THE Confederation of African Football (CAF) has blocked FC Platinum from using Mandava Stadium for Champions League matches because there are no suitable hotels for rival teams and officials in Zvishavane.
CAF ordered FC Platinum to find an alternative venue for their home fixture against Sudanese giants El Merreikh next weekend.
The continental body cleared the stadium for FC Platinum’s last match against Swazi side Green Mamba following extensive renovations to the facility.
But match officials for the Green Mamba game complained to CAF about the lack of suitable accommodation close to the stadium.
Officials and the Green Mamba squad had to be accommodated in Masvingo, which is about 95 kilometres away from Zvishavane, a distance CAF feels unsuitable.
“The match was played in a refurbished Mandava Stadium located in the City of Zvishavane that belongs to FC Platinum which is in good conditions, has good facilities but very hard access (but) you can’t find affordable accommodation (in the town),” CAF head of clubs competitions Essam Ahmed said in a letter to ZIFA.
“The visiting team was accommodated at Masvingo too. The distance from Masvingo to the match venue in 95km. this was too hard for both match officials and the visiting team to test the playground.”
And in a blow to FC Platinum ahead of the crunch encounter against the Sudanese champions, CAF said the Zimbabwean side must find an alternative venue for the game.
“We would also like to remind you with (that) if the distance between the capital city and the venue of the match is superior to 200km the host association shall provide the visitors with an airplane transport to the venue of the match and back,” Ahmed said.
“If this is not possible the match shall be played in the capital city except by agreement between the two teams.
“Consequently you are kindly requested to change the venue -- Mandava Stadium -- and your future matches to another venue that has the necessary requirements to host Caf matches.’’
However, ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze said the local association would appeal CAF’s decision.
“It is not the first time that teams have gone beyond the 200km mark by road, Dynamos and Monomotapa have experienced that in Tunisia, Motor Action recently travelled by road from Johannesburg to Polokwane,” Mashingaidze told The Herald.
“Even our own national team travelled a long distance by road from Khartoum to Wad Medani and there were poor hotels there but still Caf used that for the CHAN tournament.
“We have said the teams and the match officials can stay in Masvingo and travel the 90km journey to the match venue which will not affect them much.
“So we are going to strongly appeal against this decision which we believe also flies in the face of the efforts to spread football to areas that are not just the capital cities.”