Thanks to Mola.TV and Sent Entertainment, COPA90 Stories track the journey of young Indonesians looking to forge a career in professional football. The series follows a group of teens as they travel to England and Italy to compete against top academy sides.
The under-representation of professional Asian footballers has long since been perplexing to many, but the fact remains that, despite holding over half the world’s population, very few genuine superstars hail from the continent.
Interest in football throughout Asia is undeniable. In Indonesia alone, support for competitions like the Premier League is rife – and they’re even more fanatical about homegrown talent.
Despite being born in Belgium, ex-Roma and Inter Milan star Radja Nainggolan is of Indonesian descent, and carries a near-cultic following across the nation. Imagine the reaction if there was an Indonesia international superstar…
And that represents the purpose of Sent Entertainment’s latest series, commissioned for Mola: an attempt to unearth that superstar. The series follows a group of 16 and 17-year-olds as they leave behind their lives in Indonesia to complete an intensive five-month training camp.
Under the stewardship of former England internationals, Dennis Wise and Des Walker, the boys travel across England and Italy, receive professional coaching, and go toe-to-toe with some of the best academy sides Europe has to offer.
The team – known as Garuda Select – contested matches against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus, with the players being tested to their limits, both mentally and physically.
Games were streamed live in Indonesia, and attracted audiences north of four-and-a-half million – dwarfing the viewing figures of even some Premier League broadcasts.
It’s clear from the first kick of a ball that these lads have talent. But are they tough enough to succeed? Football can be an unforgiving environment, and opportunities like this are hard to come by.
The series will be featured on COPA90 Stories and will give viewers a new-found appreciation for the gruelling conditioning and sheer sacrifice that goes into trying to become a professional footballer.
This is the story of 24 boys, who flew halfway across the world and gave everything to chase their dream.