Malawi national football team’s friendly against Lesotho raked in K7.5 million at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday, a drop which analysts have linked to poor patronage and hiked gate charges.
The gate revenue pales in comparison with the K16 million which the Flames’ match against Comoros Islands realised at the same venue in June.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Marketing and Commercial Director, Limbani Matola, Monday attributed the low turn-out to several factors.
“We have received feedback that the game was over-priced at K2,000.
“Some say it is mid-month, so they did not have enough money to watch the game. The other factor was that some people say it was just a friendly match which could not attract more fans,” Matola said.
“It is expensive to organise an international match and we cannot put the game at K500 in this modern age. We have learnt lessons that we need to market the game and also [that] the players should be committed because they are a national brand.”
The match, which ended one-all, was watched by a handful crowd as most of the stands were empty, especially on the Eastern, Northern and Southern stands.
Football analyst Enos Chatama said the fans have no appetite to watch the team after a below par performance in recent games.
“I think many fans are no longer interested in watching the Flames. Secondly, the gate charges also affected patronage,” Chatama said.
Another analyst, Charles Nyirenda, said the gate charges were high, considering the profile of the game.
“People are struggling financially, so it was not easy for them to find money to watch the game. I also think that some fans are let down by the performance of the team,” Nyirenda said.
Advance tickets for open stands were going at K2,000 and K3,000 on match-day. The stadium’s capacity is estimated at 40,000.
It was Malawi’s first home game in two months, having played away against Morocco Under-23, Togo and Tanzania.