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Zimbabwe Stadiums Banned From Hosting International Matches

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned all the stadiums in Zimbabwe from hosting international matches, according to the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned all the stadiums in Zimbabwe from hosting international matches, according to Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

Xolisani Gwesela, ZIFA’s Communications and Competitions manager, said in a statement that the board was notified of the decision on Tuesday afternoon.

Gwesela indicated that according to the CAF order, all the three major stadiums in the country have low standards to host international matches.

“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation that it has received correspondence from the Confederation of African Football that our stadiums do not meet Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards to host international matches,” Gwesela said in a statement.

“Consequently, CAF has made a decision to bar ZIFA from using local stadiums in all upcoming international matches.”

The National Sports Stadium has been used for all national team games of late, as Rufaro Stadium in Harare fell short of CAF standards last year, while Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo was under a temporary approval.

“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,” Gwesela added.

“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.”

Zimbabwe beat Mauritius 3-1 in an African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier at Barbourfields in August last year which is the only international match Barbourfields stadium has hosted in the past five years.

However, Gwesela said that they informed the relevant authorities on the need to work on the stadiums since the warning from CAF, which came in December after inspection.

“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,” Gwesela noted.

“In this moment, we urge all stakeholders to work for a common cause for us to quickly right this wrong which takes away our sovereignty. We have been using stadiums which do not meet CAF and FIFA standards for a while now, but we need to put our heads together as a country to ensure that our stadiums are renovated to meet required standards.”

However, Gwesela said Zimbabwe has been given an option to host international matches in the neighbouring countries.

“Meanwhile, we have also started the process of looking for an alternative venue in neighbouring countries to host our upcoming matches.”

Zimbabwe were supposed to Botswana in their next 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at National Stadium in March 23, 2020.

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