FROM now on, the Sports ministry will be in charge of the National Sports Stadium, taking over control of the venue from the Local Government ministry.
The issue of control of the 60 000-seater multi-purpose sporting facility built by the Chinese in the 1980s had been thrust back into the spotlight after the Confederation of African Football (Caf) banned all local stadia from hosting international matches.
The National Sports Stadium, Mandava Stadium and Barbourfields Stadium were all de-homologated after an inspection last year.
A number of issues were raised by the Caf inspectors but the government and the respective councils, who own the venues, did not act on the adverse reports.
“Good news: It has been agreed that ownership + operations of the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe will be transferred to the ministry of Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation.
“We have the experience + passion to use this opportunity for Zimbabwe to become a sporting powerhouse,” Sports minister Kirsty Coventry announced on Twitter yesterday.
As a result of the ban, the Warriors will now have to host their upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group H qualifier against Algeria on foreign soil.
In the meantime, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) has earmarked Orlando Stadium in central Johannesburg, South Africa to host the game on March 29.
At the moment, the government and the Bulawayo City Council are busy working on renovations at both the National Sports Stadium and Barbourfields in the hope that Caf would have given Zifa a reprieve.
“Zifa have failed to assure Caf that the work we are doing in the stadiums will safeguard our national teams playing home games in Zimbabwe.
“Zifa have now come up with a stadium for our teams to play home games outside of Zimbabwe,” Coventry tweeted.