toward national teams player. Before the final match, he invited players to have a breakfast in his mansions. The national team coach, Mr. Riedl, has said that this thing could distract player’s attention. Basically Riedl doesn’t want the team to be disturbed by anykind of activites and sort of media highlights, because he just want the team to play good with high concentration and aim. But, all of those interventions, has made Indonesian team’s concentration dispersed.

However, with all of these criticism, I do hope that politicians are realised that sport is not for their political tool, not for their propaganda machines.
.. Politics in sport is important, since Government intervention to develop the national sport is good and when the national sport is developed, it will become one of the national proud in the international world – as a tool for soft diplomacy..
But exaggerated intervention by government in politics is dangerous. Especially when it comes to terms of seeking influences and using sport as a manipulation tools toward people…



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