Struggling Brisbane Roar might be light years away from AFC Champions League football right now - but the club’s owner Nirwan Bakrie isn’t.
The co-head of the Indonesia-based Bakrie Group, it can be revealed, holds a controlling financial interest in Persija Jakarta - the team bidding to overcome Newcastle Jets in their ACL qualifier at McDonald Jones Stadium on Tuesday.
The football crazy mogul has kept his interest in the reigning Indonesian champions low key, to the degree that head of Indonesian FA (PSSI), Joko Driyonore, is registered as the owner.
That in itself might raise eye brows in some quarters over possible perceptions of conflicting priorities.
The reality is that Bakrie is providing the financial muscle behind the scenes, with a clue provided by the fact that both PSSI and Persija offices are housed in Bakrie owned buildings.
Other than the Roar, which he has no inclination to sell despite recent offers, Bakrie is also part of an Indonesian consortium which recently divested itself of its shares in MLS side DC United.
The investment group maintains a 30 per cent share of Inter Milan, despite a recent sell down.
It’s understood Bakrie is an avid Persija fan, among countless others in the football-obsessed nation.
The extent of that passion was laid bare in the final league game of the domestic season on December 8 when 100,000 crammed into the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium to watch them crowned champions with a 2-1 win over Mitra Kukar.
Another 35,000 were locked out outside the stadium trying to get in, whilst teams arrived in armoured personnel carriers escorted by the elite Brimob paramilitary unit.
Their number one supporter is the Indonesian president Joko Widodo.
It’s likely it will be a somewhat more sedate atmosphere at McDonald Jones Stadium tonight.