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National Sports Stadium gets greenlight

by Staff reporter
05 May 2021 at 06:12hrs | Views
THERE was relief within the domestic football family after the Warriors were given the greenlight to host Bafana Bafana, in their 2022 World Cup qualifier, at the National Sports Stadium, next month.  But, there was no relief for more than a dozen other countries.

Eritrea, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Sao Tome, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Eswatini and Zanzibar do not have stadia which meet the CAF standards.  

The Warriors match is set for between June 5-8.  

In a statement yesterday, ZIFA said CAF had agreed to give the country a reprieve, probably after noting the progress, which has been made in the facelift at the giant stadium.

"The Zimbabwe Football Association is pleased to inform all football stakeholders that the National Sports Stadium has been provisionally homologated to host World Cup qualifiers slated for June 2021," read the statement.  

"The Confederation of African Football made the decision based on visual and textual inspection reports from an inspection conducted by the Association on 23 April."

CAF, however, still want the outstanding issues, including the erecting of bucket sets, to be completed by the authorities.  

"In their correspondence, CAF encouraged Zimbabwe to complete all outstanding work in renovating the stadium so that it meets standards required to host senior men teams' matches,'' the ZIFA statement read.  

"Some of the glaring areas noted include the spectator seating areas and sanitary facilities, obsolete access controls, uneven pitch, absence of signage in and around the stadium, untiled dressing rooms and offices floors, sub-standard showers and toilets in the dressing rooms.  

"CAF warned that any organisational or technical breaches observed during the upcoming matches will attract financial sanctions.  

"ZIFA was fined US$ 2 000 for the absence of bucket seats and general uncleanliness of the stadium in our Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zambia on 29 March.  

"ZIFA acknowledges the Government's efforts in upgrading the stadium, but reiterates that more still needs to be done for Zimbabwe to have, at least, one standard stadium to host top level matches."

Government have been working on the venue.  

Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, said the authorities were working flat out to address the outstanding issues at the giant venue. He said bucket seats will now be supplied from local sources and will be installed before the next FIFA window in September.

"We are happy that the stadium has been allowed to host the match between South Africa and Zimbabwe next month," said Machakaire.  

"That is a welcome development. That allows us time to continue with the renovation works at the stadium.  

"We hope that the bucket seats, which are a major, issue would have been installed by September."

Source - the herald