BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
ZIFA have warned that the Warriors’ World Cup qualifier against South Africa risk being played outside the country if government does not expedite the refurbishment of the National Sports Stadium (NSS) before the qualifier scheduled for September.
The 2022 World Cup qualifier against Bafana Bafana had originally been set for June 5 before it was moved to September because of COVID-19 fears.
However, Caf had provisionally homologated the stadium to host the match pending the renovations of some outstanding areas, including the erection of bucket seats.
But with the qualifiers brought forward, Zimbabwe now has ample time to address the outstanding issues.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday appealed to the government to step up efforts to ensure the stadium was refurbished to meet Caf standards to host international football matches.
“As it stands, no work has been done on the outstanding areas since the last inspection and we appeal to the government to step up efforts in the renovations of the stadium before the qualifiers. If we fail to address the outstanding areas before the next inspection, the match will be moved elsewhere,” he said.
Gwesela added that the areas that needed to be worked on include the installation of bucket seats, the venue operation centre, entrance turnstiles, the pitch and the general cleanness of the stadium.
“Some of these areas do not meet Caf standards to host international matches and we hope that these will be addressed before the next inspection,” he added.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation deputy minister Tinomudaishe Machakaire, who has been spearheading the renovations drive, was not available for comment yesterday.
However, he emphasised earlier that government would work hard to address the outstanding areas at the stadium before the Fifa window in September and that bucket seats would now be supplied from local companies, making it easier in terms of logistics.
At the time, Machakaire said the government was happy that the stadium had been given temporary homologation which would allow them to work on outstanding areas.
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