Persija Jakarta confirm 2018 AFC Cup entry

Persija Jakarta have been confirmed as one of the Indonesia Liga 1’s representatives to compete in next year’s AFC Cup.

In a statement on their official website, Persija announced the PSSI [Football Association of Indonesia] have confirmed in a letter their participation in Asia’s second-tier competition.

Liga 1 runners-up Bali United were already confirmed as Indonesia’s first representatives as champions Bhayangkara failed to obtain an AFC license.

Bali are guaranteed a spot in the AFC Cup group stage but will also bid to qualify for the Champions League, entering the tournament at the first preliminary round and meeting Singapore’s Tampines Rovers on January 16.

As PSM Makassar, the third-placed team in Liga 1, also did not qualify for an AFC license, Persija have now earned the right to play continental football in 2018 despite finishing the season in fourth spot.

Madura United, who rounded off the top five in the Liga 1’s inaugural season, are waiting in the wings as the reserve team and will enter the AFC Cup should Bali earn a berth in the Champions League group stage.

Persija’s sole previous appearance in Asian competition was all the way back in the 2001-02 season, when they were beaten 4-1 by Japanese giants Kashima Antlers in the first round of the Asian Club Championship, the predecessor to what is now the Champions League.

Photo credit: Persija Jakarta