Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Perseru Away

I must admit to having Googled to find Serui on the map. I knew it was in Papua but then Papua is bloody huge. Anyway I found it. It is a largish island to the north of the Papuan main island and seems to have a pretty small population, around 24,000 according to the 2000 census. Yet Serui has a football team competing in the Indonesia Soccer Championship and a stadium that meets their standards. And for visiting sides getting there can be half the fun.

With the exception of Persipura, whose home town of Jayapura is linked to Serui by ferry, Perseru's nearest rivals are PSM who they met on Monday night. The home side won 1-0, perhaps costing coach Luciano Leandro his job, leaving PSM to contemplate their journey home.

The map to the left shows the route from Makassar to Biak, a distance of some 1100 kilometres and the nearest airport to Serui. If you look to the south of the airplane symbol on the right of the map you can see a long, slim island. That is Serui. Getting to Biak is half the story!

The flight from Makassar to Biak takes about two and a half hours. This remember is for a local derby! Getting from Biak to Serui is another story! There used to be a flight which took about 17 minutes. I don't know this because I am some kind of airline freak. I found this video! That flight seems to no longer exist. But fortunately for 16 teams in the ISC there is an alternative way to reach Perseru.

Perseru line up for an away game v Persebaya 2014
A ferry leaves Biak three times a week for Serui and it takes about eight hours! Conveniently there is a flight from Makassar that is timed perfectly so connecting passengers can seamlessly transfer to the ferry in Biak harbour. For PSM and their players this meant catching a flight from Makassar at 1.15 on Friday morning. That would have got into Biak about 5 in the morning leaving plenty of time to catch the aforementioned ferry which, if it left on time, sets sail at 11 in the morning! By the time they would have checked in at their hotel they would have been on the go about 17, 18 hours!

Training Saturday, training Sunday, play the game Monday. Head for home Tuesday! The ferry leaves at 11, arriving in Biak at about 7 in the evening. Enough time to check into a hotel and catch some zzzs before catching a flight to Makassar and arriving in their home city at 10 on Wednesday morning.

And PSM have it relatively easy. Pity poor Semen Padang who will probably have to fly first to Jakarta, about 60-90 minutes, transit there before a three hour flight to Makassar when the adventure truly begins.

Little wonder Perseru have never lost a top flight game at their Marora Stadium. (Before 2015 they played top flight games at Mandala Stadium, Jayapura).

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