The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THE Parliamentary Committee on Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation has urged stadium owners to keep abreast with modern developments to ensure the facilities are ready to host international matches.
Members of the committee questioned why there had to be a flurry of activity in renovating stadiums after the country had been banned from hosting Caf sanctioned matches. Speaking during a visit to Barbourfields on Thursday, committee chairman, Mathius Tongofa said while they appreciated Government’s efforts in releasing funds for the refurbishments of stadiums to meet Caf standards, it was imperative for councils to consistently keep abreast of latest standards.
“I think what is important is that no national team games should be held outside the country and we should all work towards that. However, the question is, did it have to get to this point where we are banned for us to improve on the stadiums? We should be proactive instead of being reactionary as far as the standards are concerned,” he said.
Principal director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Benson Dube, however, laid the blame on Caf saying the entity had approved the use of Barbourfields for their games only to change goalposts at the last minute. He said in October last year Caf had given BF the greenlight as the only stadium in the country that meets the specifications to host national team matches only to make a U-turn.
“It is unfortunate that Caf changed goalposts at the last minute and said the stadium is not up to standard despite making us believe the opposite. Had they alerted us in time and told us that we needed to make various changes over the years we would have complied. Matches had been held here but there had been no complaints,” he said.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic saved Zimbabwe the embarrassment of playing their Africa Cup of Nations fixture against Algeria, which was meant for March in one of the neighbouring countries after Caf halted all matches due to the global catastrophe.