By Ngqwele Dube
Zifa are hopeful the country’s senior men’s national team will play their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria at home citing improvements made to Barbourfields and National Sports Stadium.
Following the announcement on new dates for 2021 Afcon qualifiers, Caf wrote to Zifa seeking a progress report before making a determination on whether Zimbabwe will be allowed to host international matches.
The Warriors play against Algeria in a crucial Afcon qualifier on 9 November, while FC Platinum resume Caf Champions League action with a preliminary round qualifier between 20 to 22 November, with the return leg scheduled for five days later.
Zifa communications manager and First Instance Body member, Xolisani Gwesela said Caf had requested a progress report on the renovations that have been made at the stadiums.
Gwesela toured Barbourfields Stadium together with FIB member, Gladmore Muzambi.
“We have been requested by Caf to re-inspect ahead of the upcoming Afcon qualifier match against Algeria.
“Caf basically want to assess what progress has been done since the last inspection visit before they make a decision whether to allow us to host the match,” he said.
“It is our considered opinion that Government and the Sport Recreation Commission have done very well to ensure that the two facilities are spruced up, notably the National Sports Stadium,” he said.
Gwesela said they are hopeful outstanding issues that include buckets seats and electronic access will be completed in due course.
The Government has already flighted a tender for the installation of bucket seats and electronic access.
Caf president Ahmad Ahmad was quoted yesterday in our sister paper, Chronicle saying there would be no reprieve if stadiums do not meet Caf standards.
He urged Zimbabwean authorities to work speedily on the country’s football stadia to avoid the embarrassment of representative sides playing their home matches on foreign soil.
Initially, the third and fourth round of qualifiers for the 2021 Afcon were slated for March before the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement.
Before the rescheduling, Zifa were looking for a venue in a neighbouring country for the home fixture against Algeria since the local stadiums had been banned from hosting the match at that time. The Sunday News