The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN 2023) has not lived up to expectations so far in terms of attendance at match venues even in games involving so-called giants of the continent.
Before CAN 2023 commenced in Ivory Coast on January 13, there were reports that a series of group-stage games had been sold-out which means that the games were expected to be played in front of capacity-filled stadiums.
Unfortunately, days one and two of the competition have proven otherwise as the four games played so far have been in front of half-full or almost empty stadiums.
For instance, the opening day of the CAN 2023 at the 60,012 seaters Alassane Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium witnessed an abysmal turnout even though it was a game involving the hosts, Ivory Coast and a West African opponent, Guinea Bissau.
Embarrassingly, only 36,858 people showed up at the stadium for the opening ceremony and the game, a development that left many football enthusiasts wondering what went wrong.
As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, the game involving the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea at the same match venue recorded just 8,500 attendance.
Note that a seat at the national stadium in Abidjan costs as low as N7,192.80 ($8) and as high as N21,578.40 ($24) but yet, the stadium couldn’t achieve a 80 percent attendance rate.
Hence, some think that the low turnout illustrates the level of poverty on the continent since it seems most of the match tickets were left unsold.
Some schools of thought think that the reason for the poor turnout is because of the difficulties people on the continent face while trying to move from one country to another.
Amidst that, there is a conspiracy theory that some people bought the match tickets to resell them at exorbitant prices.
It is excusable when countries from northern Africa, southern Africa, and eastern Africa don’t have massive crowds at the stadium but when games involving the hosts and West African countries experience the same, then, an emergency approach is needed.
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