BY FORTUNE MBELE
DYNAMOS coach Tonderai Ndiraya was thrilled by the huge crowd that turned out to watch the Independence Day trophy final at Barbourfields Stadium between his side and Highlanders on Monday.
He said football regularly needed such bumper crowds at stadiums.
The Independence Day celebrations were this year hosted by Bulawayo for the first time and by midday on Sunday, people had filled up the stadium for the Uhuru celebrations and after President Emmerson Mnangagwa read his speech, more people, especially football fans, thronged Barbourfields for the game and some milled around the facility after the gates had been locked.
The perimeter fence was destroyed by the marauding fans who wanted to get into the already packed stadium.
Schoolchildren, who were there as entertainers, had to leave to make way for the multitudes of fans who wanted to watch the match.
The match had to be delayed by an hour.
After the match, which was the major highlight of the celebrations, Ndiraya marvelled at the crowd.
“Football is the winner today. Most importantly, the atmosphere was electrifying. We really enjoyed the match. We wish this could be the case week-in week-out,” he said.
“We want people back into the stadiums, but most importantly, I am happy the day ended with such an electric atmosphere and as you saw people were happy. Congratulations and here we are happy, 42 years of freedom, I am happy despite losing
The Premier Soccer League has so far witnessed small crowds, but there has been an improvement, especially with the big guns Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United hitting form.
Highlanders won the Independence Day Trophy and walked away US$30 000 and $6 million richer, to add to individual monetary rewards for players, coaches and members of the technical team, courtesy of their principal sponsors Sakunda Holdings.
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