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Persib and Persipura brighten mood in wake of Indonesian season suspension

ESPN FC's John Wilkinson and Fay Hokulani review matchday 1 of the 2015 AFC Cup.

The performances of Persib Bandung and Persipura Jayapura in the AFC Cup this week have gone some way to lifting the gloom surrounding Indonesian football following the postponement of the 2015 Indonesia Super League (ISL) by a government body on Feb. 18.

The start of the ISL season has been put on hold until April as clubs scramble to fulfill demands to get their affairs in order. So Asia's secondary competition provided some respite for Indonesian fans wanting to see some of their favourite stars...

Players and fans pay price as Indonesian football loses its way again

Long-suffering fans will have to wait at least until April for the new Indonesian season to kick off.

The 2015 Indonesia Super League was due to kick off on Feb. 20 with reigning champions Persib Bandung hosting Persipura Jayapura at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Soreang. After several days training in different parts of the country, Persipura were safely ensconced in their Bandung hotel and fans around the country were eagerly awaiting a new season of local football.

But with just over 48 hours until the big kickoff, the little-known Indonesian Professional Sports' Council (BOPI), a government body,...

Things can only get better: five 2015 wishes for Indonesian football

Forward Zulham Zamrun was one of the bright spots in Indonesia's unsuccessful Suzuki Cup campaign.

It can be difficult at times to be optimistic about Indonesian football. The game lurches from one disaster to another.

Consequently, many supporters are resigned to the national team's fate as Southeast Asia's biggest underachievers. This is even more relevant after Merah Putih crashed out of the AFF Suzuki Cup in the group stage, winning only their meaningless final game against Laos in their Group A assignments.

Still, it would be nice if a few lessons could...

 By Jason Dasey

Bambang's return to Persija turns the clock back for Indonesian fans

Indonesia's Bambang Pamungkas takes on Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan in the 2010 Suzuki Cup.

Just when Indonesian football fans needed to take their minds off another failed Suzuki Cup campaign, it was exactly the kind of feel-good story they were looking for.

Much-loved striker Bambang Pamungkas announced last week that he was returning to Persija Jakarta, the famous club where he began his senior career more than 15 years ago.

For Southeast Asian football, this was the equivalent of Robbie Fowler going home to Anfield after five years or an ageing Didier Drogba heading back to Stamford...

 By John Duerden

A few bright spots in a disastrous Indonesian Suzuki Cup campaign

Forward Zulham Zamrun was one of the few bright spots in Indonesia's unsuccessful Suzuki Cup campaign.

John Cleese's much-quoted line from the 1986 movie Clockwise fits Indonesian football well. "It's not the despair -- I can take the despair -- it's the hope I can't stand." Heading into the AFF Suzuki Cup, there were not many expectations among fans that the Merah Putih could stop being the regional bridesmaid and actually win the thing after four final defeats. But there was always hope. And it is the hope that hurts.

Not anymore. In a parallel universe, the 5-1 defeat to Laos in the final...