|Resurgence in Sight?|
|Written by Cheung Chi-kit, Ken|
|Saturday, 05 May 2007|
Resurgence - Is There Hope for Hong Kong Football?
This season, seemingly there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. There has been considerable improvement in average attendance for local games, compared with the figures in the previous seasons. In some games featuring duels between the stronger teams, there was attendance of 3,000 - 4,000.
On 15 April 2007, football fans witnessed an exceptional scene at the Mongkok Stadium. We saw the Red Flag again - FULL-HOUSE!! Nearly 8,500 people turned up for the potential title-decider between SCAA and Kitchee. It was a scene we have not encountered for 15 years already. The atmosphere in the stadium on that day was simply fantastic: explosive!!!
Players joggled behind the goals. Many of them never saw this spectacular scene throughout their career. It meant many fans still cared how they performed in the games. Players loved to play in a full-capacity stadium. The cheers and applause from fans drived them on.
Near Zone 14, where the SCAA fans usually aggregate, it was packed with spectators too. If you arrived late, it would be very difficult for you to find a good seat with good view. Indeed, on that day the stadium staff hoisted the red flag 30 minutes before the game, and announced that it was a sold-out game.
Even at the stands behind the goals, you could not find a single space. The stairways were filled with people too. Some people had to stand behind the advertsement boards near the goals.
It was sunny and very hot that day. Some people raised their umbrellas to resist the strong sunshine. Conditions of the stadium were not quite good for the spectators, but the spectators were patient to wait for the big game.
Are we now turning a corner?
Experience the atmosphere in the stadium on that day:
Have Hong Kong Football Fans deserted football?
Hong Kong football fans are still very keen to watch good quality football. In an Oldies Match between SCAA 92/93 Invitation Team and Wai Luen Invitation Team in April 2007, there was full-house at Southorn Playground! Some 1500 spectators on that day were treated with a display of the marvellous skills by several beloved veterans, e.g. Leslie Santos, Cheung Chi-tak, Ku Kam-fai, Law Wai-chi, Shum Kwok-pui and Anton Grabo.
Take a look at the full-house Southorn Playground.
In February, there was an exhibition game between SCAA and J-League team Yokohama F-Marinos at the Hong Kong Stadium. Nearly 30,000 people attended. The atmosphere was equally fantastic.
Resurging from the doldrums of last season, SCAA recaptured the League Championship and the Senior Shield this season. Steven Lo, the Convenor of SCAA, organized a high-profile 'victory parade' on 28 April. The bus parade journey ran from So Kon Po to Tai Kok Tsui, passing through the busy streets of Causeway Bay, Wanchai, Central, Tsimshatsui and Mongkok. There was a huge fan gathering at the Olympic City shopping arcade.
As Steven Lo stated in the interview, he organized this high-profile parade because he wanted to arouse the people's awareness in Hong Kong football. He wanted to show the Hong Kong government that the local football fans still cared for the local game. He wanted to call for more favorable policies and improvement for Hong Kong football. He did succeed in raising media attention, as many reporters of the local press covered the parade.
Take a look at the SCAA 'victory parade'.
We still have some enthusiastic people who cared for Hong Kong football and wanted to achieve something for the local game. There are still football fans in Hong Kong. The key question is how to win them back to the stadiums. Only good quality football will win them back. We need the government, the HKFA, the clubs, the sponsors, the coaches and the players to work together. The rebuilding process will be a long journey.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 05 May 2007 )|
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