By Munyaradzi Madzokere
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is waiting for CAF’s verdict on whether the National Sports Stadium is fit to host next month’s final Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Zambia.
At the beginning of the month CAF demanded that the country show video and pictorial evidence to prove that the stadium had been refurbished to meet minimum requirements for it to host the Chipolopolo encounter.
Zifa have since compiled and sent a six-minute video, availed to this publication, as well as pictures to the continental body’s club licencing department and are now waiting for feedback.
However, hopes are that the country’s biggest stadium, which had the initial ban provisionally lifted following some renovations ahead of the Algeria match last November, will be given the thumbs-up for the Zambia tie.
The provisional reprieve late last year was on the condition that renovations have to continue so that the facility is quickly brought to required standard.
“There is noticeable progress at the National Sports Stadium,” Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela (pictured right) told Standardsport yesterday.
“We conducted the inspection as per CAF directives and we submitted the stadium report together with pictures and videos.
“CAF will advise us on the way forward.”
The six-minute video shows different areas where improvements have been done at the stadium, including the pitch, changing rooms, the player medical rooms, doping control room, the media tribune and mixed zone, among others.
Zimbabwe play Botswana and Zambia on March 22 and March 30, respectively in the two final Group H Afcon qualifiers in a bid to qualify for a third consecutive ticket to the continental championships set for Cameroon next year.
The Zdravko Logarusic-coached side sit on second position with five points, five behind log leaders Algeria who have already qualified. Botswana and Zambia are in third and fourth place respectively.
Home advantage would be crucial for Zimbabwe in the final match against Zambia, but CAF have categorically stated that the country may be forced to use a stadium in another country in the tie if the NSS renovations are not done.