Martin Vunk and Evgeni Kabaev have already been welcomed with unprecedented warmth and interest for players coming from the Estonian football.
The Indonesian fans have confirmed once and again their hunger for football and their curiosity to see European players playing in their Super League.
However, ‘all that glitters’ ain’t gold’ they say. Persija Jakarta club has been through financial troubles and namely faced difficulties in paying their own players.
The club’s chairman, Ferry Paulus, has told to the Indonesian press that the club’s budget is around 40 billions rupees (roughly 2.700.000€) and it will all be used for signings. However, the club has still outstanding debts for unpaid salaries since September 2014. A situation the chairman has not denied in front of the Indonesian reporters promising all salaries will be paid before the next season will roll out.
A former player, Bambang Pamungkas, has confirmed the financial difficulties in the Indonesian football as a whole.
Indonesian international (85 appearances and 37 goals) he is the the Vice-President of the professional footballers association of Indonesia. Bambang, 31-years-old, is currently without a club and he explains why he is not looking forward to return to play in the Indonesian league. ‘I do not feel comfortable with the current situation. About 60 percent of all professional footballers in Indonesia suffer from late-payment of their salaries. It even reached the point of illness and death. Treating the footballer, being the most important asset in football, unjustly, cannot be tolerated anymore,’ this is how he debuted in a recent interview to FIFPRO website (FIFPRO is the international footballers trade union). A foreign player in Indonesia can reach up to roughly 10000€ salary a month, according to his level.
Bambang was in the top10 of Asian footballers in 2012. He played 12 years at Persija Jakarta and did not hide behind diplomacy in talking about the financial situation. ‘Ever since the current president came in and took over the club, the club is losing its identity. Persija Jakarta is walking in the wrong direction. As a result, they are currently placed at the bottom of the table.’
He cannot hide, however, that this is a hard situation to speak about for him: ‘it’s hard for me to have a conflict with Persija Jakarta, the team that I really love. But on the other hand I have a responsibility to fight for the rights of the players.’
He is one of the few players daring to speak openly about the dramatic conditions of football players in his country. Like the case of Diego Mendieta, a Paraguayan striker at Sukarta. His death on December 3rd , 2014 reportedly caused by cytomegalovirus (an easily treatable disease) sparked international outrage after it was made known that his club refused to pay his hospital fees, thus resulting in his death. The club also owed Mendieta an estimated 10000€ in salaries which had prevented him from returning to his native Paraguay.