Zifa Refuses to Shift World Cup Qualifier Match

This follows an argument by members of the Warriors that the pitch is unplayable as it has bumps here and there but Zifa Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Mashingaidze told reporters Wednesday that there is no way they are going to shift the game.

Mashingaidze said there was a near stampede at Rufaro Stadium when the Warriors played their Africa Cup of Nations match against Mali last year and moving this more important World Cup qualifier to that venue would be putting people’s lives at risk.

He said the National Sports Stadium has always been the home of the Zimbabwe national team and it will remain so for all the matches the Warriors are going to play in both the World Cup and the Nations Cup.

Apart from Guinea, the Warriors are also scheduled to play Burundi at home in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on June 17.

Mashingaidze says they wrote to the Confederation of African Football two months ago informing them that the matches would be at the National Sports Stadium and they cannot change that at the last minute.

The Zifa supremo visited the National Sports Stadium Wednesday where workers were busy putting touches to the surface for the Guinea match.

Concerns were also raised about the National Sports Stadium in November last year when the Mbada Diamonds Cup final between Dynamos and Motor Action was stopped for more than 30 minutes following a heavy downpour.

The stoppage was to allow workers at the stadium to use buckets to drain water from the pitch as the drainage system is poor and cannot do an effective job.

Last year, then national team coach, Norman Mapeza forced Zifa to move the Warriors’ Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mali to Rufaro Stadium arguing that his team was more comfortable with the smaller venue than the giant National Sports Stadium.

The Warriors won that particular match 2-1.

The game between Guinea and Zimbabwe, the first in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers will be going for $5 for the Rest of the Ground stand.