HARARE – Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture minister Kirsty Coventry announced on Thursday that Zimbabwe’s national football team, the Warriors, will soon resume hosting international matches at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
The Warriors have been compelled to seek alternative venues for their matches since 2020 due to a ban imposed on the country’s stadiums by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for failing to meet required standards.
The ban also extended to Barbourfields and Mandava Stadiums, with specified areas for improvement outlined for all three venues to regain full approval.
During a session with parliament’s Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture committee, Coventry revealed that her ministry has secured partnerships to facilitate the renovation of the 60,000-seater National Sports Stadium.
“The goal is to ensure that we do not play another game outside the country, and I believe we are on track to make that happen,” Coventry affirmed.
“I promise you that I am doing everything in my power to ensure that we will not play another home game outside this country.”
Although Coventry refrained from disclosing further details about the partnership, she assured that progress was underway.
“I will not give you specific dates because of the partnership that we have. They have asked us to respect them and give them a bit of time to internally put things in place before making a formal announcement,” she stated.
The government allocated ZW$24 billion in the 2024 budget for the renovation of the National Sports Stadium, signaling a significant investment in the revitalization of the facility.
However, Coventry criticized local sports associations for the stagnation in Zimbabwean football.
“We have incredible talent, but the bureaucracy, corruption, and lack of good governance in our national associations do a disservice to every single young person who has the dream of becoming the next Peter Ndlovu,” she lamented.
The anticipated return of international football to the National Sports Stadium marks a pivotal moment for Zimbabwean football enthusiasts and players, signaling a potential resurgence in the country’s sporting landscape.