Low turnout at PSL matches: Who is to blame?

The latest instalment of the Soweto derby is on Saturday.

High-flying Orlando Pirates host Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium in Soweto with three points and bragging rights up for grabs.

By Tuesday morning, Stadium Management, the facility management entity in charge of the 94 000-seater, announced that tickets for the 176th eddittion of the derby had been sold out.

The South African PSL has been working hand in glove with both Pirates and Chiefs to make sure the derby gets all the hype it deserves as the biggest game in South African football.

24 hours after the Soweto derby, the biggest game in Zimbabwe will kick off at the National Sports Stadium.

Dynamos and Highlanders, the two biggest clubs in Zimbabwe, renew their rivalry at the giant facility in what should be a pulsating contest.

Predictability, the clash will not attract a huge crowd, as has been the case in most Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches this season.

The insubstantial narrative is that the economic challenges prevailing in the country are to blame for the low turnout at PSL matches.

The general consensus is that games in the country’s top-flight are not worth the USD3 being asked for the cheapest ticket and that can better explain the low turnout.

However, those in the truth-telling business know that not everything is black and white as far as the issue is concerned.

Has Farai Jere-led PSL adminstration done enough to market the ‘Battle of Zimbabwe’, as some call it?

Apart from just releasing the match day 32 fixtures list, what has has been done?

Premier Soccer League (PSL) spokesperson Kudzai Bare says they have done their part in making sure that the the football-loving public knowns about the DeMbare-Bosso clash, as well as making sure it is played in a safe environment, since it has been marred by crowd trouble of late.

“We are working to ensure that our Matchday 32 fixtures particularly the big one, Dynamos v Highlanders are played in a safe and secure environment,” Bare told Soccer24.

“We are liaising with the ZRP, private security and club security to make sure we have no incidents of violence and hooliganism. As you are aware, we have had security workshops, these will continue as we work on improving safety at our matches. We are also working with the clubs and our broadcaster to bring the game to everyone. Those that can’t come to the stadium can catch the match live on TV,” she added.

While logistical challenges are the elephant in the room as far as low turnout at PSL matches is concerned, some fans insist the standard of the game has declined.

“The entertainment part in our PSL football is no longer there, they can’t even complete three passes and the ball control is an eyesore to be frank,” reckons Solomon Manganyi, a Dynamos fan.

“I think our football development side is lacking and ZIFA and PSL should or must enforce that like in England, where every club is obliged to have junior teams which participate in junior leagues. We used to have a competitive junior league where the B team used to curtain raise around 12pm so we need that back.

“We also need to make our football competitive by having workshops to conscientise the administrators that football is business and without the appeal, they have to come up with a strategy to lower the entry fee to attract crowds,” Manganyi added.

Ngobile Sibanda, Highlanders fan, insists the Bosso faithful, unlike other supporters, still throng Babourfields in large numbers.

“We don’t have that problem in Bulawayo. We attend league games at Emagumemi (Babourfields) in large numbers to cheer our beloved Bosso. If there is such thing as low turnout at PSL matches, its for Harare teams,” Sibanda said.

Despite the fact that Division One matches have even eclipsed some PSL games in terms of attendance, authorities have done little to solve this problem. But as authorities dither to take action, fans continue to snub games in the country’s top-flight and the game is paying the price.

 

One thought on “Low turnout at PSL matches: Who is to blame?

  1. THE CORRECT DEFINATION OF SOCIAL SOCCER …….IS SOCCER PLAYED WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF FIFA…….SO WHO WANTS TO BE PART OF SUCH A CIRCUS.WINNING THE LEAGUE ITS SELF IS LIKE FINISHING LAST ….YOU GO NOWHERE …..SO WHY BOTHER WATCHING SOMETHING THAT IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE.

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