Football, Da’wah and Unity

By: Widi Kusnadi, Journalist of MINA News

Football is the most popular sport in Indonesia. Topics about it are the most discussed by Indonesian after politics. Anyone from fancy restaurants, television station programs, social media, to coffee shops, fried rice, and boiled noodles in villages and narrow alleys, is talking about football, especially world cup.

Indonesian football clubs have millions of fans. They create and name their respective communities to encourage their favorite team when competing. The sports lovers are not only called fans, but they are also called soccer addicts because of their love for the sport.

Despite being the most popular among other sports, the achievements of the Indonesian national team have not lived up to the expectations of its addicts, even a football addict on social media said, “Our national team has only minimal achievement, but it costs a huge budget, plus souls are so cheap because of it.”

Of course that statement is not a form of ridicule or hatred. But on the contrary, it is a form of longing from an Indonesian football addict who can’t wait to see his favorite national team compete in the world’s biggest event, the FIFA World Cup, competing against European and American teams.

The longing of football lovers sometimes has to be paid dearly by paying tickets of up to millions of rupiah to watch their favorite team live while they are competing. Even though it costs a lot to be able to watch live at the stadium, sometimes lives are at stake if there is a riot.

The Kanjuruan tragedy in Malang, which caused hundreds of Aremania deaths, became clear evidence of how people are willing to do crazy things. Although some people think that this is due to the negligence of the officers and the organizing committee in anticipating all possible things that are not desirable.

The author himself is a football fan. The author considers football to be a tool for da’wah. It also can be a motivation to increase enthusiasm for work, learn from the values ​​contained in it, such as teamwork, fair play to unity and integrity or in Islamic terms, congregation.

Ball, Symbol of Unity

In physics, something that is round will roll more easily than other shapes. In addition, the ball must be solid, but not hard so it doesn’t fall apart when kicked, and the player’s feet don’t hurt when kicking it.

Its shape makes it easy to move and its solid nature, but not hard, is a lesson for one’s career and life. A person who can adapt, be flexible, but still does not change their principles, then they will be successful in his career and life.

In Javanese terms, round is called golong, which symbolizes unity and determination. Usually, the word golong refers to the collected rice (sego golong) as in the song Gundul-gundul Pacul. Golong is also often used to describe a group that comes together and unites.

Someone who wants to get maximum results in his effort must have great determination. Doubt only causes the heart to become indecisive, wavering in its stance and the effort stops in the middle of the road.

On a large scale, success is also determined by the factor of unity and cooperation with related parties. Unity is also the core of our nation’s philosophy in the third principle of Pancasila, Indonesian Unity.

Football is played in groups of  eleven people per team. Any one has its own duties and functions according to their respective positions. To be able to win the game, the team must unite, work together, share roles, set strategy, and rhythm of the game in order to be able to beat the opponent.

In the game of football, careful preparation, physical endurance, accurate strategy from the coach, foresight to see opportunities, and patience in setting the rhythm of the game will determine victory. These are actually values ​​that can be applied in the real world.

Anyone who wants to be successful, they have to prepare like a football team. A football fan or addict should be able to apply the values ​​of the game of football in his work. Not to say a football addict, if he still relies on muscles and emotions in his life. Because football is not just a battle of physical strength, but a battle of strategy, patience, and maturity in managing emotions.

Some psychologists conclude that people who have hobbies or are football lovers find it easier to work together as a team in their work. This is different from fans of swimming, chess, or other sports that rely on individual abilities. They tend to work alone according to their respective talents and abilities.

Supporters who get mad when their team loses, they only harm themselves and damage the reputation of their favorite team. Therefore, people who are anarchists should doubt their love and loyalty to the team because in essence they are destroyers, not lovers.

Da’wah in Football

Fotball is the main topic of many people. Therefore, this sport can be a potential da’wah field.

In Indonesia, the largest religious organization, Muhammadiyah considers football as a tool for preaching. In East Java, Muhammadiyah has Hizbul Wathan Football Club (FC) and Semeru FC. For them, the green field is not just a means of achievement but can also be a means of physical and mental health and preaching to the community, especially for young people.

Several coaches of the Indonesian national team also preach Islamic values ​​to the national team players, such as Coach Bima Sakti who trains the U-16 national team not only in terms of skill and physicality but also mentally through congregational prayers and reading the Quran for Muslim players. Likewise, in the 1998s era, the late Coach Rusdi Bahalwan preached to the national team players.

On an international scale, Muslim players such as Muhammad Salah, Sadio Mane, Paul Pogba, and others became preachers for the players and their team’s supporters. Celebrating by prostrating themselves after scoring a goal is their hallmark, showing humility, as well as conveying the message that there is a factor of Allah Almighty behind their achievements.

Islamophobia that previously often occurred in European countries is now slowly fading as many Muslim players are playing at the Blue Continent’s top clubs.

Not only among players but also several football clubs are also owned by Muslim entrepreneurs such as Manchester City whose shares are owned by Sulaiman Al-Mansur (United Arab Emirates). Inside the club’s stadium there is also a mosque that can be used by players and supporters to worship.

The magnitude of the proselytizing of football also had an impact on a number of policies of the European Football Federation. The English Football Association (FA) even made a policy prohibiting the celebration of the championship title using alcoholic champagne drinks. The regulation was issued to honor the Muslim players who had a career in Queen Elizabeth II’s country.

Football can also be used as a means to promote human values. The spirit of football that upholds the values ​​of honesty and sportsmanship is very relevant to human values. Achievement is indeed the main thing, but human values ​​are above all, including the sport of football.

So, the rejection of the Israeli national team in the U-20 World Cup which will take place in Indonesia in 2023 must be fought for. Colonial countries that violate human rights do not deserve to compete and co-exist with countries that uphold human values.

The flag of the Zionist colonial state of Israel is not worthy of flying in Indonesia, which has an anti-colonial slogan. Since the leadership of President Soekarno to the current President Joko Widodo, Indonesia has remained firmly against colonialism. That means, this country is not willing to welcome the arrival of Zionist Israel. (T/ri/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)