I hope this tournament could really be made use to revive national football."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) kicked off the ball, marking the opening of President Cup II 2017 national soccer championship, at Maguwohardjo International Stadium in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Saturday.

The kicking of the ball from the center point of the field also marks the start of the first match between the host team PSS Sleman of Yogyakarta and Persipura Jayapura of the Indonesian eastern-most province of Papua.

The president expressed hope that the national championship would also result in the revival of national achievement in soccer.

"I hope this tournament could really be made use to revive national football," Jokowi stated.

He added that the term revival meant that the country could become a unifying factor oriented to achievement.

Before the inauguration, the president walked to the west side of the stadium, flanked by the general chairman of the All Indonesia Football Association (PSSI), Edy Rahmayadi, and chairmen of President Cup Steering Committee Maruarar Sirait and Iwan Budianto, where he threw a ball to the spectators.

A total of 20 soccer teams are participating in the President Cup II 2017, and they are divided into five groups.

Clubs in group 1 that will play in Maguwoharjo stadium, Sleman, are PSS Sleman as the host, and Mitra Kukar, Persegres Gresik and Persipura Jayapura.

Clubs in group 2 that will play in Kanjuruhan, Malang (East Java), are Arema FC, Bhayangkara FC, Persija Jakarta and PS TNI.

Clubs in group 3 that will play in Jalak Harupat stadium, Bandung (West Java), are Persib Bandung, PSM Makassar, Persiba Balikpapan and Persela Lamongan.

Clubs in group 4 that will play in the Kapten I Wayan Dipta, Bali, are Bali United, Sriwijaya FC, Pusamania Borneo and Barito Putra.

Clubs in group 5 that will play in the Gelora Bangkalan stadium, Madura (East Java), are Madura United, Semen Padang, Perseru Serui and PSCS Cilacap.

Earlier, Iwan Budianto, the organizing committee chairman of the President Cup, said here on Tuesday (Jan 31) that the closing ceremony of the soccer tournament will take place in the Pakansari stadium in Cibinong, Bogor District, on Sunday (March 12).

Iwan further said that each host club will receive Rp800 million, which will be used to serve other soccer clubs.

"Additionally, each participating team will also receive transportation allowance worth Rp100 million, except two teams from the most-eastern province of Papua, namely Persipura and Perseru Serui, which will receive more allowance due to the distant location.

Clubs that win the first prize will receive Rp3 billion. The second prize will be Rp2 billion, the third prize will be Rp1 billion and the fourth prize will be Rp500 million, he revealed.

In addition, the general chairman of the All-Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) Edy Rahmayadi explained that his side needed Rp43 billion to organize the tournament.

The president, while opening the limited cabinet meeting on the enhancement of the national soccer development in Jakarta on Tuesday (Jan 24), explained four formulas on how to improve the system and governance of national soccer.

"Firstly, I call for the implementation of soccer coaching at an early age, hoping that our football team would head to the regional and the world level if early childhood development is provided," Jokowi stated.

He also expressed his desire to carry out coaching in schools at different stages, to increase the number of soccer schools, as well as to promote competition at an early age.

"Secondly, there should be total revamp in the governance system of the national soccer team to become more competitive and qualified through fair play," the head of state said.

Jokowi also revealed that good competition system will help nurture young players from various potential areas.

"I have received many reports from the General Chairman of the All-Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), and we are optimistic that we would develop constantly to improve the Indonesian football in future," he disclosed.

Thirdly, the president focused on the management and building of soccer clubs and directly sought inputs and heard demands from PSSI.

Fourthly, Jokowi pointed out the importance of preparing the soccer stadium infrastructures to meet the requirement of the players.

"I have urged the Youth and Sports Affairs Minister to rehabilitate and control the soccer fields in villages and maintain them as community public spaces," the president remarked.

He also emphasized that the soccer fields should not be converted to other areas, especially for commercial purposes.

Jokowi also called for an increase in the number of soccer fields, adding that the involvement of the state-owned enterprises (BUMN) is needed to develop soccer fields in the country.

"We all see that soccer is a popular sport in the society, and it can also unite the Indonesian people. Despite its vacuum in international matches, due to sanction imposed by FIFA, the achievement of the national team "Garuda" in the final AFF Cup 2016 (as runner-up) has become a momentum for the rise of our national soccer," he said, asserting that the government will continue to give attention to accelerate the development of national soccer.

Reporter: Bustanuddin
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2017