Indonesia deny being harassed by Vietnamese fans

By Hieu Luong   March 25, 2024 | 03:28 pm PT
Indonesia national team leader Kombes Pol Sumardji confirmed on Tuesday that his squad were not disturbed by Vietnamese fans during their stay in Hanoi

Indonesia arrived in Hanoi for their World Cup qualifier clash on Saturday afternoon. They then had a training session in the evening.

After that, a number of videos and photos surfaced on social media showing fireworks shot off near the training ground in My Dinh Stadium, leading to speculations that Vietnamese fans had been harassing the away team on purpose.

Many people believed the action was a response to Indonesian fans setting off fireworks near the hotel where the Vietnam national team stayed in Jakarta at the dawn of the precious matchday last Thursday.

Indonesia national team trained in Hanoi on March 23, 2024. Photo by PSSI

Indonesia national team trained in Hanoi on March 23, 2024. Photo by PSSI

However, representatives of the Indonesia national team and Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) have denied the rumors. Indonesia national team leader Sumardji affirmed that the living and training conditions in Vietnam were "very favorable."

"It was a hoax," Sumardji told Indonesian newspaper Bola. "The host took care of us very well and nothing made us uncomfortable."

Sumardji said no members of the team saw said fireworks at the training session. He knew there was a local market near My Dinh National Sports Complex, so maybe people set off fireworks there for entertainment over the weekend, he guessed.

"I confirm there has been no pressure or extreme actions from Vietnamese fans," Sumardji added.

VFF said the fireworks site was located about 3 km from Indonesia's training ground and was not related to the team.

"It’s an entertainment area, so fireworks activities regularly take place there," a federation statement said.

VFF also assured the public that the Indonesia national team’s safety has been officially guaranteed while in Vietnam, including when at the airport and accommodation, during both competition and training.

The rivalry between Vietnam and Indonesia has heated up over the past three years, sometimes even boiling over. Competition has seen many fierce encounters between players from the two sides during their matches. However, there have been no unfortunate incidents caused by fans.

The last time an incident appeared was at the semifinals of the 2016 AFF Cup when the bus carrying Indonesia national team was stoned by some extreme fans, breaking the glass and injuring a doctor and an assistant coach. Asian Football Confederation warned VFF and fined them $38,000.

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