THE Warriors are R1,9 million richer after reaching the quarter-finals of the African Nations Championships (Chan) finals for the first time.
The local organising committee (LOC) of the competition released the prize money for the 16 participating teams which will see countries placed fourth in the group stage taking home R1m each.
The teams placed third in the groups will have R1,3 million each while the losing quarter-finalists would take home about R1,9m each. Hosts, Bafana Bafana will pocket about R1,3 million in prize money for finishing third in their group.
The prize money for Chan would total about R34m the LOC said. The winner of the tournament would earn about R8,1m, the runner-up about R4,3m, and the third and fourth-placed teams about R2,7m each.
After a stuttering start to the campaign which saw them draw two blanks against Morocco and Uganda, the Warriors turned on the power in the match against Burkina Faso to win 1-0 through a Masimba Mambare header.
Coach Ian Gorowa had benched most of the players that took part in the opening two matches — notably Simba Sithole and Tawanda Muparati of Dynamos, Ali Sadiki and Donald Ngoma of FC Platinum — for attack-minded players and it paid off.
Mambare, man-of-the-match Peter Moyo and Charles Sibanda started the Burkina Faso game while Danny Phiri was given the sole role of protecting the defence, which he did immaculately. More firepower for the Warriors came from wing-backs Milton Ncube and Hardlife Zvirekwi.
The centre-back pairing of skipper Partson Jaure and Eric Chipeta has been a marvel to watch while goalkeeper George Chigova, who overcame a nagging knee injury, is yet to concede a goal.
This is the first time the Warriors have reached the quarter-finals of the Chan competition after managing three draws in the inaugural tourney in 2009 in Ivory Coast and one win and two losses in Sudan in 2011.
On Saturday, they will face Mali even more determined to further rewrite the history books by reaching the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa has congratulated the Warriors for making the last eight. They are the only team from the region left after both hosts South Africa and Mozambique were knocked out.
“I had an opportunity to watch the Warriors playing against Morocco and I was impressed. I also followed the Uganda game, the team played well although the strikers could have done better,” he said in a statement.
“I would like to congratulate the Warriors for an exceptional, seamless performance in the match against Burkina Faso. They now not only represent Zimbabwe, but the entire Sadc region. That is such a bigger responsibility.
“With these responsibilities in mind, they now need our support as Zimbabweans, emotionally and financially. I call upon the entire corporate world to chip in and assist them, for they have done us proud. I appreciate how difficult things are at the moment in the business sector, but let’s try and come together to help the Warriors in their quest for glory.”
The minister’s mission has been simply to assure the national football team that the government would not let them “suffer” ever again in a major tournament as what happened in years gone by where the performance of the team was affected by non-payment of winning bonuses, allowances and appearance fees.
“Let us play as a well-co-ordinated team of football, as long as we do that we will progress to greater heights. Well done to Ian ‘Dibango’ Gorowa for managing to withstand the pressure and as the government of Zimbabwe, we would like to assure him and his troops that we are behind them all the way,” Langa said.