An interesting point was raised in a Get Published article recently. With the recent exodus at Naturena, whereby 20 players were axed by management, some have wondered how Hendrick Ekstein survived the chop, despite not playing a pivotal role in the team since his arrival… What does the coach still see in him? Is it possible that Ekstein is a supporters' player?
It seems most supporters, particularly non-Chiefs fans, do not see the value in Ekstein, with most saying that, by his age, he should be a better developed player than he is, especially when compared to others his age.
"This guy is 25. Serero, who is 26, has just finished his fifth season in Europe. Jali, same age, has just finished his third season in Europe. Zungu is 23, on his way to Europe." – mapi
But while many think Ekstein does not deliver the goods on the field, there is something else he brings to the table – entertainment. This used to be a central pillar of South African football – flair and flavour.
Supporters used to flock to the stadiums to see the most skilful players. This has since been something that has been coached out of our football in favour of European "helicopter football". However, there are a few traces of the old days that remain, and the players who can still play with flair tend to be fan favorites, even if they are not game-winners.
A good example of such a player is Thabo Rakhale of Pirates; another is Ekstein.
"He must be given game time, not always introduced as a sub. He's a fan favorite, can attract more people to the stadium." – arthurmongezini
A decade or so ago, Kaizer Chiefs would play in front of a good few thousand fans every time they took the field. This season, FNB Stadium was embarrassingly empty, with some games appearing to have no more than 1 000 people in attendance. This could be because of the poor results, but anyone who knows South African supporters will know that it had nothing to do with poor results but rather the poor quality entertainment. The football was neither winning nor enthralling.
So could Ekstein cure all this? Could he add that entertainment factor and bring back the crowds, which would hopefully inspire the team to more wins?
Do you think Ekstein can bring back the crowds? Why is FNB Stadium so empty these days?