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Zifa warn over Warriors World Cup qualifier venue

by Staff reporter
02 Apr 2021 at 09:14hrs | Views
ZIFA has issued a chilling warning that the Warriors face the real possibility of losing their sovereignty by playing the upcoming World Cup qualifiers home games in a neighbouring country if no improvements are urgently made at the National Sports Stadium.

Some sections of the media misquoted Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa saying that Barbourfields Stadium had now been cleared to play host to international matches during her post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday evening.

Minister Mutsvangwa had, in fact, said following the outcry by sports fans after Caf and Fifa condemnation of national stadia (National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields), Government had embarked on a project to renovate them.

"Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that Barbourfields is now equipped with the standard football facilities, including a well-maintained pitch with Caf compliant goalposts and nets, changing rooms, mixed zone area, parking, and a disabled ramp to help people living with disabilities to access the facility," Minister Mutsvangwa said.

Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela said at the moment, only the National Sports Stadium enjoys provisional homologation. He said the grim reality was that if no urgent work towards meeting what Caf fully prescribed, the possibility of the Warriors playing home games on foreign soil was high. He said Barbourfields Stadium was only approved to play host to youth and women's national teams.

"As you are all aware, we have temporary homologation for National Sports Stadium in Harare; that is the only stadium that is provisionally authorised by Caf to host international matches. Caf have reminded us in previous correspondence that we need to speed up renovations at the National Sports Stadium and ensure that the stadium is brought to required Caf standards.

"The issue of individual seats, the issue of venue operations centre, the issue of electronic access, Caf have also encouraged us to improve the pitch itself.

"I also would like to add that, we have been warned by Caf that should we fail to attend to the outstanding issues at the National Sports Stadium in due course, that temporary homologation we have is going to be taken aware and we will face the grim possibility of playing our international matches outside Zimbabwe," said Gwesela.

He appealed to the government for speedy renovation work at the stadia so that they meet required Caf standards.

"It is our appeal to the government to the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation as well as the Sports and Recreation Commission to move with speed and ensure that outstanding work at the National Sports Stadium is attended to and the stadium is brought to the required Caf levels so that we don't lose our soverignity by being forced to play in foreign lands."

Source - chronicle