Football fans delighted as Govt opens stadium gates

22 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
Football fans delighted as Govt opens stadium gates

The Herald

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

DOMESTIC football fans reacted with joy yesterday after Government cleared ZIFA and the Premier Soccer League to allow supporters to attend the Chibuku Super Cup games.

The matches have been played behind closed doors, under the Covid-19 lockdown measures, which came into force last year, following a blanket ban on sports.

But, the situation has been improving, with declining number of infections across the country. ZIFA yesterday said only 2 000 fully vaccinated fans will be allowed into the stadium, starting at the quarter-final stage of the Chibuku Super Cup next week.

There will be thorough screening and the supporters will need to produce their vaccination cards before buying the match tickets.

They will also be expected to adhere to all Covid-19 protocols.

Dynamos Football Club Supporters Association (Harare chapter) spokesperson, Solomon Chingono, yesterday told The Herald they were excited by the developments.

DeMbare are one of the clubs who made it into the quarter-finals, of the tournament.

They will play Black Rhinos.

“We welcome the waiver extended, which allows us back into the stadium, as we feel we are an integral part of the game, being the 12th man,’’ he said.

“It is in the hope that, with a positive response from the fans, and strict adherence to the Covid-19 safety guidelines, chances of the 2000 fans’ allowance being increased, becomes higher.’’ He said the fans have since embarked on a crusade, to embrace vaccination, in anticipation of the return of normalcy, at the stadia.

“We have been making use of our digital spaces, which is our Facebook and Whatsapp platforms, to spread the message of getting vaccinated, not only to be readmitted into places like football stadia, but to safeguard each other from contracting, and also stop the spread, of Covid-19,” said Chingono.

“We have also seen how other countries have slowly ushered in fans, only to increase capacity, over some rounds of matches, which is a positive thing to us.

“A number of fans have heeded the call to get fully vaccinated.

“Ours is now a task to double our efforts, of spearheading the campaign, to get football supporters from across the country to get vaccinated and, for those attending matches, to follow the set guidelines, as instructed by the authorities.

“The move will also help the big clubs like Dynamos, CAPS United and Highlanders, who usually supplement their income, through gate takings.’’

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association organising secretary, Chris “Romario” Musekiwa, said they were looking forward to going back to the stadium, once again.

“We applaud government’s decision to allow fans back in our stadia, to cheer up our teams, in the ongoing Chibuku Super Cup tournament,’’ he said.

“Supporters are very important stakeholders of the game.

“We are delighted to be given another chance to give our teams a motivational cheer.

“It’s also great news for our teams, for the little revenue to be realised at the gates, will make a difference.

“We continue to urge our membership to get fully vaccinated.”

Although CAPS United will not be part of the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals, the club’s national supporters’ chairman, Masango Ruzani, said this was a good starting point.

“We have to celebrate this moment,’’ he said. “We have been waiting for such a consideration for quite a long time.

“As supporters, we haven’t been able to watch our teams play for almost two years, and this can only be a good starting point.

“We hope that more fans will be allowed with time.”

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