When it comes to commuting to big matches at FNB Stadium, the Rea Vaya rapid transit bus service remains the best option in my books.
Unfortunately, the Rea Vaya bus drivers have been engaged in industrial action and the service was unavailable for the top-of-the-table encounter between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday night.
This dire situation left most supporters with three options:
– Use Metrorail service,
– Drive to FNB Stadium and try obtain parking somewhere near the precinct, or
– Purchase a parking ticket for the match
Despite my frustration on previous encounters with the parking ticket system, I once again found myself at a Computicket counter asking for “Nasrec Expo Centre” parking tickets.
And yes, I know, for most the part, parking tickets at PSL matches matter as much as the points scored on “Whose Line Is It Anyway”.
Yes, parking tickets to PSL matches are just like the yellow lines on emergency lanes to taxi drivers.
But that did not curb my innate inclination for being a law-abiding citizen had me clutching onto my parking ticket like the DA onto the Nkandla report.
Match day came and I rallied up the troops using reverse psychology like “You talk football but I’ve never seen you at the stadium” in an attempt to illicit the required response.
Parking ticket in hand, we made our way into the queue of cars heading to Soccer City, while pondering on whether Pitso Mosimane had studied videos of Kaizer Chiefs before the match.
The pre-match analysis quickly disintegrated into the cross-examining of Metro police officers who had blocked off access to the Nasrec parking area.
“The parking area is full” was the chorus sung by each and every officer we confronted.
“We bought a parking ticket, why can’t we park where we have paid to park?”, was our plea to the officers.
Unfortunately, even Barry Roux and Gerrie Nel combined would not have been able to win the straightforward case we presented to the officers on duty.
After the third officer told us to go find parking elsewhere, I immediately jumped into the other persons proverbial shoes, which in this case was a pair of black standard issue leather police boots.
I came to the realisation that the officers were there to maintain law and order, that’s it.
They did not allocate nor sell parking tickets.
It was not the officers fault that the administrators who manage the parking tickets did not execute the planning and allocation of the parking correctly.
One of the officers actually recommended that we request a refund from Computicket, to which my reply was that it’s would be more effort that the R20 we paid for the parking ticket.
However, if the objective of parking tickets is to usher in the long-awaited structure and order to the PSL matchday experience, then the Premier Soccer League, clubs and relevant stadium management need to step their administration game up.
Parking is the very first and the very last impression that a spectator forms every matchday.
A negative experience can spoil the entire experience for both first-time fans and regular patrons of SA football.
Excuses of insufficient space available due to parking tickets being oversold really can longer be tolerated by the “powers that be” at the PSL.
Especially when the man at helm of the very same organisation, Dr. Irvin Khoza, has been a strong proponent for the introduction of a more scientific approach to football.
The very same scientific approach is desperately needed off the pitch as much as it is needed on the pitch.
It’s time for the PSL and clubs to get much better at the basics.
This is a situation that the PSL can’t afford to park for much longer.