Free World Cup Fan Parks Turned Into Business Ventures

When the Fan Parks were opened on June 11 at the start of the World Cup, the understanding was that fans would come in free of charge as is the case in similar fan parks the world over.

The Fan Parks were opened by local mobile phone operator NetOne.

The Zimbabwean government had promised to set up its own Fan Parks throughout the country but the minister of Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi confessed that the television screens did not and had not arrived in time for the global football festival.

Although NetOne officials could not be reached for a comment, a visit to one of the parks in Harare and advertisements placed in the local Press, revealed that the fans were now being charged.

This has resulted in reduced numbers at the Parks as fans now prefer to watch the football festival at homes or in bars.

Soccer coach Nesbert Saruchera of Black Rhinos said it did not make any sense for one to pay for transport to and from town and then pay to watch for the game when there was television at home.

“I would rather watch the game at a local bar than get myself into those extra expenses,” said Saruchera.

Tendai Muchena of Kuwadzana said: “How can I pay to watch football in public when it is free elsewhere?”