Fungai Muderere recently in Malawi
IN the wake of reports that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has rejected the Zimbabwe Football Association’s plea to have the Warriors clash against Algeria played at Barbourfields Stadium, former Warriors gaffer Calisto Pasuwa opines that a counter tactical move would be for the country’s football mother body to have the match played at country that has artificially surfaced fields.
“It’s a pity that Zimbabwe has been denied a chance to host Algerians at Barbourfields Stadium. However, as a counter move the Warriors can play them at a country that has artificially surfaced pitches like Malawi.
“Zifa should maybe consider playing the match at Kamuzu Stadium because Algerians are used to playing on natural grass and the counter move can always work in the Warriors’ favour. For a fact, I know our boys can greatly run them (Algerians) down at an artificial pitch like Kamuzu Stadium,” said Pasuwa who is enjoying his tenure at Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets.
Zifa are on record saying they had engaged their South African counterparts over a venue for the clash against Algeria.
Reports say Zifa had identified Johannesburg’s 24 000-seater Dobsonville Stadium or Orlando Stadium as possible alternative venues for the match set for 31 March.
However, the Desert Foxes could also find it difficult to secure entry into South Africa amid revelations cases of the deadly coronavirus had been recorded in their country.
South African health authorities have since heightened screening, especially of travellers originating from countries plagued by Covid-19.
Eight major African football countries have reported cases to date. These are Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa.
Against such a background, it is now an open secret that the spread of coronavirus in Algeria has also thrown the epic Warriors and Desert Foxes clash up in the air.
The Warriors are supposed to travel to Blida for the first leg Group H set for 26 March.
Zifa have reportedly expressed to CAF their strong reservations of travelling to Blida, which has been the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the North African country.
With the assistance of the government and Bulawayo City Council (BCC), the Felton Kamombo led Zifa has been making frantic efforts to have the second leg between the Warriors and Desert Foxes played at Emagumeni.
Last week, government released $13 million to BCC for the refurbishment of Barbourfields Stadium.
Zifa had been expected to send pictorial evidence to Caf on Tuesday, with the hope of convincing the continental body to rescind its earlier decision to bar Barbourfields Stadium from playing host to the 2021 Afcon qualifier.
CAF banned Zimbabwean venues which they said did not meet the continental body’s requirements. Barbourfields had provisionally been cleared for international matches during an inspection held in November last year when National Sports Stadium and Mandava Stadium were condemned.
The Bulawayo football venue went on to play host to FC Platinum Caf Champions League matches, World Cup qualifiers for the women’s Under 17 and Under 20 teams.