Friday, November 13, 2009

Bums on seats

The crowd at a distance: Cam v HAGL
Attendances at the BIDC Cup games make for interesting reading and debate. Last night's Cambodia game against Vissai Ninh Binh was put at 12,000 spectators. Now is that paid spectators or just a guesstimate - almost certainly the latter as there are no turnstiles at the Olympic Stadium. Tickets are issued - $2 to sit under cover in the main stand, $1 to get fried by the scorching sun in the open-air concrete seats - but this is Cambodia so I would be very surprised if the attendance figures bore any resemblance to actual bums on seats. I used to be just as skeptical about the attendances at Kidderminster Harriers games as well. I believe the main stand at Olympic seats around 8,000 and up to 50,000 can sit in the open areas but 12,000 is still a generous figure in my book. There were 7,000 at the HAGL v Laos game that was played a few hours earlier.
The attendance for the Cambodia v Laos match on Tuesday was put at a healthy 17,000, so I can only imagine that will be blown out of the water by the figures for tomorrow's final at 6pm. Floodlit football is a rarity in Cambodia - to be honest the floodlights aren't that good - so it has novelty value and the fans should turn out in high numbers for the final, urged on by the Army band who will stir the crowd into a clapping frenzy. There isn't the obvious passion in Cambodia that you find in other countries around Asia just yet, as football is still very much in its embryonic stage, though the signs are encouraging. Fans' expectations will be tough to manage - no-one should expect Cambodia to win the SEA Games for example, but I'm sure many will - but that's the nature of the beast where football is concerned, so we'll have to live with it. The national team have just begun their journey and I hope the public will give them the time, and encouragement to grow together, players and fans alike.
The Army band at much closer range

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Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

Re the previous attendances in the BIDC Cup, blown out of the water was just about right phrase. The attendance figure for the final between Cambodia and HAGL on Saturday was put at 30,000 no less. A fantastic turn out considering you had to pay at least $1 to get in.
Wonderful support with Mexican Waves aplenty, the band in the stand providing the rhythm and everyone enjoying themselves, as well as the result of course.

November 15, 2009 at 11:41 PM  

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