By Sports Reporter
HARARE-BASED Premier Soccer League teams could be forced to play their league matches outside the capital city after revelations that the city’s football stadia failed to pass the initial assessment conducted by the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).
The local football motherbody on Tuesday informed the Premier Soccer League of the stadia that have been approved for use for the 2020 season and none of the Harare facilities are on the list.
Harare has National Sports Stadium, Rufaro and Gwanzura as the main stadiums but they have all failed the initial inspection carried out by the association’s Club Licensing First Instance Body.
There is however a window of opportunity for the main Harare-based venues National Sports Stadium and Rufaro which are currently undergoing renovations could be deemed fit to host matches if they can be re-inspected before the start of the season.
Harare is home to traditional giants and former champions Dynamos and CAPS United, who use Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium respectively as their home grounds.
Other clubs, Yadah, Black Rhinos, Harare City, Herentals and newly promoted Cranborne Bullets are also based in the capital city.
ZIFA has approved six stadia which include Bulawayo’s Barbourfields and Luveve Stadiums, Gibbo in Triangle, Vengere in Rusape, Zvishavane’s Mandava and Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro Ngezi.
In a letter to PSL, the mother body stated the conditions which should be met for re-inspection.
“ZIFA hereby inform your esteemed office that the following have been provisionally homologated by the First Instance Body for 2020 season.
“Gibbo. Vhengere. Barbourfields. Luveve. Mandava. For re-inspection of other stadiums, the procedure is as follows:
“Recommendations from the FIB stadium report should be adhered to.
“Pictures and progress reports should be sent first.
“FIB will assess whether to send an inspection team or not” read the communication.
The looming stadia crisis in Harare comes at a time PSL is yet to announce when the 2020 season will commence as it is yet to agree a new sponsorship deal with their sponsor Delta Beverages.
However, the start of the 2020 season is likely to be delayed after President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the coronavirus pandemic a state of disaster, while banning all large gatherings, including church services and sports events.
The country is also yet to record a single case of COVID-19.