Indonesia, a country with a population of over 275 million, has been trying to establish itself as a football powerhouse for years. Nielsen data for 2022 found the fact that 69% of Indonesians like football, and if we count Indonesia’s population of 275 million people, then there are around 189.7 million people who like football.

However, the reality is that despite its large football-loving population, the country has yet to achieve any significant football achievements. It is no secret that Indonesia’s football infrastructure and league are not professional or well-organized. And yet, the country’s politicians still try to capitalize on the sport’s popularity for their own gain.

It seems that in Indonesia, football and politics go hand in hand, and politicians are always on the lookout for ways to use the sport to their advantage. The passion for football in the country is so intense that it transcends socio-economic and cultural barriers, making it an incredibly powerful tool for political campaigns. And politicians have not hesitated to use it for their own benefit.

In some cases, politicians have even provided financial support to local football clubs in exchange for political support from the club’s fans. This strategy is essentially a form of political patronage, where politicians offer resources in return for votes. And it is particularly effective in regions where the majority of citizens are football fans and have a deep-rooted love for the sport.

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Furthermore, the elite also seek the highest positions in the national football organization to help increase its popularity. They take advantage of people’s passion for football and the national team and use it as a “billboard” to get high exposure. It seems that the sport’s integrity and fairness are often sacrificed in favor of political gains.

It is indeed a funny phenomenon that politicians in Indonesia would take advantage of a national team’s success to promote their own image. It’s not just limited to the senior team, but even the youth teams as well. If the national team, regardless of age group, wins a championship, politicians will be quick to ride the wave of success. They will stick their faces on a poster design or other promotional media, both online and offline, and use photos of the players as the background.

It’s as if the politicians want to take credit for the success of the national team and use it to their advantage. But in reality, it’s the hard work of the players, coaches, and support staff that leads to success on the field. Politicians should be focused on supporting the development of football in the country and providing the necessary resources for players to succeed, rather than using their success for their own personal gain.

This kind of behavior only serves to reinforce the negative perception of the relationship between football and politics in Indonesia. It sends the message that politicians are only interested in using football to further their own interests, rather than genuinely supporting the sport and its development. It also creates a sense of cynicism and mistrust among fans, who may view the success of the national team with a more critical eye.

It’s important for politicians to recognize that their role is to support the development of football in the country, not to exploit its success for their own personal gain. It’s also crucial for stakeholders in the sport to work together to protect the integrity and fairness of the game from political interference. By doing so, we can ensure that football remains a source of inspiration and hope for the citizens of Indonesia, and a sport that is truly worthy of their passion and support.

The relationship between football and politics in Indonesia is indeed a complex one. On the one hand, healthy policies from the political elite are necessary to ensure the development and success of football in the country. On the other hand, the sport’s integrity and fairness must be protected from political interference and exploitation.

The government, football associations, and fans must work together to prevent politics from interfering with the sport’s growth and development. The country’s football infrastructure and league must be improved and professionalized to ensure that talented players have the opportunity to showcase their skills and advance their careers.

It is clear that football is more than just a sport in Indonesia. It is a symbol of hope, unity, and national pride. And yet, the sport’s potential is being stifled by political interference and exploitation. The people of Indonesia deserve better than this. It’s time for the country’s politicians to stop using football as a tool for their own gain and start working towards the sport’s growth and development for the benefit of the country and its people.

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