Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
PREPARATIONS for the Cosafa Women’s Championship which kicks off on Wednesday are in the final stages with teams having started arriving for the regional showcase scheduled for Bulawayo.
Zifa spokesman, Xolisani Gwesela said sprucing up of venues will be completed today and all concerns that had been raised by the Cosafa secretariat have been addressed. The venues for the competition, Barbourfields and Luveve Stadiums were closed a fortnight ago to allow for touch ups to be made and conform to international standards.
Luveve was the first to be closed as it had a bumpy surface that had to be rectified and the aluminium goal posts replaced the steel ones that had been erected. Floodlights were also fixed as some of the games could spill into the evening.
At Barbourfields, the technical area was fixed. The scoreboards at both venues are now in working order.
Teams started arriving yesterday with Malawi entering the country via the Nyamapanda Border Post while Botswana, Namibia and Zambia are scheduled to arrive today. The bulk of the teams get into the country tomorrow with South Africa, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Swaziland and Mozambique set to land during various times of the day. Mauritius, who play their first game on Thursday, will be the last to arrive as they get into the country on the day the tournament kicks off.
“We are ready for the first whistle and everything is in place for the games to begin. Venues are in good condition with renovations having been made. Entry will be free of charge and we are urging the soccer loving public in Bulawayo to attend the games in their numbers to see ladies in action.
Women’s football has made great strides over the years and we are likely to see some entertaining football together with some sublime skills on the field of play,” said Gwesela.
He said they are still open to companies partnering them, adding that Kwese Sports will broadcast all the matches live on their platforms.
Meanwhile, Zifa has urged companies to only deal with their marketing committee following reports that unidentified individuals had solicited for funding on behalf of the association, ahead of the Cosafa tournament.
Wednesday – Namibia vs Botswana (10h30), Zambia vs Malawi (14h00), Zimbabwe vs Madagascar (16h30) — Barbourfields Stadium
Thursday – Mauritius vs Swaziland (10h30), Kenya vs Mozambique (14h00), South Africa vs Lesotho (16h30) — Luveve Stadium