The 2017 football season will kick off without the electronic ticketing (e-ticketing) system installed in major stadia as promised by the Malawi National Council of Sports [MNCS] and Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
Sports Council planned to install the system at government-owned Bingu National Stadium, Civo Stadium and Silver Stadium in Lilongwe while FAM would like to do similar projects at MDC and Mpira stadiums in Blantyre in order to improve gate management which is marred by proliferation of counterfeit tickets and football fans entering the stadia for free.
Kamuzu Stadium is not included because of the uncertainty surrounding its future due to government’s plans to demolish it.
Sports Council got quotations from international and local firms specialised in the installation of the system such as South Africa’s TicketPro and Malawi-based MalCom.
But plans to install the system by September 2016 at the cost of about K300 million never materialised.
“It looks we will start the  season before the installation of the system,” said MNCS executive secretary George Jana yesterday.
“The reason has really been the issue of financing. The cheapest of the quotations was $250 000 and obviously, that is not a small amount of money. The principle still remains, though, that we will institute the system in the stadia. We are crossing our fingers that we will find the money in the next budget.”
While hoping for government’s plans to install the system at the three Lilongwe stadia, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said they will complement the effort by rolling out the system at FAM’s MDC Stadium and Mpira Stadium next season.
“FAM will roll out e-ticketing next season starting with MDC and Chiwembe [Mpira Stadium]. We are exploring investing in a mobile platform that we can also use in various stadia,” Nyamilandu said.
Bingu Stadium operations manager Eric Ning’ang’a, whose state-of-the-art facility was the main target of the e-ticketing project, said they are yet to discuss with Sports Council and other stakeholders on how they will go about the installation of the system.
For Super League clubs, 2017 will be another season of unscrupulous individuals reaping where they did not sow.
“It will really be tough for the stakeholders, especially us [clubs] because we know some individuals will once again steal our hard-earned money from the gates. It is our wish, therefore, that authorities will tighten security and put deliberate measures to curb the malpractice as we wait for the system to be in place,” said Azam Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika. n