Motsepe missed a trick with this Messi business
Where was the real engagement with Barca’s fans in this public relations stunt?
Hosting the mighty footballing institution that is Barcelona is a big deal. They are worth the R45-million mining magnate Patrice Motsepe has shelled out for their Joburg pit stop.
Sundowns owner Motsepe brought an equally star-studded Barcelona side to South Africa some 11 years ago. A generation of children born in that gap have witnessed Barcelona’s hegemony and that’s all well and good. Here’s the real question: What is the value of such extreme public relations stunts in the greater scheme of things?
Those who have football development at heart can rightly question the hastily organised spectacle that took place at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Where are the coaching clinics and the engagements with grassroots soccer fans?With shacks also having satellite dishes, the reach football has, even to the have-nots, cannot be underestimated.
They may not know what’s cooking with Super Rugby (and frankly they couldn’t be bothered by the oval-ball shenanigans), but they track every La Liga move.
La Liga’s kickoff times don’t clash with that of the English Premier League and the Premier Soccer League. The Spanish league commands serious eyeballs. In watering holes, when the EPL and the PSL serve up regular lukewarm fare, La Liga is there to sate voracious football appetites.Football is embedded in South Africa’s social fabric. It determines the mood of the nation like no other sport. From a fan engagement perspective, this would have been the perfect time to take the game to the people because there’s no game without them. Yet Barcelona didn’t even spend 24 hours in South Africa.
This will probably be the last time Lionel Messi comes to Africa as a player and that must be savoured. It will be a moment in time that will be treasured by those who bought their tickets in time but the lasting impact of this visit will forever be questionable.
Maybe it’ll be a white elephant in our memories, or maybe not, but a golden engagement opportunity has been missed.