The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo officially reopened the recently renovated Manahan Stadium in Surakarta, Central Java, on Saturday.
The multipurpose sports stadium, which cost the government around Rp 300 billion (US$21.9 million) to renovate, is set to be used as one of the venues for the Under-20 World Cup in 2021.
Jokowi, clad in a red national soccer team jersey, arrived in Manahan Stadium at around 8 p.m. alongside First Lady Iriana and a number of state officials, including Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimoeljono, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, and Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatno.
Jokowi marked the reopening by signing a stone tablet, and then proceeded to kick a soccer ball into a goal flanked by players from Surakarta soccer club Persis and Bandung soccer club Persib. Both teams were set to face off in an exhibition match later that evening.
“Alhamdulillah [praise God], today we are able to use the Manahan Stadium again after the renovations. The stadium has turned into an extraordinary venue,” Jokowi said in his speech at the event.
Manahan Stadium was closed for renovations from early 2018 to 2019 and now boasts a capacity of 20,000. It is also equipped with a number of facilities designed to accommodate the needs of players, such as hot tubs and warm-up rooms.
The Youth and Sports Ministry previously announced that Indonesia would host the Under-20 World Cup from May 24 to June 12 next year. The country was initially set to host the 2020 cup, but the Soccer Association of Indonesia (PSSI) asked to push back the year, as this year's cup will be held close to Idul Fitri, which is predicted to fall on May 14.
FIFA has approved six stadiums to be used as venues for Indonesia's hosting of the tournament. The stadiums are Manahan Stadium, Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Senayan of South Jakarta, Pakansari Stadium in Bogor of West Java, Mandala Krida Stadium in Yogyakarta, Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium in Surabaya of East Java and Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Gianyar of Bali. (rfa)