Every country and its football league have their own remarkable things. Some features that make the competition just a little bit more special than others. Indonesia is no exception, as it features some of the most bizarre situations in and outside the stadium you can imagine. It’s those unique things that made us fall in love with Indonesian football culture and something worth sharing. Here are the top 10 things you only see in Indonesia!
1. No seat? No problem!
If you’re a foreigner visiting Indonesia you’ll quickly notice how busy and hectic life in the streets is. You can imagine if there’s a big game, it will attract a big crowd! There are no official numbers but the record attendance in an Indonesian football game is around 150.000 in 1985. Fun fact: the Gelora Bung Karno stadium’s maximum capacity at that time was 110.000. Indonesian football supporters prove that even without a proper seat, they will always support their team. These PSMS Medan and Persib Bandung supporters are no exception!
2. First class travel experience
Indonesian supporters are used to go to the limit to watch their favorite team play. As travel distances for Awaydays can calculate up to 5,000KM. On the island of Java alone travel distances can take up to 12 hours by bus! One of the fans most famous for traveling by any means necessary, are Persebaya’s bonek. They don’t care if they have to be stacked up on top of each other in the back of a truck, or climb on top of the train to see their team play. They follow their club everywhere it goes.
3. Don’t like the opponent? Just flip their name upside down on the scoreboard!
What happens when the scoreboard is still manual and within climbing distance when you’re playing against your rivals? Ofcourse you will mess with their name. This happened during the famous Mataram Derby back in 2019. The Pasoepati from Persis Solo flipped rivaling PSIM’s name upside down to mess with them! They certainly won’t back down for ‘psywar’ before, during and, after the game.
4. Local food vendors inside the stadium
Forget about sloppy fries, forget about lukewarm meat-sandwiches and hotdogs. They do things differently in Indonesia! Everyone who’s been to Indonesia knows they serve a mean nasi goreng, rendang and more. In and around the stadium this isn’t any different. You’ll see local vendors selling their delicious (and spicy!) food right out of the pan. No official food stands. No club-card with credit. Just people making a living and making the game experience more enjoyable for you!
5. Brotherhoods between clubs
Indonesian football culture is definitely a culture with extremes. On one hand, there’s a fierce rivalry between clubs On the other hand there are beautiful brotherhoods between clubs. Brotherhoods between football fans isn’t something out of the ordinary and can be observed around the world. The thing that makes it special in this case, is that the alliances are formed within the local league. Fans host songs, drinks and tifo’s together! Extraordinary stuff to wittness.
6. Taking your pet lizard to the game
Okay, we have no idea what this guy was thinking… but he is definitely taking ‘intimidating your opponent’ to a whole new level. I mean who doesn’t take a huge lizard onto the stands these days right? If you know who this legendary supporter is. Please let us know!
7. Female supporter groups
One thing that stands out in Indonesian football culture, is definitely the amount of female supporters in the stands. Ofcourse other countries have female supporter groups as well, but they are not so dominant as in Indonesia. Take the Ladies Curva Sud from PSS Sleman for example. They are a highly respected group within the famous BCS and famous for their fierce passion for Sleman. Football is for everyone!
8. Driving your bike to a home-game
Where do you and the lads usually gather pre-game? Imagine gathering with your mates to travel to the stadium by motorbike. Chanting and waving while making your way to the stadium. Well you’ll see that happening at every homegame in Indonesia. Don’t drink and drive folks 😉
9. Chant class
First time we heard about ‘chant class’ for supporters it struck as a surprise. But actually it’s common practice in Indonesia, where supporters come together and practice the songs before matchday. Soaking in the feeling of togetherness while preparing for things to come. The Bonek from Persebaya call it ‘green class’. Which is led by their famous Capo: Ipul from Green Nord.Check out this clip by Green Nord 27!
10. Respect for the opponent
The last one on our list is a very important one. Although rivalries within the league can be fierce, a sense of mutual respect is definitely a big part of Indonesian football culture. If you’re the home-playing team, you are the host of the day. A role taken serious by the fans. The host should welcome their guests and treat them with respect. Vice versa if you come to another team’s ‘house‘, you should behave yourself and treat the host with respect.
This can be clearly seen and felt during games in the Indonesian Liga. If there’s no rivalry between two clubs, more often than not, the home and away fans will sing together. They will be silent to appreciate the singing of their opponent of the day.
This kind of respect for the opponent is truly unique. In the image above you see another example of respect. In 2017 Ex-Arema player Hasim Kipuw was planning on marrying his soon to be wife. On the Bali United – Arema matchday, both supporters worked together to congratulate and wish Hasim the best of luck. Another great example of respect in Indonesian football culture.
This was our top 10 Only in Indonesia. Do you have any contributions? Please let us know!