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CAPS United won’t hike gate charges for Sunday’s epic Harare Derby at the National Sports Stadium with the club insisting such a move would be an insult to fans who stuck with the Green Machine when days were dark. Although this is CAPS United’s biggest home match of the season, the Green Machine has decided to keep the price of the cheapest ticket at US$3, US$5 for bays adjacent to the VIP Enclosure and US$20 for those who like the luxury of the VIP Stand.

CAPS United said they took their decision after considering the prevailing liquidity crunch in the country, falling attendance at most PSL matches, the fact that the game would be broadcast live on SuperSport and the need to respect those fans who have been supporting their cause all along.

Nhamo Tutisani, a member of the CAPS United board, said rather than drive fans away with expensive ticket prices, his club sought to lure as many supporters as possible to watch the Harare Derby with reasonable ticket prices.

“We have not hiked gate charges for our game against Dynamos and the charges are the same as other PSL league matches — that is US$3, US$5 and US$20,” Tutisani told The Herald Sport.

“We are sensitive to the plight of our fans whom we know have been affected by the tough economic conditions but at the same time have been giving us support, parting with that precious dollar to come to our league matches.

“The supporters have been standing by us since the season started and now we are playing one of our biggest matches and we couldn’t just hike the charges as it would have been unfair.

“We are simply saying all the supporters should now come and watch the team playing our biggest rivals and see all the work which has been put into the team so far.”

Tutisani said they also considered that the match was coming at a time the World Cup is underway in Brazil, with the final scheduled for Sunday night, while the Harare Derby will also be broadcast live on SuperSport.

He said it would not have made any business sense to hike ticket prices for this match and they were expecting a response from the fans with a bumper crowd filling the giant stadium.

Premier Soccer League chief executive Kennedy Ndebele yesterday said they recommended to the club to stick to the US$3 fee for the cheapest tickets for the Harare Derby, although the club usually has the final say.

Ndebele said ZPC Kariba had already requested a reduction in entry charges to US$2, for the cheapest tickets, for their Friday league match against Chicken Inn.

“We just encourage CAPS United to do more of marketing activities on the day,” said Ndebele.

“Sometimes we accept to increase gate charges as a security measure to control the crowd, but they are playing at the National Sports Stadium where even the national team can afford to charge US$1 without any risk.”

CAPS United Supporters Association national chairman Blessed Gumbo, welcomed the move.

“CAPS United is a brand and we have supporters from as far as Victoria Falls and Chiredzi, so it is only fair to pay such an amount. With the kind of form that we have right now, I think we are going to have a big crowd because we, as supporters, want our team to beat Dynamos.

“We know players want a 12th man in the stadium and we will try to come in our numbers and cheer our team. Definitely, this time the three points are ours,” said Gumbo.

Dynamos Supporters Association chairman Felix Dzukwa also welcomed CAPS United’s decision not to hike the charges.

“The situation we are in is not good as people don’t have money. People are really sacrificing to go to football matches and, more so, to a venue like National Sports Stadium which is far unlike Rufaro which is central. So CAPS United have done a good thing and this should help attract many people to go and watch the big match,” he said. Dzukwa said genuine football fans will not sacrifice a chance to be part of the crowd at the stadium in exchange of watching the game on television.

He said the World Cup was being shown live in Brazil, but people were still filling the stadiums.

“As Dynamos supporters, whether our team wins or loses we always stand by the team, we love it and we know that even if we play badly we always win,” said Dzukwa.

“CAPS United, in a league match, they will never beat us and even if they play well the best they can do is get a draw but I think we will win again on Sunday.”

Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association organising secretary Fortune “Giant” Bgwoni, saluted the move by the Green Machine.

“That’s a good move, at least, they have supporters in mind,” said Bgwoni.

Fixtures:

Tomorrow: ZPC Kariba v Chicken Inn (Gwanzura,3pm SS).

Saturday: Harare City v Hwange (Rufaro, 3pm SS), FC Platinum v Shabanie Mine (Mandava).

Sunday: CAPS United v Dynamos (National Sports Stadium, 3pm SS), Black Rhinos v How Mine (Rimuka), Buffaloes v Chiredzi (Sakubva), Triangle v Chapungu (Gibbo), Highlanders v Bantu Rovers (Barbourfields).

Source : The Herald

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