Absa Premiership

The PSL's Achilles heel

2017-02-27 11:36
Sundowns players celebrate... (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - It was a game on Saturday evening between the two teams who are exhibiting the most accomplished soccer in the Premier League right now - one of them the current champions of Africa no less.

Yet more than 80 percent of the seating at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria for the game eventually won 2-0 by defending champions and CAF Champions League holders Mamelodi Sundowns against Bidvest Wits were conspicuously and eerily empty.

Such an eventuality in similar circumstances would not have taken place in almost any other self-respecting soccer nation in the world where the fanaticism and enthusiasm for the game is transformed into actual attendances at games..

The weather in Gauteng during the past week has not been great and there was a fair amount of rain around on Saturday before the Loftus showdown.

But games in Europe and elsewhere are filled to capacity in far worse conditions.

It highlighted forcibly therefore what could be termed the Achilles heel of what is otherwise a financially thriving PSL that gets by very well on lucrative sponsorships and other shrewd business deals, but the majority of whose  well-publicised games are played by what is often pitifully small crowds.

Okay, it can be pointed out a handful of major attractions in which Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are involved - notably in their derby encounters to which spectators are drawn in enormous number with the compulsive, if sometimes deluded allure of the Pied Piper of Hamelin - buck the general trend.

But this paradox only tends to magnify the largely inexplicable ambiguity of the generally poor crowds at South African soccer matches.

An argument put forward places all the blame on the plethora of worldwide soccer on TV, with viewers able to watch English Premiership, Spanish La Liga and matches in Italy, as well as the local product, all in a matter of hours.

Other countries are afforded this luxury, but it does not seem to affect the attendances at their own games.

Has it, therefore, got something to do with the local product?


But the football  at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday epitomised South African club soccer at its best and still, it seemed, there were relatively no more than the metaphorical few thousand men and their dogs!

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  wits  |  psl  |  sy lerman  |  soccer

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