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Zifa dangle US$64 000 winning bonus

by Staff reporter
07 Sep 2021 at 05:08hrs | Views
ZIFA have dangled a US$64 000 winning bonus for the Warriors to inspire them to win the 2022 World Cup Group G qualifier against Ethiopia, at the Bahir Dar International Stadium, this afternoon.

The money was secured by Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Deputy Minister, Tino Machakaire, from a benefactor. This followed discussions Machakaire held with ZIFA officials, at the National Sports Stadium last Friday during the World Cup qualifier between the Warriors and Bafana Bafana.

''The Deputy Minister and Minister Dr. Kirsty Coventry have been supportive of ZIFA,'' the association's board member (finance) Philemon Machana, revealed in a statement.

''Honourable Machakaire has managed to secure a total of US$64 000 to be shared equally by all players, and the technical team, in the event of a win against Ethiopia.

''ZIFA and the AFCON fund-raising team are forever grateful and indebted to Hon Machakaire, and the benefactor, whose details shall be made public in due course. ''It is worth noting that these World Cup qualifiers, apart from being important matches for us to go to our first ever World Cup, also serve as serious preparatory matches towards AFCON, slated for Cameroon, in January.

''We are thrilled by the support from the Deputy Minister and continue to urge our valued stakeholders to follow the Minister's initiative in motivating the Warriors to perform well.

''It is significant to stress that the money shall be channelled directly in cash or to nostro bank accounts of recipients should the Warriors emerge victorious against Ethiopia.

''ZIFA is extremely grateful to the Hon Deputy Minister Machakaire who has facilitated this wonderful package and did not take much time after we discussed such issues during our recent match against South Africa on Friday. ''It is without doubt that he is a practical results-driven leader. We thank the Government for being supportive of the beautiful game. We are very optimistic that with this kind of stakeholder support, we are set for dizzy heights.''

Team manager, Wellington Mpandare, yesterday said the mood in the camp was high after the players were also given their match fees. "Everyone is happy, we settled what was agreed on," said Mpandare.

"The focus is on the game, thanks to the ZIFA board, the payments are done before the games, except, obviously, for the winning bonuses.

''It helps with team morale. The coach has been reminding the players how important it is to be part of Qatar World Cup team and also the remunerations that come with qualification for World Cup.  ''The board has played its part by making sure the boys are happy and it's up to us to deliver though it's not easy.''

The Warriors, who arrived in Bahir Dar midday on Sunday, had to do some light sessions since the training pitch they were offered was "terrible".

"Ethiopians don't seem interested in football, but we are told it's in their nature to ignore visiting teams. But, in every open space, they play football," said Mpandare.

Loga is expected to ring some changes, in the starting team, after Zimbabwe got off to a slow start.  The coach was not happy with the way goalkeeper Talbert Shumba was slowing down the pace of the game and his poor distribution of balls. This could see veteran goalkeeper Washington Arubi making his long-awaited comeback at this stage.

"Everyone is disappointed with the performance in the first game and the coaches and players are doing everything to come up with a winning formula," said Mpandare.

Loga has hinted he wants more energy and could gamble with youthful midfielder Jonah Fabisch, alongside Marshall Munetsi, in midfield.  In the absence of the injured Tino Kadewere, the coach revealed his other option could be to push skipper Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat high up the final third. Ethiopia coach, Wubetu Abate, has been calling for aggression from his charges in the match against Zimbabwe.

"We must show our opponents that we are here to defend the honour of our jersey. Playing at home will inspire more fight and determination," he told SuperSport.

Ethiopia recently had two friendly games against Uganda and Sierra Leone before they embarked in the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers. Their squad is largely homegrown and they have a potent strikeforce that includes three forwards, who scored over 60 goals, in the Ethiopian Premier League last season.

Abubeker Nassir netted 29 goals, in 23 appearances, for Ethiopia Bunna FC, Mujib Kassim had 20 goals and Getaneh Kebede of Kedus St George has 15 goals. Four players were dismissed from the team last Monday for violating curfew rules.  The Ethiopian Football Federation had sought permission from CAF, to allow at least 20 000 fans at the 60-000 seater facility, but their request appeared unsuccessful.  

Zimbabwe squad

Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi, Talbert Shumba, Martin Mapisa

Defenders: Onismor Bhasera, Divine Lunga, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Alec Mudimu, Godknows Murwira, Kevin Moyo, William Stima

Midfielders: Blessing Sarupinda, Jonah Fabisch, Marshall Munetsi, Tafadzwa Rusike, Thabani Kamusoko, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Khama Billiat, Perfect Chikwende, Ishmael Wadi, Farai Madhanaga.

Strikers: Terrence Dzvukamanja, Knowledge Musona (captain).

Source - the herald