The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Confederation of African Football has once again turned down a request from the Zimbabwe Football Association to allow a limited number of supporters into the stadium for Zimbabwe’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Ghana at the National Sports Stadium next month.
Zimbabwe take on Ghana at the NSS in a World Cup qualifier on 12 October. The two teams would have met in Ghana three days before that.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Zifa said Caf indicated that its decision was based on the review of Zimbabwe’s compliance to expected stadium requirements, safety and security as well as medical issues at the NSS.
“National Sports Stadium is currently hosting senior men’s international games on a temporary approval, having been deemed unfit in March 2020. Reasons for the ban include the absence of bucket seats and electronic access controls, among other issues.
“While Fifa Covid-19 match protocols clearly state that all matches during the pandemic must be played behind closed doors, special exemptions to allow spectators into the stadium have been granted to nations with facilities that satisfy required standards,’’ Zifa said.
Zifa went on to appeal to Government to accelerate renovations at the stadium so that football stakeholders can fully benefit from the massive commercial, social and entertainment potential of the game.
At the end of last month, Caf turned down another request from Zifa to allow 10 000 fans to witness the battle between Zimbabwe and South Africa at the NSS on 3 September, a match which ended 0-0.
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