Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
Zimbabwe’s Warriors are set to reap huge financial rewards for their fine African Cup of Nations qualification campaign with ZIFA benefactor Wicknell Chivayo yesterday pledging to roll out huge incentives for them ahead of their penultimate qualifier against Malawi in June. Chivayo was at the National Sports Stadium as part of an estimated 35 000-strong crowd that backed the Warriors as they powered to an emphatic 4-0 win over Swaziland in a Group L encounter.
That victory propelled Callisto Pasuwa and his men into top position with eight points, three ahead of Swaziland and six ahead of third-placed Malawi and fourth-placed Guinea who play in Blantyre today.
The Warriors’ sweet victory, which came out of inspired second half show that ripped the Swaziland shield open, charmed Chivayo inasmuch as it also endeared the senior team with the multitude of their fans.
The youthful Harare businessman then emerged from the giant stadium to announce that he had been so impressed by the Warriors show that he is to unveil a “massive package for them’’.
Chivayo, who left the stadium in the company of ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa, said the package that he would unpack for the Warriors was over and above the $1 million package he has already been giving to the association.
“We want our boys to be motivated and I am going to give them a massive package and I mean massive. When I said I was giving ZIFA $1 million some people doubted and wondered whether a piece of paper could stand as an agreement but I can tell that there is something big for our players to spur them to qualification for the Nations Cup,’’ Chivayo said.
Chiyangwa said his biggest wish was to see the Warriors being handsomely rewarded.
“We owe the players money but our sponsor is so happy with their performance over and above he wants to put a massive package for the Warriors’ qualification and motivate them,’’ Chiyangwa said. The ZIFA president said they would be keenly following the events in Malawi today where the Flames host Guinea who have surprised many by sitting at the bottom of the log standings. Chiyangwa said they were aware that the Warriors could virtually seal qualification with a game to spare if the results in the group continue to go in their favour.
A draw in Malawi today and a victory for the Warriors against the Flames at the National Sports Stadium on June 4 will see the Warriors booking their place at the 2017 Nation Cup tournament in Gabon and that would complete a fairy tale run for Chiyangwa’s presidency of ZIFA.