May 21, 2024

12.5k fans pay for Harare Derby . . . Match generates US$63 000 . . . CAPS Utd left with just US$27 000

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Eddie Chikamhi
THE much-hyped Harare Derby marked its return at refurbished Rufaro after five years, with about 12 500 people paying their way through the turnstiles to watch giants Dynamos and CAPS United, as they played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
The derby was a huge test for Zimbabwean football as it competed for attention with the final Sunday of the English Premiership, which has also taken hold of the hearts of domestic football enthusiasts.
Sources yesterday said the match grossed approximately US$63 000, with Makepekepe remaining with about half the amount as club share, after factoring in levies from ZIFA and SRC and direct match expenses such as referees fees, police, ambulance, stadium hire and ticket costs.
Eventually, CAPS, who were the home team, were left in the region of US$27 000 after also taking care of indirect match obligations like camping costs, match day allowances, bonuses, medicals and fuel.
CAPS United had raised the entry fee for the cheapest ticket to US$5, as they anticipated a bumper crowd.
The numbers at Rufaro on Sunday, although disputable at 12 500, were still a positive reminder of domestic football’s potential to reclaim its place in Zimbabwean sports.
The figure was lower compared to last year’s derby, which attracted 18 500 at the National Sports Stadium. The return leg was watched by 10 934, with Dynamos playing hosts at the same venue.
However, random visuals at Rufaro on Sunday reflected a much bigger attendance. Some estimated the numbers to be around 20 000, suggesting football coffers could still be bleeding through leakages at the gates.
Away from the statistics, the sounds and sights at Rufaro on Sunday evoked memories of the good old days at the ceremonial home of Zimbabwean football.
The derby served an exciting dish, with supporters from both sides satisfied with the result at the end of the day.
CAPS United salvaged a point in this latest encounter after veteran Ralph Kawondera bundled home a late equaliser.
Makepekepe had trailed their opponents for the better part of the second half, having conceded a 52nd-minute penalty that was converted by defender Kelvin Moyo.
Former Dynamos utility man, Godknows Murwira, who is now the CAPS United skipper, was content with the point, which helped the Green Machine remain unbeaten in their previous three games. Makepekepe are sixth on the log standings with 17 points from 12 starts, with Dynamos a distant 12th from 11 games and with 13 points in the bag.
“I just thank the Almighty for the opportunities. Firstly, I played the derby while playing for Dynamos and now I crossed the divide, I am playing for CAPS United,” said Murwira.
“Both teams want wins because it’s a derby. The fans are the ones who are giving us this energy to push every game. They are coming in numbers, singing from the first whistle until the last.
“You saw it, when we drew. They were cheering us saying keep on pushing guys. That’s why we managed to get a result.
“Yeah, you know as a Derby, moments of this magnitude are expected. It’s big teams in Harare fighting for points and bragging rights. “I am glad we managed to get a point, coming from a goal down,” said Murwira.
Dynamos captain Emmanuel Jalai was upset after his team extended their win-less run to four games.
“Of course, we are disappointed because we conceded in the last phase of the game whereas we had control of the game. “We were supposed to win this one but in football things like this happen and we have to take the result. If you check CAPS United’s recent form, they have been winning.
“I think they had won two games on the trot before playing us. So, we were expecting that, and also a derby is always a derby no matter how either team is performing.
Everyone will be ready and prepared to give all his best. “So, we were expecting how they played; our guys did their best despite the result. I think it’s a fair result.
“We are hoping we will pick ourselves in the coming midweek game against Arenel,” said Jalai.

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