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Hats off to Zifa for online ticket sales

02 Feb 2019 at 06:02hrs | Views
YESTERDAY, a refreshing change in the way ZIFA have been handling issues related to the Warriors happened when tickets for our 2019 AFCON qualifier against Congo-Brazzaville went on sale online.

Refreshing because it represents an innovative move by the country's football governing body, a giant step in the right direction for our national game and a welcome relief for thousands of fans who watch every time the Warriors play at home.

After years in which chaos has blighted every game for the Warriors, with thousands of fans always finding themselves trapped outside the gates as they battled to squeeze their way into the stadium, it's good that those in charge of our national game have chosen a different path.

The last time the Warriors were at the National Sports Stadium for an AFCON qualifier, against the Democratic Republic of Congo in October last year, we saw the ugly sights of tens of thousands of fans trapped outside the ground shortly just before kick-off.

Even though it was a mid-week evening match, the pulling power of the Warriors' brand was still good enough to attract a massive crowd to the stadium with many lured by the probability of seeing their team qualify for the 2019 AFCON finals.

Had the Warriors won that match, which eventually ended in a 1-1 draw, coach Sunday Chidzambwa and his men would have booked their place at the next AFCON finals with two games to spare.

A brilliant performance, three days earlier, which helped them post a surprise but richly deserved victory over the DRC in Kinshasa, saw the interest in the Warriors rise significantly ahead of the reverse fixture in Harare. Sadly, because of the chaos outside stadium, as long queues took ages to clear, we saw some ugly scenes with a number of gates at the giant stadium being broken and a number of fans forcing their way into the ground for free.

Luckily, there wasn't any stampede, which was possible in all that mayhem, and which could have had some disastrous consequences. Given the huge significance of the next AFCON qualifier, where our boys just need to avoid defeat to qualify for the Nations Cup finals in Egypt this year, it's very clear there will be massive interest, among the fans, to be part of that show.

Some analysts have even been predicting that the game could attract more than the 60 000 fans who can fill the giant stadium to capacity. Against that background, we have to hail the new ZIFA board, who are just a month into their four-year term, for their innovative decision to introduce pre-sale tickets which can be bought online.

They have also made it clear that no tickets will be sold at the National Sports Stadium on the day of the match. With our economy evolving and most of the transactions being done online, through either the banks of the EcoCash and One-Money platforms, it was becoming virtually impossible for the cashiers at the NSS to deal with thousands of fans trying to enter the ground during home matches for the Warriors.

Now, because ZIFA have opened a window where fans can purchase their tickets online for more than a month, we believe this will ensure we don't see the kind of chaos that has seemingly become the order of the day at these matches.

Of course, there have been reservations from many quarters about the decision by ZIFA to hike the cheapest ticket for the game to $10 while others will have to fork out as much as $200 for the VVIP tickets.

But the huge costs related with staging a game of such magnitude should also be taken into account and ZIFA will have such huge overheads like flying the players home, from all their foreign bases, and footing the entire costs of the match officials.

We have always said that we will praise ZIFA, where we believe they have done a good thing, and hold them to account, on the occasions we believe they have come short in the administration of our national game.

We believe introducing pre-match tickets is the way to go because it has been used successfully during events that attract large crowds all over the world, including our neighbours South Africa,  and there is no reason why we should still remain trapped in the past.

Source - the herald
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