Warriors could be forced to host qualifiers outside Zim

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The Warriors faces the grim prospect of hosting its home qualifiers outside the country with CAF set to assess Barbourfields Stadium’s readiness to host 2021 AFCON qualifiers.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of football infrastructure crisis with all but Barbourfields Stadium having been banned from hosting official CAF competitions.

The Warriors host African defending champions Algeria in a 2021 AFCON qualifier next month and should Barbourfields be deemed unfit to host the game, it will be hosted on neutral soil.

The stadium, owned by the Bulawayo City Council, received a partial clearance to host international matches, with the inspectors demanding that the floodlights at the stadium should be improved.

Barbourfields Stadium

CAF also recommended the City Council add “five individual seated toilets” in the dressing rooms, a massage table in each dressing room, a tactical board (white board/flip chart with pens) as well as good ventilation or air-conditioning.

Recommendations were also made for a doping room which must be near the teams’ dressing rooms and must be “inaccessible to any person that is not involved with the doping control process”.

The doping room, according to CAF, must be equipped with a television set, a refrigerator equipped with non-alcoholic drinks, sealed mineral water bottles, wastepaper bin for bottles, a ventilator and sufficient seating for at least eight people.

However, indications are that nothing has been done to improve the floodlighting system since the last visit, and this has triggered fears within ZIFA they could get another negative report.

ZIFA this week confirmed receiving notice from CAF that they will be sending team of inspectors in the next two weeks.

ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said CAF asked them to nominate two stadiums, for inspection and they have put Barbourfields and the National Sports Stadium up for scrutiny.

“CAF have indicated they are sending an inspection team in the next two weeks,’’ said Gwesela.

The all-important inspection comes barely three weeks after Morocco hosted the symposium on infrastructure development in African football, attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and his CAF counterpart, Ahmad Ahmad.

The FIFA boss pledged a R15 billion for, at least, one world class stadium in each African country.

By Mthokozisi Dube

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