Chilean Arema FC coach recounts the tragedy in Indonesia: “Four people died in the locker room, in the arms of the players; I was blowing air with the t-shirts, with the towels”

Javier Roca completed a month as Arema FC coach a few days ago. In Indonesia, a country in which he retired as a footballer to later start his career as a coach, he has spent much of his last years seeking to continue linked to the activity.

What happened this Saturday, however, he will never forget. At the stadium, after his team lost 2-3 to classic rival Persebaya Surabaya, a fight broke out between fans and the police that already records 182 deaths. In addition, there are hundreds of wounded. Neither of the two entities suffered losses of their athletes, nor were the judges of the commitment injured, since they were able to take refuge in the changing rooms, as soon as the disturbances began.

Javier Roca, almost a day after the fact that he went around the world, raises his voice. He recounts what he experienced in the match that he assures he will never forget. “In protest mode, the fans wanted to enter the field to vent, to yell at us because we were losing. I don’t know if she’s going to attack us. In the end it got out of hand, the police had to dissuade them and chaos ensued. When the attacks took place, I was in the dressing room”he says, contacting CNN.

The former soccer player from Colo Colo during the 90s continues: “When I came back after the press conference, I saw a lot of people with breathing problems. It was the stampede, the tear gas. Here it is said that 182 people have died”, he says, very sure.

“When I came back from the conference, our dressing room was with 25 people who were being attended by our players. Four people died in our dressing room in the arms of our players. I was trying to blow air with the shirts, with the towels. Most of the people who died were from suffocation.he assures.

Riot police fire tear gas to disperse football supporters who enter the field following a match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java province, Indonesia, October 2, 2022, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Photo/Ari Bowo Sucipto/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN INDONESIA.

Roca assures that the actions of the local police could have influenced the events that occurred. “A week ago, with the team that we played this game, they had their home game and there were also riots. The bar went into protest mode, they burned the advertising. In that case the police did not resort to tear gas, there were no deaths. It is being investigated why the police fired a lot of tear gas,” he says.

To close, Roca assures that the experience lived has been the strongest that he has had to witness. “I have never experienced something so strong. In Indonesia it has happened to me that when we played these big-call games we went out in tanks, that was recurrent. But this number of deceased people, no, never. I feel like the public reaction was because the team loses. We have a lot to learn that football is more than winning, losing or drawing. With the bombs, chaos is created. It could have been avoided, but that’s speculation.” close.