Panafrican News Agency

CAF bans use of Zimbabwe football stadiums for international matches

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has  barred the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) from using local stadiums in upcoming international matches.

Zimbabwe was supposed to play Algeria at  Barbourfields Stadium in the country's second biggest city, Bulawayo, at the upcoming Total African Nations Championship to be held 4-25 April 20202.

"The decision by CAF comes against the background of a CAF stadium inspection which was conducted in November 2019 and the subsequent inspection report circulated on the 1 December which stipulated areas of improvement for our three stadiums, Barbourfields, Mandava and the National Sports Stadium (NSS), to be fully homologated," ZIFA said in a statement.

"While Mandava and NSS were completely struck off the roster, Barbourfields was provisionally certified on the condition that issues raised in the inspection report would be addressed."

ZIFA said stadium authorities were notified of CAF’s position and of the urgent nature of the situation at hand.

Mandava is located in Zvishavane, a mining town in Midlands Province while the NSS is in Harare, the latter of the two being Zimbabwe's biggest stadium.

"To date, neither of the three stadium authorities has requested us to invite CAF for another inspection, a position which CAF has said led to the decision to bar all three stadiums from hosting international matches," ZIFA said.

"While ZIFA is engaging CAF with a view to appeal this decision, we have asked stadium authorities to send us commitment letters detailing timelines on work that needs to be done before CAF comes for another inspection. Once we receive such commitment, we will send to CAF."

PANA understands that ZIFA has engaged other stakeholders to work on remedying the situation.

"We have been using stadiums which do not meet CAF and FIFA standards for a while now, but we need to put our heads together as a country to ensure that our stadiums are renovated to meet required standards," ZIFA said.

Reports of the unfitness of these local stadiums had already been circulating in several assessment reports by Harare City Council, which revealed that they had gone decades without any maintenance due to low funds.

-0- PANA TZ/AR 25Feb2020