So much has been said about the role of supporters, and the significant part they play to inspire teams and gee up players.
This point has been emphasised time and again by sports psychologists and players who wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. It has been scientifically proven that playing in front of fans at home gives players the edge. In this regard, Chiefs have enjoyed a great advantage for many years because they enjoyed massive support around the country. Thanks to this backing from its fan base, Chiefs are the most storied club in the history of South African football.
Chippa United's interim coach Kurt Lentjies recently remarked that irrespective where Chiefs were playing away, they always enjoy more support than the home team.
It therefore nothing short of disgraceful that Chiefs decided to hike admission prices from R40 to R70, at the first opportunity to welcome fans back to their home venue at FNB Stadium. The occasion will be a Saturday evening’s Premiership match against SuperSport United.
The Premier Soccer League's fan base has been hit hard by the loss of employment thanks to the unrelenting pandemic and the poor state of the economy. The situation has been further exacerbated by rising prices of basic foodstuff and shortages due to the war in Ukraine.
Chiefs' administrators should have known that the ordinary man is poorer today than three years ago. Prices should have come down in sympathy and understanding. An R30 increase for the basic R40 price is shocking.
Saturday evening should have been a joyous occasion with the fans generating a great atmosphere to mark their return to the stadiums after an absence of two years. Instead, the sky-high price of R70 will drive many fans back to the television.
Chiefs' administrators should have looked at the dwindling attendances at their home matches before the advent of Covid-19. Already then there was a marked drop in attendance figures and that was directly linked to poor performances on the field of play.
Chiefs no longer have drawcards. The most popular player in the club is goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and he hardly plays. Presently the powerful Kaizer Chiefs brand is surviving on its reputation and that cannot be sustained forever.
It has been six years since ago Chiefs last won a trophy and by the looks of things, they will not be winning anything any time soon.
What justifies this huge ticket price increase at a time when fans are already saddled with increased transport fees and a sharp rise in prices for basic foodstuffs?
The price increase is also hard-hitting for the taxi industry which will fewer customers to call on. Also, there are roadside vendors who make a living by selling food and football items like jerseys. They too will have fewer people dropping in on the stalls.
By retaining the R40 price, Chiefs could have lured many diehard fans back to the stadium.
The only other PSL club that has increased their price is AmaZulu who have decided to move from R40 to R60 for Saturday's match against Maritzburg United.
AmaZulu have however added a gimmick that offers fans who have purchased a ticket to win a Mitsubishi Xpander Multi-Purpose Vehicle.
Again, it is cold-hearted, to expect fans to fork out R20 extra for a football.
Presently it must be borne in mind, the current Chiefs and AmaZulu teams offer zilch entertainment value on the field of play.