As a second tier competition in Asia, AFC Cup isn’t as popular as AFC Champions League. However, we should give some credits for all of the team that give their valiant effort in this competition, including one of Indonesia representatives, Persija Jakarta.
Last Tuesday (4/10), Macan Kemayoran played against Malaysia representative, Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) on the fifth matchday of AFC Cup group H in Stadion Utama Gelora Bung Karno (SUGBK), Jakarta, Indonesia. Persija thrashed the away team with an exaggerated score, 4-0.
The Croatian striker, Marko Simic, had a game of his life by scoring all of the goals. He created his quattrick on minute 8’, 12’, 19’, and 87’. With this four goals, he added his total tally in AFC Cup to seven goals, bring him to the top of scorer list in this competition.
Moreover, the match between Persija and JDT created a new record on AFC Cup. Played in the newly renovated SUGBK, this match broke AFC Cup attendance record! According to the release from AFC website, there were 60.157 people that attended this match. Before this match, the highest attendance record on AFC Cup was on the game between Al Ittihad (Syria) and Al Qadsia (Kuwait) in the AFC Cup Final 2010 in Jaber International Stadium, Kuwait City.
Jakmania, Persija Jakarta’s fanbase, played a big part on this record-breaking moment. They showed a great enthusiasm, with superb choreo and tifo. Their militancy and dedication got complimented by Datuk Windsor Paul John, Generaly Secretary of AFC.
However, Indonesia FA, PSSI, got critics in this situation. ESPN columnist and Southeast Asia football enthusiast, Paul Murphy, sent his voice to PSSI from Twitter.
If game was well managed in Indonesia, its clubs would surely be streets ahead of others in SE Asia. No Thai clubs have anywhere near this fan base https://t.co/IxdxvAO822
— Paulmurphy (@PaulmurphyBKK) April 10, 2018
Murphy said that Indonesian enthusiasm for football should be managed properly by PSSI so it can support Indonesia football to their best.
Nevertheless, Persija Jakarta and Jakmania should be proud with this achievement.