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Poor State of Zimbabwe's Stadiums Under Spotlight

The poor state of Zimbabwe's football stadiums has once again come under the spotlight ahead of the start of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

In the year 2000, a lot of emotions were provoked after the Confederation of African Football withdrew Zimbabwe's rights to host the 16 team Africa Cup of Nations.

The continental football controlling body gave the sorry state of Zimbabwean football stadiums as the reason for taking the tournament away from Zimbabwe, allowing Ghana and Nigeria to co-host the competition.

Fourteen years down the line the state of Zimbabwean stadiums has not changed that much.

The match between Dynamos and visiting Botswana side Mochudi Centre Chiefs was stopped for about 24 minutes to allow fresh markings as the rains had washed away the lines.

What is ironic is that nothing has been done to the National Sports Stadium since 2012 when the Mbada Diamonds Cup final between Dynamos and Motor Action was delayed for about 45 minutes as employees at the stadiums had to use buckets to drain water from the pitch as the drainage system failed to work properly after rains.

At Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, heavy rains also made play impossible for the two teams How Mine and Tanzania's Chouni Stars as the drainage system was not good enough to clear water from the stadiums.

Although not giving an excuse for his team's defeat, Chouni Stars coach Ali Hassan said the pitch was not suitable for such an international game as it made play difficult.

Across the country in Gweru and in Zvishavane, a four team tournament billed to feature Chapungu, Highlanders, FC Platinum and Shabanie was cancelled as the waterlogged pitches were deemed unsuitable to allow for continued play.

In other countries, stadiums have drainage systems which enable games to be played even when it's raining.

On the contrary, the new president of the Basketball Association of Zimbabwe Ngoni Mukukula has put the improvements of the country's basketball courts high on his agenda.

For soccer, many expected that renovations, which were going on at different stadiums throughout the country would have continued soon after the Caf decision. But that never was.

The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers are just around the corner and surely, something needs to be done to improve the state of the nation's stadiums before the country is stopped from hosting international football matches.