Obscurity can kill a game. If you don’t believe this statement, just glance at the ongoing SBT-GV Raja Football Tournament in the city. The tournament, which has a rich legacy to flaunt, is now reeling under obscurity, courtesy a low turnout of spectators.
The tournament, which was expected to bolster the scope of football in the capital city, is far from awe-inspiring and the relatively less number of spectators has even alarmed the organisers.
Except for the matches of the home teams, SBT, Titanium and TDFA XI, the rest of the games have failed to lure spectators. Though the tournament is still in its early stage and more known sides like Kerala Police,
SESA Goa and Mohun Bagan Academy team are yet to play, it will require more than a miracle to fill the stands. Well, the organisers had to toil hard to raise the funds, and they faltered in another key aspect of organising tournaments; publicity.
“We had printed around 10,000 posters and arranged vehicle announcement on two days prior to the championship. So it can’t be said that there was no publicity. But the crowd that we had expected hasn’t turned up so far. But, in the coming matches, we expect things to be better,” said C Selvakumar, joint secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram
District Football Association (TDFA). But the expectation of the organisers may not turn into a reality as the I-league matches, which had better teams and classy players, too had failed to attract spectators.
Is there any remedy that can be prescribed for this situation?
“Technology holds the key to popular and cheap way of publicity. Social sites can also be used for creating a hype. But, strangely, this technical trumpeting has not been even used at the national-level,” said Adwaith Rajan, a young football writer who is in the city to cover the tournament. At the same time, he also felt that the crowd here is much better than places like Kannur and Kochi.
V P Shaji, former international and SBT team coach, felt that the influence of Twenty20 cricket had affected football in the country. ”Now the cricketing extravaganza is on and that might be preventing the public from coming to the stadium. The people also have the chance to watch Spanish, Italian and English league matches from their homes. So, our game too needs to be upgraded and good football fields with green tops is a must for that,” he said.