With Mascom Top 8 quarterfinals second leg slated for the weekend, stakeholders are working round the clock to recreate the euphoria that the competition is known for. The stakeholders are concerned by the low turnout experienced in the first leg matches. Botswana Premier League (BPL) had decided do away with the traditional way of selling tickets and pilot electronic ticketing where individuals buy tickets well in advance at selected outlets. With this setup no sales are allowed at the gates on the match days. This is believed to have cause commotion as BPL had not thoroughly engaged supporters. Mascom Top 8 Local Organising committee Chairman Simon Mmopi said on Wednesday that the low turnout has been a cause for worry for both the committee and the sponsor Mascom Wireless.
BPL acting CEO Thabo Ntshinogang said they came up with initiative to save money that the league has been losing due to paying for a stash of tickets that afterwards are not used. Ntshinogang supported the electronic ticketing, system saying “buying tickets at the game usually cause unnecessary crowding at the gates on match day”. He, however, acknowledged that the system may have had an influence on what was experienced two weeks ago. The acting CEO also admitted that consultation has not been robust enough, hence their engagement drive. The other issue that was identified as deterring people from going to the games in large numbers is the extremely hot weather condition. As a result BPL had taken a decision to have the matches played in the late afternoons. This time matches will be played from 1615 hours compared to the previous time of 1530 hours.
Ntshinogang is hopeful that because of the alteration of times people will be able to go to matches. “We are doing this so that we look out for both players and the spectators’ health. If it is hot players will not give out their best play leading to dull games that the supporters did not pay for,” said Ntshinogang. He, nonetheless, urged Batswana to start getting to the games well before time to avoid unforeseen circumstances at the gates. Despite all these interesting matches are expected boys will have to be separated from men over the weekend as teams fight for the four slots at the semi-finals of the lucrative P1.2 Million cup. On Friday defending champions Orapa United take on Miscellaneous at Serowe Stadium from 2000 hours. The two finished the first leg in a goalless draw.
On Saturday Gaborone United host BDF XI at Molepolole Sports Complex from 1615 hours. BDF XI get into the game with a 3-1 lead. In another match the struggling Jwaneng Galaxy take on Mochudi Centre Chiefs on Sunday in Jwaneng at 1615 hours. On Monday evening Township Rollers welcome Police XI at National Stadium. Rollers are leading by a goal advantage and Police will need to score at least two goals without conceding for them to proceed.