Sat, 04 Jun 1994

Senayan set to stage Milan-Persib match

JAKARTA (JP): Organizers of today's international friendly pitting soccer giant AC Milan against Persib Bandung consider Senayan stadium in fine condition for the match.

Committee chairman Agum Gumelar said after a brief visit to the 100,000-seat stadium yesterday that the venue is qualified to hold any world-class competition.

Milan, brought by promoter Eddy Sofyan in cooperation with Republika daily, will play the winner of the intercity amateur soccer championship as a part of its world summer tour. The match will be aired live on RCTI television, starting from 4 p.m.

The five-time European champion will have another friendly in Surabaya, East Java on Monday. Another private station TPI will televised Monday's match, starting from 3 p.m.

Several workers sprayed the green pitch with water as Agum, amateur league administrator of the All Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) and commander of the National Army's elite forces Kopassus, was "forced" to take a close look at the soccer field followed by journalists.

The pressmen were dissatisfied to hear Agum say: "It has been reported that the pitch is okay," without trying to verify this fact.

Agum told the reporters who accompanied him during the 20- minute round trip that he was proud of the Senayan stadium and hoped that someday the stadium would only stage prestigious matches. The 32-year old venue, built to host the fourth Asian Games in 1962, has been widely used by many soccer teams.

"We have to be selective in the long run. Everybody dreams of adopting England's Road to Wembley," Agum said. The one-star general said that this dream would probably never come true, blaming the scarcity of soccer fields in Indonesia.

"The current drive for development has, to some extent, caused many sport venues to vanish," he said. "Development should adjust itself to the existing circumstance," he added.


The focus of yesterday's trip was the organizers' plan to use the 22-year old, rarely used, underground tunnel which goes underneath the stadium out to the pitch. All the players in todays's match enter the pitch through the tunnel, in an attempt to prevent frantic fans from getting close to the star-studded Milan's players.

The underground entrance was built in the stadium to serve as an emergency exit for players during a riot.

"There will be no direct contact between players and the crowd, as we need the match run in a disciplined way," Agum said, noting the recent friendly featuring another Italian elite club Sampdoria.

Hundreds of security officers were unable to control a disruptive mob who hurled plastic bottles at each other when Sampdoria played Indonesia's Liga Selection early last month.

The organizers will ban sticks, plastic bottles and other objects which may be used to promote disorder in the stadium. Street vendors will not be allowed to sell their goods around the stadium either. No less than 1,500 security officers will be deployed to maintain order in today's match.

The curved 25-meter tunnel has been repainted and decorated with green carpet. The lane of the underground corridor is around 150-centimeters wide and two-meters high. It looks uncomfortable for European people who are larger than the average Indonesian.

At least 30 chutists from Russia and Kopassus will perform a parachuting exhibition before the kick-off of the event. The chutists are taking part in the Kopassus international skydiving and parachuting championships in Serang, West Java. (amd)