The Jakarta Bintangs was formed in 1995 with the objective to provide a football outlet to the many Australians living in Indonesia’s capital.
During that period, teams were being formed throughout Asia by young Australian expats yearning for the game and community environment they grew up in. Our first two games were in 1995 and 1996 against the visiting Singapore Wombats, and we soon started welcoming other sides from across the region. Our first tour was to Bali in 1997 when its team, the Bali Geckos, was formed and we’ve enjoyed a friendly rivalry with them ever since.
The Jakarta Bintangs hosted the first Asian Championships in 2000 and won, and repeated the feat in 2002 in Bangkok and 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, the latter competing as the Indonesia Volcanoes.
Despite our successes, on-field performances are a very small part of the Jakarta Bintangs story. Community engagement and introducing the game we love to Indonesians have allowed us, in a small way, to give back to a country that has given us so much.
For example, the club lost many of its expatriate players when COVID-19 hit, and while we have a strong network of past players throughout the world, what ensured our survival as a functioning football club was our base of Indonesian players. This has come as a result of 20 years of community engagement and local football development. Many of the boys had grown up at Mama Sayang, an orphanage the club has worked with since 2005, and several of them have continued playing Australian Football into adulthood and are now development coaches and leaders in the club.
Development is an important component of the Jakarta Bintangs Football Club. While introducing the game that we love to people whilst promoting healthy living, we are also trying to build our playing group amidst an ever-changing and transient city landscape. As far back as 2002, supporters were thrilled to witness the first ever “All-Indonesian” match as a curtain raiser to the season’s opener between Jakarta and Singapore. And in 2003, the Jakarta Australian Football League (JAFL) commenced with junior Indonesian teams playing regular round-robin format tournaments. Currently, more than 80 percent of our playing group is Indonesian and in 2014 and 2017, we sent a men’s team to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Football International Cup as the AFL Indonesia Garudas. For most players, it was their first time overseas, so the experience was life-changing beyond football. The next International Cup will be held in 2024 and the Jakarta Bintangs will be raising money as part of AFL Indonesia (comprising the Bali Geckos and Borneo Bears) to hopefully send a men’s and women’s team to compete.
The huge growth over the last 18 months in the women’s team has had a profoundly positive effect on the club. Initially started and driven by a group of Australians, much of the new player growth has been with Indonesians who’d never heard of Australian Football two years ago, let alone played it. Creating a sense of community whilst also being good members of the community is an important tenet of the Jakarta Bintangs. The club collaborates with other groups to introduce our respective sports and promote health and wellbeing in a welcoming and inclusive setting. And our community extends beyond Indonesia, with a vast network of former players around the world, while our sister club in Melbourne, Krakatoas Football Club, was founded in 2015 by a former Jakarta Bintang wanting to introduce Indonesians in Melbourne to Australian Football. In addition to providing a pathway for these players to one day represent Indonesia at the International Cup, Krakatoa players returning to Jakarta then become Bintangs.
In late August, the Indonesia Volcanoes sent a men’s and women’s team to Kuala Lumpur to play the Malaysia Warriors. This was the first women’s Australian Football team from Indonesia to tour overseas. And in late October, the Jakarta Bintangs will send more men and women players to Bangkok to compete as the Indonesia Volcanoes in the Asian Championships.
Finally, the Jakarta Bintangs are very excited to once again host the AFL Grand Final Party on 24th September 2022 at the JW Marriott. First hosted by the Bintangs in 1998, the event has been a popular event on Jakarta’s social calendar, and this year will be no different. All of the funds raised on the day will go back into the club and football development, with a portion of proceeds going to worthwhile community causes such as the Mama Sayang Orphanage and the Fiona Unity Foundation run by fellow Australian Fiona Forrest.
All are welcome to join the Jakarta Bintangs community. To find out more about where we train and our upcoming events, including the AFL Grand Final Party, go to facebook.com/jakartabintangs.