After weeks of rumors, organizers confirmed on Wednesday that the Java Cup 2012 tournament is on.
Indonesian Premier League organizer Liga Primer Indonesia Sportindo said the tournament, which it hopes will be an annual event, will take place at Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta from July 26-29.
In the inaugural edition, the Indonesian national team will play against English Premier League side Everton, while Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray will play Malaysia’s national team.
“This tournament is part of football reform in the country,” LPIS chief executive Widjajanto said.
“I believe the tournament will boost football development here and give opportunities for our young players to play against top foreign clubs such as Everton and Galatasaray.”
The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) has decided to send a mixed team of Under-23 and senior players, which will be led by the national U-23 team head coach Aji Santoso.
“It will be a good opportunity for youngsters to play against and learn from the world’s best,” Aji said. “The Under-23 team has been asked to take the 2013 Southeast Asian Games gold medal in Myanmar, so this will be a good warm-up for them.”
Indonesia has been drawn to play against Everton, while Galatasaray will take on Malaysia. The winners will meet in the final.
Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini said coach David Moyes would bring the team’s best players to the tournament.
“It is important we are all prepared for the start of the Premier League season against Manchester United on the opening day. For that you need high-level games, and hopefully this tournament will provide them,” the Belgian said.
Everton, which finished seventh last season, will host United on Aug. 18.
Fellaini said he was looking forward to playing in front of Indonesian fans.
“I’m very happy to be in a Muslim country like Indonesia because it’s also my religion,” the 24-year-old said.
“I hope that with time Everton will collaborate with Indonesian football to assist in the development of young players and to use their expertise to help build up their infrastructure,” he added. “This is the first time for Everton to come to Indonesia and it is a big moment for us. Hopefully the tournament will prove very popular.”
Galatasaray also guaranteed that all of its top players, such as Felipe Melo, Emmanuel Eboue, Fernando Muslera and Milan Baros, would come to Jakarta.
“We are relishing our opportunity to play and expand our fan base here and throughout Asia,” Galatasaray representative Serdar Topcu said.