Lucky Zim fans off to Gabon courtesy of NetOne

HARARE - Six lucky Zimbabweans will be able to cheer the Warriors when they take onto the field against Algeria during the team’s opening match at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon.

The supporters’ journey has been made possible by the team’s principal sponsor NetOne, who were running a competition since last month via their OneFusion brand.

In a draw conducted at the company’s head office in Harare this week, Joram Chirasha (Mberengwa), Elizabeth Mhembere from Harare and Bulawayo-based Ozias Nkomo each won a ticket for two in the competition dubbed Afcon SMS and Win promotion.

The trio and a partner of their choice will get to watch all three of the Warriors’ games in Group B which also includes Senegal and Tunisia.

Another draw will be conducted in due course and it will select four more winners, who will get a chance to travel to Gabon to watch the later rounds of the competition, including the final to be held at the Stade de l’Amitié in Libreville on February 5.

Most organised Warriors fan groups have found it difficult to secure funding to make the trip to Gabon due to high prices of flights and accommodation in the West African country.

The Warriors would have taken part in the tournament without the backing of their 12th man if the cellular network service provider had not intervened. 

However, there will be a Zimbabwean presence in the stands when the Warriors do battle in Gabon as they hope to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in their history. 

Speaking with the Daily News, NetOne acting chief executive officer Brian Mutandiro said his organisation had seen sense in supporting the 12th man of any football team.

“We felt we should add a voice to support our national team as we are a national mobile phone carrier,” Mutandiro said.

“This is also an initiative to give back to our customers, both those who have stood by us and those seeing the bountiful benefits of moving to NetOne.”

The winners expressed gratitude at getting the rare opportunity to witness the continent’s finest footballers on display in Gabon.

“This is one competition I least expected to win. I just entered it for the sake of fun but here I am, packing my bags to watch my national team in Gabon,” Chirasha, who will be travelling with his wife Nobuhle Dube, said.

“I will forever cherish this experience, I urge people to use NetOne as it is customer sensitive.”

Mhembere was still in shock that he will be travelling to Gabon to watch the live action inside the stadium.

“It really came to me as a surprise when I received a phone call that I had won.  At first I thought it was a joke but it’s now sinking in,” she said. “I will be travelling with my son Kelvin; I will continue to use NetOne.”

Nkomo was equally ecstatic with the prospect of representing multitudes of Warriors fans, who could not afford to make the trip to Gabon.

“This is a rare opportunity for me. NetOne is really the one and only. I’m happy they also care for us here in Bulawayo. I’m thankful they are assisting the nation. Whoever thought that a person like me would fly and represent our nation? God is great. It’s, however, unfortunate that my wife does not have a passport, meaning I will have to identify a friend or relative to travel with.”

Last month, NetOne became the Warriors’ major sponsor after pouring in a whopping $250 000 for the team’s preparations and participation at the tournament.

The money has been used to pay for travel arrangements, accommodation and to pay the camping allowances that had become a bone of contention and threatened to demoralise the players.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.