By Lwazi Dlamini
Believe it or not, Mbabane Highlanders received a sum of E31 000 for hosting the biggest game in the land, the ‘Big Mbabane derby’ on December 17 at Mavuso Sports Centre.
The exact amount, according to the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) records, was E31 844.83. This is the lowest amount of money ever received by either Highlanders or Swallows when hosting the biggest
game in the country’s soccer calendar. In the recent past, a team hosting the ‘Big Derby’ would collect nothing under E100 000.
Highlanders co-hosted with Manzini Wanderers, who played Nsingizini Hotspurs, on the big day on December 17. Interestingly, in the seven games Highlanders hosted in the first round this season, the biggest collection was when the ‘Black Bull’ hosted newcomers, Nsingizini Hotspurs at Mavuso Sports Centre on November 20 where a sum of E38 980.00 was collected.
A livid Mbabane Highlanders Managing Director Chief Ally Kgomongwe said the match ticketing system used by the PLE was killing the teams.
“We are suffering, and this cannot be allowed to happen. Our fans come to the stadium but the money we received does not tally. When we ask the PLE, they tell us that some people gain free entry because the fence around the stadium has holes. Who is supposed to ensure there are no holes? This is ridiculous,” Kgomongwe bellowed.
Kgomongwe made an example of the Highlanders game against Manzini Wanderers, played on 26 October, where the black and white outfit collected a measly E5 126.23.
“Then tell me, a game pitting Highlanders against Wanderers can collect E5 000 but when we play Nsingizini we collected E38 000. How is that even possible? Something is not right here,” he added.
The PLE announced last week that it was suspending the MoMo ticketing system after receiving several complaints from teams in particular, as the hosting teams get about 50% of the gate collections with both the stadium and PLE receiving 20% each and MTN taking home 10% for providing the ticketing platform.
From last weekend’s games, teams have a leeway to either use the MoMo
ticketing system or collect the money from the gates under the supervision of the PLE officials.