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Flames match breaks record

HUGE TURN UP—Supporters

George Kaudza Masina

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier between Malawi and Ethiopia at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) on Sunday grossed K72.7 million in gate revenue.

The figure is the highest gross at the facility since it was opened in 2017.

It surpasses gate revenue realised during the Airtel Top 8 Cup final between Silver Strikers and Mighty Wanderers the same year, which grossed K52 million.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) said in a statement that total revenue was K53 million whereas K19.7 million was direct expenses.

Fam got K37.1 million of the net revenue whereas K13.2 million was ground levy.

Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) got K2.6 million.

Fam Commercial and Marketing Director Limbani Matola attributed the record gate revenue to the hype created before the match.

“We did marketing and communication strategies. We excited the fans with various prizes. Secondly, the presence of President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima also helped us a lot generate more money and we believe we can only sustain this momentum,” Matola said.

The tickets for the match were sold out.

Fam said 33,328 spectators purchased the advanced tickets for the match of which 32, 500 were standard tickets valued at K2,000 each.

A total of 353 VIP tickets were sold at K8,000 each and 475 corporate box seats at K10,000 each and 180 car passes at K500 each.

However, the gate revenue was not a true reflection of the huge crowd that turned up for the match.

Before the match there was commotion at the facility as some people broke gates and forced their way into the stadium.

Police used teargas to calm the situation.

Sports analyst George Kaudza Masina said demand for the match was too high.

“This is a lesson to Fam and I am sure they will be well prepared in the upcoming fixture. The gates should be opened in good time. Otherwise, well done to Fam,” Kaudza Masina said.

This means several people watched the match for free as the stadium was filled to capacity.

This was the first time for The Flames to play at BNS since 2019 when they drew 0-0 against Morocco.

They were forced to play the World Cup qualifiers at Orlando Stadium in South Africa, at which they lost five matches and registered a single victory .

At Afcon finals in Cameroon, The Flames displayed a good performance and reached the Round-of-16 but exited after a 2-1 loss to Morocco.

The Flames put the icing on the cake after beating Ethiopia 2-1 courtesy of Frank Gabadinho Mhango’s brace whereas Nasir Ahmed netted the consolation. All the goals were from the penalty spot.

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