By Robson Sharuko
ZIMBABWE’S quest to host the 2017 Nations Cup finals has collapsed, at the very first hurdle, with the Confederation of African Football leadership ruling that the bid submitted by the country fell short of the criteria set for such an assignment.
The decision by the CAF executive committee, at their meeting in Cairo, Egypt, last week, to throw out Zimbabwe’s bid to replace Libya, as the 2017 Nations Cup hosts, justified the concerns raised in his country, before the bid was submitted, that this adventure was a wild goose chase.
Questions were asked as to why Zimbabwe was spending scarce financial resources investing into a project, including sending teams to Zambia and Botswana to try and lure them into a joint-bid, when the country did not satisfy the CAF requirements of having previously hosted other tournaments, like the finals of the African Under-20 and Under-17 finals.
“Of the countries which submitted bids to the General Secretariat of CAF by the deadline of 30th September 2014, only four were determined to be compliant with the set criteria to be considered,” CAF said in its resolution posted on its official website.
“Those are for Algeria, Egypt, Gabon and Ghana. The Executive Committee will finalise the date on which to take the vote to determine the host country.”
The bids by Zimbabwe, Sudan and Kenya were thrown out after the CAF leadership ruled that they were not “in compliant with the set criteria to be considered.”
In September, before the bids had been submitted, Hayatou, speaking to SuperSport, said only those countries, which had hosted the Nations Cup finals, would be considered in their search for the country that would replace Libya in 2017.
Zimbabwe and Kenya have not hosted the Nations Cup finals before, which certainly explains why their bids were not considered, and while Sudan, which hosted the first tournament in 1957, when only three countries took part, and again in 1970, when eight nations took part, were the only former hosts who were eliminated at the preliminary hurdle.
Sudan also hosted the 2011 CHAN finals.
The local media raised the issue, before Zimbabwe had submitted its bid, questioning how ZIFA hoped to navigate the CAF politics and win the bid to host the 2017 Nations Cup finals, against a background when the continental football body’s president was clear that only former hosts, who certified a certain criteria, would be considered.
The Domestic Media Position
‘OUR AFCON BID IS FLAWED’ — Bothwell Mahlengwe, Herald columnist, September 26, 2014
It’s not a secret that ZIFA are facing serious financial problems with debts close to US$5 million, including US$650 000 from when we played Brazil in a friendly.
The second issue is on stadiums to be used during that tournament. As I write, we don’t have even a single one that is ready.
The National Sports Stadium, Rufaro and Barbourfields meet the minimum CAF requirements but Rufaro needs a new playing surface and Barbourfields needs media facilities.
Other stadiums like Gwanzura, Luveve and Sakubva will need major facelifts to meet CAF standards. Unfortunately, this is money the country does not have.
Clearly, our bid is doomed before we even table it. I understand all dreams are worth pursuing. This one, I feel, is merely to nurse our egos.
The first and more honourable thing to do is to sort out the mess in our football, revamp our football structures.
We then get our Warriors back to the giant they used to be, fit our infrastructural development into the national economic development strategy of the day, stage the pre-requisite tournaments.
Then, we can, on our own, bid for the AFCON, followed by the World Cup. Let’s earn our stripes. That way we can confidently and proudly put “the totality of Brand Zimbabwe under the spotlight.”
AFCON 2017 BID A WASTE OF RESOURCES — Zimbabwe Mail, October 1, 2014
The Zimbabwe Football Association this week decided to press on with their bid to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament despite the country’s obvious shortcomings in meeting the set requirements for a bid to be successful.
After final touches were made to Zimbabwe’s bid document, the ZIFA chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze this week set off for Cairo, Egypt, to submit the bid ahead of yesterday’s deadline.
But while the ambition of hosting a major football showcase is commendable, going ahead with a bid when you are well aware that you do not meet the minimum requirements for a successful bid, amounts to an unnecessary waste of resources.
One of the requirements for staging the AFCON tournament is that the wannabe hosts must have staged other continental competitions, among them the CAF U-17 and U20 Championships, Africa Women’s Championship (AWC) and the African Nations Championship (Chan).
Zimbabwe is yet to host any of these tournaments.
In fact, those three countries have also previously hosted the AFCON tournament and, therefore, already have the infrastructure required to stage such a mega event in place.
What is baffling, however, is why ZIFA would go ahead and waste time and other resources on a project that appears destined for failure, instead of focusing on promoting the development of the local game which is at an all time low, following the country’s failure in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers.
Surely, the energy expended on what appears a lost cause could have been channelled towards other more pressing matters in the sport, such as the promotion of grassroots football development initiatives.
It must also be remembered that barely three years remain before the 2017 Afcon tournament is due and given this short lead time, Caf is likely to opt for a country that already has facilities and other requisite infrastructure in place.
The ZIFA Position
ZIFA spokesman, Xolisani Gwesela, said they would not be influenced by the ‘negativity” dominating the domestic media but they would be guided by the invitation letter, sent by CAF, for countries to submit their bids to host the 2017 Nations Cup finals.
“CAF wrote letters to all its associations, inviting them to submit bids for the 2017 slot and, as it is, we are in possession of that letter and we, therefore, go ahead and submit the bid,” Gwesela said.
“Despite all the negativity and pessimism from other quarters, we have refused to be distracted and we shall continue with our bid activities until the winning contender has been announced.
“It’s obvious, to any rational observer, that Zimbabwe, with the necessary support, has the capacity to host such a mega event.”
ZIFA proposes Hre, Byo for AFCON 2017 — The Independent, October 3, 2014
Yesterday, ZIFA chief executive officer, Jonathan Mashingaidze, said they would announce the bid committee next week.
“We have submitted our bid and now await the next steps where Caf will send their inspection team,” said Mashingaidze.
“We will make an announcement of our high-profile bid committee that will work on important aspects such as marketing and the preparation of facilities. We are looking at hosting the tournament in two cities, Harare and Bulawayo, and because we need four venues we are looking at upgrading Gwanzura and Luveve.” The Herald