JAKARTA (31 October 2012) – Veteran Indonesian striker Bambang Pamungkas has likened nationalism to being a lot like faith. In his personal website Bambang, who recently defied his ISL club Persija Jakarta to join the national team, said that just like faith, nationalism is personal and cannot be judged at face value.
“Nasionalism is a lot like faith which is personal. Only the person with faith knows how big or how deep his faith is. It is the same with nationalism, the love for one own’s country is embedded in all of us. But just how big it is? Well, only we know,” wrote Bambang or Bepe as he is more fondly known as.
Bepe was responding to criticisms that players from the Indonesia Super League (ISL) lacked patriotism due to their refusal to join the national team under the FA of Indonesia (PSSI).
But while other ISL players like Hamkah Hamzah and Ahmad Bustomi have yet to attend training with the national side, Bepe had already come under the wings of Indonesian chief coach Nil Maizar at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium since yesterday.
Bepe said that it is not easy to describe what is nationalistic and what is not as often times, these things are intertwined and cannot be ascertained with the naked eye.
“There may be people who are always in the front row at the flag raising ceremony or who always stood with pride when they hear the national team, but what guarantee is there that they are not corrupted,” quipped Bepe.
He said that rather than commenting or hurling criticisms at one another, it is time that all parties involved in the dualism conflict in Indonesia football come together for the good of the game, especially when the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 is just round the corner.
“What is at risk here is the pride of the nation and that should outweigh everything else,” he added.
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