ZIMBABWE'S Warriors got yet another feel of the significance of their African Cup of Nations first round qualifying triumph over Burundi yesterday when Zifa president Cuthbert Dube chipped in with more winning bonuses for the team.
Dube who has often come to the rescue of the financially troubled association had pledged to give the Warriors $500 each for a win over Burundi.
The Harare business executive had seen similar pledges in the opening 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Guinea at the National Sports Stadium and Mozambique in Maputo fail to find takers with the Warriors losing 1-0 against to the West Africans before drawing 0-0 with the Black Mambas.
But on Sunday the Warriors finally remembered how to win when a Knowledge Musona strike handed them a 1-0 win and a passage into the second and final Nations Cup qualifying round where they will now in the hat for a draw to be conducted by the Confederation of African Football in Johannesburg on July 5.
Dube, flanked by Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze met with Warriors assistant coaches David Mandigora and Peter Ndovu, team manager Nyika Chifamba and captain Tapuwa Kapini and handed them US$12 500 for the 25-man squad.
The incentive from the Zifa president came just days after the Warriors' spirits had given the bigger chunk of the bonuses that came from the national team's sponsors Mbada Diamonds with the miners giving the senior team US$50 000 to share.
Mbada had earlier given the Warriors US$25 000 for the drawn match against Mozambique.
In handing over his cash boost to the Warriors, Dube also insisted that the government needed to come on board and lead the way in servicing the national team's operations and acknowledged that his personal funds could not continue to sustain the domestic game.
"Before the Guinea game I had promised that I would give each member of the team US$500 if we won. It was the same arrangement for the Mozambique game but unfortunately both games were not won.
"Now that you have done what I like most which is winning, I had to honour my pledge and I have also reserved a beast for the team which they can slaughter and a have a braai.
"I was so pleased that with 10 men your players played with their hearts out and showed a lot of commitment and determination," Dube said.
Zifa, Dube also said had noted that although the Warriors' are chasing qualification on two fronts -- the World Cup and the Nations Cup -- it is at the continental soccer showpiece where their chances are more realistic.
"It will be a bonus really if we were to qualify for the World Cup but certainly we must appear at the Nations Cup.
"We should not be complacent because of the Burundi victory but we have trust in the technical department that we have and we will leave all technical matters to them while we continue to run around to look for the resources.
"But beyond the Nations Cup qualifiers it is also high time that we took our Under-23 squad seriously and start the preparations for the 2016 Olympics and the 2018 World Cup in Russia," Dube said.
The Zifa boss also urged the Warriors coaches to keep their focus on the on-field events and avoid being dragged into boardroom politics and off-field events such as those which characterised the build-up to all their three assignments this month.
"Don't listen to what is going on with Asiagate that is for the Independent committee and Zifa to deal with.
Of course mercenaries are not good in any country but the good thing is that mercenaries don't last so as coaches you should not give an ear to the politics of the board or whatever is happening with Asiagate.
"We are in constant touch with the Ebrahim committee and we believe that by July we should have reached the end of this monster and you will get to know which players have been cleared and those that have not and that should widen you selection options.
"But as coaches please always talk to the youngsters and help them to safeguard their careers because football is their livelihood, their families and extended families also depend on them," Dube said.
Although he remains committed to funding some of the association's operations, Dube admitted that despite forking out more than $600 000 and often mortgaging his property to bail out Zifa, such a move was not sustainable in the long run.
"It's not right that an individual finances the national team and we are going to be more vigorous in our engagement with the government on this matter.
I cannot continue to mortgage my properties, this should be a collective national responsibility," said Dube.
In thanking Dube, Ndlovu said it was important for the Warriors to know that their president and the association were fully behind them.
"It was very important for players and the technical department to know that we had your back-up and we acknowledge the sacrifices that you have made. The players assured us that money or no money they will give it their best and on Sunday everyone wanted to win it for you," said Ndlovu.
AmaZulu goalkeeper Kapini, still basking in the glory of his first win as Warriors captain lauded Zifa for ensuring the foreign-based players had been refunded the money they had used for their airfares and reiterated his troops' commitment to the Nations Cup qualification bid.
In winning against Burundi the Warriors joined a host of other teams such as Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria and Cameroon who also advanced into the second round.
African Cup of Nations second round qualified countries:
Mozambique, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Togo, Malawi, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cape Verde, Algeria, Egypt or Central African Republic.
Final round fixtures:
Sept 7-9 and Oct 12-14 and 15. Winners join hosts South Africa at finals between Jan 19-Feb 10 2013.