Stadium crisis: ZIFA faces double ban as FIFA inspectors knock on association door

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  • Stadium crisis reprieve lies in a government riddled by failure to provide social services and city councils failing to provide basic service delivery

Report by Rusunguko Shone

AN INSPECTION for FIFA World Cup matches is set for the first two weeks of March with Zimbabwe stadiums in danger of having nothing new to show to inspectors.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) last week condemned the countries football stadiums as unfit to host international matches.

A double ban is looming.

The stripping of hosting rights is not the worst thing to befall Zimbabwe because very soon CAF and FIFA may ban teams for failing to fulfil home matches.

ZIFA’s perpetual financial struggles have been evident even during home matches, with the Warriors being barred from training at the National Sports Stadium ahead of the Zimbabwe/Congo 2019 AFCON qualifier.

The beleaguered federation has not recovered from its executive committee’s extravagant spending in the build up to the 2019 AFCON finals in Cairo where ZIFA spent in excess of US$700 000 in airfares and accommodation for councillors and supporters.

Unlike at home where the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing charges about ZWL 12 000 for a match, stadium rentals in South Africa – our proposed home for upcoming matches – are in the region of R60,000.

This is the kind of money that ZIFA may not have considering that each international break in 2020 has a competitive match.

Zimbabwe’s hope of hosting a match in the country lies in a government that is already riddled by failure to provide social services to the populace.

Next in line are town councils that are also struggling to provide basic social amenities for urban dwellers.

In short, there is little or no hope at all for Zimbabwe to quickly regain its sovereignty, a virtue so dear to the heart of former president, the late Robert Mugabe.

At the same time ZIFA is in danger of being fined US$4,000 over failure to confirm the AFCON match venue within the stipulated deadline.

Regulations demand that dates and match venues be set two months before the match and we have 27 days left.

Failure to confirm the venue within stipulated deadlines attracts a fine of US$4 000.

If we continue to delay, CAF reserves the right to choose for us.

Could this be the time that football, city council and national leadership accept the reality that this country has degenerated into Trump’s hell hole, and that it is time to put polarity aside and build something, for posterity?

Are the fees charged by local stadium authorities enough to support budgets for professional management of these facilities?

As the face of football in Zimbabwe, can ZIFA convince its benefactors to divert some of its forward projects to maintenance and improvement of football infrastructure?

Can we still compete in tournaments as Zimbabwe when we cannot play home matches at home?

As a country we have sunk to the lowest, collectively.

Ordinary people have not held leadership to account, and leaders have pursued selfish goals sacrificing common good.

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