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Zimbabwe stadia ban has always been coming, says Sibanda

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2020 at 08:48hrs | Views
FORMER Zimbabwe Football Association vice-president, Omega Sibanda has castigated the Zifa leadership for lacking good public relations skills which has resulted in the country's stadia being banned from hosting international football matches.

Sibanda believes those running the game have failed to have sound relationships at Caf as shown by the decision by the continental football body to ban Zimbabwe's stadia.

"This is a shame, everything of it lacks respect and this is not football. The National Sports Stadium was condemned 20 years ago. Barbourfields was always condemned, so was Rufaro, we were playing all these matches at our venues because we had Zifa presidents who had good PR, they knew who to speak to,'' Sibanda said.

According to the Member of Parliament for Vungu, having good relations with Caf saw Zimbabwe getting grace periods to fix their facilities, something the continental body assumed was actually taking place.

"This doesn't mean Caf instructors were not coming to Zimbabwe, they assumed that the stadiums would be fixed. Just how Mandava was just constructed without Fifa template when the guidelines for a stadium are there?"

Condemnation of local facilities has not only come from Caf but even Zifa's own First Instance Body have over the years said the facilities do not meet set standards.

"When Philip Chiyangwa (former president) came in Fifa club licensing was introduced. A committee called First Instance Body was introduced, that committee was a grounds committee, it was making sure that club licensing was introduced. All stadiums in the country were condemned by that committee in 2016 because they were using a template, the stadiums were using the required standards. They were meant to issue with compliance of club licensing, only Highlanders were in compliance,'' Sibanda said.

What disappoints Sibanda is that respected football people were involved in the past and were meant to provide guidance of renovations that were meant to be carried out in local stadia. Instead, shoddy jobs were done at Barbourfields Stadium, Luveve Stadium and White City Stadium ahead of the Region 5 Youth Games (the regional arm of the African Union Sport Council) in 2014.

"Huge monies were pumped into this AUSC Region Five LOC for the purposes of renovating sporting facilities in the City of Kings. They had a template of what was required, football people were involved. They engaged people who did substandard work at these stadiums, they did not use any template. Money which was pumped in there was enough to fix the things that Caf had asked to be fixed,'' said the former Zifa VP.

Sibanda praised the Bulawayo City Council for always being forthcoming when it comes to the issue of work on their sporting facilities.

"Bulawayo City Council has always been supportive 100 percent, they have not been given the full requirements, they are given information in bits and pieces. When we hosted Cosafa in 2017, the three stadiums in Bulawayo were condemned. White City Stadium was condemned outright, Luveve and Barbourfields were condemned. BCC poured their money, Luveve Stadium floodlights were lit," he said.

He pointed out that when the National Sports Stadium and Mandava were barred from hosting international matches, the fixtures were brought to Barbourfields when in fact the same facility had faced scrutiny in the past.

In light of the stadium ban, another area of concern for the former Zifa number two in command is that local clubs could in future be barred from taking part in Caf competitions due to non-compliance with Fifa club licencing.

Source - sundaynews