It all boils down to is low disposable income, says FAM.Â That is whyÂ Malawi could be the cheapest place in the Cosafa bloc for one to watch either a domestic or an international football catch,Â Nation OnlineÂ understands.
The low gate charges might partly explain why domestic clubs are on their financial knees.
The findings exclude variables such as the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 10 southern Africa countries compared with namely Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Zimbabwe.Nation OnlineÂ was unable to compare with remaining Cosafa countries the Comoros, Madagascar and Mauritius.
The Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has 14 member states.
Some local football analysts argue that fans are unwilling to pay much for domestic games because they are substandard.
Ordinary top tier domestic matches currently sell at K200 (about $0.80) for open terraces and K2 000 (about $8) for the VIP. The Flames matches go up to K500 (about $2) for ordinary seats whereas the VIP can shoot to K5 000 (about $20). In some cases, fans watch the Flames matches for free whereas in other Sadc countries games are rarely free.
For example, the August 26 Presidential Cup final between Big Bullets and Moyale Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium will cost K500 ($2) for open terraces, K2 000 ($8) MBC Stand, K3 000 ($12) Covered Stand and K5 000 ($20) for the VIP, FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda announced on Wednesday. These are special rates for the final.
“Sometimes, this has to do with disposable income. People do not have much to spend on entertainment. For example, people are struggling to even buy replica jerseys at a reduced price of K5 000 ($20). The gate charges cannot be hiked; otherwise, people will find crooked means to enter the stadium,” said Nyirenda.
Namibia Football Federation general secretary Barry Rukuru toldÂ Nation OnlineÂ that a local match in the desert country costs in the ranges of $2.5 (K705) and $3.5 (K987). The Nation used K282 as an exchange rate to a dollar and K35 to the South Africa rand.
South Africa Premier Soccer League (PSL) match tickets are sold at R40 (K1 400) per seat while tickets for seats closer to the pitch cost R100 (K3 500) in domestic and international matches, according to Soccer Laduma Malawian sports reporter Benjamin Nyirenda.
A Swaziland national team game costs R50 (K1 750) whereas a league match is pegged at R20 (K700) while a double header (two games played one after another at the same venue) can shoot to R30 (K 1 050). The rates are within a similar range in Botswana, according to that countryâ€™s sports journalist Tshepo Bogosing.
“A local game is around R25 (K875) while an international one depends on the nature of the game, but, on average, it is around R50 (K1 750),” said Bogosing through Facebook chat.
Such games in Zambia Premier League are pegged at $10 (K1 820) for the cheapest and $100 (K18 200) for the most expensive, said Football Association of Zambia publicist Erick Mwanza through e-mail.
Flames winger Zicco Mkanda said most matches in Mozambique are pegged at a uniform rate of an equivalent of K500 for an ordinary league match, K1 000 for a derby and K1 500 for a Mambas match.
Lesotho Football Association information officer Mikia Ntanda during the week said domestic games cost R20 (K700) while international matches are at R40 (K1 400).
In Angola, domestic matches are also reportedly expensive, some costing $20 (K5 640).
Recently, Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League chief executive Kennedy Ndebele announced the increase in gate charges for a Harare derby between rivals Highlanders and Dynamos at Barbourfields from $10 (K2 820) to $15 (K4 230) at the VIP.
The Zimbabwe PSL has shot down calls by clubs to slash game charges despite poor attendance of matches this season.
Shooting Stars has proposed a slash from $3 (K846) to $1 (K282). Many soccer fans have been complaining that with the high cost of living in the country, they can hardly afford the $3 ticket fees.
Asked for his reaction to the findings and what they use to come up with the gate charges, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda simply said: “It is the factors of demand and supply, level of GDP as well as policy.”
With half the Super League teams without steady sponsorship, the clubs rely on gate collections for survival yet not only are the rates on the lower side but there is also a syndicate involved in gate collections fraud.
FAM has since announced that it will produce its own 32 000 tickets. Usually, stadium owners the Ministry of Youth and Sports provide the tickets. A recent TNM Super League game between Bullets and Epac raised K3 million in Lilongwe while a game between crowd-pullers Bullets and Azam Tigers grossed just K1 million (about $4 000).
Flames and Bullets top supporter Austin Kasito on Thursday attributed the fansâ€™ reluctance to pay hiked fees to the fact that the rates were, for a long time, on the lower side. He also said fans are uncertain of deriving satisfaction to be derived from such games in the face of economic challenges.