Southeast Asia Asia

Persipura Set to Make AFC Cup Return

The Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) have announced on Sunday that they have officially appointed Persipura Jayapura as Indonesia’s second representative for the upcoming 2021 AFC Cup. This comes after the AFC had replied to the PSSI’s letter regarding Indonesia’s representatives for the 2021 AFC Cup, in which the PSSI have appointed both Bali United and Persija Jakarta as the country’s continental representatives.

It was understood that the AFC appreciated the rationale behind Persija’s appointment as they had became runners-up of the 2018-19 Piala Indonesia, however the confederation requests to the PSSI to abide by the Entry Manual of AFC Club Competition, which requires the next highest-positioned club in the league with an AFC license to earn qualification to AFC club competitions should a nation’s cup winner failed to obtain an AFC license.

“The AFC requests that a club should fulfill requirements stated in the sporting criteria section of the Entry Manual of AFC Club Competition should they wish to participate in the 2021 AFC Cup,” said PSSI caretaker secretary general Yunus Nusi in a Sunday press release on the PSSI’s official website.

With both 2018-19 Piala Indonesia winners PSM Makassar and 2019 Liga 1 Indonesia runners-up Persebaya Surabaya failing to attain AFC licenses for 2021, the doors are open for 2019 Liga 1 bronze medalists Persipura as the highest-positioned team in the league with an AFC license to accompany 2019 Liga 1 champions Bali United in the 2021 AFC Cup. The Mutiara Hitam are no strangers to the AFC Cup, having participated in the competition three times prior to 2021. Their last appearance in 2015 may have been marred with controversy after their inability to play Malaysia’s Pahang FA in the competition’s round of 16 resulted in their withdrawal from that year’s AFC Cup, however Persipura are Indonesia’s best performing representatives in the competition with a semifinal finish in 2014.

With a ticket to the 2021 AFC Cup officially theirs, Persipura – who had sent two letters to the PSSI questioning Persija’s initial appointment – were sent a number of documents that they must fill out before December 21st to confirm their participation in next year’s AFC Cup. Should Persipura’s participation in the 2021 AFC Cup is finalized, they will start out from the qualifying rounds, alongside debutants Hanthawady United of Myanmar, Visakha FC of Cambodia who are also making their AFC Cup debut, Lao champions Lao Toyota FC, Lalenok United of Timor-Leste, and the yet-to-be-named representatives of Brunei Darussalam.