#BhoraLethu…. With Alois Bunjira
So every time we discuss football and the reason why fans are no longer coming to the stadium, I always get this response from most people ,that it is because of the ECONOMY.
While economy does have its share towards the problem, I still believe football can still thrive, as long as we have mitigatory plans. Economic problems are everywhere.
I have always argued that football is not supposed to be meant for the poorest members of society only. That mindset of thinking that football is meant to entertain the poor only should be eradicated.
Neither is it meant for charity entertainment. Football is a big part of the entertainment industry.
Why do people always bring the ECONOMY card whenever we discuss football attendance, which charges US$2 as entry fee?
Having said that, two weeks ago, Alick Macheso launched his album at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex and the place was full to the brim.
On Saturday, Winky D and Jah Prayzah were at the HICC for a concert, charging US$20 for the ordinary ticket and US$50 for VIP.
The HICC was packed with close to 5 000 people. One could struggle to find space to dance.
These musicians have shows on a weekly basis at packed venues.
Are all those people who part with at least US$20 to attend, not affected by the economy? And remember these people will be drinking and eating while inside…from pockets. More money.
Next week, Hillary Makaya is launching her beauty products range with a music show.
They are charging US$20 for the ordinary ticket and US$50 for VIP. I bet you this will be another full house.
Why is football attendance, at only US$2 affected by the economy, when music shows attendances are going up every week, in the very same economy, amid 10 times the fees? Are those people going to music shows not football fans as well? Why are they not affected by the economy.
Nooow…..I ask again. Why are people not attending football matches anymore ?
I don’t think so. Like I said, while indeed the economy is bad, there are a lot of things that we are not doing right or failed to do, that could easily mitigate against the effects of the bad economy.
Even in a bad economy, people still need to be entertained. Music is leading the way. Why is football the cheapest of them all not doing well?
One friend of mine puts it very well.
“First and foremost most people are now greatly enmeshed with European football and the quality on everything it offers. Come on in 2022 we are still sitting on cement slabs of which we must have some bucket seats in at least some of our stadia.”
The clubs themselves are not doing much in terms of branding and rigorous marketing in order to lure more fans to the ground.
Again, the other issue is now the marketing space is greatly dominated by socialites and some top musicians so I would rather suggest that the PSL and their clubs must work with those popular figures so that we can get some numbers in our stadiums.
Now our country itself is now greatly entertainment arts oriented because the most followed figures are comedians and stuff and we don’t have any local footballers who also have such numbers but our local premiership players can even use their own handles to attract fans to the ground.
It’s all about consistency and persistence. The only solution out of this mess is outrightly marketing like what those musicians do.
Our sports marketing is so poor. Let’s brand first then penetrate into the market.
Another fact is our local play is no longer entertaining at all.
You know during your own playing days Alois, people could fill the stadium because you played in a way which gave people real value for their money. So you see, we don’t have top quality players now and our football pitches as well are just poor shit. No one wants to watch that.
I totally agree with him. To add to that, we cannot produce quality football and quality entertainment if we are not developing our players well. Development is the key to quality football.
Once the product on the field is good, coupled with great marketing and inclusivity ,then we have our football balling again.
Development needs money, they say. But I have been involved in development in this country for some time now.
It is not as difficult as some would want to lead people to believe.
What the few academies are doing, if it could be replicated across the country, ensuring mass participation, centrally controlled and governed, then we can easily have a great development project across the country.
Sadly, our football leadership do not have the vision nor knowhow. And ECONOMY, is the word they love to use, to hide their shortcomings and inefficiency.
Like I said earlier, even in a bad economy, people still need to be entertained. Music has shown us that people still have the resources for entertainment.
They just make a choice on where to spend their money. They want value for the money. The rest, are excuses to hide shortcomings.