Football crazy in Indonesia

“Football is good for your health, we release our tension when we play a match. We love to watch football and we love to play plus we build good relationships with people through our football.”

Ginan Koesmayadi is the Captain of the team and one of the founders and Director of Rumah Cemara, an Indonesian NGO and partner of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. Rumah Cemara is an inspiring organisation set up by five former drug users who have rebuilt their lives, and it now reaches and supports drug users and hundreds of people living with HIV across the West Java province.

The football team takes it very seriously, training twice a week and playing matches every Saturday.

Based in Bandung, Rumah Cemara is well known in this bustling cosmopolitan city. The football team is not only a way of keeping healthy, it also reaches out to the wider community, helping break down stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Members of the team are both HIV positive and negative. Dressed in distinctive green and white strips they play matches with organisations, businesses, government and groups across the city and the region. It is a good way of building understanding of people living with HIV, rapport and respect.

The team takes it very seriously, training twice a week and playing matches every Saturday. In June, Rumah Cemara won the national Indonesian football tournament of teams from drug rehabilitation centres, competing against 14 teams from across the country. The tournament was organised by the National Narcotics Board. In a recent match played at the football stadium at Bandung University they won a 4-3 victory against a local telecommunications company.

Their success lies not only due to the dedication to their training regime but also to great teamwork. “For us it’s not just about the work or about only the football. It strengthens the bond that we have with each other,” explains Ginan. This builds on the philosophy of the organisation as a family. They refer to each other as brothers and sisters rather than friends because family are there to help through the tough times and all of these young people have been or are going through very tough times.