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National Sports Stadium cleared for South Africa tie

By Ricky Zililo

ZIFA has appealed to the Government, through the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), to quicken renovations at the National Sports Stadium for it to avoid being sanctioned by Caf.

Renovations at the National Sports Stadium in September 2020
Renovations at the National Sports Stadium in September 2020

Zifa’s plea comes after Caf granted provisional clearance for the Warriors to use the National Sports Stadium for their World Cup qualifier against South Africa despite outstanding renovations at the venue.

Other teams in their group are Ghana and Ethiopia.

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Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said in granting temporary clearance, Caf warned that it will slap the association if it notes “infractions” during the Warriors-Bafana tie.

After playing host to Zambia in an Afcon qualifier at the National Sports Stadium in March, Zifa were slapped with a US$2 000 fine for lack of bucket seats at the facility.

The stadium has been under renovations since last year.

The facelift was triggered by Caf inspectors, who raised a red flag and made sweeping recommendations, including the installation of bucket seats.

Despite covering a lot of ground in other areas such as the pitch, changing rooms and doping rooms after the Government chipped in, the installation of bucket seats and electronic turnstiles are still lagging behind.

There were fears that Zimbabwe might play their opening World Cup qualifier on foreign soil in the event that the National Sports Stadium fails to get clearance.

Gwesela said Caf provisionally homologated the stadium after going through Zifa’s submission, which it submitted for the continental body to make a determination on the venue’s fitness to host international matches.

“Since the last provisional clearance for the Warriors to host Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria and Zambia at the National Sports Stadium, there were outstanding issues at the facility that were supposed to be attended to. We submitted relevant information that was required by Caf, including video and photographic evidence of the current state of the National Sports Stadium and we’re happy to report that we’ve received positive feedback that the facility has been temporarily homologated,” said Gwesela.

“However, our appeal to Government is to attend to outstanding items at the National Sports Stadium to avoid sanctions and also to get permanent homologation. Right now the National Sports Stadium has been homologated for the South Africa match and Caf has warned us that should there be any infractions observed, we will face the music.”

Other outstanding issues are refurbishment of the venue operations centre, renovation of the B-Arena for training and general cleanliness of the stadium.

Government last month said tender processes had been completed for some of the outstanding issues and the Finance and Economic Development Ministry had committed to seeing the projects through. The Chronicle

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