Zifa frets over imminent Caf stadium inspection

By ZBC Reporter
ZIMBABWE risks playing World Cup qualifiers on foreign soil if local stadia fail to meet the required standards with CAF inspectors expected in the country in two weeks’ time.
Pronouncements of zero-tolerance on unsuitable stadiums being used to host international matches has stimulated an air of anxiety.
The CAF Executive Committee met on the 2nd of this month and resolved to take a tougher stance on nations that fail to conform to set standards.
According to CAF communication to ZIFA, countries without facilities that match required standards will have to host their FIFA World Cup qualifying matches abroad.
“CAF has written to us and declared that no country shall be able to use stadiums that fail to meet standards. We have talked about this issue on numerous occasions but unfortunately not much has been done and as I speak our stadiums are in a bad shape when we look at what Caf and Fifa expect from facilities that host international matches,” said Xolisani Gwesela, Zifa Communications Officer.
The National Sports Stadium was last year condemned by CAF, with Barbourfields granted provisional homologation allowing Zimbabwe to host matches in Bulawayo while improving the facility.
With news of inspectors set to visit the country in a fortnight and with no improvements having been made, Gwesela has pleaded with authorities to take action.
“We appeal to the local authorities and the Ministry of Local government which directly controls the national sports stadium that something needs to be done to improve on the stadiums because we run the risk of playing our home games in other countries. There is an urgent need to act as the situation is dire,” said Gwesela.
Meanwhile, the local grounds inspection committee has since toured Sakubva, Gibbo, Mandava, and Ascot to assess the facilities ahead of the 2020 premiership season.
The state of stadiums has in the past few days come under the spotlight after images depicting the poor state of Gwanzura stadium surfaced on social media.
The state of Dzivarasekwa stadium which in the past used to host premiership matches has also emerged as a cause for concern.