Government has set aside resources to renovate the country’s stadiums to meet the required Confederation of African Football standards.
Currently, Zimbabwe does not have any venues which are fit to host international matches.
Just last month, the Warriors were forced to play their 2026 World Cup home qualifier against Nigeria at Huye Stadium in Rwanda after all the facilities in the country had been condemned.
But authorities are working tirelessly to address that with a $136.2 billion budget for 2024 allocated to the Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture towards sporting activities and rehabilitation of stadiums.
And on Friday night, Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Emily Jesaya reaffirmed the Government’s position.
She was speaking during the 2023 Soccer Stars of the Year awards ceremony where she was Guest of Honour.
“Sport infrastructure development is one of our Ministry’s key focus areas in 2024 and we are working tirelessly to ensure that our facilities meet FIFA standards,” said Jesaya.
“As the Ministry in charge of sport, we call upon stadium owners and other stakeholders to come on board and ensure that we develop internationally recognised sporting infrastructure”. With Zimbabwe already readmitted into international football after close to two years of isolation due to a FIFA suspension, two clubs will also need suitable grounds to host their opponents when they play in the African club competitions. Premiership champions Ngezi Platinum Stars will represent the country in the CAF Champions League while Dynamos will play in the CAF Confederation Cup.
And the two teams will have the privilege of hosting their opponents.
“We will ensure that the venues meet the required standards so that all our home games are played at home,” she said.
“We are aware of the areas that need to be addressed at our major stadia in the country.
The National Sports Stadium needs bucket seats and electronic turnstiles among other things to be certified fit to host international games. The same goes with Barbourfields Stadium while Rufaro Stadium, which was closed for the rest of the just-ended season with renovations taking place will also be expected to be spruced up. Jesaya said while Government is committed to developing and rehabilitating stadiums in the country, violence and hooliganism which also does not spare infrastructure should be done away with.
“Government maintains its position and natural resentment for issues of violence and hooliganism at matches, assault of match officials and destruction of property that taint the image of local football,” said Jesaya.
“Sport is a unifier; it brings people together and as a country we should ensure safety and security at match venues.
“We urge clubs to educate supporters, players and officials on the dangers of violence and
hooliganism at matches, assault of match officials and destruction of property that taint the image of local football,” said Jesaya.