“In the spotlights” is the column about fans who introduce their favorite club in Indonesia. It’s not about the size of the club, the trophies they won, or their latest performance. It’s about the passion for their team. This week’s club in the spotlight is PSM Makassar from South Sulawesi who are active in the Indonesian Liga 1.
PSM Makassar, locally known as Juku Eja or the redfish, holds the title of being the oldest team in the history of which is currently still active in the highest tier of Indonesian football. PSM was founded in 1915 as Makassar Voetbal Bond(MVB). But was forced to change their Dutch colonial name during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, and changed their name to Persatuan Sepakbola Makassar(PSM).
As the name leaves nothing to the imagination, PSM is indeed the local pride of the city of Makassar. With a population of roughly 1,5 million inhabitants, It is the 5th largest city in Indonesia and the official capital of South Sulawesi. The city of Makassar is famous for their fishing industry and in particular sea cucumbers. The local language is known as Makassarese, while the local delicacies mainly consist of broths/soups and seafood dishes(surprisingly) like palamura, sop konro and coto Makassar.
As stated earlier PSM Makassar was founded back in 1915 and is thereby the oldest Indonesian club in Indonesia. The club can be recognized by their wine-red home kits and the recognizable sailing ship on their crest. This sailing boat is a typical Indonesian sailing boat, locally known as: phinisi.
Like most Indonesian football clubs, PSM Makassar is known by many nicknames. Combine the city’s roots in the fishing industry with the fact that PSM has played in a red jersey and you’ve got yourself a nickname; Juku Eja aka the Red Fish(Ikan merah).
Besides being dubbed as the Red Fish, PSM also goes by other nicknames like: the Rooster from the East, and received the nickname Squad Ramang. The Squad Ramang nickname was given a form of appreciation to one of PSM’s all-time legends, Rusli Ramang.
A talented striker who played nearly 400 games and scored 316 goals for the club between 1947 and 1968. Ramang is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in the history of Indonesian football and was known for his signature bicycle kicks.
Stadium, Fans & Anthem
PSM Makassar plays its home game in the 15.000 capacity Andi Mattalatta Stadium. A typical Indonesia ground with concrete stands, an athletic track and fences to guard players from fans when things turn South. The stadium dates all the way back to 1957 and beholds an old school vibe. This old school vibe might vanish, as renovations are scheduled to take place.
PSM Makassar’s fans
The fans of PSM Makassar are respected throughout the archipelago and are known as Laskar Ajam or The Maczman. With Laskar Ajam being the most famous group out of the two. Mainly because of their passionate support under the guidance of Daeng Uki. The fierce capo who visits nearly every game of PSM and even nicknamed his son after the club. Talk about dedication to your club.
Since there are not that many worthy teams from Sulawesi, read: none. The club doesn’t have any local derbies or rivalries. But since the club is one of the founding fathers of Indonesian football, there is one match in particular that causes a stir of blood in the veins of PSM supporters. The Red Derby Perserikatan, better known as the match against Persija Jakarta.
Both teams were included in the founding of the first official league in Indonesia and have never been relegated. Causing a long performance history between the two teams. During the famous days of the Perserikatan era(1931-1994) both teams often battled each other to crown themselves champions of Indonesia. A fierce rivalry that still excists today based on deep-rooted battles from the past. The tension most recently rose to a boiling point back in 2017. Persija and PSM once more went head-to-head for the number one spot in the Liga 1, while claims of corruption from the PSSI in favor of Persija sparked outrage among PSM supporters.
From PSM supporters you’ll often hear the phrase ‘Ewako PSM’, But what does Ewako mean? Well it’s an heroic word used to give encouragement to warriors on their way to battle. We can imagine it must feel like that sometimes for players in the Indonesian Liga 1.
Then there is their club anthem. Just like any team in Indonesia PSM has its own anthem to thank their players after the game. For PSM this is their club anthem Ku Yakin Kau Pasti Bisa. An anthem that will send shivers down the spines of fans and players alike after another matchday experience at the Andi Mattalatta Stadium.