Heaptalk, Jakarta — RANS Cilegon FC has become the most trending topic in Indonesian football in recent weeks. The club, acquired by a well-known public figure Raffi Ahmad on March 31st, 2021, has now qualified for Liga 1 following a semi-final victory over PSIM Yogyakarta in the promotion playoff to Liga 1 (27/12).
Before being named RANS Cilegon FC, this club was known as Cilegon United and had previously competed in the Indonesian second to third-tier league. Raffi Ahmad acquired the club with fresh funds totaling not less than IDR 300 billion via RANS Entertainment and Prestige Image Motorcars.
Yudi Apriyanto, the former president of Cilegon United, stated that the club’s sale to the husband of actress Nagita Slavina (Gigi) was nothing more than a mission to save the club from bankruptcy. Furthermore, coupled with the unpleasant fact that the club was also afflicted by a corruption probe involving the former mayor of Cilegon at the time, Iman Ariyadi, the club’s financial performance suffered.
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If not urgently rescued, Cilegon United’s current position will very certainly result in destruction. Until Yudi concluded that “rather than seeing the club dissolved, there is no other option but to sell the beloved club of the people of Banten, particularly the city of Cilegon.”
Finally, the previous management sold the club to RANS Entertainment and Prestige Image Motorcars in collaboration with the management.
RANS Entertainment is a company that Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina own, whereas Prestige Image Motorcars is a North Jakarta-based vehicle dealer. As a result of the takeover, the club’s name was changed to RANS Cilegon FC. The club name was formally authorized by the 2021 PSSI Congress on Saturday, 5/29/2021. The Club also appointed Bambang Nurdiansyah as a head coach.
RANS Cilegon FC not only has a new name, but also a new logo and brand identity. The Volcano features a one-of-a-kind bird logo on their jersey, indicating that the club may stay a long time and fly high in the sky. Meanwhile, the brand color, purple, is associated with entertainment value and is Raffi and Gigi’s favorite color. More than that, it is intended that the purple, along with the phoenix element inside, would provide an entertaining football sense for the team.
It seems like a positive step. The decision to sell the club resulted in a positive achievement, by making its Indonesia Premier League debut in the 2022/23 season. Who would have guessed that a team that began as an amateur football club and spent the majority of its years in the second tier of the league, with relatively strong funding power, could now compete with the top elite clubs in the Indonesian League, such as Persija Jakarta, Arema FC, Persib Bandung, and Persebaya Surabaya?
To recall, The Volcano is a club that was founded in 2015 and is still operationally funded by the local government. However, the financial crisis had a significant impact on technical concerns as well. Starting with training facilities and stadiums that are below average, to the salaries of several players who have been discovered to be in arrears.
The long journey of funding power
When it comes to investing, RANS Cilegon has an appealing long-term vision in terms of club development, both technically like tRANSfer funds and the squad development and non-technically like supporting facilities, branding, and, of course, player welfare.
Rudy Salim, Director of RANS Cilegon and President of Prestige Motorcars, stated in a release (31/3), that the investment monies would be used to create clubs, including supporting facilities such as football fields in ten cities and a football academy.
“The overall investment value exceeds Rp300 billion. Not for the club’s acquisition worth, but for supporting infrastructure such as land acquisition, building construction, and so on “Rudy stated.
RANS Entertainment and Prestige Motorcars partnered to build an international quality sports stadium in Pantai Indah Kapuk 2, Jakarta. The 2.7-hectare stadium is intended to serve as a training facility for a variety of sports, including soccer fields, futsal fields, skateboard arenas, badminton courts, tennis, basketball, and wall climbing, as well as esports arenas.
The RANS Prestige Sportainment training arena will also include commercial zones such as restaurants, rooftop cafés, soccer cafes, and food courts. RANS Prestige Sportainment will be handled as the Football School’s (SSB) headquarters and training facility for RANS Cilegon FC.
Meanwhile, as part of the development of the RANS Cilegon FC squad, the management brought in high-profile names such as Alfin Tuasalamony from Madura United, Syamsir Alam from Arema FC, and Christian “El Loco” Gonzalez, Hamka Hamzah, and Kartika Adjie from Arema FC, all of whom are expected to improve the club’s game performance and help the club achieve promotion to Liga 1. So far in 2021, a total of 36 players have been added to the squad to bolster its depth.
Darius Sinathrya, COO RANS Cilegon FC, revealed that approximately 65 percent of Bambang Nurdiansyah’s squad was made up of youth. Blatantly, they were granted a lengthy contract because of the club’s great ambitions of bringing The Volcano to the premier division and even international competitions such as the AFC Champions League. They are also supported in developing their potential skills through sophisticated training facilities and accompanied also by a board of coaches and professional trainers.
RANS Cilegon’s journey to Liga 1 was riddled with stumbling blocks and detours. In truth, the disbursement of huge investments does not guarantee a smooth move for the club. In the first round, The Volcano was drawn into group B alongside Dewa United, Persekat, Perserang, PSKC Cimahi, and Badak Lampung. To be honest, Badak Lampung is more favored, both from statistical on paper and their history in Liga 1. Cilegon United, on the other hand, finished second with a total of 20 points earned with six victories, two draws, and two defeats. This place is below Dewa United, which currently holds a 22-point lead.
RANS Cilegon FC must be placed in the same group as Persis Solo, Persiba Balikpapan, and Sriwijaya FC in the second round. Again, Sriwijaya FC and Persiba Balikpapan are significantly superior in terms of experience, as they have a long history in Liga 1. RANS Cilegon, on the other hand, might lead the rankings with seven points, two victories, and one tie.
RANS Cilegon faced PSIM Yogyakarta in the final round. And the team’s maturity was eventually demonstrated when The Volcano defeated Laskar Mataram 3-0.
Thus, to what extent can the funding power encourage The Volcano to continue flying high? It’s fascinating to see.