The Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA) has revealed that the National Sports Stadium in Harare has been refurbished to meet the minimum requirements by CAF to host international matches.
Zimbabwe were banned from hosting international football matches last year, because of substandard stadiums, following an inspection by CAF in November.
The African football mother body did another inspection in March this year and the National Sports Stadium (Harare) and Barbourfields (Bulawayo) yet again failed to meet minimum standards to host senior men’s football competitions but were approved to host youth and women’s competitions.
“Even though electronic access controls and individual seats are yet to be installed at the National Sports Stadium, other areas (medical, media, dressing rooms, sanitary facilities, pitch condition) are now in line with minimum requirements,” said ZIFA in a statement.
“As directed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in its stadium inspection report transmitted to Harare on the 1st of April this year, our Club Licensing Manager Xolisani Gwesela inspected both National Sports and Barbourfields stadia to assess progress on ongoing upgrades.
“ZIFA sent the preliminary reports for both stadia to CAF, which also serve as an invitation for a follow up inspection to the first phase carried out in March 2019. CAF had set the period between 15 June and 15 July as the time for follow-up inspections but may have to delay due to immigration restrictions in many countries,” the statement read.
“While NSS can be refurbished to earn the right to host senior team games, Barbourfields has structural limits which cannot be circumvented. The latter will still be renovated in the frame of hosting other international matches.”
Prior to the postponement of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers due to COVID-19, ZIFA had reached an agreement with their South African counter parts to host Algeria at Orlando Stadium.
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By Ofhani Munyai