Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent
AN INSPECTION committee responsible for inspecting and recommending the use of stadiums around the country says they will not compromise on recommended standards by the CAF Club Licensing.
First Instant Body (FIB) said they would not compromise on the standards of the stadiums which were condemned around the country.
The inspection committee embarked on a countrywide tour of stadiums before the 2019 soccer season kicked off.
Some stadiums fell short of the standards set out in the Caf Club Licensing schedule including Vengere and Sakubva Stadiums. The stadiums required a lot of work towards completion before this season’s kick.
FIB chairman, Piraishe Mabhena said all the condemned grounds would open only after all the set required standards were met.
“We are not going to succumb to any pressure to open any ground which is not ready. We will check and make sure that all the things that we highlighted are corrected. If not so, we will not open the grounds.
“We are saying there are minimum standards which all the grounds must meet. We need to do a lot to improve and there must be a level of seriousness about our grounds,” he said.
Mabhena said the inspection of grounds was an ongoing process which we would be continuously carrying out to make sure that all our grounds are in good conditions.
“We cannot continue being lenient on this issue because it will destroy our football,” he said.
Commenting on Vengere stadium, the former Zifa Eastern Region Division One League chairman said he was happy with the progress at the Rusape ground.
“We are happy with the progress so far at Vengere stadium. There is a huge improvement which shows a level of commitment and seriousness.
“We had indicated earlier on that Vengere needed to fix their goal posts which are not aligned, the bumpy pitch and the dressing rooms’ surface area which is small. If we do not get serious with the issue of our grounds we will miss a lot of opportunities,” he said.
Mabhena said if the grounds were not standardised Zimbabwean soccer season would not fit into the Caf calendar.
“As it stands, we do not have any ground which meets Caf standards.
“We are under pressure from all angles to fix our grounds. Our Zimbabwe soccer calendar cannot go hand in hand with the Caf calendar because our grounds have poor drainage system,” he said.
The issue of grounds in the country has affected a lot of teams which are now being forced to play their home games away from home.
Manicaland’s only representative in the top flight league, Manica Diamonds travels over 300km to play their home games at Gibbo stadium in Chiredzi.
Mabhena expressed hope that Vengere could be used soon once Rusape Town Council is done with the ground.
“I feel it is very unfair for Manica Diamonds to be travelling to Chiredzi for their home games.
“We are not only talking about grounds, we also want our clubs to be run professionally,” he said.