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ZIFA Seeking ‘Home Ground’ Outside Zimbabwe for International Games As CAF Bans Barbourfields Stadium

FILE: Referees Thomas Kusosa, left, Munyaradzi Majoni, centre, and Edgar Rumeck, right, warm up before a clash between bitter rivals, Highlanders and Dynamos at BF.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned the use of Barbourfields Stadium, the only venue in Zimbabwe for hosting international matches.

According to the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), the organization has received a letter from CAF informing the Zimbabwean authorities that BF, as it is affectionately known, can no longer be used for any international games like the National Sports Stadium and Mandava Stadium.

In a letter posted on its website today, ZIFA said, “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. Consequently, CAF has made a decision to bar ZIFA from using local stadiums in all upcoming international matches.

“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. 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.”

ZIFA said 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. While ZIFA is engaging CAF with a view to appeal this decision, we have asked stadium authorities to send us commitment letters detailing timelines on work that needs to be done before CAF comes for another inspection. Once we receive such commitment, we will send to CAF.

“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.”

ZIFA is regretting the latest CAF decision. “We unreservedly apologise to all football stakeholders for inconveniences that the decision has brought. We are hopeful that everyone who has influence to expedite the process of bringing our teams back home will do their part.

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

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