Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it expects not less than K50 million in tickets revenue from yesterday’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier between the Flames and Ethiopia at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said by early morning yesterday, the tickets had sold out.
He attributed the sales to good marketing strategies and Flames’ impressive performance at the delayed 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon in January.
He said: “The match was well marketed and there was a lot of hype.
“The team’s performance at Afcon finals in Cameroon, where they reached the knockout stage, also had a big impact on the ticket sales.”
Matola also said the fans missed international action due to Covid-19 restrictions and the ban Confederation of African Football imposed on Bingu National Stadium for not meeting some requirements which left the Flames playing their 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ahead of the match yesterday, Matola appealed to those that failed to buy entry tickets to watch it on MBC and Mibawa televisions or listen to live coverage on radio stations.
However, The Nation yesterday saw hundreds of people trying to negotiate for tickets in a desperate attempt to get a glimpse of the action.
By 8 am yesterday, people had already started flocking to the stadium.
A Blantyre-based fan Allan Mangani said he left as early as 4am to buy a ticket in time only to learn that they had sold out.
“Now I don’t know what to do. Perhaps I will hang on here hoping that I will get one,” he said.
Football analyst Kevin Moyo said it was not surprising that the tickets sold out.
He said: “There was a lot of hype and the fans were eager to watch their team after an impressive Afcon safari. It had also been sometime since the fans watched the Flames.”
Inside sources, who opted for anonymity, said most of the tickets were bought by politicians, especially members of Parliament. They said that they bought for the constituents.
Before the match, irate fans broke the perimeter to enter, forcing the police to throw teargar canister in a bid to calm down the situation. President Larazus Chakwera, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, several cabinet ministers and diplomats were part of the audience.