How PSL matches can lure fans back to stadiums in the 2023 season 

When Rodreck Mutuma scored the opener for Dynamos in the Harare derby against CAPS United back in 2016, the National Sports Stadium erupted with blue delight.

The Prince, as Mutuma was affectionately-known in his once-promising but troubled career,  needed just 10 minutes to thrust DeMbare ahead and his celebration matched the occasion.

The giant facility was not packed to capacity, but an estimated 30 000 fans watched the dramatic derby, which eventually ended 3-3.

Six years later, on the same occasion and same venue, Issah Sadiki danced his way past Valentine Musarurwa to fire Dynamos ahead. The only difference was that less than 2000 DeMbare fans were in attendance.

As football fans continue to shun Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches at an alarming rate, one wonders what the solution to the well-documented problem is.

But in all life situations, nothing is impossible and fans being lured to PSL matches again, is no exception.

Debate on the price for the cheapest ticket

Whilst some may be quick to conclude that the only way games in the country’s top-flight league can attract fans is by reducing the price of the cheapest ticket, known as the ‘Rest of Ground’, it is a suggestion which needs to be looked at with extensive eyes.

By claiming that PSL matches are no longer worth USD3, are we saying the standard of the game has deteriorated or we are suggesting that the US dollar has increased value?

Are we saying fans can pay USD5 to watch Ndunge Yute performing at Jongwe Corner but cannot pay USD3 to watch the Harare derby between DeMbare and Makepekepe?

The cheapest ticket for PSL matches can stay at USD3, just as it has been since Zimbabwe adopted the multi-currency system. What needs to change is the match day atmosphere.

PSL matches should transition to family events

There should be more on offer other than football at PSL matches.  Good food prepared in an hygienic environment,  beer sold in plastic tumblers as well as entertainment from musical artists, especially during big games, can make PSL matches family events, thereby improving attendance.

Talking about beer, is league’s sponsor not Delta Beverages?

The FNB Stadium is always packed during the Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates even though the quality of football displayed is not that attractive,  simply because the occasion transitioned to a family event.

Even fans who know nothing about football, flock to watch the Soweto derby because of that.

Gates being opened early, more stadium entry points and better security means couples can attend PSL matches and even children can be brought to games and the PSL bosses can take a leaf from their counterparts across the Limpopo in that regard.

Combined effort between the PSL and clubs to hype matches

When old foes Dynamos and Highlanders collided towards the end of last season, the big clash did not get the hype it deserves.

To no surprise, less than 5000 fans attended the match at the National Sports Stadium.

The Farai Jere-led PSL executive ought to work hand-in-glove with clubs to hype matches and one doesn’t require to be genius to do that.

Matches between Dynamos and Highlanders, or CAPS United and Dynamos, should always stoke rivalry, not hostility between fans.

The difference between rilvary and hostility is big and the PSL, together with the clubs in question, have a part to play in educating fans in that context.

That can be achieved through roadshows and joint press conferences ahead of big games.

Similarly, how much does it cost for the Dynamos bus to go to Mbare after training ahead of the Bosso clash so that players interact with fans and personally urge them to attend the game?

The relationship between the PSL and football fans is not dead, contrary to some suggestions. Even if it is, resurrecting it is not impossible.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © Soccer24, 2023. All Rights Reserved