A guide to football in Indonesia

Indonesia has a deep-rooted love affair with football, the nation’s most popular sport in terms of attendance, participation and revenue. From its rich history dating back to colonial days to the present-day vibrant leagues and passionate fan base, football is an integral part of Indonesian culture.

This comprehensive guide takes you through the colourful world of Indonesian football – uncovering its past glories, exploring its home-grown philosophies and revealing top tips for enjoying matches live in some of Southeast Asia’s finest stadiums.

Key Takeaways

  • Football has a rich history in Indonesia dating back to the Dutch colonial period, with the sport becoming deeply ingrained into Indonesian culture and developing into a symbol of national unity and pride.
  • The Indonesian football league system consists of Liga 1 and Liga 2, as well as Piala Indonesia and Indonesian Super Cup tournaments. Despite some challenges facing management and infrastructure, professional football continues to grow in Indonesia with passionate fans attending matches regularly.
  • Some notable teams to watch include Persija Jakarta, Bali United FC, PSM Makassar, Arema FC, Persib Bandung, Mitra Kukar FC, and Madura United FC. Famous football players from Indonesia include Bambang Pamungkas, Boaz Solossa, Evan Dimas, Irfan Bachdim, Stefano Lilipaly, Kim Kurniawan, Fachri Husaini and Cristian Gonzales.

The History And Popularity Of Football In Indonesia

Football has been played in Indonesia since the early 1900s and has grown to become the most popular sport in the country, with millions of fans attending matches regularly.

The Early Days Of Football In Indonesia

Football has a rich and storied history in Indonesia, with its roots dating back to the late 19th century during the Dutch colonial period. At that time, introduced by European workers and traders, football was primarily played in big cities like Batavia (now Jakarta), Surabaya and Bandung among both Indonesians and Europeans alike.

The sport continued to grow over time, garnering widespread popularity within Indonesian communities across all strata of society. Soon enough, local clubs started forming around schools and neighbourhoods as more people took up football for recreation.

This era also witnessed several important milestones such as when Hirschmann Football Association organised a tournament called Perserikatan for native Indonesian teams during 1919-1930 – an endeavour that could be regarded as one of Indonesia’s earliest attempts at fostering nationalism through sports before gaining independence from colonial rule.

Football As The National Sport

Football is considered Indonesia’s national sport, with a rich history and significant cultural significance. The love for football can be traced back to the Dutch colonial era in the early 1900s, when it was introduced as a recreational activity for Indonesian soldiers.

Today, football in Indonesia plays an essential role in shaping popular culture. It has become more than just a sport but rather an integral part of everyday life for many Indonesians.

The Rise Of Professional Football

Professional football in Indonesia began to gain popularity during the 2000s when there was a surge in investment and sponsorship deals from both local and international brands.

This resulted in the formation of professional leagues, such as Liga 1 and Liga 2, which consist of several teams from various regions across Indonesia. The creation of these leagues brought about an increase in revenue for clubs, players, and other stakeholders involved.

It also enabled more young Indonesian players to pursue football as a career path.

Keywords: rise of professional football, Indonesian national team, Indonesian football league system

Football Leagues And Competitions In Indonesia

Indonesia boasts a vibrant football culture, and the country has several professional leagues and competitions. The top-tier league is Liga 1, which features eighteen teams from several regions of Indonesia.

Liga 2, on the other hand, has twenty-four clubs competing in two groups. Both leagues are organised by PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) under the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI).

In addition to these leagues, there is also Piala Indonesia or the Indonesian Cup and Indonesian Super Cup tournaments. These knockout-style tournaments feature teams from various divisions of Indonesian football and provide exciting matches for fans across the country.

Liga 1

Liga 1, also known as the Shopee Liga 1 due to sponsorship, is the top tier of professional football in Indonesia. The league consists of 18 teams from various regions across the country, with each team playing 34 matches throughout the season.

The league has seen significant growth and investment in recent years, with big-name players such as Michael Essien and Peter Odemwingie joining Indonesian clubs. Additionally, new initiatives have been introduced to increase fan engagement and promote youth development within the league.

Liga 2

Liga 2 is the second tier of professional football in Indonesia and serves as a stepping stone for players aiming to reach Liga 1. Currently, there are 24 teams competing in the league, with some clubs having strong fan bases despite being outside of the top flight.

Similar to Liga 1, promotion and relegation between divisions occur at the end of each season based on performance.

Piala Indonesia

Another major football competition in Indonesia is the Piala Indonesia, also known as the Indonesian Cup. It was introduced in 2005 and has since become a highly anticipated event for football enthusiasts around the country.

The Piala Indonesia has seen some exciting matches over the years, including a 2019 final between Persija Jakarta and PSM Makassar that saw Persija clinch their first-ever cup title after going into extra time.

The competition has also been marred by controversy at times, such as when players protested low wages during a match in 2012 or when several clubs boycotted the tournament due to disagreements with its structure in 2020.

Indonesian Super Cup

The Indonesian Super Cup is an annual football competition that pits the winners of Liga 1 and Piala Indonesia against each other. The first-ever Super Cup took place in 2018, with Persija Jakarta emerging as the champions after defeating Bali United.

This tournament is highly anticipated by football fans in Indonesia, as it represents a battle between two of the country’s most successful teams. Not only does the Super Cup offer bragging rights to the winning team, but it also serves as a warm-up for both clubs ahead of their respective leagues and continental competitions.

Football Teams, Players, And Philosophy In Indonesia

Indonesia boasts top teams, famous players, and a unique football philosophy called Filanesia – read on to discover more about the exciting world of Indonesian football.

Top Teams To Watch

Football in Indonesia is full of passionate fans, and there are several exciting teams to watch. Here are some of the top ones to keep an eye on:

Persija Jakarta – One of the most successful teams in Indonesian football with 11 national championships.

Bali United FC – A rising star in the league with a strong fan base and a new stadium.

PSM Makassar – Known for their attacking style and impressive home record.

Arema FC – A team with a rich history and loyal supporters known as “Aremania.”

Persib Bandung – Often referred to as the “Manchester United of Indonesia” due to their huge following.

Mitra Kukar FC – A team that has made impressive strides in recent years, finishing as runners-up in the 2017 Piala Indonesia.

Madura United FC – Another team on the rise with former Arsenal striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, now playing for them.

With such a range of talented teams, it’s no wonder that football is such a big deal in Indonesia! Whether cheering from the stands or watching at home, there’s never a dull moment when Indonesian football is on display.

Famous Football Players In Indonesia

Football is undoubtedly a popular sport in Indonesia. As such, it has produced some notable players who have made a significant contribution to the growth of football in the country. Here are some famous football players in Indonesia:

Bambang Pamungkas – Popularly known as Bepe, this former striker played for the Indonesian national team for over a decade and is regarded as one of the best players to ever come out of Indonesia.

Boaz Solossa – Boaz Solossa is a forward who has been instrumental in leading his club, Persipura Jayapura, to several titles in Liga 1.

Andik Vermansah – Andik Vermansah is another notable player who has represented Indonesia on numerous occasions and was voted the Player of the Year by the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) in 2013.

Evan Dimas – Evan Dimas is a young midfielder who plays for Barito Putera and has already made an impact on the national team.

Irfan Bachdim – Irfan Bachdim is a winger who has played professionally in several countries, including Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Stefano Lilipaly – Stefano Lilipaly is an attacking midfielder who currently plays for Bali United FC and has earned over 40 caps for the national team.

Kim Kurniawan – Kim Kurniawan is another famous football player from Indonesia who played as a midfielder for Persija Jakarta before retiring in 2020.

Fachri Husaini – Fachri Husaini was named one of Asia’s top young talents by FourFourTwo magazine and played as a striker for Mitra Kukar FC before retiring due to injury.

Cristian Gonzales – Cristian Gonzales is a former professional footballer originally from Uruguay but gained Indonesian citizenship after playing there for many years, he is the all-time top scorer in Indonesia.

Ricky Yacobi – Ricky Yacobi is a former Indonesian footballer who played as a midfielder for Persija Jakarta and the national team.

These players have contributed to making football a celebrated sport in Indonesia, and their legacy continues to inspire young players across the country.

Indonesian Football Philosophy (Filanesia)

Indonesian Football Philosophy, or Filanesia, is a unique approach to football that combines the country’s traditional values with modern techniques. The philosophy emphasises teamwork and discipline, as well as respect for opponents and referees.

The concept of Filanesia can be seen in how Indonesian teams play on the field. They prioritise quick passing between players instead of individualism and encourage frequent communication on the pitch.

Despite its success, not all coaches in Indonesia agree with Filanesia’s methods. Some argue that it limits creativity and doesn’t allow for individual strengths to shine through.

Overall, Indonesian Football Philosophy offers a unique perspective on the sport that is worth exploring for any football fan interested in different approaches to gameplay and team management.

The Passionate Fan Base

Indonesian football fans are some of the most passionate in the world. The atmosphere at a match is electric, with thousands of supporters chanting and waving flags in support of their team.

There is also a strong sense of community among football supporters in Indonesia. Fans gather together before matches to share food, drink, and stories about their beloved teams.

Overall, Indonesian football fans play an essential role not only in driving up attendance but also shaping the country’s broader culture around sportsmanship and enthusiasm for soccer.

Tips For Watching Football In Indonesia

Paying Attention To Kick-Off Times

It’s important to pay close attention to the kick-off times when attending football matches in Indonesia. The country is home to several different time zones, so it’s crucial to know which one you’re in and what time the match will start.

If you want to avoid missing the kick-off altogether, it’s best to arrive at the stadium well before the scheduled start time. This will also give you plenty of time to find a good seat and soak up the atmosphere before the game begins.

Overall, paying close attention to kick-off times is essential if you want to fully enjoy your football experience in Indonesia.

Buying Tickets In Advance

To secure your spot in watching live football matches in Indonesia, it’s best to buy tickets in advance. Most of the popular games sell out quickly, so it’s essential to plan ahead and book online or at ticket booths early.

Moreover, purchasing tickets early can save you money as some clubs offer discounts for buying tickets before the day of the game. In general, getting cheaper seats is also possible when purchasing several days to weeks earlier.

Do check official club websites and social media pages for more information about each team’s upcoming fixtures and how they manage their ticket sales.

Choosing Comfortable Seating

When watching a football match in Indonesia, it’s important to choose comfortable seating to fully enjoy the experience. Most stadiums have different types of seats available, ranging from basic benches to VIP boxes.

It’s also worth considering where your seats are located within the stadium. For example, if you want to get in on all the action and be close to the field, then choosing seats near the pitch is your best bet.

Keep in mind that some stadiums may have designated areas for away team fans or specific supporter groups that can add some extra excitement or potential conflict around those sections.

Staying Safe And Secure

When watching football in Indonesia, it is important to prioritise personal safety and security. First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep an eye on your belongings.

It’s best to leave valuables at home or secure them in a safe place before heading out.

Choosing comfortable seating can also help prevent potential accidents or injuries during the game. Avoid sitting near areas where fans tend to be rowdy or aggressive.

Lastly, make sure to follow any rules set by the stadium management regarding prohibited items and behaviour during matches.

Overall, enjoying football matches in Indonesia means staying alert and responsible for one’s safety without compromising the experience, fun and excitement!

Engaging With Local Fans

Indonesian football fans are some of the most passionate in the world. Engaging with them can be a great way to enhance your football experience in Indonesia. One way to do this is by joining them for pre-match activities, such as singing club chants and enjoying local delicacies.

It’s important to note, however, that safety should always come first when engaging with local fans. It’s best to avoid any confrontations or displays of aggressiveness, especially when supporting rival teams.

A Guide To Football Stadiums In Indonesia

Football stadiums in Indonesia are known for their vibrant atmosphere and passionate fans. Here is a guide to some of the most popular football stadiums in the country:

Gelora Bung Karno Stadium: Located in Tanah Abang, Jakarta, this stadium is the largest in Indonesia with a capacity of 80,000 seats. It’s also known as “GBK” and has hosted many international events, including the 1962 Asian Games and the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium: This stadium is located in Palembang and has a capacity of around 40,000 seats. It’s one of the newest stadiums in Indonesia and is home to Sriwijaya FC, a team that plays in Liga 1.

Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium: This stadium is located in Gianyar, Bali and has a capacity of around 25,000 seats. It’s one of the few stadiums that is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery.

Jakabaring Stadium: Located in Palembang, this stadium has a capacity of around 36,000 seats and was built specifically for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.

Si Jalak Harupat Stadium: This stadium is located in Soreang, West Java and has a capacity of around 40,000 seats. It’s home to Persib Bandung, one of the most popular football teams in Indonesia.

When watching football matches at these stadiums, it’s essential to arrive early to find comfortable seating and engage with local fans who will be more than happy to share their passion for Indonesian football with you.

Future Of Football In Indonesia

The FIFA president’s visit to Indonesia and the proposed transformation plan shows a promising future for Indonesian football, with potential for global recognition and opportunities for young players; read on to discover more about the exciting developments in Indonesian football.

FIFA President’s Visit And Transformation Plan

Football in Indonesia has gained massive popularity, and the sport has become a national pastime. The passion of its fans towards football can be witnessed through the success of the Indonesian football league system, which includes Liga 1 and Liga 2.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s visit to Indonesia highlights his commitment to working with local authorities to transform football in the country.

This development plan aims at using football as a tool for social inclusion by developing players from all backgrounds while transforming Indonesian football into a global brand.

These efforts will provide an opportunity for current players while also creating opportunities for future generations who aspire to become professional athletes.

Challenges And Opportunities For Young Players

Young football players in Indonesia face several challenges and opportunities. One significant challenge is the lack of proper infrastructure, resources, and training facilities to develop their skills adequately.

Another challenge for young players is the competition they face from older and more experienced players. In Indonesia’s football culture, age hierarchy plays a crucial role in determining who gets to play on a team or start a game.

Several promising young Indonesian footballers have gained recognition on the global stage recently. Egy Maulana Vikri became the first Southeast Asian player to win FIFA’s Best Young Player award during his stint with Polish club Lechia Gdańsk.

With an increasing interest in developing its grassroots level soccer scene as well as tapping into emerging markets such as women’s football, esports (PES) gaming tournaments held at universities across cities like Jakarta Barat offer some enticing opportunities for up-and-coming soccer stars that previously were not available before paving new roads worth exploring upon graduation – especially if he/she does not go pro immediately!

Potential For Global Recognition

Indonesia’s love for football is not only limited to its own shores but has the potential to gain global recognition. The country’s passionate fan base, coupled with the ever-improving quality of the Indonesian football league, could see it become a force to be reckoned with in international football.

Furthermore, FIFA President Gianni Infantino is set to visit Indonesia and provide guidance on the transformation of football management in Indonesia, which could lead to increased investment and better standards across all levels of Indonesian football.


In conclusion, Indonesia has a rich football culture with enthusiastic fans and a supportive infrastructure. The Indonesian football league offers exciting matches and a chance to witness the famous Filanesia philosophy in action.

With tips for live viewing, safe seating options, and engaging with local fans, watching football in Indonesia is an unforgettable experience. As FIFA President Gianni Infantino prepares to visit Indonesia for football transformation advice, there is great potential for growth and recognition of young players on the world stage.


What is the most popular football league in Indonesia?

The Liga 1 is currently the top tier of professional football in Indonesia and attracts large crowds and fanfare.

What are some of the best football teams in Indonesia?

Several popular football clubs exist throughout Indonesia, including Persija Jakarta, Persib Bandung, Bali United FC and Arema FC among others.

How can I watch Indonesian football matches from outside of the country?

Many streaming services offer access to live broadcasts of Indonesian football matches around the world or you may be able to purchase subscriptions directly through designated channels such as Fox Sports Asia or other licensed broadcasters.

What are some key cultural customs that fans should be aware of when attending a football match in Indonesia?

When attending major sporting events, visitors must adhere to certain guidelines. Firstly, they should respect local traditions and practices, like wearing suitable colours at stadiums.

Secondly, attendees need to be aware of any security issues that might arise from historical rivalries between teams, fan groups, or political factions.

Thirdly, spectators should keep their noise levels in check during games. This is particularly crucial at indoor matches, where the acoustics can make sounds much louder.

Fourthly, it’s important not to block the view for others who have also paid for their tickets.

Finally, before heading to the event, visitors should ensure they have planned their travel arrangements. This will prevent any difficulties getting home late at night in unfamiliar areas after the games.

Is football big in Indonesia?

Yes, football is very popular in Indonesia. The sport has a large and passionate fan base in the country. The Indonesia Super League, the highest level of professional football in Indonesia, draws significant attention from the fans.

Despite the popularity of football in Indonesia, the national team has struggled historically to achieve significant success on the international stage. That being said, football matches, both local and international, often attract large crowds and are a significant part of the country’s sports culture.

Which is the best football stadium in Indonesia?

Situated in North Jakarta, the Jakarta International Stadium stands as the most eminent football stadium in Indonesia. With an impressive capacity to accommodate 82,000 spectators, it is the largest of its kind in the country. The stadium, which officially opened its doors in 2022, serves as the home ground for the Persija Jakarta football club, as well as the Indonesia national football team. Its remarkable size and state-of-the-art facilities make it a notable landmark within the Indonesian football landscape, positioning it as a premier destination for both domestic and international football events.

Leave a comment

Free Betting Tips, Direct to Your Inbox

Sign Up Today to Join Betting Gods for FREE and Receive Betting Tips Direct to Your Inbox Every Morning

Not Sure Who to Join?

These are the Top Performing Tipsters in April

Premier Greyhound Tips

1,074 Winners Since October 2014
Total Profit:£34,745.10


Per Month


Win Rate




This Month

In Form

Racing Rundown

333 Winners Since August 2022
Total Profit:£8,132.00


Per Month


Win Rate




This Month

In Form

Punter's Profit Pro

190 Winners Since May 2023
Total Profit:£4,655.20


Per Month


Win Rate




This Month