POSTED: Wednesday August 11th 2010

Blossoming sports cooperation between Australia and Indonesia

After a traumatic era of political change, economic calamity, natural disaster, rebellions and terrorism, Indonesia is welcoming sports cooperation from neighbouring Australia. The result is increasing people-to-people links.

Despite the Australian Government's stringent warning to Australians to "reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia”, sports cooperation between the two South East Asian neighbours is blossoming.

As fitting a football-crazy nation of more than 240 million - Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populace country - soccer has lead the way in the new relationship.

Under the auspices of the sister relationship between Western Australia state and East Java province, A-League club Perth Glory and the Western Australian state league soccer team both played friendly matches in Indonesia in 2008 and conducted clinics and a sports development seminar. 

Australia’s Northern Territory has also established an annual U-18 men’s soccer tournament with Indonesia’s Nusa Tengarra Timur province and the neighbouring republic of Timor Leste. The next edition of the event will be played in Kupang, NTT in 2011.

At the national level, representative teams of Football Federation Australia and the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) regularly clash in South East Asian, AFC and FIFA tournaments. More than 60,000 fans turned out to watch the Socceroos’ first game against Indonesia in an Asian Cup tie at Jakarta’s national stadium last year.

FFA and PSSI have since signed an agreement covering a raft of exchange programs, an increased number of internationals between the two countries and programs to assist the development of Indonesian coaches, players, referees, grassroots football and women's football.

Basketball is increasingly popular in Indonesia and Australia is matching the American National Basketball Association’s assistance to the sport. Indonesia’s isolated Papua province was the first to benefit with its women’s team undertaking a two weeks training program in Melbourne, organised by sports marketing and development consultancy Sports Dynamics, before returning home to win the silver medal in the 2008 National Games.

This was followed by Western Australia hosting boy’s and girl’s MVP teams of the superbly managed, high school-based Deteksi Basketball League. Now into its second year, the DBL initiative has spawned reciprocal visits by basketball teams from Broome and Darwin and Western Australian assistance to Indonesian provincial sports strategy workshops and athlete conditioning seminars.

This week, the DBL’s World Camp 2010 in Surabaya hosted a group of Australian coaches including four-time Olympian Andrew Vlahov, two-time Olympian Paul Rogers, Australian Institute of Sport coach Adam Caporn and the National Basketball League (Australia)‘s Cairns Taipans’ assistant coach Mick Downer.

“Having access to coaches of this calibre will do wonders for the basket all development of these junior players,” says Mr Azrul Ananda, DBL Commissioner.” From the 181 participants in the camp, we have selected a male and female all-star team to compete against visiting teams from Australia’s Gold Coast in October this year.”

Mr Geoffrey Gold, the director of Sports Dynamics Asia (, has been organising amateur and professional sports events between Indonesia and Australia for years, particularly at the provincial level. "Grassroots sports fit the development matrix perfectly as they can help fight poverty, abuse and be an avenue for rehabilitation after traumatic experiences," he says.

Through Australian Government-funded volunteer programs, Australian development coaches are assisting non-traditional sports in Indonesia such as Rugby, Australian Rules and Cricket.

However, Indonesia’s Olympic sports associations will be receiving increasing attention from the Australians.

Last week, Athletics Western Australia invited a 16-member Indonesian junior athletics team to travel to Perth to compete in the WA state All Schools Championship.  Next month, a team of Indonesian swimmers is expected to travel to Australia to train with an Australian coach in preparation for the 2010 Asian Games.

According to a statement by the Australian embassy in Indonesia, the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) is running five-day strength and conditioning course for 25 coaches from all over Indonesia in October. The course, sponsored by the Australia-Indonesia institute, will see the participants graduating with a level 1 Australian Strength and Conditioning Association certificate.

“Close cooperation and exchanges through sport is a wonderful way to build bridges between the people of our two countries and further enhance the already strong relationship we share," says Mr Michael Bliss, Acting Deputy Head of the Australian Mission in Jakarta.

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Keywords · sports · olympics · football · basketball · soccer · rugby · Australian Rules · Cricket · Australia · Indonesia

Name: Geoffrey Gold
Organization: Sports Dynamics Asia
Phone: +65 6491-5271

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