Spectators shun football matches

• By Michael Uugwanga

DISPITE football being the most followed sport code in the country, local teams have seen a worrying trend in the Debmarine Premiership, as most games have been played in virtually empty stadiums.

Perhaps the only notably well attended football match this season so far was the opening match between African Stars and University of Namibia (Unam) on November 05 at the Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium in Windhoek, which attracted over 4000 spectators.

Spectators have always looked forward to spending part of their weekends at the football stadium, especially when football giants such as African Stars, Orlando Pirates, Tigers, Blue Waters, Black Africa, Eleven Arrows, Civics, who form the traditional big seven, are in action.

The gig seven have always enjoy the greatest support and have always provided the benchmark for local football as popular brand.
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Historically, any match in the league featuring the seven giants would guarantee a huge pay cheque for the home team because of the expected revenue from the gates, but a new trend has emerged as spectators are no longer interested in coming to the football matches.

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Teams such as Julinho Sporting, Young Brazilians form part of the teams capable of pulling big crowds at their home matches just like African Stars.

Confidente this week spoke to a number of clubs on why spectators were showing less interest in attending their matches and what they are doing to make their product more appealing.

Julinho Sporting coach, Nelson Luis said his team had been aggressively engaging supporters on social media, in particular facebook and instagram.

Julinho plays their homes matches at the Rundu Sports Stadium, which is also home to the town’s other big clubs, Rundu Chief, Cuca Tops and United Stars.

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He stated that the reason why spectators no longer come in big numbers was down to the off the field bad behavior by some players.

“People would not want to follow a losing team.  We also do not have football lovers in the country and also the population is small. Also remember that our football has been dead for some years. We have the biggest Facebook followers with over 30 000 followers and on instagram we have about 10 000 followers.  Players have also no respect for themselves. Imagine players rubbing shoulders with spectators inside a bar or pubs, and you expect that spectator to go watch the person he or she was with in a bar or pub. The press also needs to feature more on players profiling,” Luis said.

Tura Magic Spokesperson, Paulus Ngolombe said the reason why the league was poorly attendance was due to poor marketing and the infighting within football.

Tura Magic has one of the lowest budget per month, with an estimated budget of N 000.
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“I think the fighting among football administrators is one of those and also the games are not being marketed enough.

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Unam field is very far and it might cost spectators too much in entrance and transportation.

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 We need to come up with Incentives, people have no reason to attend matches. It is up to clubs to ensure that supporters come out in numbers.

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Maybe look at using social media and (clubs accounts) to give complementary tickets,” Ngolombe said.

Okahandja United owner, Congo Hindjou also alluded that marketing remained a big problem, saying clubs needed to be more aggressive in marketing their own product.

“I think the problem is with the clubs. They do not market the game proper and aggressively, as it is the responsible of the clubs to bring people to the stadiums. Namibia Football Association (NFA) should organise a workshop to teaches clubs on how to market the game. We use social media and text messages to our residents. We spend like N$ 95 000 to N$ 110 000 per month,” Hindjou said.

Black Africa’s interim chairman Jimmy Julie said, the club had a five-year-plan in place to revive its supporters base.