By Trevor Makonyonga
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned Zimbabwe from using local stadia for international matches as they failed to meet their standard requirements.
Initially, Bulawayo’s Barbourfields stadium had been authorised to host CAF matches, it has been struck off the list of homologated stadiums.
With Mandava, National Sports Stadium (NSS) and Barbourfields stadiums failing to meet CAF requirements, Zimbabwean matches will now be held in other countries with homologated pitches.
The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) confirmed this development.
“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.”
Zifa said they intended to appeal against the decision with the hope of bringing the games back on home soil as soon as possible.
“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.
“At this moment we urge all stakeholders to work for a common cause for us to quickly right this wrong which takes away our sovereignty,” the statement continued.
ZIFA went on to add that it was already looking for an alternative venue in neighbouring countries to host upcoming matches.
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.
“We unreservedly apologise to all football stakeholders for inconveniences that the decision has brought.
“We are hopeful that everyone who has the 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.”