Crowd trouble hurts more than defeat, says Indonesian captain

JAKARTA: Indonesian goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa could not hide his disappointment with the violent behaviour of Garuda squad fans in the match between Malaysia and Indonesia at Stadium Gelora Bung Karno last night.

Malaysia came from behind to beat Indonesia 3-2 in the Group G opener of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup in front of more than 50,000 supporters of the Garuda team.

Admitting that he was affected by the result, especially since Indonesia had led 2-1, Andritany said it was even more painful to see Indonesian fans invading the tracks and attacking a section of the Malaysian supporters.

“Very painful. Because we were leading twice and finally lost 3-2. Definitely sad … disappointed too. But, honestly, it was more painful to witness what happened at the stadium.

“This has really tarnished the good name of Indonesia. By right, whatever the outcome of a match, we should accept it.

“As the captain of the national team, I’m very sad to see what happened and what was committed by our supporters tonight,” he told reporters after the match.

Apart from the crowd trouble which broke out after Malaysia’s midfielder Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad scored the equaliser in the 65th minute, Indonesian fans also hurled bottles and other objects into the area housing Malaysian supporters.

The incident forced South Korean referee Ko Hyungjin to stop the match for almost 10 minutes.

After order was restored, the game continued until the final whistle without any incident.

However, after the match, the Harimau Malaya squad, including officials, were taken in armoured vehicles to their hotel for safety reasons.

Indonesia says sorry

Earlier today, Indonesia’s Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi apologised for the ugly incident.

Imam met Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to apologise and expressed regret over the commotion created by local supporters.

The meeting which was held at a hotel in Jakarta was shared on Syed Saddiq’s Instagram site today.

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is to lodge an official complaint with the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regarding the crowd disturbance at the match.

FAM secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said it was gathering evidence on the incident before reporting to the two international football bodies.

He said hooliganism and gangsterism had no place in football and FAM was very disappointed with the rowdy behaviour of the Indonesian fans.

He said the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), through the local authorities, had failed to anticipate the crowd trouble and thus did not fulfil the promise and understanding reached with Malaysia.

“What happened meant that the hosts failed to fulfil the general promise made for the match and also failed to control the behaviour of their fans before, during and after the match, to the extent of marring the image of Indonesian football.

“Players and officials of both countries displayed fair play and professionalism but the match was marred by incidents off the pitch,” he said in a statement here today.

He said FAM and Malaysian police, including Federal Reserve Unit deputy commander Kamarulzaman Maarof, had held two meetings, on Aug 20 and 27, with Indonesian authorities on security arrangements for the Malaysian team and supporters.

“Although police escort was provided for the journey from the airport to the stadium and return, especially for about 300 supporters in six buses, the situation was still chaotic,” he said.

However, he praised the Malaysian supporters for behaving in a positive manner despite the provocative actions of the Indonesian fans.

“We would like to advise you to remain patient and to respect foreign fans who are in our country, whether they are from Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand or Vietnam for the matches at the National Stadium later,” he said.

FAM thanked Malaysian fans for their support and would pray for the safety of those still in Indonesia, he said.