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


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.

Oding works at his home in Cengkareng, West Jakarta on Monday (11/11) Outside the pitch, Oding is screen printing artisan since 2005. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding screenprints a calendar at his home in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, on Monday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
As the Garuda INAF equipment committee, Oding takes care the team equipments such as crutches, balls, training tools and one shoe for every players. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding takes care of the team's kit, including crutches, balls, other training equipment and one shoe for every player. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding bathed his daughter in his home at Cengkareng, West Jakarta on Monday (11/11) He spent his time for family during the training break. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding bathes his daughter at his home in Cengkareng. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
As a father, Oding always rides his non-modified motorcycle to bring his children in a Quran Recitation course near his home in Cengkareng, West Jakarta on Monday (11/11). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding, who rides an unmodified motorcycle, brings his children to a Quran recitation class near his home. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding puts his medal on the living room as a reminder to stay motivated. He got this medal when Garuda INAF defeated Malaysia on riendly match in 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding's medal from when the Garuda INAF team defeated Malaysia in a friendly match in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding seen during Garuda INAF training session with Coach Tomo in Dr. Suyoto Hospital in Bintaro, South Jakarta on Saturday (09/11). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A Garuda INAF training session with coach Tomo at the Dr. Suyoto Hospital in Bintaro, South Jakarta, on Saturday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding practiced using crutches modified from medical equipment. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding practices using crutches he had modified himself. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Garuda INAF resting under a tree during a training session at Dr. Suyoto Hospital in Bintaro, South Jakarta on Saturday (09/11). They need more time to rest because they do not have a base as a professional athlete before.
Garuda INAF players resting under a tree after their training session. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Asep Nurcholis (27) brought his son Addar to the Garuda INAF training site at Dr. Suyoto Hospital in Bintaro, South Jakarta on Saturday (09/11). Garuda INAF players often bring their children and families to the training ground to keep them motivated. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)
Asep Nurcholis, 27, brings his son Addar to the Garuda INAF training session on Saturday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Garuda INAF always starts training by running 10 times around the field. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The team starts every training session by running around the field ten times. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Garuda INAF also does sparring besides physical training which is more dominant in each training session. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A friendly during training. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Oding and Warnadi practiced shooting a ball in a weekly training session at Dr. Suyoto Hospital in Bintaro, South Jakarta on Saturday (09/11). A goalkeeper in an amputee footbal is a person who doesn
Oding and Warnadi practice their free kicks. A goalkeeper in amputee football is a person who doesn't have a hand or suffers from a disability in the arm area. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)