URGENCY given to uplifting Barbourfields Stadium so that it meets Caf requirements has charmed both the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation as well as Zifa.

The football motherbody is expected to send pictorial evidence to Caf tomorrow, hopeful that the pictures sent will convince the continental body to rescind its earlier decision to bar Barbourfields Stadium to host the 2021 Afcon qualifier between Warriors and Algeria.

Bulawayo City Council and employees from the Local Government and Public Works worked throughout the weekend to make sure that Barbourfields Stadium is ready.

“Things are moving on well now and we are on top gear. Everyone is working hard to make sure that we at least meet the Monday deadline so that we send pictorial evidence to Caf. I’m sure we will meet the deadline because everyone is showing an element of urgency. I believe the frank talk we had with the local authority worked well because we saw them working throughout the night on Friday and Saturday.

“We trust that by Tuesday Zifa will send pictures that will convince Caf to rescind its decision. We’ve even brought in a grounds curator from Zimbabwe Cricket called Fungai to help on the playing field. This is a national cause, we have to satisfy Caf and prepare for Independence. We are killing two birds with one stone,” said Benson Dube, Chief Director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.

Government has joined the local authority to avert a potential disaster of having the Warriors play their 2021 Afcon qualifier against Algeria on foreign soil.

Various departments from BCC have descended on Barbourfields Stadium to refurbish parts of the venue so that it is ready for re-inspection to be done on Saturday, March 14.

Delivery of material that has been procured for the uplift was done on Saturday and yesterday.

Town Clerk, Christopher Dube and BCC director of housing and community services, Dictor Khumalo were supervising progress at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.

“It is our hope that work done at Barbourfields Stadium will convince Caf to have the Algeria match played in Zimbabwe. Fifa are sending stadium inspectors and football legends this week. Initially, we were told that Barbourfields Stadium was cleared to host club matches and not international matches. Unfortunately, Caf didn’t give us deadline to work on renovations as their letter was specific that it cleared club matches “Two international matches, the women’s world cup games for the Under-17s and 20 were played at Barbourfields Stadium and that gave us a false hope. Consultations led by Philemon Machana are being made to make sure we save the situation and there is a Government guarantee.

On Tuesday, we are sending to Caf the pictures that they require.

“We’re happy with the progress made at Barbourfields and remain hopeful that the Algeria and World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ghana will be played in Zimbabwe,” said Zifa board member Bryton Malandule who is working hand in hand with the local authority.

By end of day  yesterday, air conditioners had been delivered to Barbourfields. TelOne had put optic fibres for internet connectivity.


state media