IN an unprecedented move, BancABC has upped the stakes for the top-of-the-table clash between Dynamos and Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday by dangling a $15 000 winner-take-all prize money.
report by Henry Mhara Sports Reporter
While it is obvious that the two teams will go all out to get maximum points, BancABC has made things a little bit more exciting.
The regional financial firm, who are the two teams’ principal sponsors, yesterday unveiled a raft of incentives for the match.
BancABC said every goal scored in the opening five minutes would carry a $5 000 reward.
For every goal scored in the match, the scoring team would be given $3 000.
The man-of-the-match would go home $1 500 richer.
BancABC would also provide special branded kits for the match, as well as accommodation and luxurious coaches for the two teams. Fans have not been left out.
There is a competition for supporters where the best-dressed and best-celebrating fans will win DStv decoders, regalia and fuel coupons.
They will be treated to live music by Winky D, Iyasa, Suluman Chimbetu and Tedius Matsito.
“This is going to be a big match and we thought we should actually try and make it a very big family day. We want to make the day a very entertaining and winning day for the two teams, fans and all those involved in soccer,” BancABC managing director Hashmon Matemera said yesterday.
“This might be the title decider and if you look at other leagues all over the world — the El Clasico in Spain and the Soweto derby in South Africa — you find that there is so much done to support these high-profile games. We thought the Sunday match is quite a high-profile match also. We want to make the match exciting and more competitive. We want to see it actually being the match of the year. That is why we thought we should come in and support the match,” he added.
The two giants, who drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture are separated by two points with five matches left to play, making this fixture a must-win for both sides.
If Dynamos win this contest, they will open a healthy five-point lead that will give them a strong advantage going into the final lap.
The Harare giants’ victory will also all but eliminate the other 14 teams from the league race as third-ranked Monomotapa would only get to 59 points if they can win all their remaining matches.
But if Highlanders win, they will move a point above Dynamos and thus blow the title race open again.
Critics yesterday said BancABC came up with the latest initiative to make up for the BancABC Sup8r tournament that could not take place this year, after a clash of dates with other tournaments.
However, Matemera said: “We are not really trying to make up/ compensate for the Sup8r. We have something on the sidelines for it and this initiative is just for the teams we support and for a very big profile match. As long as soccer is benefiting and as long as we can make matches competitive and bring fans to the soccer stadium, I think it’s a good initiative.”
Dynamos and Highlanders legends would curtain-raise the match.
Hosts have hiked gate charges for the match from the regular $3 up to $5 for the rest of ground.
The western stands ticket would will cost $10 while the VIP seat will go for $20.
Highlanders, who have not beaten their rivals in a league match since 2006, are coming into the match low on confidence after their Mbada Diamonds Cup 3-2 loss to Monomotapa.
On the other hand, Dynamos are enjoying one of their best run of forms and their 3-0 win over Gunners in the Mbada Diamonds Cup could be what the Harare giants need ahead of what many have labelled the title decider.