Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has thrown the challenge at authorities to consider allowing fans back at stadiums if they are confident with the effectiveness of the vaccination rollout.
Domestic football has been played on empty seats for the past two years with the authorities still non-committal on opening the gates and after a crowd stretching a couple of thousands were cramped in one section at FNB Stadium in the win over Al Ahly, Mngqithi raised his voice.
Though the government permits 2000 fans at outdoor venues, PSL games have continued being played without fans with Mngqithi suggesting that this might be all a ploy for the TV rights owners to boost their subscription numbers which have dropped through the covid period.
"I think South Africa must really change and look at this thing very closely," says Mngqithi.
"We had a Nations Cup in Cameroon, and if we really think as a country, we have rolled out a lot in terms of our vaccination, and we have done very well, and we think we are a bigger country than most of these countries in terms of our level of development, then we should be a little more confident that we have more people vaccinated in our country.
"Then, because of that reason, we should show confidence even to the outside countries by also opening this thing up. If you’ve got these people sitting on this side of the stand, what’s the difference if you had the same thing happening on the other side, and the other side, and on the other side, because if there’s still a risk, there was a risk today," he notes.
"But there is no risk, when we go to Al Ahly, they open for more than 5000 people. But we open for 2000?
"The playing fields are not the same. And in the Champions League, we need that support, but I also believe even in the league, we need a little bit more in terms of allowing the spectators, because I don’t understand.
"If you go to Egypt, there are spectators, if you go to AFCON there are spectators, South Africa still does not have spectators.
"It is like maybe we are trying to make sure that people buy more subscriptions to watch their games at home, instead of making sure that the game is watched in the stadium.
"Look at how nice the atmosphere was today? And we would want to have this atmosphere in all our matches, and other teams also are suffering.
"Other teams, they don’t even have a sponsor and they rely on gate-takings. For how long must they continue without any money coming from the spectators?
"So, I honestly think it’s something that the country must look at very closely because I think at this stage, we are cheating ourselves," details Mngqithi.