The first round of the Premier League has just come to an end and one thing that was certain was the worrying trend of low attendance at matches. Despite the fact that most matches are played in smaller stadiums because the bigger ones are under renovation, team supporters struggle to fill them. Township Rollers is one of the most supported teams and is currently performing well, and have a comfortable 5-point lead going into the first round break yet their supporters do not appear to be attending Rollers’ games in large numbers.
The same applies to Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Extension Gunners. Both teams are not performing that badly but their supporters, who used to come in large numbers, have dwindled in attendance.
This has even led to an outcry from teams because their source of revenue has gone down yet they depend of gate takings. There have been many incidents of players complaining about salaries arrears, dating back several months, prompting some players to boycott training.
A typical example is Extension Gunners where players’ boycott of training led to the whole central committee of the team resigning en-masse and was replaced by a new one.
Former Centre Chiefs spokesperson, Clifford Mogomotsi, decried the situation, saying something needs to be done urgently.
Mogomotsi attributed this to several factors, which he said if not attended would worsen things to unacceptable depths.
“The first major problem is the positioning and comfort of our stadiums. We have a situation whereby teams play most of their matches at University of Botswana, Molepolole and Sir Seretse Khama Barracks stadiums. For supporters to always travel to Molepolole is an inconvenience for them. If you look at other stadium, some supporters do not really get that football feeling they are used to when they are in open grounds like The National Stadium,” he said.
The other factor that Mogomotsi attributed to the dwindling number of supporters is the lack of entertainment at matches. He said some of those people going to matches are not football people and can be brought to the stadium through entertainment.
“There are those supporters who are not attached to any team and, as such, nothing compels them to go to the stadium. But if they hear that some artists will be performing during soccer matches, they may go. There must always be ways of bringing those people to the soccer matches or else our football will not grow.”
Mogomotsi also took a swipe at the publicity officers of the teams, saying they are not doing enough to sell matches.
“Publicity officers of teams should always give supporters information, regardless of whether they need it or not. This keeps people updated and will always make them want to be near their teams,” he said.
Mogomotsi also stressed that lack of Charity tournaments for the past two years also has a hand in this. He said charity tournaments’ build momentum of the league and, as such, supporters would in turn easily go to the matches to see how their teams are progressing.