HomeSliderDeMbare delight at fan boost

DeMbare delight at fan boost

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BY HENRY MHARA

DYNAMOS coach Tonderai Ndiraya believes the return of fans to watch local football will improve on-field performances as the Chibuku Super Cup tournament enters the quarter-final stage this weekend with the games perfectly poised to provide a mouth-watering last eight drama.

Chicken Inn and Ngezi Platinum get the ball rolling this morning, a match which will be followed by a clash between defending champions Highlanders and FC Platinum in a replay of the 2019 quarter-final when Bosso cruised to a 3-0 win on their way to lifting the trophy that year.

That was the last time the tournament was played before COVID-19 interrupted the domestic football.

Tomorrow, Cranborne Bullets engage Harare City in a mid-morning clash before a rejuvenated Dynamos face off with their bogey side Black Rhinos in the afternoon.

Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro-Ngezi plays host to all the four matches where 2 000 fans will be allowed to attend local football matches for the first time in more than a year.

The last time fans attended a domestic football match was on March 14, 2020 in a Castle Lager Challenge match at Barbourfields Stadium between eventual winners FC Platinum and Highlanders.

A COVID-19 pandemic meant that local football was halted for the past year, only returning early this year with the Chibuku Super Cup tournament where Premiership teams were grouped in their localities as a measure to prevent the spread of the respiratory virus.

All group games were played in empty stadiums, but after the government eased lockdown restrictions, football clubs have been allowed to welcome back up to 2 000 vaccinated fans for their matches.

Ndiraya says the support of the fans will have a huge impact on how the teams will perform this weekend.

“I’m quite thrilled that we will have some few fans in the game at the weekend and that will really help our team,” Ndiraya said.

“Having supporters back after a very long time is absolutely a step in the right direction and we hope that their presence will help push the players to do more and help their teams win. I’m just hoping that it will help our team rather than put pressure on the players. Most of our players are new and were beginning to get used to playing in an empty stadium. We wait to see how they are going to react and I’m hoping that they can be pushed by the supporters and be encouraged to push forward and get a result. The supporters have been our strength over the years and we expect them to push their team at the weekend and get a result for the institution,” he added.

The cheapest ticket for the matches has been pegged at US$20 while those who wish to sit in the VIP enclosure will have to fork out US$50, or the real-time gross settlement equivalent at the interbank rate.

Only fully vaccinated spectators will be allowed into the stadium, and the Premier Soccer League has implored the supporters to produce COVID-19 vaccination cards and national identity cards on entry into the stadium.

Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final fixtures (All matches played at Baobab)

Today: Chicken Inn v Ngezi Platinum Stars (11am), Highlanders v FC Platinum (3pm)

Tomorrow: Cranborne Bullets v Harare City (11am), Black Rhinos v Dynamos (3pm)

  • Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara

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