Soccer, football, whatever you call it—it’s a pretty big deal around the world (minus maybe the United States because they have larger things, like the Superbowl, to worry about). Papua is no exception to this world ruling sport.

I’ve had the pleasure to attend 3 Persipura games since I’ve been in Papua. Persipura is the Jayapura/Papua national team—they’re pretty good and the games are usually rather eventful as competition here can be extreme. When Persipura plays against other teams from Papua, such as Persiwa from Wamena in the highlands of Papua, competition gets so intense that there are literally hundreds of policemen surrounding the grounds preventing fights that constantly break out. It can actually be dangerous to attend one of these games.

Attending three games resulted in too many photographs. I decided to share a few of the best and more diverse photos so you can have a well-rounded Papuan football experience. If interested you can have a complete slide show upon my return home.

View of the stadium. It's located at the bottom of a mountain right by the Pacific Ocean in Jayapura, the biggest city in Papua, about half an hour from where I live.

People. People. People. Games in Papua = Loads of People. Please note the massive amount of people literally all over the house in the left hand corner of photo.


While the white girl loves her skin turning chocolate, the Papuans prefer to hide under umbrellas. A sea of umbrellas.

Old wrinkly hands. I love them.

I took my stab at sports photography. Although I got quite a few good shots, I just find it terribly boring. The fans are more appetizing subjects to my photographer pallette.

You know how I said people throw bottles of anything onto the field when Persipura scores a goal? Yeah... that means all 200+ police men around the field have to use shields to protect themselves. Pretty funny stuff.

Someone pretending to be famous. They exist in all cultures.

If you're a white girl with a camera you become an instant attraction to many clumps of Papuan men.

More camera enthusiasts.

And then there's still those who care way more about the game.

And then those attempting to make a living, not caring about the game, nor the white girl with the camera... unless she's going to buy something.

And then of course you have the extreme fans: those too busy playing their instruments to even realize a white girl has a camera shoved in their face.

And then there's my friends, like Chika, who are super excited for goals...

... or Mieke and Ester, two of my co-workers from P3W celebrating Persipura's goal against Persiwa (a team from the highlands of Papua).

Actually, everyone celebrates goals: shooting off fireworks, piles of shredded paper, and throwing bottles of anything (including disgusting red spit from the pinang chewers) onto the field. I'm telling ya... these games are nuts.

Some serious onlooking towards the end of the game. Who's going to win?

More serious onlooking. Soccer is very serious here. Hence why there are at least 200 police men on the grounds who actually fire off their guns at unruly fans.

Kids crowd on the wall of the bleachersat. There's nothing but a 30 foot drop between their dangling legs and the cement ground.

I just love kids here. I could take photos of them all day.

I don't have to go to the villages to make best friends. This girl, a usual drinks and food bleacher vender, temporarily neglected her duties and hung around me instead. The next time I went to a game she found me again and asked to take more photos. She's quite photogenic, so I'm happy to oblige.

My newest best friend and her little sister.

Getting their photos taken wasn't enough. They needed one with me, too.