By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE champions FC Platinum will use Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo for their upcoming Champions League group matches.
This comes after their home ground at Mandava failed to meet the minimum requirements set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
FC Platinum were drawn in the same pool with defending champions Esperance of Tunisia, South African giants Orlando Pirates and Horoya AC of Guinea in Group B.
After using Mandava to host their preliminary and first round matches against Malagasy side CNaPS and AS Otoho D’yo of Congo Brazzaville, FC Platinum were confident of being given the greenlight to host their group matches in Zvishavane.
Their request was however, turned down by CAF, who have reportedly raised concerns over the flood-lighting system and media facilities at the stadium.
Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela confirmed that FC Platinum will now host Orlando Pirates at Barbourfields on January 12 following the directive by CAF.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) advises the football family that FC Platinum’s Total Champions League group match against Orlando Pirates will be played at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo,” Gwesela said.
“The Confederation of African Football (CAF) advised ZIFA that FC Platinum’s traditional home ground, Mandava Stadium does not meet minimum requirements for this stage of Africa’s prestigious club competition.
“The other stadium homologated by CAF to host group stage matches for inter-club competitions is the National Sports Stadium but FC Platinum selected Barbourfields stadium for convenience.
“CAF will conduct further inspections for Mandava stadium, Barbourfields stadium and National sports stadium going forward,” Gwesela said.
The move by CAF is likely to benefit Orlando Pirates, who command a huge following in Bulawayo due to the club’s links with Zimbabwean football giants Highlanders.
Thousands of South African fans of the Soweto giants are also expected in the country for the big match.
Meanwhile, FC Platinum regrouped Wednesday ahead of their opening group stages tie against Orlando Pirates.