Zim stadia get June ultimatum
By Rest Mutore
Warriors still risk playing their matches outside the country if Covid-19 recedes after communication from CAF that local stadiums failed to meet the required minimum standards after an inspection in March.
The country has, however, been given until June 15 to spruce up the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields for a re-inspection.
In a statement on Friday, Zifa said the two stadiums which carry the country’s hopes cannot host Senior Men’s games but cleared for women and youths competitions.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has received the report concerning preliminary inspections done on National Sports and Barbourfields stadiums respectively in March 2020 further confirming that the two facilities do not meet minimum standards expected by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
“Both stadia are still barred from hosting senior men’s competitions, but they are approved to host youth and women’s competitions.
“The inspection done in March was meant to provide the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and stadium authorities with guidelines on areas that require attention before the final round of inspections scheduled for June and July 2020.
“Government and Bulawayo City Council have been notified of the recommendations made by CAF inspectors, and the urgent need to attend to issues raised cannot be further emphasised.
“If work on recommendations is complete, ZIFA will invite CAF to conduct another inspection between 15 June and 20 July to determine whether or not we can play senior men’s competitions at home.
“Our local stadium inspection team, the First Instance Body (FIB) will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that refurbishments at National Sports and Barbourfields Stadiums are in line with the expectations of CAF and FIFA.
“We sincerely appeal to all stakeholders involved to expedite the process of upgrading our facilities to the required standard so that we avert the grim possibility of playing our home matches abroad.
“In this time of the covid-19 pandemic, we encourage everyone to observe recommended healthy habits regarding staying safe while also combating the spread of the deadly virus,” said Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela. H-Metro