KUALA LUMPUR (23 Nov 2012) – Bambang Pamungkas, the talismanic striker of Indonesia, shares his thoughts about national team and nationalism ahead of the team’s campaign in the AFF Suzuki Cup through his own personal website at bambangpamunkas20.com
“Have you ever heard football commentaries on the telly saying, “welcome to the final of the Euro 2012, between the national team of FIGC and the national team of RFEF?’ I am sure this will never happen as the usual line would be more to ‘welcome to the Euro final between the Italian national team against that of Spain.”
What I am trying to point out is that the national team of the country is always linked to the name of the country itself – never an institution or even the name of a person. The national team of the country is responsible not only to certain persons or institutions but rather to the whole populace and to the nation.
And it is for that reason; any citizen of Indonesia has the right to criticize the Indonesia national team. As long as they own Indonesia identity cards and even though they do not know who the president of the FA of Indonesia (PSSI) is, they still have the right to condemn the national players when they play badly.
As long as they hold green passports with the word Indonesia emblazoned on it and they still do not know what is the name of the Indonesian Sports Minister, they can still express what they think of the national team when they the team loses.
And as long as they are born in Indonesia and while they may not know the name of the current president of the country, they still have the right to celebrate with other Indonesians when the Indonesia national team wins.
With that in mind and with a certain sense of humility, I implore all to call the Indonesia national team as just the national team. That’s it, full-stop. The national team is Indonesia and not PSSI or KPSI. The national team is Merah-Putih (Red-White) not team blue or yellow.
And the national team does not belong to Djohar Arifin or La Nyalla, it is the property of every Indonesian citizen.
My decision to join the national team is not associated with nationalism, patriotism, professionalism, fanaticism, egoism or any other ism. We have made far too many mistakes already and it is about time that we all come together in the bigger context. Once again, let all us come together for the national team, because the national team is Indonesia.”