Kaizer Chiefs to face AS Vita Club in the CAF Champions League this Saturday with a clear intention to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg, but they should have taken the second leg game against AS Vita to either Moses Mabhida or Polokwane Stadium to create intimidating atmosphere with packed to the rafter’s support .
Chiefs is the most supported team in the world according to the SuperSport United coach Cavin Johnson.
“Everywhere they go, Kaizer Chiefs has more fans than an opponent and not even big teams in Europe such as Manchester United and Barcelona have such support away from home.”
Chiefs must use the power of 12th player to create intimidating and exciting atmosphere in the stadium. Unfortunately, the 94 000 seater FNB Stadium will not be able to provide the much needed terrific atmosphere. Chiefs Gauteng fans are only visible in social networks not in the stadium. To this end, Chiefs support at FNB is very unimpressive. Chiefs used to attract minimum of 35 000 fans at Rand Stadium and 25 000 fans at Johannesburg Stadium by then but now we don’t even know what happened to that vociferous support.
The average Chiefs support at Moses Mabhida Stadium is at 35 000 whilst in Polokwane Stadium is at 38 000 fans per game but the average support at FNB Stadium is merely 4000 fans per game this season except for the 94 000 sold out derby fixture at the same stadium. It is an observed trend that Kaizer Chiefs support and even other the Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams support in Gauteng have dwindled due to multiple reasons.
Fans have cited too much soccer on TV, poor ticketing methods, lack of incentives to galvanise the fans to watch the game in the stadium, inconvenience environment for the family to enjoy the game due to an inappropriate fans behaviour including smoking in the stadium, lack of integrated public transport system to the stadium especial for night games and high ticket price as justification behind poor turnout.
The former Chiefs mentor Vladimir Vermezovic even complained about the poor turnout of Chiefs fans for Gauteng fixtures during his tenure with the team.
"Maybe Chiefs supporters in Johannesburg are like small children who like to stay indoors rather than watch games,”
Chiefs need to turn the corner with good support but they have slightly advantage to progress to group stages as AS Vita lacks nocturnal ability. They are not used to play at night. AS Vita plays its games during the day and will struggle to adapt to the night condition. TP Mazembe was whipped 3-1 by Orlando Pirates at night as the players were not used to the night games. Many of the African teams except North African and few Southern African teams especial in South Africa play their games during the day to avoid inconvenience at night due to poor lightings and possible mayhem after the game.
By Owen Mundalamo