Soccer News

ZIFA: Warriors won’t use Rwandan Stadium for upcoming World Cup qualifiers

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) Normalisation Committee has ruled out using the 10,000-capacity Huye Stadium in the city of Butare, Rwanda, for the Warriors’ next 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying home match against Lesotho in South Africa. Their reason is that the stadium is too distant from Zimbabwe.

Due to the Government’s failure to fulfil its promise of rehabilitating the National Sports Stadium to Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards, the Warriors are likely to play their upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on foreign soil.

In their last home match, the Zimbabwe senior national team faced Nigeria and Rwanda at Huye Stadium in November 2023, resulting in draws for both matches.

ZIFA Normalisation Committee Chairperson Lincoln Mutasa told NewsDay that they are actively exploring venues within the southern African region to host their upcoming home match. Said Mutasa:

CAF required us to suggest a venue by March 27 and by that time no local ground had been approved by the continental football governing body to host matches, so we were left with no option but to play our match away.

However, having played our first home matches in Rwanda since being readmitted back into international football, we felt Rwanda is a bit far and we are looking at venues around SADC [Southern African Development Community] and will make it public once all the necessary modalities have been carried out.

The government assured that the Warriors would host their upcoming home matches at the National Sports Stadium.

However, despite the facility being closed for renovations, no efforts have been made to bring the stadium up to the necessary standards.

This week, a widely circulated image on social media revealed the neglected state of the facility’s dried-out grass.

Over the past few decades, Zimbabwe’s public infrastructure has alarmingly deteriorated, with blame falling squarely on corrupt and ineffective public officials.

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