Zim Must Fix Stadium Loos Before Bafana Game

Zimbabwe’s Warriors have been spared the humiliation of playing their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana at a neutral venue.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has temporarily approved the National Sports Stadium to host the tie in September.

Concerns remain around toilet facilities and entry points to the 60 000-seater stadium.

The Warriors were in danger of being forced to host Bafana Bafana, in a foreign country after CAF recently deemed the National Sports Stadium unfit.

Despite the facility undergoing some refurbishments, CAF officials inspected the venue and found it was still not fit to host international matches.

In an exclusive interview with The Bulrushes, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) revealed that CAF had granted temporary approval for the biggest stadium in the country to host the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

ZiFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said: “The National Sports Stadium has been temporarily approved to host upcoming World Cup qualifiers”.

Gwesela said CAF has urged Zimbabwe to address outstanding issues including the pitch condition, sanitary facilities, and access controls.

CAF has warned ZIFA will be fined if any breaches are noted during games, said Gwesela.

“CAF still want the outstanding issues, including the erecting of bucket seats, to be completed by the authorities.”

The National Sports Stadium has recently hosted some AFCON qualifying games albeit on “temporary approval” due to the stringent travel restrictions on the continent due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year Zifa encountered the same issues before Zimbabwe hosted Zambia at the poorly maintained giant stadium that was opened in 1987.

At the time CAF granted “temporary approval” of the stadium, but ended up slapping ZIFA with a fine of US$2 000.

The problem was the absence of bucket seats, and “general uncleanliness of the stadium”, during the AFCON qualifier against Zambia, on 29 March.

Bafana Bafana are expected to play Zimbabwe in the Chinese-built stadium in just four months.