Football in Jakarta is being overseen by the Football Association of Indonesia, which is also called Persatuan Sepak bola Seluruh Indonesia or PSSI. The sport has been well loved for a long time, as evidenced by the fact that the PSSI was established many years before Indonesia became independent. PSSI is part of the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA.
The establishment of the football association was initiated by Soeratin Sosrosoegondo, an engineer who studied in Germany. Having completed his degree in 1927, he returned to Indonesia the following year and worked at one of the foremost Dutch construction companies, the first Indonesian to have landed a job there. Soeratin became involved in the revolutionary movement. During that time, football in Jakarta was becoming a popular sport. Riding on the sport’s popularity, Soeratin thought he could use football as an instrument to unite Indonesia and advance the nation’s fight against the Dutch.
He began to meet with football players. The meetings were held in secret so as not to rouse the suspicion of the Dutch authorities. Word of his plan got around the local players. When he met with some players and Soeri, who was the head of Vetbalbond Indonesische Jakarta, the plan to set up a national football organization was conceived.
The organization was eventually founded on April 19, 1930 during a gathering of leaders of football organizations from different cities of Indonesia. Soeratin worked as the head of PSSI. The first national competition was held in 1931, which was followed by annual competitions thereafter. Using football as a means to unite the people and promote nationalism proved to be an effective strategy.
The Dutch East Indian Football Association or NIVU, which governed all football organizations in the Dutch East Indies, was established in 1936. It recognized the existence of PSSI, which was founded years before it, and sought to collaborate with it. In 1938, Indonesia joined the World Cup and sent a team comprised of players from both the PSSI and NIVU.
This displeased Soeratin, who was pushing for a match between PSSI and NIVU so that the winning team would be sent to join the World Cup. More controversies arose when the Dutch flag was used by the national team that was sent to the World Cup. As a result, the collaboration between the two teams ended. However, PSSI remained in existence and football in Jakarta continued to increase in popularity.
According to some sources, depending on the match, watching a live game of football in Jakarta can be a distressing experience for tourists. The crowds are particularly wild when the Viking of Persib comes face to face with the North Jak of Persitara, sometimes to the point of having riots break out. However, it is a wonderful sight to see people squeezed into cars and buses on their way to see the game. Before the beginning of the game, supporters from both teams exchange scarves. They do this as a friendly expression that the support they give to their favorite team is given all in the name of sports.