A hotbed of interest

11 February 2019 | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI



England's Premier League (PL) is the most watched league in Namibia, if not Africa.

PL debates take place everywhere you turn and continue long into the night in living rooms or bars, and even on social media, as fans have created pages where they discuss daily happenings, transfer news and so forth.

Sometimes these discussions never reach a satisfactory conclusion, but still the debates continue.

Players get criticised, as well as coaches. I think in more than one way, people pay DSTV premiums monthly not to miss their club's matches.

It is truly a hot area of debate. Ask any true, loyal fan of Manchester United what shoe brand Pogba or Rashford wears and they will tell you in seconds; they will most probably also tell you what colour the shoes are.

I think most even know the type of cars these players drive and who they are married to.

Some even know where certain players go for haircuts, because they imitate their hairstyles and idolise them.

Some will argue and say that Namibians should stop and rather support local leagues better. But the truth is, there is no league in the world as organised as the PL. It is more structured, organised and funded. It is where every young aspiring player wants to be one day.

People are more loyal to the PL as they need to own shirts of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City or Chelsea, just to show their allegiance.

The price does not matter, it's about representation.

The PL has surely captured the minds of many - young and old, male or female. This, however, did not happen overnight as European clubs travel all the way across the world to capture their audience.

Sometime back Manchester United was in South Africa for a pre-season tour, as competition to dominate the African football market heats up.

They played a match against AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town. Their arch-rivals, Manchester City, hosted a coaching clinic in Lagos, Nigeria.

Arsenal has also targeted Nigeria. The Londoners had planned a friendly against the Super Eagles, but postponed the game amid logistical concerns.

Sunderland have been active too, and penned an agreement with Invest in Africa to be their shirt sponsor for the next two years.

The clubs realise the impact they have on the continent and want to reap further lucrative rewards.

Now the question is: what can local leagues do to learn from the likes of the PL?

Of course it will take years for them to reach the stage where the PL is right now, but the basics are important. It's so disappointing how the local league in Namibia cannot even produce a website to market players, or a database so that fans and not media personnel can have information on the various players.

Even a simple thing such as a log standings take weeks to be produced. If you are not clued up about things around here, the possibility of you reporting on hearsay and miscalculations is high.

Not only that; the accessibility to soccer jerseys takes place at tortoise-pace. Everything is a problem, truthfully, and at times it gets really tiring to write about shortcomings all the time. So let's just be like the PL; let's get organised.



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