The Zimbabwe Football Association or ZIFA, surprised soccer fans Friday, with the announcement that they’d dropped gate fees from $3 to $2, for the 2016 Africa Nations Championships qualifiers, at Rufaro Stadium, on Sunday, where Zimbabwe’s national squad, the Warriors, will face the Le Coelecante of Comoros.
There had been outrage from the fans over the $3 fee, which many said they could not afford. ZIFA spokesperson Xholani Gwesela, said the organization took their complaints to heart.
“Initially we had pegged those gate charges at $3 but having realized that people, their disposable income had gone down, and also including cracks in the economy, we have seen $2 to be affordable to the football fraternity.”
Gwesela said they dropped the gate fees so as to draw a huge crowd to the stadium on Sunday, to support the national team.
“We appeal to the nation, the fans, everyone, even there in America, for you come in your large numbers and support the national team, as we clash against the Comoros,” said Gwesela. “We are confident of a victory but a victory can only come, when you guys come in your large numbers.”
Warrior fans are confident of a victory against Comoros, which is considered among the weakest teams in Africa. Dynamos Football Club supporter Reginald Mukandawire, had already locked the goals.
“I think the Warriors are gonna win 3-1.”
Harare City Football Club follower Masimba Chidewe, predicted total victory for the Warriors, leaving little hope for Comoros.
“3-0, 3-0 is not bad.”
Not everyone however, bought into the hype of a total victory for the Warriors. Brian Mukoki, who is a fan member of the Warriors, cautioned against undermining the capability Comoros team.
“Every game is a new game, but Zimbabwe we have to fight hard, we has to fight hard to win.
Reporter Abdushakur Aboud of VOA’s Swahili Service, was born in Comoros, located on the East Coast of Africa, and agreed that the team does have challenges.
“Comoros is so small, a lot of problems, number one infrastructure, lack of facilities, lack of good trainers, and all that has made Comoros a very difficult place to play football.”
But Aboud warns against celebrating an easy defeat against Le Coelecante, the name of the oldest fish is the world, found in Comoros and Indonesia. He said the team has been known to surprise opponents, like it did Kenya, in the 1st round of the African Cup of Nation in Comoros last year, where they drew 1-1. Kenya however beat Comoros in the 2nd round.
“Comoros has shown good capabilities, specially in the last games because this is the second time Comoros is going to the African cup since [former FIFA president Sepp] Blatter. Blatter helped a lot, the Comoros with a new stadium and all that.”
As if predicting a tough fight, Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa called five of the players who played against Malawi to add guile to his squad. The warriors have qualified for all the past three editions of the Africa Nations Championships since the CHAN was introduced in 2009.
The Africa Nations Championship finals will be held in Rwanda from January 16 to February 7.