It's 2pm and suffocatingly hot. A few people wave fans. The mood is listless and soon turns narcotic as the first half produces few shots on goal and ends in a scoreless stalemate. But things soon perk up at Mong Kok Stadium, thanks to Paul Ngue, a Cameroonian making his debut in Hong Kong. He smacks in three goals - the first hat-trick of the season - and the smile grows broader on the face of Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin. Ngue is one of the many have-boots-will-play roving brigade of foreign professionals who turned out in the Hong Kong First Division. Last Sunday, the mid-autumn festival, the 20-year-old turned up with his languid style and showed the game can be as easy as a moon-cakewalk and not an unholy kick-or-miss mess. Kitchee beat Mutual 3-1. In the following game, TSW Pegasus defeated Convoy Sun Hei 2-1. A feast of seven goals. Not bad entertainment for HK$60 although if I had wanted to be baked in the sun, I would have preferred to have gone to the beach. But the 1,328 paying spectators were a hardier breed. Admittedly it is just a trickle, but the Hong Kong Football Association hopes these numbers will soon turn into a flood as they do their best to bring back the glory days of football to this city. The days when crowds of tens of thousands used to turn up at local games is a distant memory. The golden era when Derek Currie, Jackie Trainer and Walter Gerard - the first British professionals to turn up in 1970 - thrilled the fans is long over. But HKFA chief Brian Leung Hung-tak is determined to resurrect past grandeur although he admits it will not be an easy task. The ingredients he believes which will bring back the crowds are 'local stars' and 'a successful national team'. 'We can't do it overnight. It will take a long time, but to get the fans back, we need more local stars and we need to build a new Hong Kong national team which is successful,' said Leung. To do this, not only must standards improve, but Leung also has to put his house in order. The HKFA is governed by eight directors, all of whom have the interests of their clubs at heart. Nothing wrong with this, provided they can come together when national interests are at stake. But unfortunately, as has happened in the past, club comes before country - city in this case - and with everyone pulling in separate directions, the game has been torn apart. 'We need the support of the clubs, we need their players when we want them,' said Leung. Easier said than done. Already there are signs of rebellion in the ranks. Hong Kong does not have a national coach. Leung wants Croatian Goran Paulic, the Hong Kong under-23 coach, to assume the senior mantle too. This has met with opposition from others, most notably South China, the oldest, most powerful club in Hong Kong. Its convenor Steven Lo Kit-sing, does not like the idea of appointing someone without the endorsement of First Division clubs. Whether he is right or wrong, doesn't matter. What matters is - who calls the shots inside the HKFA? If the governing body does not have a handle on things, how can we expect things to get better for local football? This internal wrangling also seems to have rubbed off on other areas, leaving potential benefactors like the Jockey Club scratching their heads in puzzlement. A case point has been the much-longed for Football Academy at Tseung Kwan O. First mooted in 2003, it seemed work would finally get under way this year with the Jockey Club agreeing to foot the original construction bill of HK$103 million. The HKFA then came out and said the Club had agreed to pour in an extra HK$97 million for an expanded facility with more pitches. Bewildered Jockey Club officials denied having agreed to any such increment. Work is now stalled, although Leung is confident that it will begin soon as the HKFA 'has gone back to the original plan'. But the damage has been done. 'We don't know what is happening inside the HKFA,' says a Jockey Club source. 'Maybe this ground at Tseung Kwan O shouldn't only be available for football, but for other sports too.' The HKFA won't like this. Their blueprint for the future involves having a minimum of six stadia dotted around Hong Kong with two clubs using each as a home base. 'The plan is to identify areas with a population of around one million and have a stadium in each of these areas which will become the home base for two First Division clubs,' says Ken Ng. Tseung Kwan O, Mong Kok - the current stadium will be closed for re-development at the end of this season - Tai Po, Siu Sai Wan, maybe Tsuen Wan are all likely venues. Taking the game to the districts will hopefully grow a loyal fan base for the clubs. That is the grand plan. But for it to come to fruition, the HKFA has to first get its act together. There were some signs of encouragement last season that the fans were coming back - attendance at matches rose to 328,257, up from the lows of 128,379 in the 2005-06 season. But this increase could be attributed to the success of one club - the ever-popular South China, who won two of the four major titles on offer including the League. Lo, while pleased with his club's success, said: 'The League is not just about one team. If the League cannot become fully professional in the next three years, we should just go back to amateur soccer.' Yes, South China has the power to pull in the crowds. Perhaps it is time for them to lead the way, get the other clubs behind them and help the HKFA do some house-cleaning for the good of the game.