Football is big business and anyone arguing against that should have the chance to see the activities taking place on a match-day for any team in Europe.
There is no arguing that modern clubs are more organised today than they were several years ago. One can only admire the scramble for TV rights among the media giants. With the same model, the advancement in technology should have seen similar trends here at home.
Some people would argue that there is no decency in local football because the country does not swim in luxuries.
Well, if you wanted to watch football at Kamuzu Stadium for instance, you would be surprised that the V.I.P Stand is no longer V.I.P; it is a place for individuals who have relatives manning the gates.
In fact, one supporter boasted of not watching Bullets playing at Kamuzu Stadium for five years although he had attended almost every game played there. Much of his time is spent at the gate, collecting little change from the fans who are unwilling to pay the accepted gate charges. That’s how he earns a living and now that the league recessed, one would wonder how he survives.
Not long ago when Enock Chihana was Minister of Sports, verbal abuse was directed at him.
The so – called supporters were not happy that the former minister had endorsed the closure of the stadium; unknowingly, Chihana had closed the money spinner of these so-called supporters.
For a long time, football in Malawi has thrived on chaos and this is what supporters love the most. The football officials have used these irate supporters to get positions in the club. Unsurprisingly, the supporters of such clubs as Nyasa Big Bullets or Be Forward Wanderers wield more power and authority than elected office bearers in the executive. How brainy are the supporters to run a football club? Yet, officials — who are entrusted to run the football clubs — are not brave enough rid football of this malady.
In all fairness, Silver Strikers should be a model football club today.
Of the many attributes the club has, its stable sponsorship is one but if I were to pick another, I would choose the club owners as the reason for my optimism.
Football has cried for credible leadership for a while; I am impressed Silver has that in abundance. Led by MacDonald Mafuta Mwale, the club has made a giant leap towards turning professional.
Whenever you engage Mwale in a conversation, there is always reason in his voice.
The stand that the club has taken is a stark reminder to its supporters that there is a rightful place for them in the stands. While other big clubs’ executive or owners are bullied by supporters, Silver Strikers has put its foot down.
As it has been discussed in other fora, supporters are a stumbling block in the commercialisation drive locally. Football Association of Malawi’s insistence that local football clubs must be licensed is the way to go. Silver Strikers meets the criteria asked of any football club to be licensed.
Need I say more? For clubs locally to compete with the most successful clubs on the continent, there is need to stop the chaos and strive for excellence. Someday, I should go to Silver Strikers stadium and enjoy similar hospitality that I should have experienced elsewhere; be it City of Manchester or The Selhurst Park.
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