President’s Cup, Warm Up Tournament with Many Victims

All Matches Are Treated Like Final

The desire to penetrate the main squad, the lack of opportunities to win trophies, and entertain the audience are the reasons for the high intensity of the President’s Cup. Ciro Alves is out for six weeks, Victor Igbonefo is out for two-three months, Syaeful Anwar may need surgery, and the list could go on and on.

FARID S.M., SoloTAUFIQ A., Bandung, OK P.P., Surabaya

IF Liga 1 really starts this July, Persib Bandung coach Robert Rene Alberts can understand the confusion. Two important players, new signing Ciro Alves and captain Victor Igbonefo, were injured in the President’s Cup match against Persebaya Surabaya.

The injury wasn’t light either. Ciro has broken his shoulder and is expected to be out for six weeks. Igbonefo was even worse, injured his cheekbone and was out for two-three months. It could be that they will not be able to appear in the remaining Presidential Cup matches that will be played by Persib.

In fact, Alberts says his main goal in the warm-up tournament is to provide opportunities for new recruits.

“Ciro was injured when he started to be at his best,” said Alberts.

But, indeed, therein lies the anomaly of the President’s Cup: only a warm-up tournament, a test event, but the intensity is so high. It’s like a duel in an official competition.

Hard tackles, dangerous elbows and very high-pitched protests to referees have occurred in nearly every match so far. Be a number of players scattered because of injuries that are not light. Yellow cards and red cards also flowed like rain in June: something unusual for a pre-season tournament.

In fact, pre-season must be taken care of by each club. Because they know best about each other’s needs. Those who can measure the strength of their own team.

Another big question: is the pre-season tournament so important that Bali United and PSM, Indonesia’s two representatives in the AFC Cup starting next week, also enter as participants? And Bali United also ensured to qualify for the next round. “Fun”, isn’t it?

Alberts, who during his time at PSM was very much against pre-season tournaments, is now trying to understand.

“If Persija play at home, and they don’t play seriously, will their fans accept it? Persib are happy to be playing at home. Therefore, we play seriously to win to make the team and thousands of spectators happy,” said the Dutch coach it.

Arema FC is also very ambitious to win the title in the warm-up tournament. The team nicknamed Singo Edan has won it twice since the pre-season event was first held in 2015.

“My management team and I have prepared the players and coach optimally. Hopefully Arema FC can win the President’s Cup for the third time,” said Arema FC President Gilang Widya Pramana.
Dewa United coach Nil Maizar also considered it natural that the match in the 2022 President’s Cup always took place in high tension. Because, the players also make it a show of ability. “They want to prove that they deserve to play in the first team. So, very excited to play,” he explained

Captain Dewa United Rangga Muslim confirmed. “Pre-season is a test to be able to penetrate the main squad in the team. So, we play like a final in every game,” he said

Imagine, a warm-up tournament but treated like a final match! Naturally, at that time the victims began to fall. Two Arema FC players, Gian Zola and Hasyim Kipuw, are included.

Last night, another Arema FC guard, Syaeful Anwar, also suffered an ACL injury. Reportedly he had to be absent for quite a while. Arema FC Media Officer Sudarmaji said there were indications Syaeful had to continue surgery for recovery. “Hopefully it’s not too bad. If the recovery takes a long time, we will discuss it in the future,” he said.

And the list can go on and on. Because the President’s Cup has just entered the group stage.

Chairman of the Indonesian Professional Footballers Association (APPI) Mohamad Hardika Aji said ideally the club would use the pre-season tournament as a warm-up event. And, according to Aji, many clubs have changed their mindset.

“Several teams have made this event a warm-up moment. One of them, Bali United. The players look very fun and enjoy like pre-season in general,” said Aji

Gian Zola, an Arema FC player, suffered an adductor injury against Persikabo 1973 (DARMONO/JAVA POS RADAR MALANG)

The FIFPRO Asia/Oceania Finance Committee tried to link the high intensity of the President’s Cup with the lack of opportunities to win trophies domestically. “Only Liga 1. So, pre-season tournaments are used to hunt for trophies, especially for big teams,” explained Aji.

However, Aji reminded the club to ensure the fitness of the players during the pre-season tournament. The reason is, there are several clubs that make it a place for testing (test) players. Persija, for example, tested three players from Japan: Norito Hashiguchi, Ryohe Miyazaki, and Daisuke Kobayashi.

“The contract of the trial player must be clear. If you are injured during testing in a pre-season tournament, there must be appropriate treatment, even compensation. Otherwise, players will have a hard time,” he explained

Aji added, initially the club refused to give pre-season contracts to trial players. However, the tournament organizers made a rule that all test players, both local and foreign, must be bound by a contract when competing in the 2022 President’s Cup. “The contract is at least to protect the players,” said Aji.