Windfall for Warriors

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Victorious Warriors have been rewarded by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for their 3-0 win over Liberia in an African Cup of Nations qualifier with each player getting $2 000 and have been promised more money after the books have been balanced.

Players who spoke to NewsDay Sport revealed that they were given $2 000 each and were promised that they would be getting more before the end of the week.

Zifa on Wednesday indicated that a total of 30 573 spectators paid their way into the giant stadium during the match against the Lone Star and they grossed $193 953.

The cheapest ticket for the match went for $5, while the wings flanking the VIP area cost $20 and the VIP enclosure was pegged at $100 a ticket.

“We have been given the money. They did not give us any figures though. We are confident, however, that we will get good money because even after the game against Mali Zifa lived up to all their promises,” said a player who refused to be named.

The latest figures represent a significant increase from what Zifa received in the Warriors-Mali game played at Rufaro where they grossed $133 000. The match was attended by 18 000 paying spectators.

Warriors players were each given a cool $2 500 after their 2-1 win over the Eagles of Mali and also shared among themselves a further $25 000 that came from Zifa chairman Cuthbert Dube’s pocket.

While Zifa have not publicly announced the incentives for qualification, the players interviewed yesterday said they had been promised a better package should they qualify for the finals to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Zimbabwe’s chances of making it to the finals remain slim as they have to get an outright win in Cape Verde next month and hope Mali do not get more than a point away to Liberia.

However, the Warriors can still gatecrash their way using the two slots reserved for the two best runners-up.

There was a huge outcry in the country when Zifa moved the Liberia match to the National Sports Stadium instead of Rufaro.

Zifa also faced fierce criticism when they hiked entry fees for the match, but the Dube-led association stuck to their guns arguing that they wanted to accommodate all the fans after the Mali game when thousands of fans were turned away because the stadium was full to the brim.