Zifa have confirmed fans will not be allowed to watch the Warriors’ 2021 Afcon qualifier against Algeria at the National Sports Stadium on Monday afternoon.
The two teams played in an empty 5 July 1962 Stadium in Algiers last night.
“Zifa appeals to our valued stakeholders to keep supporting our flagship team,’’ the association spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said in a statement.
“It is unfortunate that on the 16th of November supporters will not be allowed to watch at the stadium due to Covid-19 restrictions, but we still need support from everywhere as the match will be broadcasted.
“We are also hopeful that very soon supporters will be allowed to watch games in the stadium.’’
The high-profile game will be the first football game to be held on Zimbabwean soil since the sport as halted by the Covid-19 outbreak in March this year.
Zifa said, despite the challenges they faced to put together a team, they were happy they managed to bring in the Warriors, from their different bases around the world, to play for their country in last night’s Afcon qualifier against the Desert Foxes.
The Warriors flew to Algeria on a chartered flight which the association secured.
“Despite the obvious challenges, arising from the negative effects of the heinous corona virus, we managed to put together decent processes to ensure that our team goes to compete against the best in Africa,’’ Zifa said in their statement.
“We went all out to ensure that the team gets the comfortable environment to prepare for such an encounter, notwithstanding the obstacles that came our way.
“Our preparations for the game (last night) began way back in October when we organised a preparatory match with Malawi.
“That match did not exactly happen the way we envisaged because of late approval from government, but it still gave the technical team, and players, a glimpse of the work that needed to be done.
“Indeed, there are challenges, but in this moment we choose to focus on the task of competing against Algeria and getting a good result (with the reverse fixture set for Harare on Monday).
“We are confident that the team will make the nation proud.’’
While the Warriors fans will not be able to watch their team in action, on Monday, the Confederation of African Football have given the Tanzania Football Federation the greenlight to allow fans to attend the second leg game between the Taifa Stars and the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia today.
Most countries have been playing their matches behind closed doors owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, but it has not been the case in the East Africa nation where fans have been allowed in the stadiums since football resumed on June 13, 2020.
However, to avoid sanctions, the TFF had to confirm with Caf whether to allow fans to attend the Afcon qualifier against the North Africa giants.
“The Confederation of African Football has allowed the fans to attend the Afcon qualifier game between Tanzania and Tunisia to be played on November 17 at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam,” TFF said in a statement obtained by Goal.
“Caf has, however, ordered that the number of the fans should be 50% of the full capacity.
“TFF will now engage the government to ensure the measures and guidelines by Caf are adhered to.”
Caf have also given the greenlight to Niger to allow 7 000 fans to watch their Afcon qualifier against Ethiopia this evening.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s Chipolopolo came from behind to beat plucky Botswana 2-1 to win their first 2021 Afcon qualifier in Lusaka last night.
The former African champions had lost their first two matches, in the qualifiers, after losing 0-5 in Algeria and 1-2, at the hands of the Warriors of Zimbabwe, in Lusaka last year.
Chipolopolo hired Serbian gaffer, Milutin “Micho’’ Sredojevic, and, in the coach’s first competitive game in charge, they found a way to beat the Zebras to take their points tally to three, from as many matches.
Botswana are now bottom of the table with a point from their first three matches ahead of their home match against the Zambians next week.
The Zebras took the lead in Lusaka, just before the break, when Tumisang Orebonye scored for them only for the hosts to hit back, immediately, through a goal by Enock Mwepu.
The start of the second half was delayed, by a heavy downpour, and when play started, on a difficult and slippery pitch, it was the hosts who found the winner through Collins Sikombe in the 65th minute.
Chipolopolo still have outstanding matches against Zimbabwe, in Harare, and Algeria, in Lusaka.
The other Southern African side involved in the Afcon qualifiers yesterday, Mozambique, were thrashed 1-4 by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Porto forward, Vincent Aboubakar, struck twice to put the Indomitable Lions in control before Andre-Frank Zambo and Dynamo Moscow striker, Clinton N’Jie, completed the rout.
Kevin Cumbane, the highly-rated 21-year-old Mozambique forward, pulled one back for the Mambas. Sports Reporter/Goal.com