Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
CAPS United supporters are still revelling in glory following their team’s impressive display that saw them knocking out continental giants TP Mazembe from the Caf Champions League after a 0-0 draw at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The Zimbabwe champions qualified for the mini-league phase 2-1 on aggregate on the away goals rule following a 1-1 stalemate in the first leg in Lubumbashi last week.
Caps United were compact in defence and shut out the five-time Caf Champions League winners on Sunday.
By making it to the mini-league phase, Caps United are guaranteed of at least a $550 000 cash injection.
Winners of this year’s Champions League will pocket $2.5 million, which is $1 million more than what South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns earned from winning the tournament last year.
The runners-up will get $1.250 million, with $62 500 of that amount going to the national association, while the losing semi-finalists will get $800 000 each.
Bulawayo-based Caps United board member Alex Munyaka believes the prize money will probably spur the Green Machine on.
“I’m happy that my team has made it through to the group stage. The next goal is to qualify for the semi-finals. We’ve a good side and after knocking out TP Mazembe I think the boys now have extra belief that everything is possible. The club president last week said the players will share part of the prize money and that can work in the favour of the team and motivate the guys to fight all the way,” said Munyaka.
He thanked the supporters that rallied behind Caps United on Sunday.
“The atmosphere at the National Sports Stadium was magnificent. People came in numbers to rally behind Caps United and what’s pleasing is that even those who are not Caps United fans were behind Makepekepe. Supporters played their part in aiding the boys and who knows, maybe Caps United’s qualification to group stages might see Zimbabwe reclaiming two Caf Champions League slots,” said Munyaka.
Caps United supporters’ national chairman Blessing Gumbo and the Caps United Bulawayo Supporters’ Chapter chairman Danmore Zingwe also thanked fans who travelled for the match.
“We had two buses and several cars with Caps United supporters from Bulawayo travelling to Harare for the game, which was amazing. We are planning on more road shows this season because this is our year. We have to retain the title and leave a lasting impression in the Caf Champions League,” Zingwe said.
Gumbo said: “On behalf of Caps United supporters, I would like to thank football lovers that joined us in supporting the boys on Sunday.
“The boys did us proud and hopefully they will continue putting smiles on our faces with brilliant displays.”