Editorial: Is Highlanders the most supported team in Zimbabwe?

Once again, and definitely not for the last time, there was a good crowd at Babourfields Stadium for a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match.

Chicken Inn hosted Bosso at Emagumeni in a clash which ended goalless but one didn’t require magnifying glasses to see that most fans in the stadium were rooting for Tshilamoya.

Last week, in their 2-1 victory over FC Platinum,  which ended their 9-year winning streak against the platinum miners, Bosso attracted over 11 000 spectators at Babourfields —by far the highest number of fans to have watched a PSL match this season.

While fans appeared to have shunned the country’s top-flight matches, Highlanders have consistently attracted respectable numbers in terms of fans at Babourfields.

Dynamos and CAPS United, the other traditional giants of Zimbabwean football,  have been struggling to attract more than 5000 fans at the National Sports Stadium, even when they played against each on the last day of the season last year.

The consensus among Dynamos fans is that there are 7 million of them, even though everyone now knows the actual meaning of the rhetoric.

There were 7 million people in Zimbabwe when the country attained independence in 1980 and it was perceived that every Zimbabwean supports Dynamos hence ‘7 million fans’.

But realistically, does Dynamos have more fans than Highlanders?

Of the factors blamed for poor attendance at Dynamos home matches, logistical challenges fans face to get the National Sports Stadium on matchdays, stand out.

The assertion is that fans in Harare have to commute to the Central Business District first to get the giant facility, unlike their counterparts in Bulawayo, hence more people at Emagumeni.

Whether that is true or not is debatable, but what’s not up for discussion, is that Highlanders fans always show up, whether home or away.

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