Representatives from Zimbabwe in this year’s CAF inter-club competitions, Ngezi Platinum Stars and Dynamos, may have to host their home matches outside the country, according to the latest communication from CAF regarding stadium standards.
Ngezi Platinum Stars, having secured Zimbabwe’s maiden league title last season, will participate in the CAF Champions League, while Dynamos, ending a 9-year trophy drought by winning the Chibuku Super Cup, will compete in the Confederations Cup.
However, due to the ongoing stadium crisis in Zimbabwe, it is likely that both teams will be forced to play their home matches in the respective competitions outside the country. Currently, no stadiums in Zimbabwe are certified to host CAF matches, as the National Sports Stadium, Rufaro, and Babourfields have all been flagged down by the continental governing body.
Despite renovations at the National Sports Stadium and Rufaro, CAF insists that no progress has been made in bringing these facilities up to the required international standards.
In a letter from CAF Technical Development Director Rau Chipenda to ZIFA Normalisation Committee chairman Lincoln Mutasa, it states, “We would like to highlight that the overall stadium situation in Zimbabwe remains critical, and if the standards do not improve in the near future, national teams and clubs will have to continue playing their CAF matches in an approved stadium outside of the territory.”
CAF encourages the initiation of a comprehensive renovation program for both stadiums in line with CAF standards and the acquisition of all necessary equipment. The letter emphasizes that, in accordance with the CAF Stadium inspection and approval procedure, a stadium can only be re-approved if all CAF requirements are fully implemented.