Soccer fans should expect to dig deeper into their pockets for the latest episode of the Blantyre derby between Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets as the two giants have proposed an increased K2 500 gate entry fee for open stands.
The most sought-after fixture on the domestic scene is slated for Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre this Saturday in the second round of the TNM Super League.
The first-round encounter, which was hosted by the People’s Team at the same venue, pegged the cheapest ticket at K2 000 while other matches in the top-flight league have been pegged at between K1 000 and K1 500 for open stands.
While confirming the proposal for the hike, host team Wanderers chairperson Gift Mkandawire said the issue is still being discussed.
“It has not been agreed yet, it’s still being looked into,” he said.
However, the Nomads main supporters’ committee chairperson Melvin Nkunika and Bullets director responsible for supporters Stone Mwamadi justified the proposed hike.
Said Nkunika: “Looking at the cost of living and the financial position of the teams, the K2 500 gate fee would be fair.
“Teams spend a lot in preparing for such high-profile matches, especially now when there is a lot at stake,” said Nkunika.
On his part, Mwamadi said: “Financially, the teams are struggling and gate revenue helps to supplement operational costs.
“The other thing that needs to be borne in mind is that the capacity of the stadium was reduced on Fifa’s recommendation and this has had an impact on the revenue.”
However, a Bullets fan RhodrickWalesi, who is based in Soche, Blantyre, said the teams should also consider the current economic situation.
“While I understand the teams’ financial struggles, they also need to factor in the current economic situation.
“Maybe K1 500 or in the worst scenario K2 000 can do, but not K2 500.
“I would rather watch it on TV or listen to a live radio commentary and use the little I have served to buy bonya relish,” he said.
His Wanderers counterpart, Samson Chapima, a refreshments vendor at Ginnery Corner, also shared Walesi’s sentiments.
“I think K2 500 is on the higher side considering the current economic environment. Maybe it would be better to lower the fee and attract a huge crowd, in the process, make more money,” he said.
The Nomads top the 16-team league with 44 points from 20 matches while Bullets trail them by three points on second position, but with a game in hand.
The first round encounter ended goalless.
Bullets won the title last season and Nomads finished second while in the 2017 season, Wanderers won the title and Bullets were runners-up.
Wanderers have not beaten Bullets in the league for seven years now. The last time they did was on July 1 2012 when they won 2-1.