Why most African Leagues are struggling to stay afloat [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

Why most African Leagues are struggling to stay afloat [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

Fabian Simiyu 11:20 - 23.07.2022

Why is it that African football fans always concentrate more on the European clubs and not theirs?

In Africa, majority of the domestic leagues have been struggling to push through for the whole season and most of the time there are always strikes from officials and the players demanding a conducive environment. 

Why is it that African football fans always concentrate more on the European clubs and not theirs? They also tend to know more on the football events abroad as compared to their own backyard. 

The following are some key reasons domestic leagues have been struggling to stay afloat.

1. Poor match attendance

Many clubs in Africa have very few fans or even no fans at all to clubs that are starting from scratch. During match days, there is always a low turnout and when this happens, a team will always struggle to grow. 

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Simon Msuva (R) of Wydad Casablanca pursues Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (L) of Kaizer Chiefs during a CAF Champions League semi-final second leg at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg

For instance, if many people show up for a match in a stadium, the revenue collected from tickets sold can be used to pay the referees and also the players at some point. What if the officials from the various leagues start awarding loyal fans and also standardize the price of tickets. 

This can actually prompt people to start showing up during match days and these will make the players to have a reason that pushes them to continue playing.

2. Career goals 

No player wishes to give out their best and return be paid meager salaries. Many players in the African leagues always leave for greener pastures, and to be specific Europe, when an opportunity comes around. 

For those who don’t make it to play outside the country end up receiving meager salaries and sometimes they even go for months without being paid. When many players from one club end up leaving to play abroad, it always makes it hard for such a club to continue competing in the league as it is always hard to fill the void left behind.

3. Limited financial investment

Most of the leagues in Africa always lack the potential to flourish financially. Depending on governments for subsidies has been the norm and as usual the governments will only release funds once in a while. 

When sports management operates this way, it becomes difficult to attract investors as there is no motivation and well-structured plans for the specific leagues. 

Governments should step in and fund the leagues fully in the meantime if we are to attract any investors. We need to show the investors that there is something going on in our own backyard as by doing so, they will get motivated to come in to continue with the excellent work.

4. Respect and professionalism

Why is it that we only accord respect to players who have gone to play abroad and not the ones who remain behind to play locally? Why is it that we only refer to those playing abroad as ‘professionals’ and not the ones playing locally? 

For as long as we continue treating our own players differently, the difference in status will always trigger them to try their luck abroad for them to be treated fairly. This is what has been happening and we have continuously lost our players to the leagues abroad. The big question is where else will we source players to play in our leagues?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Pulse Sports as its publisher.