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B-METRO COMMENT: Give soccer supporters what they want

There has been concern over the years over the declining numbers at soccer stadiums around the country as people seemed to shun especially league games of local sides.A� Even the crowd pulling big clubs have been struggling to pull bigger crowds. A�

However, the large crowd that turned up for the Warriors Legends versus Barcelona Legends match at the National Sports Stadium last week seems to suggest that there could be other reasons other than economic behind the slump in numbers at stadiums.

It cannot be doubted that Barcelona is a big club and that any match involving the cluba��s players would draw a crowd.A� However, these are not current players but players that have retired from the game.

This shows us that supporters place certain entertainment value on such matches due to possibly nostalgia they attach to the players from their playing days. The question for the local game should be on where we are losing it.

Did yesteryear players give us more entertainment value from the game than we are seeing now? What impact has the exodus of good players to foreign leagues had on our local league?A� And how well marketed are the local league games?

These and other pertinent questions confront the administrators of the local game and it is important for them to get to the bottom of the matter and the answers lie in the crowd that thronged the National Sports Stadium for the legendsa�� match.

It is important that we create that value that the fans desire and see in watching yesteryear greats.A� Also, incidents of violence that have embarrassingly grown more frequent this year need to be addressed since such conduct has no room in the beautiful game.A� This could be one of the factors keeping the spectators away.

However, there is a feeling among some quarters that the standards of football have gone down in the country, hence supporters have turned to foreign leagues that they follow on satellite television.

We need the spectators back in the stadiums and it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to consult and find the missing link so that everybody benefits at the end of the day. If players deliver on the field of play the fans get value for money and when the stadiums fill up, the owners of the stadiums, football authorities and sponsors benefit immensely.

This is the win-win scenario that we need hence the call for a solution to be found to the challenge of declining numbers of people watching local football games. Our players need to be able to feed their families and that money should come from the fans and sponsors.

If they cannot pay to watch players at their prime it then follows that our people would not bother showing up to watch these players after their retirement. FoodA� for thought. cipla india suhagra 100.