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Zifa was reluctant to register BF as venue of choice

by Staff reporter
05 Mar 2020 at 05:40hrs | Views
ZIFA has reacted furiously to allegations that it was reluctant to register Barbourfields Stadium as a venue of choice for the Warriors' 2021 Afcon qualifier against Algeria at the end of this month.

There are accusations that the beleaguered national association, whose leaders have been entangled in fire-fighting for the better part of their first-year in office, were hoping for "rich pickings" from staging the match on foreign land.

Zifa stands accused of failing to notify Caf about the match venue for the Algeria tie, which should be done two months in advance. Failure to notify Caf attracts a US$4 000 fine.

However, Zifa rejected the accusations as a smear campaign.

"First of all, all these allegations are baseless, unsubstantiated and a concoction of falsehoods without any iota of truth. It's clear that the person making those allegations doesn't understand how Fifa and Caf competitions are organised," said Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela.

"Caf asked us for dates and we provided the date and venue by confirming on the Caf management system. The decision to de-homologate Barbourfields Stadium was made after confirmation of the venue for the Algeria match. We wouldn't dare dream to play outside the country because it's expensive to do so. We would have never chosen a route that is expensive for us hence such claims are just false," he said.

Caf last week withdrew its momentary clearance of Barbourfields Stadium to stage international matches after nothing was done since the venue's inspection in November last year.

Government has now intervened to expedite refurbishment of Barbourfields Stadium to meet international standards and get the venue ready for the Algeria game.  

Zifa are awaiting Caf's response to their request of re-inspection of Barbourfields Stadium. Regional football bloc Cosafa has also been roped in to help Zimbabwe's cause. Gwesela was not sure whether Caf would lift its ban once parts of Barbourfields are refurbished and most stated requirements are fulfilled.

"We are happy that the Government has committed to assist and have stadiums ready. We are in no capacity to mislead Government and the nation. We are still consulting with Caf and we will issue an update once we get their response.

"I think as for the facilities being ready, talk to the stadium owners because we gave them requirements which have to be adhered to," Gwesela said.

Government released $13 million on Tuesday to be used for refurbishing parts of Barbourfields Stadium for a Caf re-inspection ahead of the Warriors' Afcon qualifier.

Bulawayo City Council needs $58 million to completely renovate Barbourfields Stadium to a modern stadium that meets requirements to host international matches.

BCC has declared that it can work on all Caf requirements for Barbourfields Stadium by March 20 except installing requisite floodlights and bucket seats.

Source - chronicle