Football Sport

Let’s support local league

Soccer Review with STEPHEN PHIRI
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s advice to soccer fans to support local football could not have come at a better time than now when European leagues have taken over.
Fans are inclined to support European football, particularly English, and can recite the Arsenal line-up, including reserves, yet they would have no idea about a single player at, for instance, Zanaco.
My friends – I mean fans – don Manchester United and Real Madrid replicas but they would have no idea about the colour Nakambala Leopards wear.
It’s shameful, to say the least, and that’s probably why the President made the remark last Saturday after watching Power Dynamos grind out a 1-1 draw away to Nkana in a match that was average, I must admit.
Thankfully for the two teams, however, the President was impressed with the standard.
Soccer fans, and I hope Peter Makembo knows, are supposed to be at the centre of football development. They must attend games and pay gate fees handsomely instead of gate-crashing. They should pay membership fees and support local teams such as City of Lusaka and Mufulira Blackpool.
But alas, they prefer scaling the wall-fence or breaking through the wire-fence to gain entry into the stadium, yet they expect the team to win.
Brethren, the players you see on the pitch have families who need to have shelter and food after those games. They have children who need school fees and they also fall sick and must pay medical fees.
So, if you are in the habit of not paying gate fees, what do you think they will be paid and how do you think football will develop?
If you do not have money to pay, stay home but if your interest is to ensure local football develops, please find a few notes to give that gateman at the stadium.
We all owe our football help. If our football develops to some appreciable standards, we will all stop craving the La Liga or whatever you call those leagues across the Mediterranean Sea.
From today – and I hope you will take my warning seriously – you should all strive to wear replica jerseys for Zesco United, Power, Red Arrows and even Napsa Stars instead of publicly displaying your unpatriotic self in some jersey of a team that is already rich.
But the problem with some of you is that you may go to a market near Bombay and buy fake T-Shirts. Blackpool will not benefit from the shirt you buy from Bombay. Instead, buy from official outlets. I may sound a bit like I am marketing manager for the local league but nay, these clubs have no idea how they can grow their finances. They have no media or marketing expert and, surprisingly, they do not see anything wrong with that.
To the majority, club licencing is but only a distant rumour. All executives know is to fire coaches when they do not perform to expectation.
Anyway, the bottom line is that the local league deserves fans’ support to develop to the level of the leagues we watch each week after paying through our noses.
Enjoy the Europa League final between Seville and Liverpool tonight after watching local matches. Remember not to walk alone!,

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