Oding kicks a ball during a Garuda INAF training session in Bintaro, South Jakarta, on Saturday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Indonesia's Amputee Football Team Aims for the Sky, and the World Cup
BY :YUDHA BASKORO
NOVEMBER 15, 2019
Indonesia's amputee football team, the Garuda INAF, has been training hard for the Amputee Football Asian Championship in Kuala Lumpur in February next year, its last stop before the World Cup.
The Garuda INAF team first trained together in March last year. Being the first amputee football team in the country's history, the team was forced to find players on social media. "We met on Facebook. We joined together because we share the same fate," 37-year-old Diding Hidayat, or Oding, one of the players in the squad, said.
"I was born disabled. Yes, people love to make fun of me. My neighbors used to tease me, saying that my father did not want to accept me as his son because I was born disabled," the father of two said.
"I got married in 2007 and I now have two non-disabled children. One of them once asked me, "How come you only have one leg? With one leg, what can you do?"
Not long after, Oding met the amputee football community on social media. He didn't think twice about joining the team.
"I want to be able to compete with non-disabled people, to get even better than them. I have to start believing in myself and stop underestimating my own abilities," Oding said while working on a screen printing order at his home in Cengkareng, West Jakarta.
"One thing I love from this team is the impact the team has on people out there with the same condition as us. One day I received a phone call from a boy in Medan [North Sumatra]. He said he loved watching our training videos on YouTube. He had started practicing on his own to become an amputee football player. He said someday he will come to Jakarta and join our team," Oding said.
Oding told the boy's story to the other members of the Garuda INAF and they decided to send the boy some training clothes, a shoe and crutches to help him practice.
The majority of Garuda INAF's players were not born disabled. Eight of them became disabled due to work or traffic accidents. Even so, they rarely complain about their condition. They even make jokes about it.
"The most difficult part for an amputee football club is finding new players. You can join, but I need to break your leg first, how about that?" Oding said.
"We've been training for a year, but we still don't have proper training facilities. We don't have sport crutches but made them ourselves by modifying the ones we already have," he said.
The team did get some help from Indonesian football star Bambang Pamungkas who often came to the team's training sessions to cheer them on. He also gave them coaching clinics and is planning to rent a football field more suitable for amputee football.
The Garuda INAF team now has two official trainers, one of them is also disabled. They train in a small field behind Dr. Suyoto Hospital in South Jakarta every Saturday morning.
Garuda INAF has never received any assistance from the government even though the team has a better record than Indonesia's non-disabled national football team.
The Garuda INAF defeated Malaysia in a friendly in 2018. The team's goalkeeper and defender were the men of the match. After that, the Garuda INAF joined the World Amputee Football Federation (WAFF) so they could compete in the 2020 World Cup in Miami, Florida.