The National Football Supporters’ Association (Nafsa) are set to take their call for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and government to open stadiums to the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Nafsa are targeting the Soweto Derby clash between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on 5 March simply because it is a big game and believes that raises their chances of getting heard by relevant authorities.
In January, Siyabulela Loyilane, the organization’s Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was part of a picket led by EFF leader Julius Malema in Pretoria outside the Sports, Arts and Culture department demanding that stadiums to be opened to lift the economy.
“We have been trying to reach out to the different powers in terms of football to get supporters back into the stadiums,” Loyilane told FARPost.
“And the Soweto Derby is a marquee game, a massive one that gets watched all over the world, and our goal is to bring a spotlight to the fact that football fans are still not allowed to go to the stadiums where else the rest of the world is open for supporters to be at stadiums.
“In the march, we targeted the derby, but it also a launch of all activities that we are going to be doing in terms of trying to get the supporters back into the stadiums. We have tried to speak to the PSL, Sports Ministry and the president and now we take it back to where it all started which is the stadiums,” she added.
Loyilane also explained how the reopening of stadiums would benefit the South African economy.
“I have often brought up the issue of sports tourism. What is football contribution to the economy of South Africa? As supporters, we contribute because there is the taxi industry that benefits from fans going to the stadiums and the hospitality industry,” she said.
“There is a phycological impact of having supporters, what it does to the players’ morale and us because football can work as therapy.
“By going to the stadium, we contribute to a petrol attendant having a job, a security guard at a stadium [food vendors]. People have lost their jobs. Everyone is now open, and we are last in the food chain of the South African economy.”