With one day to go to the third and final game of the tour in Asia, the official Chelsea website turns again to our expert on football in this part of the world for details on the opposition and the match.
Colin Pereira writes the regular View from the (Far) East Stand blog in chelseafc.com’s blog section and contributes to the Asian version of the club’s email newsletter.
Here he outlines the stadium in Jakarta and key personnel for the team we will face there.
Chelsea in Indonesia
While Chelsea have been regular visitors to Asia in the past decade, the match against the BNI Indonesia All-Stars in Jakarta on 25 July marks a major milestone for the club as it will be the Blues’ first ever match on Indonesian soil.
While Chelsea have not previously visited Indonesia, there is no shortage of support for the club in this hotbed of football with more than two million likes on the club’s Indonesian Facebook page.
The Venue – Gelora Bung Karno Stadium
Located in the Senayan district of central Jakarta and named after the country’s first president, Sukarno, the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex has been the centre of Indonesian sport since it was built to host the fourth Asian Games in 1962.
The cavernous main stadium is one of the largest sports venues in Asia although its capacity was reduced from over 100,000 to 88,000 in 2007, after it underwent major renovations ahead of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup when it hosted seven matches including the final between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Indonesian supporters are among the most passionate and patriotic football fans in the world and they regularly fill the stadium to capacity when their national team – the Garuda – are in action, creating an intimidating atmosphere for opponents with their deafening roars which reverberate off the roof of the fully covered stands.
While the intimidation factor should be dialled down for the visit of Chelsea, you can expect the cheers to be deafening if the home team manage to score a goal against the Blues.
The Coach – Jacksen Tiago
A native of Rio de Janiero, Jacksen Ferreira Tiago has been a familiar figure in Indonesian football in the past decades, initially as a player and subsequently as a coach.
He first played in Indonesia for Petrokimia Putra as a striker in 1994 and he also had spells at PSM Makassar, Persebaya Surabaya and Singapore side Geylang United before he hung up his boots in 2001 at the age of 33.
The 45-year-old, who is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, would go on to enjoy success as a coach, leading Persebayay and Papuan side Persipura Jayapura to league titles before he was appointed as the country’s national coach earlier this year.
If there is one thing that unites the country of Indonesia – which spans three time zones, stretches over 5,000 kilometres from east to west, encompasses over 17,000 islands and is the fourth most populous country in the world with nearly 250 million people – it is football. But despite enjoying a vibrant football culture and possessing some of the most technically-gifted players in the region, the national team – the Merah Putih (Red & White) or Garuda – have not enjoyed much success, competing just once in the World Cup in 1938 as the Dutch East Indies, never managing to get past the opening round of the AFC Asian Cup and finishing runners-up in the regional Asean Football Championship on four occasions.
Touted as one of the brightest young footballing talents in South-East Asia, the diminutive but highly skilled Andik Vermansyah (pictured below tracking David Beckham) has been nicknamed the Indonesian Messi. The 21-year-old stands just 1.63 metres tall but he has exceptional ball control, possesses a keen eye for goal and is unafraid to run at opposition defences. He was a standout performer for Indonesia at the Asean Football Championship last year when he scored with a long-range free-kick in a 1-0 win over Singapore.
The only overseas-based player in the BNI Indonesia All-Stars team, attacking midfielder Syamsir Alam is currently looking to make it big in the United States with Major League Soccer side DC United after a spell at Uruguayan giants Penarol. The technically-gifted 21-year-old has represented Indonesia at every age level from Under-11 to Under-23 and is expected to play a key role for his country at the upcoming South-East Asian Games in Myanmar.
One of the most experienced players in the BNI Indonesia All-Stars team, centre-back Hamka Hamzah has been a rock at the heart of Indonesia’s back four since he made his international debut at the age of 20 in 2004. The native of Sulawesi, who stands 1.83 metres tall, has played for several of Indonesia’s top clubs, represented his country at the 2004 AFC Asian Cup and helped the Garuda to reach the Asean Football Championship finals in 2004 and 2010.
Born in Rotterdam to Indonesian-Dutch parents, Raphael Maitimo (pictured top right) joined the Feyenoord academy at the age of eight and represented the Netherlands at Under-16 and Under-17 levels, where he played alongside the likes of Wesley Sneijder and former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben. After spells at clubs in the Dutch second division and in China, he joined Indonesian side Bali Devata in 2011. He became an Indonesian citizen last year and marked his international debut against Laos with a headed goal.
Born in Nigeria, Greg Nwokolo (pictured below left) has established himself as one of South-East Asia’s top forwards over the past decade during his prolific spells at clubs in Singapore and Indonesia. The skilful 27-year-old, who can be deployed either as a striker or on the wing, became a naturalised Indonesian citizen in 2011 and he made his debut for the national team in an AFC Asian Cup qualifying match against Saudi Arabia last March.