Southeast Asia Indonesia

Group Stages Drawn for 2021 Menpora Cup

The Football Federation of Indonesia (PSSI) have conducted the draw for the upcoming 2021 Menpora Cup tournament at the Fairmont Hotel in Senayan, South Jakarta on Monday. The 18 Liga 1 Indonesia teams are divided into four groups, two groups of five and two groups of four, which will be hosted by four separate cities. Group B, in particular, was touted as the “group of death” due to the sheer amount of strong teams being stacked there.

Contrary to rumors, Liga 2 Indonesia sides PSMS Medan and Sriwijaya FC were not included in the 2021 Menpora Cup, making the tournament a Liga 1-exclusive one. Furthermore, there will be no host team in each of the host cities, adding more intrigue into tournament as the PSSI are trying their best to ensure that supporters would obey the established health and safety protocols relating to COVID-19 by not coming into the stadium during matchdays.

Group A, which will be hosted by the Manahan Stadium in Solo, contain Arema FC, PSIS Semarang, Barito Putera, TIRA-Persikabo, and Persipura Jayapura.

Group B, touted as the “group of death,” will be hosted by the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang Regency. Persija Jakarta was drawn into this group, along with Borneo FC, Bhayangkara Solo FC, and PSM Makassar.

Group C, which will be played at the Gelora Bandung Lautan Api Stadium in Bandung, has Persebaya Surabaya, Persik Kediri, Madura United, Persela Lamongan, and PS Sleman, with the marquee tie from the group undoubtedly being the Suramadu Derby between Persebaya and Madura United.

Last but not least, Group D, which will be hosted by the Maguwoharjo Stadium in Sleman, has Bali United, Persita Tangerang, Persib Bandung, and Persiraja Banda Aceh.

The PSSI will use the 2021 Menpora Cup as a live test for their COVID-19 protocols, with the federation crossing their fingers that should the tournament ends in a success, then they could safely hold the 2021 Liga 1 and Liga 2 seasons without a hitch.

Liga 1 clubs has been preparing themselves for the Menpora Cup, which will kick-off on March 21st. The likes of Persebaya, Persik, PSM, and Persiraja have confirmed that they will deploy squads filled with 100% local players, while PSS and Borneo were the biggest movers in the buildup towards the tournament. Both the Super Elja and Pesut Etam have being bringing in quality players en masse, taking advantage of players being released from their old clubs after their contracts had ran out.

Despite losing star striker Yehven Bokhashvili to Liga Super Malaysia side Sri Pahang FC and Zah Rahan Krangar who had been released, PSS managed to snag Kim Jeffrey Kurniawan and Fabiano Beltrame from Persib, Fandry Imbiri from Madura United, the talented goalkeeper Miswar Saputra from PSM, former Suphanburi FC and FELDA United striker Nicolas Velez, and Mario Maslac from North Macedonian side FK Akademija Pandev.

Borneo have also been doing their rounds in the transfer market lately. Mario Gomez’s men managed to land goalkeeper Angga Saputro from Persebaya, Hendro Siswanto from Arema, Leo Guntara from PSM, Rifal Lastori returning from loan at Sulut United, and Bosnian attacker Amer Bekic from FK Sloboda Tuzla.

Based on their recent activities, one might not be mistaken if they tip either PSS or Borneo to pick something up from the upcoming Menpora Cup.