No joy for Zim . . . as National Sports Stadium, BF fail test again

©️ ZIMBABWE will still have to play their home international matches outside the country after the Confederation of African Football (Caf) once more deemed Barbourfields and the National Sports Stadium unfit to host international matches.
Caf initially banned Zimbabwe from hosting international matches in February which meant the Warriors had to play all their remaining home games in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on foreign soil.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) had been forced to hire Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa to host Algeria last month before the game was postponed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
The government and the Bulawayo City Council joined hands in ensuring the two facilities would be ready in time for re-inspection.
Last month, Caf then sent a delegation comprising former South Africa defender Mark Fish and compatriot Derek Blackensee to inspect the progress of the renovations which were currently taking place at the two facilities. Following the recent inspection, there is still no good news for Zimbabwe as both venues failed the test.
“Zifa has received the report concerning preliminary inspections done on the National Sports and Barbourfields stadia respectively in March 2020 further confirming that the two facilities do not meet minimum standards expected by Fifa and Caf.
“Both stadia are still barred from hosting senior men’s competitions, but they are approved to host youth and women’s competitions,” Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said in a statement yesterday. There is still some hope though for Zimbabwe that all this might change if the renovations are completed before June.
“The inspection done in March was meant to provide 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  June 15 and July 20, 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 Stadium and Barbourfields 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,” Gwesela said.
Speaking to reporters soon after inspecting Barbourfields last month, Fish admitted that football facilities in the country needed to
improve in order to compete with those in North Africa.
“We don’t compete though on the world stage especially when we look at the sub-Sahara region that is Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and other countries below…, we are way behind down here in the sub-Sahara and that’s what we need to change. We have quality footballers and they need to play in quality stadia as well,” Fish told reporters.







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