As doubts linger on â€˜lowâ€™ K12.3 million (about $50 000) which the Flamesâ€™ World Cup qualifier against Nigeria raked on Saturday, Kamuzu Stadium manager has admitted that the figure could only reflect tickets sold and not necessarily the crowd that filled the arena.
Charles Mango on Tuesday suspected gate money abuse, saying some fans privy to gates syndicate ignored advance gate tickets sales in six selling points across the country to gain â€˜discountedâ€™ fraudulent entries.
“There is a big problem: loopholes at the gates. There was no reported fraud, we did not catch anyone nor was there any counterfeit ticket. The money collected simply reflects the tickets sold, but not all fans present. The lasting solution is to fix the turnstiles [gate entry counters] as they record entries; hence, we could easily detect fraud,” Mhango said.
In the absence of the functioning turnstiles, it is difficult to count people entering the stadium. On Saturday, some tickets were not sold. To minimise fraud, each ticket had three counterfoilsâ€”one which accountants retained, one went to the fans and the other to gate cashiers.
According to what Football Association of Malawi (FAM) commercial manager Casper Jangale said last week, some 32 000 tickets were to be sold with 30 000 earmarked for the open terraces, which cost K750 ($3) per seat. This should have translated to K22.5 million (about $90 000).
The remaining 2 000 tickets were to cater for the MBC stand, two covered stands and the VIP, which went at K3 000 (about $12), K6 000 (about $24) and K12 000 (about $48) respectively. Nigeriaâ€™s 127-member party included 98 supporters who paid for covered stand entry.
“They bought 40 tickets in Lilongwe for some of their Malawi-based fans. In fact, outside the stadium, some Nigerian fans donated tickets to Malawians,” Jangale said on Tuesday, by extension meaning the 98 fans must forked out K294 000 (about $1 176).
FAM projected its earnings at K20 million (about $80 000), but after meeting an expenditure of K6 595 245 (about $27 000), from the net, the associationâ€™s 70 percent cut translated to K4 024 618 75 (about $16 100), the Sports Councilâ€™s five percent allocation turned out to be K287 472 .75 (about $1 149) with governmentâ€™s 25 percent allocation coming to K1 437 363 (about $5 749).
Ministry of Youth and Sports director of sports Jameson Ndalama yesterday suggested that the expected huge crowd might not have turned up due to the increased entry fees and lack of faith in Flamesâ€™ performance.
“The open terraces, especially at the upper rung were empty. I am not satisfied with the gate collections. I expect big games to also earn big,” said Ndalama, suggesting that gate collection system will be tightened starting with this Saturdayâ€™s tie against Chad.
Football analyst Charles Nyirenda on Tuesday seemed to agree with Ndalama that some open terraces were not full and argued that claims of the collections being inadequate need to be substantiated by estimates of attendance.
The stadiumâ€™s capacity has been a subject of debate with some suggesting it can take up to 45 000; and others 35 000, but Fifa instructed FAM to lower it as the facility is dilapidated.
Blantyre accountant Ibrahim Patel suggested that the gate collections should be outsourced completely.