This time we pose the pertinent question with regards to match day attendance, to AmaZulu FC supporter Bheki Nyathi.
“We have to face the facts that we aren’t really a footballing nation, this is seen when rugby and teams of other sporting codes play, they don’t play week in and week out, but, whenever they do, it’s packed.”
“This is influenced by our socio-economic issues such as unemployment and inequality amongst members of our society. We know that the majority of local football fans in SA are Black, most of whom are generally struggling. Their status in the economy is not good, they really cannot afford to go to matches, whilst ticket are not that pricey, but the location of various stadiums in SA are usually difficult to access or get to, unlike in Europe, where stadiums are usually located in the cities around where the fans live and are easily accessible.”
“For example, FNB Stadium is not located in the Johannesburg City CBD or City itself, but rather on the outskirts, in the Nasrec area. “
“Another contributing factor is the lack of competition in the league, Sundowns have been dominating for so long now, many fans get put off, and stay away knowing that Sundowns will just run away with it (League Honours).”
“This season we’re trying to push, using social media platforms, to encourage people to attend matches live.”
“We tend to expect bigger numbers (crowds) these days, only when the bigger teams are coming to play us at AmaZulu. The smaller teams don’t have that many fans.”
“Back to the Pirates versus Sundowns game, it was a game between two big clubs, remember also, that it was a cup game, as well as a Semifinal match, so I think everyone looked forward to the game, as it was an already highly anticipated clash.”
“With regards to attendance, we have a very long way to go, we need to encourage people more to attend games. People, especially among our younger generation, have mostly either lost or don’t have an interest in watching PSL matches, but they would rather sit at home and watch European football. That tells us that the standard our our football has dropped dismally.”
Bheki Nyathi is of the opinion that the COVID 19 pandemic compounded matters, as the attendance rate was slightly better before the emergence of the deadly pandemic.
“Slowly, it will pick up, Kaizer versus AmaZulu had a good number, FNB Stadium is not easy to fill, it has a capacity of up to 50 000 extra seats more than Orlando Stadium. You’ll see at Moses Mabhida Stadium, AmaZulu versus Kaizer Chiefs will be packed, Chiefs have a huge following and everyone will be looking forward to this match, with the trophy drought at Kaizer Chiefs, their fans are hungry for success, that’s the case.”