Persipura Receives Raucous Reception From Home Fans

Newly crowned Indonesian Super League champion Persipura Jayapura received a hero’s welcome when the team arrived in Jayapura, Papua, on Tuesday morning.

Thousands of fans greeted the team at Sentani Airport, with flags and banners decorating the 43-kilometer stretch of road from Sentani to the capital, Jayapura.

Following a reception, star striker Boaz Solossa and company went on a bus-top parade around Jayapura.

“I love you Persipura,” yelled 14-year-old Raja Ambarita, who had been waiting for the team’s arrival since early that morning. “You really are the pride of Papua and have proven to be the best club in the country.”

Persipura has been a dominant force in Indonesian football since the Super League was launched in 2008, winning two league titles and finishing second once. It also has three runner-up finishes in the Copa Indonesia since 2006.

Coach Jacksen Tiago’s side has lost just twice this season, winning 16 matches and drawing two. It has scored 60 goals and conceded just 21 en route to the title, which it secured with three matches to spare with a 2-1 win at Persisam Samarinda on June 8.

The Papuans have made a habit of blazing trails recently. Not only did they become the first side to win three league titles since Indonesian football entered its professional era in 1994, they also became the country’s first club to reach the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup. They face Iraqi club Arbil in September.

Tiago, who coached Persipura to its previous Super League title in the 2008-09 season, said he was stunned by the reception.

“This is even bigger than the first one. It’s incredible. They have really made me feel part of them,” the Brazilian said.

He added that he would love to remain with Persipura if the club still wanted him.

“I still have lots of things that I want to achieve with this club, but it will be up to the management to decide,” said the 43-year-old, whose contract expires in August.

Club manager Rudy Maswi was noncommittal on whether Tiago would get an extension.

“We want to savor this victory first,” he said. “Jacksen has proven his reputation as a great coach and a man who can be trusted. We’ll see.”

Source: Jakarta Globe

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