Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
ZIFA are struggling to come to terms with communication by CAF that only one stadium – Barbourfields – is appropriate to host international matches in the country.
The continental football governing body’s stadium inspection team toured Zimbabwe and condemned the National Sports Stadium in Harare and Mandava in Zvishavane which were on the list of homologated stadiums.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela told H-Metro yesterday that it is unfortunate that they do not own a stadium but have notified the owners of CAF’s verdict for a way forward.
“Remember Zifa doesn’t own any of the stadiums, NSS is owned by the Ministry of Local Government and Mandava is owned by Zvishavane Municipality. But we have been doing enough to notify them of the communication by CAF and encourage them to work on meeting the required standards.
“In terms of putting pressure on them we might be limited but we have tried our best, we have since communicated and we will continue doing so to make the stadiums meet the requirements,” he said.
The announcement sparked uproar on social media from fans with fears being raised that the national team and club continental home matches could end up being played in neighbouring countries.
Some of the concerned fans took to social media raising their concerns.
“This is a serious issue guys, we are going to the deep ends. Next thing is Zim doesn’t have a stadium which meet CAF requirements and will be forced to play in other countries as our home ground. This is no joke, wake up guys,” @charliemachuv
“Its high time ZIFA owns its own stadium. The reason why our stadiums are not being renovated is because they are owned by non performing councils, who can’t even remove sewage from residents’ homes. Don’t expect them to build state of the art stadiums,” @hmsendo
“Each town and city by now should have a world class stadium. Imagine Mutare City don’t have a stadium to host PSL matches and clubs from that town travel to Rusape for a stadium. Haa tinonyadzisa. Nyika yedu yakapfugama. Gwanzura takanyudza,” @TalkmoreMuzond1
The announcement by CAF mean FC Platinum, who are competing in the CAF Champions League, will continue using Barbourfields.
FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo told H-Metro yesterday that they had done enough but CAF raised the other issue of floodlights.
“We had done enough to make sure the stadium meets the requirements after CAF highlighted the areas we need to work on. This time around they raised the issue of floodlights which I think need proper investment and we will look into that in the future.
“We have been playing at Barbourfields before and we will continue like that while we work on a plan to work on the issue. As we promised last year, we had tried our best and they raised another issue,” said Chizondo.
The Mandava floodlights issue, however, might be viewed as football politics that Platinum play their home games away from home since the matches will be played in the afternoon.