HARARE – The Zimbabwean government has committed to allocating resources for the renovation of the country’s stadiums to meet the required standards set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Currently, Zimbabwe lacks venues that are deemed fit to host international matches, leading to the recent situation where the Warriors played their 2026 World Cup home qualifier against Nigeria at Huye Stadium in Rwanda due to the condemnation of local facilities.
With a budget of $136.2 billion earmarked for 2024 allocated to the Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts, and Culture, the authorities are determined to address the issue and upgrade the stadiums to meet FIFA standards.
Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts, and Culture, Emily Jesaya, reiterated the government’s commitment during the awards ceremony for the 2023 Soccer Stars of the Year.
“Sport infrastructure development is one of our Ministry’s key focus areas in 2024, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that our facilities meet the FIFA standards,” stated Jesaya.
“As the Ministry in charge of sport, we call upon stadium owners and other stakeholders to come on board and ensure that we develop internationally recognized sporting infrastructure.”
Zimbabwe’s readmission into international football after a FIFA suspension lasting nearly two years emphasizes the urgency of upgrading facilities.
Two clubs, Ngezi Platinum Stars and Dynamos, are set to represent the country in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, respectively.
Jesaya emphasized the importance of having suitable grounds for hosting opponents in these African club competitions.
“We will ensure that the venues meet the required standards so that all our home games are played at home,” she affirmed.
“We are aware of the areas that need to be addressed at our major stadia in the country. We will address all those so that all teams, including those representing the country, will be able to enjoy home advantage.”
Critical improvements are needed at major stadiums like the National Sports Stadium, Barbourfields Stadium, and Rufaro Stadium.
These include the installation of bucket seats, electronic turnstiles, and overall infrastructure enhancements.
However, Jesaya also stressed the importance of eliminating violence and hooliganism from football events.
“Government maintains its position and natural resentment for issues of violence and hooliganism at matches, assault of match officials, and destruction of property that taint the image of local football,” Jesaya emphasized.
“Sport is a unifier; it brings people together, and as a country, we should ensure safety and security at match venues. We urge clubs to educate supporters, players, and officials on the dangers of violence and hooliganism.”