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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Warriors first two World Cup qualifiers set for Rwanda

Story by Vivian Bangamu

THE Government has assured the nation that adequate measures have been put in place for the senior men’s football team, the Warriors, to play their first two 2026 World Cup qualifiers in Rwanda next month.

With the country yet to have an approved stadium for hosting international matches, the Warriors will host the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Rwanda for their second World Cup qualifier soon after playing the hosts in the first match.

In an interview with ZBC News after presenting a lecture on Sport as a Tool for Peace and Development at the Zimbabwe National Defence University in Mazowe this Thursday, the Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts, and Culture, Honourable Kirsty Coventry assured the nation that all logistics are in place for the national football team to play their two matches in Rwanda next month.

“I met with the ZIFA Normalisation Committee yesterday and discussed that the team will be staying there and they are finalising a few things. Of course they are disappointed we wanted the first match to be played at home,” she said.

She also gave an insight into the roadmap for the National Sports Stadium to be approved for international matches.

“CAF came and toured the facility and they are happy with the upgrades that were made and the sticking points is still the turnstile, we can’t put them till the buckets seats have come in. There are a number of bucket seats that have been procured and they are waiting for the committee to sign off which hopefully should be next week once that is done, the importation will commence,” said the Minister.

On when Zimbabweans will get to watch the Warriors on home soil, Dr Coventry said she is confident that at least one stadium would have been approved by April next year.

“Once we put in the order, then I can come back to you on a more specific timeline, we can’t do that until we have chosen the specific seats and have them approved, we don’t want to put the wrong seats and then CAF or FIFA comes and says that not the right level.”

Meanwhile, a Sport Integrity Bill set to handle cases of sexual harassment in sport is now with the Attorney General’s office.

The bill has a provision for the setting up of an independent body to handle such issues.

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