By Peter Forte
Football stakeholders breathed a sigh of relief after the Airtel Top 8 Cup final between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers grossed K19.6 million at the Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.
It is a huge amount in recent games after top games including the Blantyre derby recorded poor revenue.
Bullets and Silver got K3.6 million each. An equal amount was also allocated to Kamuzu Stadium.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) also used K4.8 million to pay various service providers for direct match organisation expenses.
Fam Commercial and Marketing Director Limbani Matola confirmed the figures, saying the association pocketed K2.9 million while Malawi National Sports Council got K738,000.
“This is the highest revenue collected this season,” he said while referring to four other games, played amid Covid restriction, which grossed less.
First round TNM Super League Blantyre derby played on May 1 grossed K3.1 million while the second round match played on September 26 grossed K4.9 million.
Eyebrows were raised when a Airtel Top 8 game between Bullets and Wanderers raised K8.5 million on December 4.
The second highest revenue raised this season was at Bingu National Stadium when the Airtel Top 8 Lilongwe derby between Silver and Civil Service United grossed K9.7 million.
Meanwhile, Matola spoke highly of the advance ticket sales system as one of the key factors leading to the rise in the revenue.
“This also helped us to have good revenue as over K6.1 million, which is about 30 percent of the gross, came from advance ticket sales. We would like to salute the two teams for accepting to use this method as it has proven to be successful and effective.
“We are highly indebted to our MPS [Malawi Police Service] for providing improved security services on Saturday. VIP security was also very outstanding as they worked hard to tighten access control,” he said.
Silver Chief Executive Officer Thokozani Chimbali hailed the strategy that was employed before the match.
“We had all agreed to mount kiosks outside the stadium so that fans must pay at the kiosks before approaching the gates to avoid congestion and this worked well. The projection was that we were going to get a gross of about K22 million if all the seats were filled up. The revenue was not bad. We are very happy as a team we cannot complain,” Chimbali said.
Bullets Administration Officer Albert Chigoga expressed similar sentiments saying team work was the key to the success story of the gate revenue realised.
“Let me thank all the stakeholders. The mounting of the kiosks helped reduce congestion,” he said.
Airtel Malawi Chief Executive Officer Charles Kamoto said they were happy with how the cup has been run this year.
“We watched top football on the local scene. The approach and competitiveness of the game was massive from start to the end with no violence. Supporters came in large numbers we are happy in the way things went this year,” Kamoto said.
This year’s Airtel Top 8 Cup registered 23 goals whereas Bullets striker Babatunde Adepoju scoring eight goals to finish as the top goal-scorer.