BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation minister Kirsty Coventry remains hopeful that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will lift the ban on local stadia and allow the country to host the 2021 Afcon qualifier against Algeria at the end of the month.
Last month CAF deemed all local stadia unfit to host international matches following inspection which was conducted in November 2019.
Zimbabwe is expected to find an alternative venue in another country where they will play their home fixtures.
The CAF’s decision has seen stakeholders spring into action to upgrade the stadia and save the country from the embarrassment of playing home matches in another country.
According to CAF rules the host country is supposed to name the match venue at least two months before the day and Zimbabwe is already in default.
But Coventry remains optimistic of convincing CAF to Warriors to play they match in the country.
“We are still hopeful [of hosting the Algeria game in Zimbabwe]. Some people are starting to call me crazy but I am still hopeful and we just have to see over the next week,” Coventry told journalists at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
“We are all in constant communication with CAF. I know CAF have specific rules and we are in constant communication with them. We are not asking for special treatment but we are asking for understanding but again it is all a process,” she said.
“We know that they have their rules about naming a venue 30-60 days before the match. We are already in that time line and we just have to keep pushing forward.
“The Nationals Sports Stadium is looking good. What they have done in the last five days from when I saw them last Saturday has been a huge step forward. If we can keep that same momentum we can get it up to where we need it to be,” she said.
The Local Government ministry has received $22 million from Treasury for the National Sports Stadium’s facelift and work on the facility is underway
The Bulawayo City Council has also received $13 million from the government for Barbourfields Stadium’s renovations and are working overtime to get it ready for March 29 match against Algeria.