In August 2019 Nick Kuipers signed a contract for Indonesian Football Club, Persib Bandung. The club might sound unfamiliar to many European football supporters, but this Indonesian football club is huge in Indonesia and Asia. Persib’s official Instagram account has almost 5 million followers and the home games are mostly packed with 30.000 intense supporters.
Nick Kuipers isn’t the first Dutch player to arrive in Bandung! Former striker Sergio van Dijk still has a good reputation in Bandung and Raphael Maitimo and Kevin van Kippersluis, played for the club as well. Just a few weeks ago Ezra Walian made the move to Persib Bandung and the current head coach is the well-known Robert Alberts. Besides that, Geoffrey Castillion is still under contract in Bandung but playing on loan for Como 1907 in Italy right now. So we can say that the Dutch are well represented at the club.
The 28-year-old Dutch defender previously represented MVV-Maastricht, FC Emmen, and ADO Den Haag in the Dutch Eredivisie before making a transfer to Persib Bandung.
Morning call with Nick Kuipers in Indonesia
Recently we had a call with Nick Kuipers and talked about his move to Indonesia. For someone who doesn’t know the Indonesian culture, it can be challenging to adjust to the new environment. There is nothing that looks like the safe Dutch football competition, and not everybody can handle the culture switch. But we have to admit that Nick Kuipers is doing brilliantly in his first one and half year at the club.
Shortly after his arrival, he managed to become a stable factor in Persib’s defense and the fans started to appreciate his hard work during the games. Currently, Persib is one of the outsiders for next season’s competition and they just managed to reach the semi-finals of the Menpora Cup. And guess what? Nick was one of the goal scorers in the quarter-final game (3-2) against Persebaya Sunday, April 11th.
Moving to Indonesia
When I moved to Indonesia I didn’t thought it would be as good as it turned out to be. I had the same agent as Kevin van Kippersluis and I got in touch with Persib Bandung. I’m always open to new adventures and the first contacts with the club and the head coach were quite pleasant. It went quite fast and it turned out that the facilities and salary were according to what I hoped or expected. Before I realized it, I was on the plane to Indonesia and what I witnessed there in the first days was incredible! The fans, the passion, and the attention were huge and such a big surprise. From that moment I knew there was something special going on in Indonesia and Bandung.
My girlfriend moved with me to Indonesia, which was very important to me. She is almost even more enthusiastic about the Indonesian culture and loved it from the first moment. I came in halfway the season and managed to get a spot at the first team quite fast. Foreign players also need to perform and play because the club can only have a few foreign players in their squad. If a foreign player doesn’t perform well they will be sold very quickly.
The passion and atmosphere during the games in Indonesia is unique! The fans are full of passion and most stadiums are much bigger than in the Dutch League. Playing for big crowds is something every player dreams of, so that’s a big plus. I haven’t played in Indonesia’s two biggest stadiums so that’s definitely something I look forward to. I think playing in Persebaya’s Geloro Bung Tomo will be an awesome experience. As I’m a Persib Bandung player I’m not sure I will play in Indonesia’s number one stadium(Jakarta) anytime soon. The rivalry between my club and Persija Jakarta is so intense that playing in each other’s stadium is not possible right now. So we always play that game far away from West Java.
Dutch Connections and Johnny Wrap!
There are more Dutch players in the Indonesian football competition and I have good contact with Stefano Lilipaly, Marc Klok, and Melvin Platje for example. We often talk about the Indonesian football culture and what to do outside of football. Especially during the COVID-19 break, it was hard to find things to do and kill the time. In the Netherlands, I started a restaurant called Johnny Wrap a few years ago, and with the help of local friends, I started my own franchise in Bandung. So during the Covid-19 Pandemic, I still had things to focus on.
Away Games with Persib Bandung
Traveling to an away game is always an adventure in Indonesia. The flights, the stadiums, the crowds, it is still special. Our away game in Malang against Arema FC in early 2020 was also a special match. We needed to use army trucks from the hotel to the stadium because they were afraid supporters from Arema would attack us. Inside the Trucks, it was so hot! We won that game in Malang with 1-2 and after the game, there were small fights and emotional supporters, so we had to leave the complex shortly after the final whistle.
The away games against Bali United and PS Sleman were also very nice! The atmosphere in Maguwoharjo stadium is also impressive. It’s one of the few stadiums that have supporters close to the pitch. Playing in Bali was also special, not just because of the island’s vibes but also because of the atmosphere and the football friends I have in Bali.
Menpora Cup 2021
Currently, we are still in the Menpora Cup which started 2 weeks ago! The most important thing during this tournament is to get fit and ready for next season. On the other hand, we always want to win and see what we can achieve. We also have a huge fan base that wants to see their club win games and prizes. Maybe we are not favorite number one but we are definitely one of the outsiders to win this tournament.
For me, it feels so good to finally play football games again, after such a long period without official games. Especially in Indonesia, it is not that easy to play games without supporters as other countries do. Supporters may not be allowed inside the stadium but they will still gather outside, which is not really COVD-19 proof. That’s the reason why we play the games in the Menpora Cup in other cities and not in Bandung.
Life of Nick Kupers in Indonesia
Together with my girlfriend we really enjoy living in Indonesia so far! During my last holiday in the Netherlands, my girlfriend was really excited when we finally were on the plane back to Indonesia. Besides football, we also got time to travel and witness the beauty of the country. Especially trips to Bali are always a nice getaway and it would be awesome to have your own property there 😉 Who knows in the future!
Right now it’s all about getting back in shape, play a decent tournament, and get ready for next season! We started the pre-covid season with the maximum score out of 3 games. Hopefully, we can start the new season with the same spirit! Another personal goal is to learn the language and be able to communicate with my local teammates in Bahasa Indonesia!
Until we meet again, Nick Kuipers!
To get an impression of the football culture in Bandung please check the video below! Without covid-19 ruling the world, this is how a home game in Bandung looks like.