Zifa defend entry fees

HARARE - Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa has justified the association charging $5 as the cheapest ticket for tomorrow’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The Warriors take on the Flames in a must-win Group L encounter at the National Sports Stadium.

While the rest of the ground entry is $5, fans have to pay $10 to sit in bays 15 to 18 and $50 in the VIP section.

However, most football fans have cried foul saying the entry fees are too steep considering that there is a cash crisis across the country.

Most banks have imposed an average daily cash withdrawal limit of $100 in order to curb the crisis.

“These guys are paid well at their clubs and they demand their money before they play the match,” Chiyangwa said during a press conference held at Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane’s offices yesterday.

“It’s better to charge money that I’m fully assured that after the match I can pay everyone.

“Zifa is really in serious debt because they used to charge entry fees which were not enough to cover their expenses.”

There will be no advance tickets with all fans expected to pay at the gate.

“We don’t want pre-match tickets because people end up printing other tickets.

“Selling tickets at the gates is a secure way for us,” Chiyangwa said.

“In future, we are going to use POS machines so people can swipe their cards to avoid corruption.”

The Harare businessman urged fans to turn up in their large numbers despite the steep entry fees.

“The team we have — we believe we have the best team on African continent,” he said.

“We believe that we are capable of getting past Malawi and qualify for the Afcon.

“We have some of the best soccer stars on the continent in the form of Khama Billiat, Willard Katsande to Costa Nhamoinesu.

“Compared to the rest of the players on the African continent, the players we have are some of the best.”

Hlongwane also urged fans to turn up and back the Warriors, who are on the verge of qualifying for the finals to be held in Gabon.

“We call to all Zimbabweans who are able to visit the National Sports Stadium to take their time and make sure they have proceeded to lend their crucial support to our boys,” he said.

“All roads lead to the stadium; we want everybody to take part by way of supporting our team.

“This is Zimbabwe’s time and we want to see the team qualify for the Afcon finals.

Hlongwane added: “It’s a crucial match that Zimbabwe will be involved in. It’s a game that Zimbabwe must win. Obviously, a win against Malawi enhances our chances of qualifying for the Afcon in 2017.”

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