Through Nobar, we celebrate hope

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That night was the semifinal match of the U-23 Asian Cup held at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar. This is the highest level ever achieved by the “Garuda Muda” team. The team coached by Shin Tae-yong entered the semifinals after a hard-fought victory over the strong South Korean team through a penalty shoot-out.

The hope is high that Indonesia can win again. If they win, Indonesia’s chances of competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics will be brighter. Uzbekistan is Indonesia’s opponent in this round. Their achievements are also outstanding. In that tournament, Uzbekistan’s goal has never been conceded, even becoming the most productive in scoring goals. Nevertheless, the support of the Indonesian people is flowing strong.


Residents watched the Indonesia versus Uzbekistan match in the semifinals of the U-23 Asian Cup at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Monday (29/4/2024). Indonesia had to admit Uzbekistan’s superiority with a score of 0-2.

The commotion in the grounds of the GBK Stadium is proof of this. Kick-off was still two hours away, but the people with red and white attributes had already arrived. The vehicle parking area is full, even to the East Parking area. The ring road around the stadium is getting busier. The people who were jogging slowly moved aside.

On the circular road, precisely in front of Gate 9, there are two large screens. Meanwhile, in the pedestrian area of Plaza Utara, there are four large screens installed. At these two connected points, a mass concentration of people watching the Indonesia versus Uzbekistan match together (nobar) occurred. The later it gets, the more crowded it becomes.

As the whistle signaling the start of the match approached, the arena became increasingly difficult to penetrate. Those who were “trapped” in front were almost impossible to move back. The same goes for the opposite direction. Some people were seen sitting on the fence, and no one dared to tell them to come down.

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Utari (52) is one of those in the circular road arena. She left her home in Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, after performing the Maghrib prayer. This grandmother of four grandchildren left alone by taking the Jakarta MRT.

“There are things close to home that make people laugh, but it’s more exciting here. “Just take the MRT once and it will arrive,” said Utari, who was wearing a white long-sleeved T-shirt and a red headscarf.


Citizens watched the match between Indonesia and Uzbekistan in the semi-finals of the U-23 Asia Cup at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Monday (29/4/2024). Indonesia lost 0-2 against Uzbekistan.

Before the match started, Utari ate a serving of ‘nasi goreng gila’ that she bought for Rp 35,000 nearby. She had a small bag, a plastic fan that read “Indonesia”, and a bottle of water in front of her seating area. She hadn’t eaten from home. A week earlier, during the match against South Korea, Utari also watched at GBK.

When the national anthem “Indonesia Raya” played at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Utari and thousands of other people stood up solemnly singing together. It felt like the match was taking place right in front of them, even though it was connected through a giant monitor. The audience sat back down when the Uzbekistan national anthem was sung. The atmosphere grew even more intense when the referee blew the opening whistle.

“The audience shouted ‘In-Do-Ne-Sia!’ with a hand-stretching choreography, creating a buzzing sound. Utari didn’t want to miss out. She also sang along to the song ‘Garuda di Dadaku’ which has become a spirit-booster for Indonesian athlete supporters who are currently competing. Utari realizes that her voice won’t be heard by Pratama Arhan and his friends who are busy chasing the ball in Qatar.”

Singing together makes you happy, you know. If you watch it yourself at home, you’ll think you’re crazy, ‘Well, he-he-he…

“Singing together makes you happy, you know. If you try watching yourself at home, you’ll think you’re crazy, ‘Well, he-he-he…,” he said.

The owner of this laundry business admitted that they do not remember the names of all the players competing. They also do not follow football leagues closely. What they know is that Indonesia is their country that is currently struggling to secure a position in the international football arena.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with other supporters who are mostly young and male is their form of support, as well as a bridge to their grandson who is being trained in football in Bantul, Yogyakarta.

“My grandchild asked me to send a video of the crowd at GBK screening event. I want to send it, but the signal is really poor,” she complained.

Before the match started, Utari chatted about her grandchild’s dream of becoming a football player. She showed pictures of the trophies her grandchild had won. Her pride overflowed.


Residents watched the Indonesian national team’s match against the Uzbekistan national team in the semifinals of the U-23 Asian Cup at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Monday (29/4/2024). Indonesia had to admit defeat to Uzbekistan with a score of 0-2.

Crowded everywhere

The first half of the match against Uzbekistan seemed to not go as expected. Indonesia’s defense was attacked relentlessly. The audience began to chant motivational cheers, which seemed more appropriate to encourage fellow supporters. Red fireworks were seen from the left rear side, then also appeared on the right.

The public screening event at GBK was one of the busiest in Jakarta. In the South Jakarta area, several locations were also crowded with supporters of the national team. Some rooms in M Bloc Space, Blok M, for example, were used for the screening – all packed. There was also a bustle in the courtyard of the Ministry of Youth and Sports office – across from the GBK complex.

Richard Achmad Suprianto (40), Secretary General of the National Presidium Indonesian Football Supporters (PNSSI), said that the supporters’ community of clubs participating in League 1, League 2 and League 3 simultaneously held a celebration in the region each.

“The audience was highly crowded (in their respective regions). The organization involved many parties,” said Richard, who also held a public viewing event at GBK.

According to him, every community usually activates a WhatsApp group to notify the location of a public watching event. “The gathering points vary, ranging from cafes, coffee shops, to open fields. The number of spectators gathered at each point depends on the capacity. This is only among club supporter friends, there are still many other people who organize events in their neighborhoods,” said Richard.


A screen showing the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup match between Indonesia and Uzbekistan was displayed in front of the Semarang City Hall, Semarang City, Central Java on Monday (29/4/2024).

In the city of Surakarta, Central Java, the outdoor screening event was centered in front of the Solo City Hall. The screen used a giant videotron owned by one of the government-owned banks. In that city, outdoor screening events using videotron have been happening since the 2023 SEA Games final match against Thailand. Residents of Solo flocked to the venue to watch.

“Since then, several watch party events have been held at that place, including when Persis Solo played,” said Mayor Haristanto, founder and first president of the Pasoepati True Solo Supporters Club. A culture of watch parties has been adopted there.


In Palembang city, South Sumatra, public screenings also take place in many places, but the busiest one could be said to be at Plaza Benteng Kuto Besak, on the banks of Musi River, near Ampera Bridge. Another location that is also crowded is the courtyard of the South Sumatra Governor’s office.

The important match against Uzbekistan made the streets of Palembang feel empty from evening, until close to midnight when the match ended. Usually, the main road in Palembang is jammed around 17.00 to 19.00 WIB. That night was very quiet. Football takes a break from the hustle and bustle of the city for a moment.

Coffee shops are often visited by locals. One of them is Limin’s (45) coffee shop in Pontianak city, West Kalimantan. In addition to mandatory equipment such as a large screen, Limin also prepares hundreds of Indonesian flags. Visitors are also given Indonesian flag stickers to stick on their faces.

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Limin said that the people of Pontianak enjoy watching national team matches together. He regularly hosts public viewing events at his establishment. “There is a sense of pride and togetherness when watching together. At the coffee shop, people from all walks of life unite in support of the Indonesian U-23 team,” said Limin.

In a densely populated alley on Rawabelong Street, West Jakarta, a few residents are staring at a large screen across the street. They are watching Indonesia’s 0-2 defeat against Uzbekistan.

When Indonesia played against Iraq in the match for third place which also determines qualification for the Paris Olympics, Thursday (2/5/2024), the parade was also held in a number of places, but not as busy as the parade against Uzbekistan. Maybe because the match started too late, at 22.30 WIB. That night, Indonesia lost again. There is only one door left to appear at the Paris Olympics, namely through the playoff match against Africa’s representative, Guinea.

“Oh, bitter taste. Hopefully, the match against Guinea will be better later,” said Soleh (43), who was watching from his motorcycle saddle.


The crowd was present with enthusiasm to witness the 2024 AFC U-23 Asia Cup match between Indonesia and Uzbekistan at the Semarang City Hall courtyard, Semarang City, Central Java, on Monday (29/4/2024).

The defeats from Uzbekistan, followed by Iraq, were indeed bitter. However, the young team’s steps that exceeded the Southeast Asian region have united the people. The supporters’ support feels like it will not wane in the upcoming matches.

“Never doubt the fanaticism and loyalty of Indonesian supporters. We will support every opponent, whether strong or weak. Remember the friendly match against Argentina (who are much stronger)? The spirited people came to watch as if their strength was equal, haha…,” said Stephanus Adjie, the leader of Ultras 1923, a supporter group of Persis Solo.

Triyono Lukmantoro, a lecturer in Communication Science at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Diponegoro University, said that it is difficult to prevent people from watching football matches together. Considering its nature, football does indeed contain values of collectivism.

There is a value of togetherness in football. Eleven people on the field with their respective roles, the goal is the same: defeat the opponent.

”There is a value of togetherness in football. “Eleven people on the field with their respective roles, the goal is the same: to beat the opponent,” said Triyono.

The celebration of goals on the field is done together. According to Triyono, the celebration is not excessive. Because, the result is obtained from a tough struggle full of strategy, which is often accompanied by physical battles. Goals are a way to achieve shared hopes.

“Watching a match like that together is like celebrating hope,” he continued.

“The community needs a way to express themselves in order to manage their emotions. Watching sports matches is one civilized way. People can gather while wearing the same uniforms, facing the same ‘enemy’. Winning or losing is not the issue. What is important is the hope that is celebrated together,” he said.

However, the euphoria that broke out last week is a sweet memory that accompanies the Indonesian team’s next steps. Let’s just wait.


Audiences seek the best position, one of which requires climbing the fence, while watching the 2024 AFC U-23 Asia Cup match between Indonesia and Uzbekistan in the courtyard of the Semarang City Hall, Semarang, Central Java, on Monday (29/4/2024).

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