Brazilians speak out about the game that ended with more than 170 deaths

Riot at soccer game leaves 174 dead in Indonesia and becomes one of the worst tragedies to occur in a soccer stadium

Riot at soccer game leaves 174 dead in Indonesia and becomes one of the worst tragedies to occur in a soccer stadium

Photo: Playback/Twitter

It was classic day in Indonesia: FC Arema against Persebaya Surabaya in the Indonesian Championship. But the game, which took place last Saturday, 1, ended in tragedy with 174 confirmed deaths. In both there are Brazilians, who were present at the moment of panic. On their social media, they share more details about the case.

Three of them played on the side of the visiting team, Persebaya Surabaya, being Higor Vidal, Leo Lelis and Sílvio Junior. On the side of Arema, the goalkeeper was Adilson Maringa. The visiting team took the game 3-2 and the turmoil began after fans of the home team did not accept the defeat – the first at home in more than two decades.

Higor Vidal believes that the night would be one of the best experiences of his career, but it turned into a tragedy. “It became a silence, one of the saddest days of my life. I would trade any victory for the lives that were lost in that stadium.”

For him, the stadium is a place where people go to watch a ‘show’ and then go back to their personal lives. “There is no longer any way to change what has passed, there is no longer any way to change a score. And knowing that more than 150 people won’t be coming home makes my heart sink.”

He wishes strength to all the family members who have lost loved ones and stresses that, as a Persebaya player, he is repudiated by scenes like the ones that took place.

Already Sílvio Junior, in a publication with text in English, stressed that “there are no words to describe this sadness that all of us who live and love football are feeling today”. His post, more succinct, also pays condolences to the families and asks that God comfort the hearts of each of them. He then uses the hashtags “peace in football” and “peace in stadiums”.

Leo Lelis, another Persebaya player, did not make public statements on his social networks. Unlike his other teammates, Lelis is not as active on his Instagram.

On the team’s official profile, after the incident, a note of regret was posted that stresses that “there is no football game worth living”. In addition, on Monday, the 3rd, photos of the tributes paid to the victims by the residents of the region were published.

crying out for humanity above football, the team hopes that there will be no more bloody tragedies in football. “Without excessive rivalry, without enmity, all walls are torn down by one word, humanity. Nothing in this world is worth a life.”

On the side of Arema, the only Brazilian is Adilson Aguerro Maringa, known as Maringa. He, who is the team’s goalkeeper, spoke publicly only this Monday, 3, also on his Instagram profile.

“Today is a sad day in the history of football, and in my career, that will be remembered forever”, he laments. The athlete says that he and other players visited the victims’ families, cried and felt their pain. “Honestly, I’m still in shock How did it happen?” he says.

understand the case

The tragedy is one of the worst to have happened in a football stadium and started with a riot at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya, which took place on Saturday night in the city of Malang, in East Java. After Arema’s 3-2 defeat – the first at home in more than two decades – fans invaded the pitch and threw bottles and objects at the players.

The invasion of the field caused chaos and fans of rival teams clashed. The police reacted and fired tear gas, including towards the stands of the stadium, causing panic among the crowd.

Hundreds of fans rushed to an exit door in an attempt to escape not only the violence but also the tear gas. Many of the victims died from being trampled or asphyxiated. The riot spread outside the stadium, where two police officers were killed and at least five police vehicles were set on fire.

The Indonesia Football Federation has suspended domestic league matches for a week and has launched an investigation into the incident. Arema FC was also banned from hosting matches until the end of the season.

Officials said 42,000 tickets were sold for the game, but the stadium had a capacity for just 38,000 fans. Police in the region said they had recommended that only Arema fans be allowed in the stadium, due to the fierce rivalry between the clubs.

This is one of the worst tragedies to have taken place in a football stadium, after the clash between Peruvian and Argentine fans at the National Stadium in Lima that left 318 dead in 1964.

(*With information from Deutsche Welle)

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