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Super East Java Derby

Today marks the day of the Super East Java Derby. One of the fiercest derbies in Indonesian football, between Arema…

By Awaydays Asia , in Football Culture , at November 5, 2021 Tags: , , , , ,

Today marks the day of the Super East Java Derby. One of the fiercest derbies in Indonesian football, between Arema Malang and Persebaya Surabaya. Over the years this derby has caused so many conflicts and casualties that both teams aren’t allowed to bring away fans to the game. But why do these two sides hate each other? What seed caused the Arema and Persebaya tree to grow into a matter of life and death?

It is common knowledge that these two teams have been involved in a fierce rivalry for a long time. The meeting between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya always gives fierce competition both on and off the field. The bonek of Surabaya on one side, and Aremania on the other side.

The Super East Java Derby shows two big cities taking each other on to take pride over who’s the best team in the area(East-Java in this case). It isn’t an uncommon phenomenon in football. Two relatively close teams starting a feud. Whether there’s a historical angle to the story or mere pride, it usually doesn’t take much for supporters to turn on each other when pride gets involved. But what made Malang and Surabaya turn into sworn enemies? In order to understand the roots of the feud, we have to go back to 1995.

Nurkiman incident

December 26, 1995, might mark the birth of the feud between Persebaya and Arema. A special year in the history of Indonesian football, as Cameroonian World Cup star Roger Milla graced the pitches in Indonesian. A year later even Argentinan legend Mario Kempes would join the league. Some remarkable players in Indonesian football you could say. Read more about remarkable players in Indonesian football in this article.

Apart from Roger Milla dancing on the pitch in Kanjuruhan stadium, Persebaya faced Persema Malang that day. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Apparently an unsatisfying result for the home fans that day. While the player bus of Persebaya was about to leave the city, a group of Ngalamania supporters stopped the bus by throwing rocks.

One of the glasses couldn’t stop a stone from hitting M.Nurkiman. One of Persebaya’s players that day. Nurkiman man suffered an injury to his left eye. The hostile action taken by Ngalamania didn’t sit well with Persebaya’s bonek. The incident was allegedly the beginning of the rivalry between the two groups of supporters.

Iwan Fals

Some fans argue the feud started even before the Nurkiman incident, on January 23, 1990. That day Indonesia’s musical legend, Iwan Fals launched his Kantaka Takwa album in Tabaksari Stadium. The old school stadium in Surabaya that currently goes by the Gelora 10 November stadium.

Iwan Fals is widely known as one of Indonesia’s most famous protest singers. Openly criticizing living conditions and the political situation at the time. Some even dubbed the man to be the Indonesian Bob Dylan. We heavily recommend you check out his music to gain a better understanding of the impact this man had made.

During the concert, Arema fans started cheering their club chant in the middle of Surabaya. A risky move, as local Persebaya supporters got upset and fights broke out during the concert. After the concert, riots broke out as Bonek and Aremania took it out on each other. Many argue this was the actual starting point of the fierce rivalry.

Indonesian music legend and protestsinger Iwan Fals
The late Iwan Fals

Recent incidents

Whether the rivalry began in 1990 or 1995 remains unclear. But what’s for sure is that Bonek and Aremania can drink each other’s blood. The match between Persebaya and Arema has lead to many confrontations over the years. A massive battle in the rice paddies of Blitar back in February 2020 and most recently a Persebaya supporter smashing the windows of the player bus of Arema in October this year.

Back in 2006 the two supporter groups faced each other in what is known as the biggest supporter riots in Indonesian football. Nicknamed as the Amuk Supporter Empat September, or The September Fourth Supporter Riots.

At the time Persebaya’s Bonek took out their frustrations of being knocked out of the Indonesian Super Cup. After losing the away game in Malang, the team from Surabaya only managed to draw(1-1) at home. Causing a huge brawl after the game, injuring 14 fans and policemen, while burning three cars.

Persebaya vs Arema ricuh di Blitar
The 2020 battle of Blitar

Arema – Persebaya in 2021

This year the world looks different.This year’s Super East Java Derby will be played on neutral terrain, in Stadion Manahan Solo to be precise. As the aftermath of Corona virus doesn’t allow fans from either side to attend the game. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, we had the chance to visit both Persebaya’s Gelora Bung Tomo and Arema’s Kanjuruhan Stadium.

A matchday experience we won’t forget anytime soon! We are curious what today’s game will bring. Will Persebaya’s Bajul Ijo or Arema’s Singo Edan take home those hard needed three points? Let us know what you expect in the comment section below.

Matchday scenes from Persebaya vs Arema 2018
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