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Fiji Time: 9:38 AM on Thursday 18 September

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Where is the love

Offside With Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, March 13, 2014

WHERE is district pride? What happened to it?

What place does it have in this modern and professional era of football? Does it have a place at all?

These are some of the questions fans are asking as the player transfer window starts to close this week.

Some officials are frustrated. Some are angry because they stand to lose players they have developed over the years.

For whatever it is worth, the subject of district pride is obviously a major concern and is debatable.

There was a time when districts the players represented meant everything to them. Now monetary satisfaction is taking over that district pride that once was the pillar of success in football here.

But is it a bit too harsh to entirely blame the players for this?

Football has turned professional, well semi-professional in our case, and there is no question of the need for money in this day and age.

Nadi Football Association president Navneeda Goundar puts it very simply: "The biggest problem that the districts face today is the lack of money. It's very hard to get sponsors.

"The most important thing is the background of the players. They come from villages and they need money to feed their families.

"Back in those days, we played for the district and for the love of the game, but now money matters."

You can't argue with Goundar's sentiments because if there is anyone who holds his district close to the heart, it's this man from Malolo.

He played for Nadi before becoming vice-president and then president of the association from 1994 to 2004. Goundar re-joined the association as president last year.

Under his reign, the Jetsetters saw many glorious days and have lately become a force to reckon with again.

There are few others, both administrators and players, who value their districts above all.

Top football clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have players from all over the world but they don't seem to lack enthusiasm and pride for their clubs.

Maybe they are professional players and know how to balance things when it comes to money and pride.

These players are paid what they are worth but in return they do their best to ensure they give value to every dollar they earn.

While it's good to see some local teams pumping in money to lure top players which obviously is a step towards professional football, the onus is on the players to show what they are worth.

Whether it is their district or not, there has to be a certain degree of pride for the teams they represent.

That's the only way to keep those who believe in this beautiful game, faithful.

Quote of the week

"We want the players to have district pride," Nadi FA president Goundar after suspending two players.


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