By Trevor Makonyonga
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has banned the National Sports Stadium from hosting international matches and interclub competitions.
After a one match pass, the stadium will be automatically barred from hosting senior teams’ international matches and other CAF Men’s Inter Club Competitions until outstanding issues noted in previous inspection reports have been addressed.
CAF’s Tshegofatso Moiloa recommended the ban after inspecting the facility on 13 and 14 October.
According to the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), the November World Cup Qualifier against Ethiopia will be the last match.
ZIFA Communications manager, Xolisani Gwesela, said, “CAF indicated that the Warriors’ home World Cup qualifier against Ethiopia in November will be the last game that we will play at home. The National Sports Stadium was initially banned from hosting senior teams’ matches in 2020 but was provisionally cleared later in the same year. Since then, CAF has been using reports from inspections conducted by ZIFA to extend the temporary approval.”
Below are the areas that need urgent attention in order for the stadium to be allowed to function again.
The stadium should have individual seats in the stadium. Currently there are no fixed seats available. It is being recommended that there should be fixed seats in all sectors in the stadium. The seats for spectators must be individual, fixed (e.g. to the floor), separated from one another, shaped, numbered, made of an unbreakable and non-flammable material, and have a backrest of a minimum height of thirty (30) cm when measured from the seat.
Also recommended are electronic turnstiles. The stadium should be equipped with modern electronic turnstiles and automated systems.
The stadium also must have a functional Venue Operations Centre (VOC) with a good overview of the stadium equipped with CCTV monitors. It should have an override capability over Public Address System in case of emergency announcements. The VOC should be staffed and serve as command centre for security and safety operation.
Also, the B Arena of the stadium should be renovated in line with CAF Training field infrastructure requirements.
Other facilities in the stadium are still not up to the required CAF sstandard the stadium needs to be fully modernized and brought up to the international standard requirements.
Gwesela also said that ZIFA have communicated CAF’s latest decision to the Sport and Recreation commission (SRC).