We can be allowed to pat Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for their bold decision that no tickets shall be sold on the match day for Saturday’s explosive 2017 Carlsberg Cup final match between arch rivals mighty Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets right at the Bingu National Stadium because this is a step forward for all football fans to start embracing buying in advance match tickets.
This system will bring sanity at the gates and curb gate takings fraud which has been rampant but now has greatly reduced following FAM’s decision to implement advance ticket system.
There is always disorder at the gates that sees long queues snaking outside football venues because the process at the entrance is slow, and thus prompts fans to start cutting the queues, in the process creating more mayhem.
Instead, those who would miss out from buying in advance, have still the chance for a ticket on match day but away from Bingu Stadium such as Gateway Mall Car Park, Area 18 and at Area 49 junction close to the Chinese Village.
Starting from Tuesday, September 5, advance tickets are being sold at Likuni filling station, Kawale filling station, Area 23 filling station, Kafoteka filling station, Area 18 filling station, Area 25 Chipiku Stores, Gateway Mall car park, Lilongwe Game Stores car Park, Area 49 Junction, Bingu National Stadium and all FDH Bank branches in Lilongwe City.
And to encouarage buying tickets in advance, FAM has increased by over MK1,000 for the match day tickets where the price for the Covered/Open Stands is at K2,000 advance and K3,000 match day and for VIP Stands K7,500 advance K9,000 match day.
This is the way forward instead of queuing too long in the sun and end up inside 15 minutes into the game and avoid scrambling to get inside once the fans realise the game has started.
This is a positive response considering that eight souls lost their lives on July 6 during the country’s Independence Day celebration following a stampede because the gates were opened late and there was a scramble by the people to get inside and secure seats.
So, let us observe what FAM has devised as a good system to control large crowds that are associated with such a high profile match.
FAM further asks the supporters to remain disciplined and peaceful throughout the match and that there shall be tight security. This is nice piece of information on security and on warning the fans to be well behaved.
This information should also be relayed to the fans before the game and further reminded at half time using public address system. And this should be a regular feature at all games — it should be a must! Other bits of information should be where the emergency exits are and how to move about in such an occurance.
Further more the fans should also be civic educated on how to use some of the state-of-the-art facilities there such as the washrooms. The stadium management should make sure they put posters about usage of the facilities.
The posters should be attractive and visible not the kind one writes by hand using pentle markers, no — find a good artist to design something nice that should be properly framed and hung in the washrooms.
I talked about this before because there are reports of abuse by fans not by design but because some don’t know how to use some of the facilities in the washrooms.
And we shouldn’t hear or see pictures of fans urinating against the walls simply because the washrooms are congested after some have been locked out.
Don’t lock out any of the washrooms. For what? They are meant to be used, for heaven’s sake!