FIFA president Gianni Infantino has questioned the wisdom and financial benefits of staging the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) biennially and has suggested that the tournament be played after four years.
Infantino reckons it makes financial sense for CAF to follow the same format used by the UEFA European Football Championship – informally known as the Euros – which is played after every four years.
AFCON tourneys are played after every two years.
“Having (an AFCON) every two years, is that good at the commercial level? Has this developed the infrastructure? Think about spending it every four years,’’ said Infantino, speaking at a seminar focused on the development of competitions and infrastructure in African football, which was held in Rabat, Morocco.
The FIFA boss said African football was lagging behind despite the emergence of talent playing in major leagues across the world.
“Our objective must be to project African football to the top of the world. We have been talking about the development of African football for many years.
“Let us show the world what we can do. This day is special, it’s the start of a new chapter for African football.
“Pelé once said that an African team would win the FIFA World Cup, but this hasn’t happened and it seems we are not making any progress. Today must be the day we turn that page,” said Infantino.
Infantino also revealed that FIFA envisages building stadiums in Africa to breathe life into football on the continent.
“We are elaborating a proposal to mobilise US$1 billion to build, at least, one top stadium in the countries of each of FIFA and CAF’s 54 member associations.”
“In the countries where there is already at least one very good stadium, the investments can be done in other infrastructures”.
In Zimbabwe, only Barbourfields Stadium can stage international matches.
But in the event a game is played under floodlights, Barbourfields Stadium cannot be used because the lights at the stadium have also been condemned.
The National Sports Stadium has been barred from playing host to international football matches because CAF inspectors believe the changing rooms should be renovated, the bumpy playing surface — which has resulted in a number of injuries for the Warriors — should be improved and the media tribune should be revamped.
There are also concerns over how fans can be evacuated onto the field of play in the event of disturbances on the stands.
Rufaro and Mandava also failed the test.