Banned Zimbabwe stadium fails CAF test

National Sports Stadium

from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) ZIMBABWE’S main stadium has failed to comply with all requirements demanded by the continent’s football mother body in order to host international matches.

Authorities have confirmed the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium (NSS), located in the capital Harare, could not be approved to host matches because constructors had failed to implement electronic ticketing systems and proper seating facilities.

The delays are blamed on then coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

It means the stadium has failed to meet the conditions set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) when it banned the stadium, alongside the Barbourfields (BF) Stadium in the second city of Bulawayo, to host international fixtures.

Prince Mupazviriho, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) Director-General, has confirmed the setback while appearing before Parliament early this week.

The legislative house needed an update on progress at the two stadia. This after the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa was not spared the embarrassment of the ban.

Imposing the ban, CAF blew the whistle on derelict facilities at stadia.

Mupazviriho said despite the NSS holdup, commendable progress had been achieved since CAF effected the sanctions earlier this year.

“However, it should be noted that the issue of e-ticketing and bucket (s) seats remain outstanding at the National Sports Stadium owing to COVID-19 issues,” he said.

He explained, “COVID-19 as slowed down tender processes.”

Last week, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) sent a report to CAF following the tour by the local contingent. The embattled FA awaits feedback from CAF.

However, BF (Barbourfields) has already received the nod to host youth’s and women’s football as well as the CAF competitions.

Opened in 1987, NSS has almost always been the home of the Zimbabwe Warriors.

The arena has been the scene of forgettable memories for South Africa.

Bafana Bafana were hammered 4-1 in an African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the venue in 1992, shortly after their return to international football.

Twelve people died in a stampede that followed crowd trouble as Bafana won a World Cup qualifier 2-0 in 2000.

With no love lost between the two neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe had earmarked the Orlando Stadium as the venue for their AFCON 2021 “home” qualifier against champions Algeria before COVID-19 led to a postponement of matches in March.

Coincidentally, Zimbabwe and South Africa have been drawn together in the same Group G of the 2022 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Qualifiers – Africa competition alongside Ethiopia and Ghana.

– CAJ News

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