Goal.com South Africa writer Lunga Ntuli shares his thoughts on South African football fans and taking the game to the townships
At the Moses Mabhida stadium the fans came in full force to support the national team, but all that ended with the Afcon. When I went to watch the opening match between AmaZulu and Maritzburg United, I had hoped that fans would be there in high numbers since it was a derby, but that was not the case.
There are some factors that might contribute to the Moses Mabhida stadium not getting full attendance when they are playing other teams besides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
One of those is the issue of transportation for the people who live in townships since the games are being played at night in most cases. The reality is that if we want people to come and support football, like the old days, then the games must be taken to the fans.
If you managed to watch the AmaZulu and Golden Arrows matches that are played in King Zwelithini Stadium, which is located in the township of Umlazi, you will get the feel of what South African fans are all about.
In the last game that I attended at King Zwelithini between SuperSport United and AmaZulu, there were many kids aged between 10 years and 19 who were there. Teenagers were sitting next to me, talking to each other about what possible moves a certain player could have done.
There were also many under the age of 11 who ran around me at the gates asking for tickets. I mean these kids could have been sleeping at that time, but they chose to walk to the stadium, with no tickets, but hoped that some officials might have mercy on them and offer them tickets.
I think it is high time that club PRO's form good working relationships with schools and their local football federations. I am sure that many of the boys that I saw do play football, and the reason they went there was to be inspired.
This brings me to my next point, the issue of entertaining and creative football. One of my favourite authors John C Maxwell says we must do what others are not willing to do. Players need to be creative enough, to offer us something that will make sure that the fans sacrifice everything just to watch the games.