On Sunday, Ghana’s two biggest clubs will go head-to-head at the Accra Sports Stadium for bragging rights.
The fixture between Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko has produced a lot of action in the past with fans usually filling the 40,000 seater venue to take the atmosphere to another level.
However, no fans will be allowed in this tie. On 14th February, 2021, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) announced that domestic games will be played behind closed doors for at least a month.
This decision will certainly impact the fixture negatively in a number of ways with revenue at the forefront.
In a fixture as big as this, fans usually do not disappoint, coming to the Accra Sports Stadium in their numbers.
Last season, some supporters were outside the stadium as early as 9:00am although the match was scheduled to be played in the afternoon.
Before the match started, the stadium was filled to capacity. Record-breaking revenues from gate proceeds were recorded after the game.
“The amount from the gate proceeds in the Hearts of Oak clash with Asante Kotoko was Gh¢ 726,380,” National Sports Authority’s Charles Amoah told Oyerepa FM in 2020.
It was the highest figure ever recorded in Ghana football. The previous record was Gh¢ 639,000 which was acknowledged in Kotoko’s CAF Confederation Cup clash with Coton Sport in 2019.
This campaign, Kotoko charges a minimum of GHS15 for supporters seeking to enter the stadium. Considering the magnitude of this fixture, the lowest price per head would have been set at GHS20.
With a stadium capacity of about 40,000 seats, the match could have raked in about GHS 800,000, beating the previous record.
The NSA, GHALCA and the government take 10%, 5% and 17.5% respectively leaving 67.5% for clubs to share. This means that the two clubs would have about GHS 540,000 left to share among themselves.
This year, the potential revenue will be unavailable due to the absence of supporters.
A game of this magnitude usually attracts the attention of foreign scouts and the Black Stars technical team.
This time round, the Super Clash will miss these two key stakeholders from attending. When Charles Kwablan Akonnor revealed his 32-man squad for the Black Stars, just one Hearts of Oak player was found in the list.
Six Kotoko players made the cut, an encouraging tally. However, other players of both teams could have used this fixture to make a solid case for senior national team places.
The dream of playing for foreign clubs will also have to take a backseat with scouts absent. It is true that some scouts could watch the game on StarTimes.
Most scouts prefer to watch matches up close for a clearer view of players in order to make a holistic report.
Bringing back the love
This affects not just the two teams but the rest of Ghana football leagues. Apart from the national teams, Asante Kotoko versus Hearts presents a huge opportunity to effectively preach the message of bringing back the love.
The game can only be shown on StarTimes which can be accessed and paid for by a handful of people.
Fans who would have wanted to watch the game live will not get the chance to do it. It will have a negative effect on social media reactions which means little interest in the game and other games in the long run.
It is understandable that safety comes first but with a pillar of Ghana football having these limitations, the message will take a while longer to sink in.