THE Confederation of African Football (CAF) has punished Zimbabwean fans for the sins of their government after turning down ZIFA’s request to let in 10 000 supporters into the National Sports Stadium during the FIFA World Cup 2022TM qualifier between Zimbabwe and South Africa citing that the stadium does not meet minimum health standards.
CAF noted that the ideal scenario during the pandemic is to play matches behind closed doors, but exceptions are being made to allow spectators into the stadium, where and when the stadium in question meets required standards.
“CAF analysed and assessed your request from a medical, stadium requirements compliance, and safety & security perspective in your venue. Accordingly, a decision has been taken not to allow the presence of spectators in the aforementioned match,” CAF’s development division wrote.
Since the resumption of international football late in 2020, National Sports Stadium has been hosting senior men’s international games on provisional basis. The stadium had been barred in 2020 just before our Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria.
The absence of bucket seats and electronic access controls are among issues that CAF has continuously urged Zimbabwe to address to get unrestricted approval to host matches.
ZIFA on Saturday morning urged government to accelerate renovations at the stadium so that local teams can welcome supporters back in the stadium as is the case in other nations.
The Warriors face South Africa at home on September 3 before travelling to Ethiopia for a match up on September 7.
The side will be without key players – Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town), Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town) and Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa) – following an adverse position taken by the English Leagues to bar players from fulfilling the national assignments.
The teams have cited England’s stringent quarantine regulations.
GOALKEEPERS: Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants) Talbert Shumba (Free State Stars) Martin Mapisa (Zamora CF). DEFENDERS: Teenage Hadebe (Houston Dynamo) Brendan Galloway (Plymouth Argyle) Onismor Bhasera (SuperSport United) Jordan Zemura (AFC Bournemouth) Divine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns) Tendayi Darikwa (Wigan Athletic) Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana) Jimmy Dzingai (Unattached) Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi). MIDFIELDERS: Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune United) Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV) Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims) Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa) Tafadzwa Rusike, Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United) Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport) Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs) Perfect Chikwende (Simba SC) Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu) Ovidy Karuru (Unattached). STRIKERS: Terrence Dzvukamanja (Orlando Pirates) Tinotenda Kadewere (Lyon) David Moyo (Hamilton Academical) Admiral Muskwe (Luton Town) Knowledge Musona (Al-Tai) Macauley Bonne (Ipswich Town).