WARRIORS’ fans will bear the brunt of Zifa’s penury after the football mother body hiked gate entry charges by 100% for the team’s Afcon first leg final qualifier against Angola at Rufaro stadium on Sunday.
Report by Kevin Mapasure
Zifa has been charging US$5 for the cheapest ticket for Warriors matches, but due to a worsening cash crunch it has decided fans must fork out US$10 for the cheapest ticket.
Fans will pay US$30 for the upper grand stand while a ticket to the VIP enclosure will cost US$50.
The Warriors return to Rufaro Stadium after National Sports Stadium authorities turned down Zifa’s request to hire the facility still undergoing renovations.
Caps United were however allowed to use the stadium in their Castle lager Premier league match against Dynamos last Sunday.
The gate charges could affect attendance and thus support for the Warriors, while the various supporters’ organisations are likely to protest.
While admitting fans could view the charges as exorbitant, Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said the association had no option after failing to secure sponsorship and government funding.
“The problem we have is there is no funding from any other source, so we are appealing to the fans to help their team’s campaign by coming to the stadium,” said Mashingaidze. “We are aware that the charges may be out of reach for some of the fans but we are hoping that we can still get a full house so that we can pay off all expenses related to this match. The money realised from the match will be exhausted by the expenses related to it; we are not looking to make a profit. We have had problems after previous matches when we failed to cover expenses on time.”
Mashingaidze said expenses include US$50 000 for the Warriors’ air fares, US$50 000 for accommodation for both teams, US$10 000 accommodation for match officials and US$60 000 for the Warriors’ bonuses and allowances.
Zifa had to be bailed out by its parent ministry after failing to pay off a US$90 000 debt related to the team’s accommodation for their last camp ahead of matches against Guinea, Mozambique and Burundi.
In their last home match just 12 109 fans paid to watch the Warriors defeat Burundi 1-0, with Zifa generating US$62 920 while expenses related to the game totalled US$121 551.
Zifa’s bail-out request was turned down by government which is struggling to cover operational costs in the education sector.
Mashingaidze said Zifa would come up with ways to cover national teams’ costs for future matches.
The association will also have to pay Harare City Council 20% of gate charges for the use of Rufaro stadium among other crippling expenses.
The Warriors need a comfortable win at home to take to Luanda for the second leg with a ticket to the finals in South Africa in 2013 at stake.
Castle lager Premier league giants Caps United and Dynamos have hiked gate charges from US$3 to U$5 for their derby matches, with the latter making US$135 000 after attracting 23 648 fans in the first derby.