CECAFA Kagame Cup ends today in Dar es Salaam after a decisive final match between Simba and Azam at the National Stadium. The tournament prior to the final has been well conducted with all teams involved playing good football.
But all the entertaining features of the tournament largely went unnoticed because fans and supporters who most often react to every entertaining piece were not there. Focus on the World Cup finals in Russia is an obvious answer why most people ignored the regional level tournament even in matches involving big crowd pullers like Simba, Azam or Gor Mahia.
We would like to warn the football governing body (TFF), teams and other stakeholders to expect a similar situation when the league season starts. Since we have adopted the world league fixture, it is obvious people will be taking keen interest in the global level matches and not the domestic ones.
Serious promotion is needed ahead and during the season, or else the league will be played in empty arena like what we have seen in this year’s Kagame Cup. We are all aware of the ebbing interest and enthusiasm for the domestic leagues, engendered by the growing attention for the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and French Ligue 1.
Promotion and carefully planed campaigns will lure back traditional supporters, who remain hooked on domestic matches, a situation we believe could keep promote domestic leagues and their players. Poor match attendance, if let to continue will see teams and the league fail to improve, hence making life difficult for every club.
Though the organisers don’t see it as a big issue, people’s lack of interest in the domestic league matches threatens substantial sponsorships and television rights following the declining viewership. The highly hypnotising global leagues make local players seek to play in Europe and other continents as soon as they get the slightest opportunity.
We believe if the domestic league win people’s appeal business magnates will be also interested in sponsoring local clubs in the same manner as they do in Europe and Asia.