The Founder of the Game of Football in Indonesia and Its History

Founder of the Game of Football in Indonesia – Who doesn’t know football? This sport, which is the favorite of the majority of men, has many fans around the world. You can feel the excitement in big tournaments like the World Cup, European Cup, European Champions League, even the Indonesian League. Of course it’s interesting to discuss football. But there’s nothing wrong with getting to know the founders of football in Indonesia first.

Football in Indonesia

There is no literature that mentions exactly when football started to enter Indonesia. However, most references state that the game of football began to enter the archipelago after the game was created in its home country, namely China.

In the 2nd or 3rd century BC, during the Han Dynasty to be precise, the people there played by dribbling a ball made of leather. After being led, the ball is kicked into a small net. The same game is also played in Japan under the name Kemari.

This game then spread throughout the world with rules that have been adapted to the times and needs. Until the birth of football as we know it today.

Football in Indonesia began to be competed in an organized manner since the colonial era of the Dutch East Indies government. At that time, there were many inter-regional football matches in each city, especially in Java. Not just a match, but already in the form of competition.

The organization that overshadowed football at that time was called the Nederlandsch Indische Voetbal Bond (NIVB). Then in 1927, this organization changed its name to Nederlandsch Indische Voetbal Unie (NIVU). This organization certainly existed before the formation of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) as we know it today.

In 1930, football organization figures in the country gathered to discuss the establishment of a national football organization that had ideals in accordance with the aspirations of the Indonesian people. It should be noted, the game of football in that era could be used as a moment to organize resistance against the Dutch government.

The organizations participating in the association come from various regions. Starting from Voetbalbond Indonesische Jakarta (VIJ) from Jakarta, Bandoengsche Indonesische Voetbal Bond (BIVB) from Bandung, Yogyakarta Mataram Football Association (PSM) from Jogjakarta, Vortendlandsche Voetbal Bond Solo (VVB), Madionsche Voetbal Bond (MVB) from Madiun, Indonesische Voetbal Magelang (IVBM), to Soerabajasche Indonesische Voetbal Bond (SIVB) from Surabaya.

Founder of the Game of Football in Indonesia

Before we discuss further, it is very necessary to distinguish between the originators of the sport of Indonesian football and the founders of national football bodies throughout Indonesia. The originator of Indonesian football is not known exactly who brought it to Indonesia for the first time. While the establishment of the PSSI football organization can be known easily.

Maybe you think that the founder of Indonesian football was an athlete. No, Sinaumed’s. The founder of Indonesian football is an engineer with an engineering education background.

namely Ir. Soeratin Sosrosoegondo who made his name in history as the founder of Indonesian football. This Jogjakarta-born man studied at the Koningen Wilhelmina School in Jakarta then continued his journey of knowledge to the Higher Technical School in Hecklenburg, near Hamburg, Germany in 1920. He then completed his engineering degree in Civil Engineering in 1920.

Struggle Ir. Soeratin Sosrosoegondo

In 1928, after graduating from Germany, Soeratin decided to return to his homeland. He works for a company engaged in building construction called Sizten en Lausada whose head office is in Jogjakarta.

At the Dutch-flagged company, Soeratin was the only Indonesian who held a senior position (equivalent to commissioner) there. While working there, he was involved in several projects such as the construction of buildings and bridges in Bandung and Tegal.

Not long ago, the spirit of nationalism that was in Soeratin’s chest became agitated at the sight of Dutch colonialism that was getting worse and worse. This fueled his enthusiasm to unite young people in Indonesia to build resistance efforts together.

He also chose to resign from his established job. He was willing to leave this honorable position to fight for the defense of his nation. This decision is certainly not easy, Sinaumed’s. Because Sizten en Lausada is one of the leading companies.

Soeratin was also active in the realm of movement. On the other hand, he has a hobby of playing soccer. So he wanted to start a movement through football. He made this sport a unifying medium for youth in the country.

He also went to meet several football figures from various cities in Java. He communicated with them clandestinely so as not to be ambushed by the Dutch Police (PID). He went to Jakarta, Bandung, Jogja, Solo, Magelang, Madiun and Surabaya to meet the football figures there.

Gayung was welcomed. These figures agreed to make football a unifying medium for Indonesian youth. A national organization that accommodates the sport of football will be formed.

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At the Binnenhof Hotel in the Kramatjati area, Jakarta, Soeratin finalized plans to form the organization. It was stated that Soeri, who is the chairman of the Voetbalbond Indonesische Jakarta (VIJ) Chair, helped Soeratin finalize his concepts.

Organization Formation

The establishment of the organization coincided on April 19, 1930 which was attended by football figures spread across Jakarta, Bandung, Jogjakarta, Magelang, Madiun and Surabaya. At that time, this organization was named Persatoean Sepak Raga Seloeroeh Indonesia or abbreviated as PSSI.

Still at the same congress, Soeratin was appointed as the first chairman of PSSI. He held the leadership of PSSI from 1930 to 1940. He was always elected in eleven elections for the general chairman. Since 1931, PSSI has regularly held national football competitions. At that time, the team consisting of native Indonesians were given verbal instructions not to face the Dutch team.

Then at the PSSI congress in Solo, the name of the sport was changed to football. The organization changed its name to the Indonesian Football Association. For the abbreviation remains PSSI.

During Soeratin’s tenure as chairman of PSSI, the Indonesian national team was able to compete in the 1938 World Cup. However, it was very unfortunate because at that time, FIFA, as the parent organization for world football, only recognized NIVU as Indonesia’s football administrator, so it was on behalf of the Dutch East Indies. However, the Indonesian national team is listed as the first Asian country to appear in the World Cup.

Soeratin’s Resistance

The resistance carried out by Soeratin through the Indonesian football movement is a part of history that only heroes can write about. For his great service, his name was enshrined as a trophy name for a competition for children. Soeratin Cup is the name of the competition.

Because he stopped working, Soeratin set up a business. However, we have not yet received details on what kind of business he is running. However, information emerged that Soeratin had founded a construction company called Balai Karti.

The income that Seratin gets from this business is often used to fill PSSI’s very minimal cash fund. He reached into the pocket of his own pocket.

The struggle carried out by Soeratin was not enough to become the first general chairman of PSSI. After leaving his post, it was reported that he was active as part of the People’s Security Army (TKR) to fight against Dutch colonialism. Soeratin’s role in TKR was no joke. He was entrusted with the position of lieutenant colonel or lieutenant colonel.

When Japan occupied Indonesia until the Dutch came back to Indonesia, the situation was very difficult. His house was also ransacked by the Dutch because they were considered to be resisting.

The Story of Soeratin’s Life and Sacrifice

Soeratin grew up in an educated family. His father, R. Sosrosoegondo, is a teacher at a Kweekschool (teaching school). His father is the author of the book Jawi Language Literature. Such family conditions motivated him to pursue higher education.

Soeratin married RA Sri Woelan who is also the younger sibling of dr. Soetomo, founder of the Budi Utomo organization. Sri Woelan’s role cannot be underestimated in Soeratin’s life journey. She did everything in her power and effort to help her husband’s struggle.

When in a rural situation, for example, she was willing to sell her jewelery so that the activities of the PSSI organization led by her husband could continue. He gave up the budget that should have been for their household needs for the needs of Indonesian football.

Not only that, he is also willing to go down the mountain to help PSSI’s work. Understandably, at that time in 1931, PSSI was competing with NIVU which had previously held a football competition.

Just imagine, Soeratin’s house which is located at Jalan Sangaji 68, Jetis, Yogyakarta is often the place where players stay when PSSI holds matches between football unions. How troublesome is Sri Woelan, she has to prepare bedrooms, bathrooms and food for the players.

If it weren’t for their love for Indonesia, it would be impossible for them to do all of this without self-interest. Even they have to reach their own personal money.

The struggle of RA Sri Woelan did not stop there. At one point, NIVU refused to release Persis and PSIM players who would compete in the next few days. Because, NIVU considered the two teams to be under the auspices of the Dutch East Indies government.

But the tickets for the match were sold out. But none of the players are available. dr. Sahir as the chairman of Persis was confused and complained about this to Soeratin. Hearing this, Sri Woelan and Mrs. dr. Sahir is frantically looking for a soccer player.

They did. The football players were successfully collected. Although the original profession of these players is a hair barber, satay seller, horse cart driver, and gardener.

It didn’t stop there, the two tough women also took responsibility for finding transportation funds for PSIM players who had to travel to Solo. As Soeratin’s life partner, Sri Woelan has dedicated her life to accompany her husband’s struggle. Directly or indirectly, he helped fight for nationalism through the sport of football.

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In 1937, Soeratin and his family moved from Jogjakarta to Bandung. Unfortunately, the exact reason for Soeratin’s move cannot be ascertained because there is still a lot of foggy data. Some suspect that he is tired of the conflict between PSIM and Persis, who are fighting each other for control of PSSI. Then he handed over the daily leadership of PSSI to Dr. Soeratman Erwin who was in Solo.

News about Soeratin returned to the air after he was elected as Honorary Chairman. This position seems to be an honorary position only. Because nothing Soeratin can do is functional. Even though he served as honorary chairman, he could do nothing and had no direct influence on PSSI’s organizational practices.

Soeratin Becomes a Soldier

When Japan entered control of the homeland, everything changed, PSSI was vacuumed. PSSI seems lost. Soeratin disappeared again. Reportedly not heard at all. Until a year after Indonesia’s independence, faint news about Soeratin’s whereabouts began to be heard.

At that time, in 1946, Soeratin looked older than his late 40s. He is thin and his body slightly bent. Even so, this posture did not reduce his authority as a lieutenant colonel. Since then, people have believed that he was the head of an arms factory in West Java during the revolution.

He is predicted to become a soldier at the age of 44 years. This age is not the right time to join the army. However, it was his qualified knowledge as a German-graduated engineer that might have sent his military career so fast that he became a lieutenant colonel. But this is still a hypothesis.

No wonder, he got the responsibility of taking care of the weapons department. In West Java, according to a soldier named Herrawan, Soeratin managed eight weapons and dynamite factories spread across the Sukabumi to Garut areas. Still according to Herrawan, Soeratin was not part of the Siliwangi Division, but part of the Army Headquarters in Jogjakarta.

Soeratin’s Old Age

Not many know Soeratin’s subsequent life story. Because at that time, everything was very difficult. So that there is not much attention to each personal character.

After retiring from the military, Soeratin held a high position at the Railways Office. Is the Minister of Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. H. Djuanda, who gave the position.

He lives in Bandung. A house with a size of 4 x 6 meters. Actually the building is a car garage on Jalan Lombok 33, Bandung. The car garage was then transformed by Soeratin into a house with a separate bathroom 25 meters away. If it rains, he and his wife get wet.

Somehow the story, it was reported that at that time Soeratin was living with a Dutch wife. Where is RA Sri Woelan? Unfortunately, no documents or data have been found regarding this matter.

Their situation at that time was very difficult. Soeratin is also sickly. Instead of buying medicine, they are grateful enough to meet their daily food needs. They live alone without any children in the house.

The sad period of old age was increasingly evident when newspapers were found which listed Mrs. Soeratin’s name as the winner of the crossword puzzle. In the newspaper, it was written Mevrouw (mistress) Soeratin, Jalan Lombok 33 A.

With this information, it can be said that the life of the first chairman of PSSI and his wife in old age was indeed very difficult. They meet the needs of everyday life by filling out crossword quizzes in the newspaper, sending their answers, hoping to win, get prizes, and share the warmth of old age.

Even when he died, Soeratin was not given special treatment. He was even buried like an ordinary person. There were no cars, gedongan people, dignitaries, and high ranking officials present at his funeral. There were also no military-style salute shots as TKR members.

Respect began to appear in 1962. The PSSI began cleaning his grave and taking care of it.


Sinaumed’s, after reading the explanation above, we know that Soeratin is a German-graduated engineer. This knowledge brought him to the position of commissioner in a leading Dutch construction company. However, he was willing to leave it all, because of the nationalism in his chest rumbling.

He prefers to be active in the movement by establishing PSSI and running a construction business independently. He used his business for family needs and sufficient PSSI cash funds which were very minimal. It’s a shame that Soeratin’s old age was heartbreaking, he fell ill and fell into poverty until he died in a state of being unknown as anyone.

Sinaumed’s, how sad is the old age of a freedom fighter, the founder of Indonesian football, as well as the first Chairman of PSSI. Reading history can lead us to spaces for contemplation so that we can give a deeper meaning to life and appreciate the people of the past. With our best books, sinaumedia is ready to be your #Friends Without Limits.

Author: Mutiani Eka Astutik

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