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Indonesia: "history can't be bought"

Our second photographer in Indonesia is Hanif, a 21-year-old photographer and filmmaker from Bandung. Hanif tells us about the photos he took of the fans of his club Persib Bandung – known as the Bobotoh – and the passion of Indonesia football fans.

The Bobotoh fanatics

Our second photographer in Indonesia is Hanif, a 21-year-old photographer and filmmaker from Bandung. Hanif tells us about the photos he took of the fans of his club Persib Bandung – known as the Bobotoh – and the passion of Indonesia football fans.

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Who is in the photos?

In the photos are the “Bobotoh” supporters of Persib Bandung, the most fanatic fans in Indonesia. They follow the team over land and sea, and across different countries in Asia. These photos are from the Persib Bandung home stadium, Gelora Bandung Lautan Api Stadium, in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the the photos? 

I wanted to show the atmosphere of an Indonesian derby, and also show you the biggest team in Indonesia and maybe in ASEAN (10 Southeast Asian countries). In one of the photos a Bobotoh throws some money at the enemy side. We want to tell everyone that history can't be bought.

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What is your favourite shot?

When the match kicked off you can see paper tolls thrown on to the pitch. When the winning goal from Bojan Malisic (for Persib Bandung) was scored in the 94th minute, all of the Bobotoh in stadium celebrated like you will never see in any place in the world.

Why is football is so important for Indonesia and Indonesia people?

It's similar to other places I think, entertainment for the people who are tired of work. But it is also different for Bandung fans or Jakarta fans, where I see football is like a religion. Big football matches in Indonesia help the economy on match days – street vendors, parking and much more. But many people do not like the Association of Football Indonesia (PSSI) because of too much bureaucracy, and the head of PSSI has a double position as a Governor.

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What role does football play in Indonesia and Indonesia society?

Even if the Premier League is live at 3am in the morning people will watch it. And in Indonesian society football unites us even if we have different religions and different culture. 

What does football mean to you?

I learn football from my grandfather; he died on Sunday 14 October 2018.  Because of my grandfather and my father I also like football. My father said to me, if you want to support or play football don’t forget about your local team. Football to me is art, unity, passion and joy, being full of heart and if your favourite team loses it is like stabbing a knife to your heart. But life is not always about football!

What in the future for football in Indonesia?

I hope the PSSI can do better things, and the facilities for football in Indonesia can be upgraded and supporters in Indonesia can understand football is not the most important thing in life. 

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