February 25, 2020

Will warriors play in SA?

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Mugove Chigada

ZIMBABWE could be forced to play their international football matches in South Africa following failure of local stadiums to meet standards set by the Confederation of African Football, CAF.

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) confirmed on Tuesday that they have been notified that all stadiums in the country are now banned from hosting international matches.

The decision comes at a time when the Warriors are set to face Algeria first in an AFCON qualifier on March 29 at home, and indications on the ground are that they will turn to southern neighbours South Africa.

“Stadium authorities were notified of CAF’s position and the urgent nature of the situation at hand. 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.

Earlier, Barbourfields, located in the country’s second biggest city Bulawayo, had received the green light on condition that they rectify certain areas.

“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 1st of December which stipulated areas of improvement for our three stadiums, Barbourfields, Mandava and the National Sports Stadium (NSS), to be fully homologated.

“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.”

Given that Zimbabwe has a number of its foreign-based players in South Africa, costs would be reduced by hosting the matches in that country.

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