The Positive Impact of WhatsApp on Zambian Football

Copa90 Creators

The Positive Impact of WhatsApp on Zambian Football

Author

John Aggrey
John Aggrey
6 mins
Article by
John Aggrey
Copa90 Creators member
John Aggrey

John became obsessed with football after seeing the games' ability to coerce social change in Africa. He is a keen sports journalist based in Nairobi and writes a blog featuring the most pressing issues in Kenyan football. To find out about the wider issues in African football, give John a follow.

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Mr Bwezani stands in the glow of flashing cameras and lights as he receives an award from the Organisers of the Fans Supporters Tournament sponsored by Zambia’s leading Telecom company ZAMTEL. He’s just picked an individual recognition award for helping promote Zambian football.

This is big, it motivates me to work even harder, this sport, it brings joy to me and to all here. Thank you.He says as he clutches the soccer boots that have just been presented to him.

But where did it all begin?

Mr Bwezani and a group of friends started a WhatsApp group one year ago to just keep up with scores of teams in the vast league of 18 teams, but realized, they didn’t have enough information from some quarters of the league that were perhaps far and weren’t televised. Matters were further complicated with the increase of 2 teams in the league this season, making it an extra game for a match day of just previously eight games per match day.

“That’s where the WhatsApp group comes in. An initiative, then was born that members would contribute K20 (2 USD) a month to enable soccer fans who are members of the group be able to go to matches all around the country every match day to watch and send us LIVE updates on the group”

Wow, and with more time, more growth has come, he notes: “We are now sending more fans to even Division one games which is a feeder of the Super League”

Quite an achievement, Huh!

A total number of 48 fans have been sent to games all around Zambia since the season begun- this number excluding the 10 WhatsApp administrators all originating from different parts of Zambia. Please note, the cost of sending a member to watch a game includes transport, match day tickets which sometimes goes to the range of K300 (30 USD) plus.

In turn, this has made the group be able to publish its own tables and top scorer charts, which end up on social media pages and media outlets even before the association releases its own. “Its like we are taking over the live coverage of the league in our little way- online”

Mr Bwezani further notes that they haven’t achieved just as much they would want to. They now seek to be registered by the Association as an official fans’ group that would be handy in providing information about Zambian football. The group foresees itself sending as many as 10 fans (all expense paid) a game across the top two tiers of Zambia league football per match day in the next two years.

He also further notes that Zambian football has suffered immensely from hooliganism and through their little meet ups at football stadia, fans have gotten to know each other more and helped spread the message of love.

Signing off with the words “WE ARE ONE BIG FAMILY”, Bwezani and the WhatsApp group named “Bwezani with Zed football” seek to make their fan power count.

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