Soccer fans in the Delta State capital, Asaba were unanimous in their assertions on Friday that high ticket prices kept them away from the arena, as the Super Eagles battled Seychelles in their last match of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Footballlive.ng gathered from a cross-section of spectators that the stands were not filled to capacity simply because it was difficult for fans to pay N1,000 minimum fee for the open-air terraces.
The fees included N3,000 for the covered stand and N10,000 for the very important peoples’ (VIP) segment, but only a paltry crowd was on hand to see the kick-off Nigeria’s game with Seychelles at 4 pm on Friday.
Commissioner for Information in the state, Patrick Ukah said gate fees were increased to curtail a huge crowd at the stadium and forestall any possibility of pitch invasion after the final whistle.
Ukah added that teeming football fans who thronged the stadium to watch matches always create huge crowd management hurdles for security officials and said there was a need to control the situation.
However, another point of view added that many of the fans were also keeping in mind two other matches billed for the same arena after the dead rubber game, with higher ratings going for both.
With the Olympic Eagles set to host Libya in the second leg of their Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier on Monday and the Eagles returning to pay Egypt in a top-grade friendly on Tuesday, many fans were said to be saving money up for the next two matches, rather than turn up for an inconsequential final AFCON 2019 qualifier on Friday.