By Eddie Chikamhi
CAPS United have been caught between a rock and a hard place after some supporters yesterday spoke out loudly against the hike in gate charges for Sunday’s Champions League match showdown against TP Mazembe.
The Green Machine, who are seeking to avert the losses similar to the ones they incurred in the preliminary round against Lioli of Lesotho, have pegged the entry fees at $5 for the cheapest ticket, $20 VIP and $50 for the most expensive VVIP ticket.
Club chief executive Cuthbert Chitima said the hike was meant to defray the costs of hosting the international after they had suffered a $20 000 loss in the preliminary round.
However, the supporters suggested Makepekepe could be shooting themselves in the foot as they needed the numbers to pack the stadium on Sunday to stand a good chance against the Lubumbashi giants.
“I am not saying Caps have to give out free entry, but they can lower the prices to $2, so that the stadium is filled to capacity. The reason being, looking at the bigger picture, they stand to gain more by beating TP Mazembe than more gate takings and missing the next round. Just food for thought!” wrote one of the readers.
Another football fan wrote: “Mr. Chitima, if you understand the harsh economic conditions currently prevailing in the country, then you should have pegged the gate charges at $3 for the cheapest ticket.
“What is better to have ten thousand supporters paying $5 each or have fifty thousand supporters paying $3 each? I want to come with my family, tell me how am I going to manage with gate charges pegged at $5 each? Please re-consider, otherwise many supporters will stay at home.”
One of the fans also warned of a poor attendance. “You have lost the plot Caps United, my beloved team of choice for hiking the charges. At $3 the stadium was likely to be packed…..now you will be lucky to get fifteen thousand.”
However, Chitima yesterday said it was unsustainable for the club to maintain or reduce the charges.
The veteran administrator explained there are many overhead expenses that the supporters may not see and pleaded with them to come out in big numbers. “I think if you look at our previous games that we played for example against Dynamos if you charged $5 people will still come because they love their team.
“The reason why we increased is that if you look at the game that we played against Lioli, I will be honest with you, it was a loss game.
”We lost close to $20 000 and for that I can give you the figures and you can see for yourselves. That’s exactly what happened with that particular game.
“The costs of hosting those teams is enormous. It’s not anything that is small. When we played against Lioli the referees were coming from Botswana which was a bit cheaper for us and now the referees are coming from Seychelles.
“Just for accommodating the referees, their airfares and their allowances it’s coming close to $20 000. The whole budget is going up to $37 000 just to host this match.
“So all we are asking our fans is, okay I know they may say we have increased and it’s a pinch on them, but what we are appealing to them is this is the time that we want them to support the team by just paying that $5.
“I am actually appealing to every soccer loving Zimbabwe fan. It’s not the Caps United supporters, this is a national cause and I am actually appealing to them to support the team.
“In terms of statutory requirements, 37 percent of the gross is going to statutory requirements. Fifteen percent will go to ground hire, Zifa 10 percent, SRC six percent, Fifa is taking two percent and Caf is taking five percent of the gross amount.
“So at the end of the day the team will remain with nothing.,” said Chitima. The Herald