Allen Mpofu, B-Metro Sports Reporter
AFTER a disappointing FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers campaign, Zimbabwe has suffered another setback after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned Zifa from hosting international matches at the giant National Sports Stadium.
CAF said “until outstanding issues noted in previous inspection reports have been addressed,” Zimbabwe will not host any matches at the stadium.
Following inspection by CAF inspector, Tshegofatso Moiloa on 13 and 14 October, key outstanding issues included unavailability of fixed seats, no modern electric turnstiles and no functioning Venue Operations Centre.
CAF has permitted ZIFA to host one more match before the body automatically bans the stadium from hosting any matches. The Warriors will host Ethiopia in a dead rubber World Cup Qualifiers match on 16 November at Zimbabwe National Sports Stadium, thereafter the stadium will require prerequisite renovations to continue hosting matches.
Warriors fans were quick to shift the blame for the elimination from World Cup qualifiers on the Zifa board.
Speaking to B-Metro, a Warriors fan said Zifa board is to be held responsible for the recent poor performances of the Warriors.
“Zifa fails to hire a plane form one place to another. How are players failing to be on camp on time. How can players camp for only one day prior to the match? There should be team bonding,” he said.
After a disappointing back-to-back loss to Ghana, fans blamed Zifa for the late arrival of players, which gave them less time to prepare for the second leg.
ZIFA replied in a statement, “While Ghana flew directly from Ghana to Harare on a government funded chartered flight, our Warriors used a commercial flight secured using the association’s resources”.
According to CAF requirements, the stadium should have fixed seats, separated from one another, with a backrest of a minimum of 30 centimetres. The stadium should be equipped with electronic turnstiles.
CAF also requires the stadium to have functional Venue Operations Centre to serve as command centre for security and safety operations.