Official figures for last Saturday’s Benjani Mwaruwari testimonial match are yet to be released, but the former Warriors captain expects that he used much more than what was realised.
According to the organisers of the event, CBZ is doing all the reconciliations and are expected to announce this week what was realised from both the testimonial match and dinner.
An estimated 40 000 fans made their way into the National Sports Stadium to watch the match which featured Friends of Benjani against the Warriors.
The Friends of Benjani featured among others, former Barclays Premier League stars El Hadji Diouf, Nwankwo Kanu, Chris Samba and Lomana Lua Lua, all of whom are his former teammates in England. Mwaruwari however yesterday said he never expected to make monetary profit, but was hoping that the profit will be realised when the academy starts to churn out talent.
“I knew from the beginning that this was not going to be a profit making exercise. It was more about launching the foundation and getting started,” said Mwaruwari.
“I used a lot of money, but even if 60 000 fans paid $5 each to get into the match, the total is
$300 000 which is much less than the total expenses incurred. The idea was to get it going and I want to thank the fans who came to support the project and I also want to tell them that all the players who came from abroad were pleased by the reception they got.”
Mwaruwari said he used in excess of $500 000 to organise the event and footed all expenses which included air fares for his friends and accommodation. Mwaruwari said the challenge now was for him to get work on the academy starting.
“After doing this, people are looking to see now how all the money will be used and we want work to start immediately. The plan is there and we will put in more money to make sure we come up with a world-class facility.”
Meanwhile, Mwaruwari revealed Didier Drogba’s regret at failing to make it at the two functions.
“He phoned me soon after the match expressing his disappointment at having been so committed that he failed to make it. He had to fly to China to sort out a few pressing matters, but he really wanted to come and he asked me to apologise to all the fans on his behalf.”
Despite his absence, the Ivory coast frontman, who has just left Chelsea, contributed by providing his Chelsea shirt which fetched $8 400 at an auction.
Mwaruwari also said some of the players who came have promised to come back for a longer visit.