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CAF rejects ZIFA appeal, demands name of the foreign stadium for Algeria match

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RUFARO STADIUM

CAF rejects ZIFA appeal, demands name of the foreign stadium for Algeria match. The government and the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) are involved in frenetic works to refurbish the National Sports Stadium in Harare and Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo respectively in the hope CAF can order a new inspection which will pass one of the venues as fit to host the March 29 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has rejected an appeal by the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) against its decision to bar Zimbabwe from hosting international matches over the poor state of its stadiums.

But CAF, in an email to ZIFA delivered Wednesday, maintained that ZIFA should “name a venue outside the country as earlier advised.” CAF cited and attached the same correspondence sent to ZIFA on February 25, in which it advised ZIFA to find a CAF-approved stadium in a regional country where it would host its home matches.

To add insult to injury, the delay in confirming the AFCON match venue within CAF’s stipulated deadline has left ZIFA facing a US$4,000 fine.

The fine will increase if ZIFA take longer to name a venue. CAF regulations stipulate that dates and match venues be set two months before the match. ZIFA has addressed the controversy, insisting that it complied with the requirement when it submitted Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo as the match venue.

Highly placed sources said ZIFA and the government’s last-minute efforts had not moved CAF. “CAF did not entertain or even respond to the appeal from ZIFA, but it reminded ZIFA to name a venue as had been advised earlier. The appeal was rejected out of hand,” a source said.

ZIFA spokesman Xolisani Gwesela said he was unaware of CAF’s decision, and asked for more time to verify.

Acting sports minister Kazembe Kazembe on Tuesday told a post-Cabinet media conference that the government is working around the clock to ensure the National Sports Stadium meets international standards by March 20, to avoid the embarrassment of Zimbabwe playing its home matches away from home.

Kazembe said the stadium would be 75 percent complete by March 20 following renovations and other work currently underway.

“Work has already started, the pitch is being attended to, floodlights are being attended, dressing rooms are being attended to and all those three areas can be dealt with in the next 14 days. The spectator area that’s an issue that can be dealt with in the next 14 days, funds permitting. The doping room is being attended to,” Kazembe said.

Kazembe said the government was hoping that CAF will be “kind enough to lift the ban” following the renovations. He added that bucket seats and electronic turnstiles will not be achievable in the given time frame.

The government has released $13 million to the BCC to spruce up Barbourfields Stadium in line with CAF recommendations, but the local authority says it needs $58 million to meet CAF standards. In particular, the BCC says the funding will not be enough to cover floodlight requirements by CAF and the installation of bucket seats.

Source – KukurigoNews

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