That the Blantyre derby between Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets managed to gross K26 million is indeed good news and a breakthrough gate fee management which should be commended.
This should be food for thought that plans to have Kamuzu Stadium rehabilitated should be done as soon as possible so that it should occupy more fans. The derby attracted excellent patronage that a lot of fans occupied areas beyond the cordoned terraces which is really something the authorities should not condone.
The cordoned areas were done as safety measures and by allowing more than the number of seats for the fans into the stadium means we are undermining what the proper authorities suggested as safety measures.
However, this record gate collection is a big plus to the Sulom executive which was a bone of contention during the elections campaign. Almost every aspirant was talking about prudent gate fee management.
It’s indeed high time that Sulom and Fam reduced fraud at the gates if football is to develop into a serious business. For our clubs to flourish and think of participating in Confederation of African Football (Caf) tournaments — the Champions League and the Confederation Cup — they need to be self sustainable first by realising their own revenue from the gates.
The support from the corporate world and other stakeholders can only supplement the clubs’ efforts at self sustainability. This should also be food for thought for clubs to think of owning their own stadia.
Bullets vice secretary Kelvin Moyo is quoted in the media as saying the clubs did not get a fair share as each got K5.6 million from the K26 million gross collected. The other money was paid to other service providers such police, owners of the stadium, Fam and Sulom.
Moyo says there is need to revise the system to enable the clubs receive the lion’s share and I agree totally. That is very possible with Silver Strikers, who own the Silver Stadium. When they are playing at Silver Stadium, the Bankers receive their share as hosts as well as stadium owners.
When they are away and other teams play at their stadium, Silver are assured of their share as owners of the stadium. If our clubs had planned long time ago to build their own stadia, they would have devised their own systems to make football become a commercial entity it is supposed to be.
I don’t think MDC United could have disbanded if its management had devised a way to own MDC Stadium. I think the team’s management then just relaxed in comfort that their sponsors were footing their bills. They did not even realise that the stadium belongs to the sponsors up until they were pulling out.
If the club’s management had been vigilant, they could have negotiated to own the stadium so that it could generate more revenue for the club. By the time MDC was announcing its pullout, the club could have devised another way to sustain itself using the stadium.
But it’s not too late. Mighty Wanderers can start the ball rolling by asking their sponsors Be Forward to help in building a modest stadium. It could be named Be Forward just like Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
With a properly modelled business plan, a sponsor can be attracted to invest in such a project. Start by first buying the land and start slowly using the slogan ‘Rome was not built in a day’.
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