Zimbabwe’s Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry says the country’s football association has failed to convince the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to reverse its blanket ban on the country’s stadia for staging international matches.
In a tweet, Coventry said, “ZIFA have failed to assure CAF that the work we are doing in the stadiums will safeguard our National Teams playing home games in Zimbabwe. ZIFA now have to come up with a stadium for our teams to play home games outside of Zimbabwe.”
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela was not available for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
The state-owned Herald newspaper reports that ZIFA has settled for Orlando Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, for the next Warriors game against Algeria. This could not be independently verified as Gwesela was unreachable.
At the same time, Coventry said in a tweet the Ministry of Local Government has transferred the National Sports Stadium to her ministry with immediate effect in an effort to revamp the stadium.
“Good news: It has been agreed that ownership + operations of the National Sports Stadium in Zimbabwe will be transferred to Ministry of Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation. We have the experience + passion to use this opportunity for Zimbabwe to become a sporting powerhouse.”
CAF warned ZIFA last year that it won’t stage international matches unless the association in conjunction with local authorities and government, revamped all its stadia. Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo was used temporarily as the Warriors’ venue for international matches before CAF decided early this month to ban all stadia, citing Zimbabweans’ lack of commitment in refurbishing them.
Meanwhile, ZIFA says the Warriors technical team has incorporated FC Platinum’s new recruit, Ralph Kawondera, into the provisional squad for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals.
Kawondera, who was part of the squad during the qualifiers, was named as one of the best 11 players last season. He scored 11 goals for Triangle United.
Grey Kufandada of Talen Vision in Southern Region division one has also been called up to widen team selection options upfront.
ZIFA says Croatian-born coach Zdravko Logarušic felt it was critical to add more options to provide cover for possible injuries during the 10-day camp.
A statement posted on the ZIFA website quoted the national coach as saying, “We have decided to add more players in order to cushion ourselves in case any player is ruled out through injury. Injuries are common among players during this phase of the season [pre-season training] where players are exposed to heavy training.”
The team commenced preparations in Harare on Sunday and players will return to their clubs on March 19th ahead of the start of the 2020 Premier Soccer League season.
The final squad is expected to leave for Cameroon on the first day of April ahead of the opening fixture against Cameroon four days later.
Zimbabwe are in group A together with hosts Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso.
4 April – vs Cameroon: 4pm
8 April – vs Burkina Faso: 7pm
12 April – vs Mali: 7pm
Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos) Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders) Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)
Xolani Ndlovu (Chicken Inn) Qadr Amini (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Frank Makarati (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Partson Jaure (Dynamos) Peter Muduwa (Highlanders) Liberty Chakoroma (Chicken Inn) Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn) Rapheal Muduviwa (FC Platinum)
William Manondo (Harare City) Malon Mushonga (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Moses Muchenje (Harare City) Devon Chafa (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Trevor Mavhunga (Triangle United) Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum) Phenias Bamusi (Caps United) Juan Mutudza (Dynamos) King Nadolo (Dynamos) Wellington Taderera (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Ishmael Wadi (Caps United) Valentine Kadonzvo (Chicken Inn) Kelvin Chibunyu (Cranborne Bullets)
Prince Dube (Highlanders) Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn) Stanley Ngala (FC Platinum) Ralph Kawondera (FC Platinum)